In her poem, “Sometimes,” Mary Oliver writes, “Instructions for living a life: Pay attention. Be Astonished. Tell about it.” Oliver, gave everyone three very simple instructions as to how to live. Reading this poem I realized that these instructions are three simple statements that are embedded in the process for creating.
I have been in Florida for a month and like a true vacationer paying attention to a new environment is part of the excitement of being in a new place.
I envy my artist friends who go on vacation and spend a great deal of time drawing in sketchbooks, painting, and working with mixed media while away from home. How do they do that? Since I was being flummoxed by combining vacation and work I went on-line to read what other artists think about vacationing and keeping up with their own art practices.
“When we no longer know what to do we have come to our real work, and when we no longer know which way to go we have begun our real journey. The mind that is not baffled is not employed. The impeded stream is the one that sings.”
This week, working with a team on an upcoming teacher workshop, we got into a conversation about “Studio Habits of Mind.” I won’t go into the conversation but to note that it got me thinking about my own studio habits of mind when I work in the studio.
I have been taking a drawing class that has reminded me again about the importance of process. The most important rule for guiding children’s art activities is that the process is always more important than the product. This is true for adults as well. Process includes the space to explore art materials with freedom and without pressure. Process includes the freedom to experiment and enjoy the feeling of creating without being concerned with the outcome or the product.