Tag Archives: doubt

Meander Time

The following is a re-post from a website called The Mindful Artist

Michele (the writer) is an artist and also runs a mentor program for other artists. She writes very thoughtful posts about the creative process and “bumps in the road” that we all might hit sooner or later. I thought this post was enlightening and helpful, so I am re-posting it. Hope you like it too.

The other day in the studio I was reminded of how important it is for me to have what I like to call “meander time”.

Meander time is that unstructured, unproductive, unhurried envelope in which there are no goals, no urgency towards completion, only a free and easy flow of listening to and following our quiet inclinations.

When I work in my studio, I generally jump in where I left off the day before. I settle easily into a humming rhythm of focus and productivity. But this time, something didn’t feel right. The process felt forced.

I paused and found a comfy place, got quiet, closed my eyes and went inward. It became clear to me that I hadn’t been allowing time recently in the studio for exploration, for browsing in books, for lying and looking at the ceiling, for staring out the window or just being.

This is pure right brain territory.

This is when we are in a receptive state.

This is when fresh, new ideas are able to flow in.

Most of us were told when young and apt to daydream that we were “wasting” time. Wasting time is frowned upon severely in a society full of people who feel so busy and strapped for time. We feel more virtuous when we are productive.

Some of my most rich and fruitful ideas come from meander time. Sometimes this means getting outside the studio – going on a walk or just sitting and being in nature. Sometimes it involves going on the studio with no particular plan and allowing myself to rest, nap, stare at the works in progress, peruse art books or leaf through boxes of old drawings or supplies. It’s really about letting go of a particular objective and following what feels right in the moment.

There’s a delicate balance we artists ride between doing and being.

Too much “being” can be a disguised form of avoidance. Too much “doing” and our creative well dries up because it is never replenished.

What about you? Have you noticed this rhythm within yourself? When have you opened up to meandering and allowed new ideas to flow in?

For the original post go here http://www.themindfulartist.com/2011/03/meander-time/

 

 

Mein Liebster

I – or rather my blog – got nominated for the Liebster Award. THANK YOU charcoalblue for nominating me. The whole thing caught me completely by surprise. I am still somewhat at a lack of words and it took me a few days to gather my thoughts.

liebster award

I have never been nominated for anything and I certainly did not expect to receive an award for my blog.  As I explain on my “about” page, I started this blog to document my journey into fine arts.  Writing about it for everyone to see was initially more of a psychological trick that I played on myself.  As Simone (charcoalblue) writes in one of her posts, I too have a relationship with Procrastin Ation (he seems to get around, the dog) and I thought making “things” public would help me stay focused.  In a way it did.  I still enjoy discovering fine arts in general and fell in love with sculpture in particular, just finishing my first year of a sculpting foundation program at Gage.  So, I feel especially honored that Simone named as her reason to nominate my blog, “Jutta has some beautiful art but I particularly love the sculptures.”  Thank you again, Simone.  Your kind words are encouraging and most appreciated.

Reading Simone’s blog it seems we have a few things in common; a love for learning and drawing for example.  Her drawings are beautiful.  I am not saying this to flatter, the drawing of the nude is so very sensual, emotional in a way, and the sleeve drawing shows a great deal of skill.  Seeing her art makes the Liebster Award that she sent my way all the more meaningful to me.

Now, there’s work to be done in order to really “own” this award and pass it on to others. It took some searching … and thinking … and editing … but I did it.  Here we go:

The First Step for the Liebster Award is to tell 11 things about yourself.

1.  Since everyone seems to start with a food related revelation – I have a soft spot for ice cream.  My dad and I bonded over eating tons of delicious ice cream when I was little. Unfortunately I can’t do this any more because over the years things have changed and …

2.   … I am now dairy intolerant – one more thing Simone and I have in common, it seems.

3.  As some might have gathered from my name, I’m originally from Germany.

BTW “liebster” is a German word and in this context it means “my dearest” or “favorite” – mein liebster Blog = my favorite blog.  I did some research and it seems the award was created by a German blogger a few years back.

