Friday, April 13, 2012

Leaving the Room

When I first began this blog by doing the everyday challenge I benefitted greatly. I have found that one of the most important things to do regarding having an art practice is simply to show up.

Years ago I had the chance to do a residency at The Vermont Studio Center. Visiting artists came, and one of them talked about a meditation he did before working in the studio. I am paraphrasing here, and perhaps not remembering everything accurately, but the gist of it was as follows: You come to the studio with your mind and you begin to work. During the process of calming your
mind,and noticing what is going on in there, you ask for the distractions to leave the room. Eventually you leave the room.

I think the visiting artist was quoting Rothko or some other artist's practice. I have done meditation for a long time, but what stayed with me was the image of the artist leaving the room and the doing of art remaining. I think perhaps too, this could also be a testament to letting go of the ego, and how an artist's ego can get in the way of doing art. I myself have been a perfectionist and have felt like if I can't get the quality time I need in then it was not worth doing it. This would paralyze me and in the end was very self-defeating. It is more beneficial to come into a practice, let go of expectations and see what comes up. It is important to remember that you are not going to make amazing works of art every time you come to the studio. But just by showing up, you are giving yourself a gift.

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