Sunday, July 17, 2011
The Creative Process - Tithing to the muse
As an accidental gardener I often wonder why it is that wildflowers you neglect, and weeds you try to destroy survive more than the flowers and plants you pay fortunes for and go to every effort to nurture. It is not the only paradox in the universe. It can be harder to start a fire than stem a random spark, or stop a malicious rumor with a single drop of the truth.
I made some decisions last weekend that opened up the whole realm of possible in my life - a life I had filled with too much busy work or intended flowers that must be weeded and nurtured. With the new openness I noticed the wild flowers and grasses growing just beyond my tended green space in my yard. And those that had thrived in that area I was watering during the drought. Those I had not had the time to mow down or weed out. Some of them are quite beautiful.
It took a week but the paintings are rehung and yesterday I actually sat down and finished one I had begun. One that did not fit my "style" but was an interesting experiment in techniques. It is hard to play with art when everyone figures they know what to expect from you, and it is difficult to waste time exploring techniques when a show looms to prepare for. Or to even play around with a second love like photography. I spoke with a student this week about tithing to the muse. It is so easy to fall into the raging waters of I must produce - this painting must be perfect - and get carried away with achieving perfection or rescuing a "mistake." We do learn from our mistakes if we will allow ourselves to make them. So we must tithe by playing with our talent - being open to the possibilities.
During the course of that lesson I worked on a few little examples on scraps of canvas. One of them begs me to explore further in that direction. And I look at the others and wonder if I could work them into a collage. I have not done a collage of scraps of this and that for decades. Too busy with my "real life." I have come to realize this week that I was too busy to notice what was real.
As for the weeds and wildflowers growing beyond the sprinkler's reach - they are pretty and survivors. I have come to appreciate their randomness.