4.  I have brown eyes.

5.  I am the youngest of five children. My oldest sister is 16 years older than I.

6.  I really don’t like shopping, especially shopping for cloths.

7.  One exception: I like shopping for shoes, especially those I really don’t need or that I will most likely never wear because the heels are too high and/or they are way too dressy for (my) daily life. I used to buy shoes just because I loved them so much. I took them home, never wore them, just looked at them once in a while. Hell, I have a book subtitled A Celebration of Pumps, Sandals, Slippers & More. Thank goodness I got older and wiser. Now, I look at them, try them on and put them back on the shelf.

8.  I love the sound of the piano.

9.  A few years back I studied voice and sang at Tula’s Jazz Club in Seattle a couple of times – it was great fun.

10.  I love going to the movies, especially during the day and when the theater is empty.

11.  I was super fascinated with Star Trek (the original with William Shatner) as a child, in particular the sounds they came up with (for doors opening, beaming, ring tones and so on). I used my mom’s powder box as a speaking device and pretended I was Lieutenant Uhura on a mission. BTW, isn’t it fantastic that their communication device looked just like a flip phone, they basically foresaw the cell phone.

The Second Step for the Liebster Award is to answer the 11 questions asked by the nominating blogger.

1.  What is a fond childhood memory?

It is summer. I am about 5 years old. I lounge in an oval tin laundry tub filled with water in our yard under a tree.  My lower legs and arms are hanging over the rim of the tub and my head is tilted back. The water is pleasantly warm (my mom had heated water for me and added it to the cold water that I had filled in with the hose). I stare up into the branches, watching the sun glare through the leaves – and time stands still.

2.  Your favourite movie?

I don’t have one favorite movie. There are so many great movies. Three that would be certainly in my top ten are:

  • Gosford Park – simply delicious.
  • The Godfather Trilogy (wait, that’s three already) – brilliant on so many levels.
  • Forest Gump – simply for Tom Hanks outstanding acting. He did not have one single tiny moment where he was not 100% in character in the whole movie, he was just unbelievable.

3.  If you could do/be anything – what would it be?

I really don’t know. It’s been my big dilemma throughout my life that I just can’t make up my mind what I want to be or permanently do. As a result I’ve studied several different subjects and worked in at least three different fields in the past years.

4.  Most common item you buy that is under $10.00

I’ll have to say “food”. Lunch, to be more precise. Since my kids have moved out and my husband is usually not home during the day I treat myself almost every day to lunch. Nothing fancy though. I usually stop by Whole Foods and eat something from the hot bar – love their mango something sauce – that over rice, veggies and a little bit of chicken, mmhhh… healthy, yummie and always way below $10.

5.  Something that annoys you.

Sometimes when I chat with my son (on the computer) he gets side tracked (checking other things on the computer at the same time) and spaces out for a few moments. Then when I stop “talking” there is this “silence” which seems to last an eternity until he notices and responds – drives me nuts.

6.  Something that gives you pleasure.

Sneaky question.  I’ll have to go with the harmless answer – chocolate.

7.  Find your self daydreaming about ….

… the usual; sunny beaches, tons of money and what I would do with it, the unbearable lightness of being …

… mostly though, I am pretty content with my real life; we don’t starve, have clean water, a warm bed at night, cloths on our backs … do I have to keep going?

8.  Where do you get your ideas for your posts?

From my own day to day interaction with art, art students, teachers and artists – gaining new skills, making art, reading about art etc.

9.  Which do you enjoy most, pondering the possibilities or narrowing down the options?

Narrowing down the options – seems more productive and brings one closer to a decision.

10.  Favourite novel?

Again, I don’t have one favorite. There are so many good books and I usually like them for different reasons, two that I thought of right away are:

  • Dracula by Bram Stoker – I was not only fascinated by the story (it was not really what I expected) but also by Stokers writing, choice of words and the format; it’s told as a series of letters, diary entries and so on.
  • Ender’s Game – really well written story, enthralling with a great twist.

