A Sacred Life

A Sacred Life

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Courage to Play

I get these great newsletters in my mailbox and this one especially hit me as this is what I am focusing on in my art classes... Play. The older we get the harder it seems to let go and play. This is probably why I prefer to teach young children - they have no problem with this at all.
Play, experiment and discover for me seem to be a prerequisite to making art.
We get too serious when we get older and so much of our lives take on numerous responsibilities so we NEED to take time to play.
When we come to the canvas or any other surface, we need to approach it with fresh eyes,
eyes of a child perhaps... open to possibilities and allowing art to move where it wants to go.

I just started reading Echart Tolle's book, A New Earth and so I thought I would share part of Robert Genn's newsletter here. You can go here to see it in it's entirety and subscribe as well.

In his latest book, "A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose," Eckhart Tolle discusses how the human mind is almost constantly engaged in private thoughts. These inner rumblings reflect our personal trials, dreams, needs and obligations. To function properly as a creative person, an artist must divorce himself from some of this clutter and begin a process of rebirth into another mode. "Even though people may travel," says Eckhart Tolle, "they tend to remain where they have always been--in their head."
Early yesterday morning, my daughter Sara and I were painting at the end of the Laniloa Peninsula, Oahu, Hawaii. From a parked car nearby, a young man in a white shirt and tie watched her out of the corner of his eye. As I passed by, he rolled down his window and said, "That girl just took out a canvas and started painting. She hardly drew things out at all."
The fellow and I struck up a conversation. He turned out to be a Teaching Assistant from the nearby Brigham Young University at La'ie. He was "having a quiet read and some meditation."I told him the girl was my daughter and that she was working "alla prima--all at once." Then he said, "It looks quite a lot like play."
Later, when Sara and I were going over our day's efforts, we agreed the young man had got to the truth of the matter. As far as plein air painting is concerned, play has its own methodology: Feel and relish the environment.
Get into a "be here now" state of mind.
Start your work anywhere.
Look cleanly and with an uncluttered mind.
Be joyous and unencumbered in your stroke.
Work everywhere at once when you can.
Try to leave your strokes alone.
Do not labour or think too much.
Don't sweat the small stuff.
Let the painting tell you what it needs.
Though it may be small, make your picture big.
Without being a wimp, serve your subject.
Don't verbalize your sight--sense the being.
Surrender to earth's beauty and wisdom.
If you make errors, fix them in good humour.
Be suspicious of what you've been told, how you ought to do things, and what you ought to think.
Best regards,Robert
PS: "Van Gogh didn't say, 'That's just an old chair.' He looked, and looked, and looked. He sensed the Beingness of the chair." (Eckhart Tolle)
Esoterica: The plein air act requires a mental transformation and a shift in consciousness. Playful looseness is a virtue. Running on old methodologies or rigid game-plans can be detrimental. Sara and I both remarked on the value of amateurism. Amateurism can induce clear sight and creative optimism. At least you are not held in check by a lot of stuff you already know.
Current clickback: If you would like to see selected, illustrated responses to the last letter, "Seeing red" about the observation of colour in our world, please go to: http://clicks.robertgenn.com/seeing-red.php

1 comment:

Mai-Liis said...

It's possible that we fear what others think of us when we play, and so we don't. To become more playful requires not caring about the viewpoints of others. Polish up your knock-knock jokes, laugh even if no one else does, skip rope, do sidewalk art with washable chalks...inviting neighbors to join you....Ohhhh, I think I will open an adult kindergarten!:-) It was when I was younger that I was serious.