11.  Advice for a mum who will one day have 3 teenage sons – at the same time?

I raised two boys, now 21 and 23 years old. It was not always a pleasure cruise and it does not get easier when they get older, sorry. However, to use a short dialogue from “Shakespeare in Love”:

  • Philip Henslowe:  “… The natural condition is one of insurmountable obstacles on the road to imminent disaster.”
  • Hugh Fennyman: “So what do we do?”
  • Philip Henslowe: “Nothing. Strangely enough, it all turns out well.”
  • Hugh Fennyman: “How?”
  • Philip Henslowe: “I don’t know. It’s a mystery.”

No, seriously – one way or the other it’ll all turn out well in the end. Here are some of my thoughts – mostly in hindsight, which is always 20/20, right?

  • Make a point of enjoying your kids (with open eyes) every day. In the midst of everything it’s all too easy to forget to “stop and smell the roses”.
  • Be in the moment and spend quality time with each one for at least a short time every day (e.g. the famous reading before bed time or just listening to their thoughts, you know). A focused short time means usually more than hours of “half attention”.
  • Try to get to know them as the unique beings that they are.
  • Good parents listen, the others preach.
  • Now that might sound stereotypical or cheesy but the bottom line is; if your kids feel loved and trusted unconditionally as well as understood when it’s crucial (which does not mean that you have to agree or condone) they will keep the conversation going.
  • And when they get older and once in a while seem monstrous and unrecognizable, take a deep breath and remember that these are the same kids you posted all these cute snapshots about – everything will turn out well in the end.

The Third Step for the Liebster Award is to nominate 11 bloggers with relatively few (less than 200) followers.

Here are my nominees, in no particular order:

jakobkielland – he is on a “Lunch Wrapping Art Quest” (his words), great idea. He makes me smile. I hope this award will encourage him to keep going, I want to see more of your creative wraps, Jakob.

Lady of the Cakes – what can I say, I just like her blog; it’s a mix of very interesting info (mostly about food), multicultural insights, good photos – very enjoyable.

taralynjaiyeola – Tara is a very talented artist, her illustrations are funny and touching – see also her website www.taralynjaiyeola.com

BLUEBRIGHTLY – is one of those rare combinations of beautiful photography and really good writing. I can’t decide which I like better, the writing or the photos. Lynn’s posts are beautiful, thoughtful, informative, relaxing … but never boring or meaningless.

Eva Tenter, Power of Positive Thoughts – her blog is authentic and inspiring.

Amanda’s Work in Progress – Amanda is a fellow student at Gage – so, I know her work first hand. She is a dedicated artist with a fine eye for detail and I appreciate her knowledgeable insights.

Tres Marias – a photography blog by three sisters ranging in age from 8 to 21 – what a cool idea. Their photos are unpretentious and very well done. Looking at the snapshot of the three (see “about” page) one can see a lot of love and happiness and I really appreciate that they let me into their world.

darcytozier and the anatomy of living – Darcy is an artist and teacher. I am very impressed with her felt sculptures, fascinating work.

ARTSTORMER – Now, this blog has more than 200 followers but still not so outrageously many that I think it’s okay to include her, I had to. Betsy finds the most fascinating art and blogs about it. Her posts are informative and inspiring. I love this blog.

Stereoskop – nominating this blog is bringing the Liebster award “home”. Julius is a 20 year old Germanics student (in Vienna) and an aspiring journalist. His professional resume is quite impressive already and I hope this nomination will encourage him to keep writing his blog.

ALANALA – Alan is self-taught (his words), I admire that. He mainly focuses on street photography in Hong Kong. One day I will travel there. For now, Alan gives me a glimpse into another world through his fascinating photos, thanks Alan.

The Fourth Step for the Liebster Award is to ask your nominees 11 questions:

1.  Do you play an instrument?  If yes, which one?

2.  It is quite possible that some company will offer commercial flights into outer space (or to the moon) within our life time. If you had the money would you do it?

3.  What sound or noise do you find pleasant?

4.  Do you cry at weddings?

5.  Restrictions aside, where would you rather live, big city or countryside? Why?

6.  Which other language than your mother tongue would you like to speak? Why?

7.  What profession would you absolutely not want to pursue?

8.  What makes you laugh?

9.  Do you have a bucket list? If not, have you thought of writing one? Name one thing that would be on it.

10.  Why do you think you have to tell 11 things about yourself, answer 11 questions, nominate 11 blogs and come up with 11 new questions for this award?  Isn’t 11 a rather strange number – and may be just a tad 🙂 excessive?  I asked myself that question but could not come up with an useful answer.  My hope is, that you can.

11.  What is your present state of mind?

Be a Renaissance Person

Throughout my life I struggled with the fact that I was curious about everything, had several talents, couldn’t make up my mind what I wanted to focus on as a career (consequently had several throughout the years), learned something about everything and became a “Jack of All Trades” – instead of focusing on one thing and becoming really super good at it.

In the past two years however, I learned to make peace with this “curse”.  I finally understood that it was a good thing to have many interests and talents if one could just manage  to “tame the beast” somehow. For me it was learning to have more discipline which would help me getting through those times when it gets a little harder for a while, just before you go to the next level – if you know what I mean.

I discovered art for myself and found that it seems to be a bottomless well of inspiration on so many levels that it never gets boring. It seems to combine so many areas of expertise and life. There is always something new to learn – mentally, philosophically, historically, even physically (when learning a new skill or technique using my hands). Art involves your intellect and all the senses and is present always and everywhere.

I was happy to find the following blog post and a person who seemed to have “suffered” from the same malaise throughout the past and learned to embrace it. The following is from a blog written by Anthony Mazzocchi. His blog is called You Only Do This Once, Keeping the Learning Curve AliveFor the full length post go here:  http://weonlydothisonce.com/2012/11/03/embracing-a-renaissance-lifestyle-part-1/

Here are some bits and pieces, whenever you see this … I edited content. Please go and read the whole post on Tony’s blog, see above link. Here we go:

I found that a Renaissance person excels in a wide range of subjects. While this title can mean a “jack of all trades”, this derisive term in our modern world implies a master of none; the traditional Renaissance person mastered one and often more subjects while being competent in many others.

Some people now will argue that hundreds of years ago, when the term first came about, the amount of human knowledge was rather small and thus a person could master many fields of knowledge. I believe a modern Renaissance person doesn’t necessarily need to “master” all subjects, but in our age of “specialization” (more on that later), we can strive to be very competent in a range of important subjects.

Don’t you sometimes feel that many of us know something about a very limited number of things in our culture … such as our job training …

Which skills should we focus on in life? I learned that Renaissance men in the 17th century strove to do a few things:

-defend themselves with a variety of weapons
-immerse themselves in the arts (instruments and painting)
-debate politics and philosophy
-advance knowledge and the sciences
-practice as an author and poet

21st Century Goals for our Renaissance person lifestyle should be:

  • Never Stop Learning.  Every day is an opportunity to learn something new or hone an existing skill set.  Don’t let a day pass without learning something new.
  • Learn An Art.  Art comes in many forms; Music, painting, writing, poetry.  Learn to express yourself through an artistic medium somehow.
  • Learn To Build Things.   Learn how things are constructed and how things work mechanically.  If something breaks, try to fix it yourself.  Learn how to use a hammer, drill, and screwdriver.  Build your own bench..start there.
  • Reach High Levels of Physical Ability.  Renaissance men of old were not only great minds, but great bodies as well.  You can simply get out and keep your body in relatively good shape.  How you do that is completely up to you.  Hit the gym on a somewhat regular basis.  Take up hiking or climbing …
  • Learn To Speak Really Well.  While you are at it, learn to speak another language, too.  Learn to be a great communicator and orator.  This is a skill that is quickly becoming extinct.  Learn how to be persuasive and humorous with language.  Learn to write in complete, grammatically correct sentences.  Also, learn to spell, or at least become proficient with the spell-check.  You might have the most interesting and profound things to say, but if they are misspelled or written like a grade-schooler, you will not be taken seriously …
  • Read.  Just read.  Read everything.  Keep reading.  Feed your mind.
  • Learn About The World.  Not just geography.  Learn about the rest of the people in the world.  Learn about the religions and cultural practices in countries other than your own.  While you’re at it, learn about your own country and the religions and cultural practices in it.  Learn to be respectful of and even admire the differences between yourself and the rest of the world.
  • Learn History.   Learn it in a different way than you were taught in school.  Try Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States.  One of the more important books ever written.
  • Learn About Politics.  Learn about the different political systems. Read some information written by the founders of other systems as well as your own.  If you think you live within the greatest political system ever created, and that there will never be a better one, you are very likely not thinking broadly enough.
  • Learn To Appreciate Fine Things.   Fine art, fine food, great literature, superb athleticism, a brilliant equation are all examples toward which the renaissance man endeavors.  How will you know how to be great without knowing and appreciating what greatness is?  Learn and appreciate all things excellent, and strive to achieve excellence yourself.

I really like this list and promised myself to strive being a Renaissance Person. I particularly like the last two sentences: “How will you know how to be great without knowing and appreciating what greatness is? Learn and appreciate all things excellent, and strive to achieve excellence yourself.” 

Since I’ve been studying art I had a few humbling moments that taught me what greatness was. For a moment or two it had a discouraging effect on me.  I felt, I’d never be able to be that good so why keep trying.  But that’s not the lesson to be learned here, is it. Thankfully I recovered and – fingers crossed – I am still at it 🙂

LEARN AND APPRECIATE ALL THINGS EXCELLENT, AND STRIVE TO ACHIEVE EXCELLENCE YOURSELF.   NEVER GIVE UP.   DISCOVER & CREATE.

Steal Like an Artist – Happy 2013 !

Steal Like an Artist – 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative is the title of a new book by Austin Kleon.

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Kleon examines and shares inspiring advice on how to make (good) art. 140 pages long, it’s a quick and rewarding read.

In the spirit of this book I wish you a productive and inspired 2013.

As Jane Fonda once said, “you always regret what you didn’t do”. So, go ahead and do it, don’t let anything or anyone discourage you.  Be inspired – discover and create.

HAPPY NEW YEAR !

 

 

Artistic Anatomy

During spring quarter 2012 at Gage I took a class called Artistic Anatomy. In this class you literally study anatomy as far as it applies to drawing (and consequently also to painting and sculpting). In other words you study the skeleton, muscles, etc. – even hair (direction of hair growth, beard) – you get the idea. However this class was an advanced class for students who already had taken part 1 and part 2 in fall and winter, so I got a little in over my head. It was expected that one already knows most of the anatomy and applies it to life drawing. Thankfully I was not the only one who misjudged the class content and the instructor adjusted his curriculum taking the time at the beginning of each session repeating the material in an abbreviated form and explaining once more the specific parts of the body before we started drawing from the life model.

It was quite a ride, I have to say. The upside is, I tend to work harder when I feel that I’m behind. Also, the instructor did not exactly cut me (or anyone else for that matter) any slack. He was not pleased that he had so many people in class that had not already studied the subject. He was very critical and, without any mercy, took every one of my drawings apart. Sometimes it was hard to take it all in but it helped me to get better. One certainly learns through failure. Towards the end of the quarter I even received an approving nod here or there. During the last session we worked completely independent on a drawing of a man. When the session was over I asked him to tell me what he thought was good or bad about it. He pointed to the knee area of one leg and said, “this area here, that’s actually not bad, well defined,” …and nodding his head in thought, said again, “not bad.”   I know that doesn’t sound like much but coming from him (and considering where I had started 12 weeks earlier) it felt really good to hear 🙂

Here are a couple of my drawings/studies from that class: legs, knee, feet, female full body and a portrait.

Following a construction drawing/study of the knee (my knee in the mirror actually).

The next one is one of my favorites. I had a good session that day and although the arms are not that well defined (ran out of time) I was happy with the result.

And last but not least, a portrait.