Mindful Artists Connected by Water

Photography by Peter Slater

Many of you are aware of my penchant for water, and what wetness – persistent albeit ever changing degrees of wetness – teaches us regarding our radical interconnections to the environment and one another.

It is with that sentiment in mind, and the grace of Peter Slater, that I feel a sense of kinship to someone’s work that is outside my own country of origin; some might say we are separated by the distance of one ocean, one pond, and yet, my mind likes to think, artists like ourselves remain connected by the continuity of a fresh perspective (including one that values how water flows constantly between us, connecting us, more than separating us).

Please offer a warm welcome in the comments or by reaching out to this talented, mindful artist – directly.

This month, I am honored to introduce to the Reframed world, the wise-angled point of view of Peter Slater. Peter is self-described as “retired” from the world of Sports and Leisure Management, living latterly across the pond from my US digs, in Newcastle upon Tyne. The “retired” in quotes, as he appears to be in the middle of a budding artistic career. Photography has been his means to express his interests in the natural world, particularly birds. He also has a keen interest in music and art.

I am grateful to learn of his refreshing and soulful perspective via the Instragram-Community. He is located via @pasjest510.

While you’re there, send me a hello at my budding platforms @jesshonig and @reframeyourartistry, and share your work via #reframeyourartistry to continue growth of a mindful artists’ movement capturing moments – just as they situate, right here and right now – of compassion for self, other, and the planet.

Find Beauty in the Hornet’s Nest

This week, I am totally inspired by an abandoned hornet’s nest that fell from a tree outside our home. My spouse encouraged me to be brave and wait out the hornets, and here is my reward. Marvel with me, at the amazing talents of these tiny animals. Join me, as we zoom in on life, beautiful – just as it situates.

Share your natural wonders with me via a tag #reframeyourartistry. And follow my pursuits in the Instragram world @reframeyourartistry and @jesshonig.

Big Picture Dreams

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Get outside, get into nature, and explore….Dr. Scott Sampson

 

This was a slow morning in Vermont. My partner and I were visiting a dear friend, en route to a wedding a few miles north. Vermont. The heart of it: desolate (minus the bleak and dismal), small towns, and strung together by lush woods, hills, rivers,  Northern Lights, and rolling green.

It is here, I like to visit. It is anywhere that might meet the description: strung together by….nature. Because, I believe in nature as the inspiration that connects us all. For now. For now, it is what we know. The rest, detail.

I refer to this way of thinking – seeking big picture, natural and broad rather than detail of who wears what and how to coordinate with: SELECTIVE AMNESIA.

SELECTIVE AMNESIA: def. the ability to let go of what doesn’t matter, to move into the next moment with greater focus and clarity.

It’s my personal take on BIG PICTURE living.

I practice it in neighborly conversation, when politics could get in the way.

I practice it with family, when memory could ruin a perfectly fresh celebration.

I practice it with my artistry, showing up to do that thing that I love to do, letting go of labels regarding the shoulds and used-to’s.

In art, as in so many labels for what we do – challenge yourself to resist labels. What to produce? Who am I? These are secondary questions to the notion: be – as you are, as you intend – where you are at, NOW.

Join me, my fellow mindful artist. Begin again. Head into nature, and do as the fabulous Dr. Scott Sampson would suggest – explore.

Find a roaming hill, as I did, pictured above. That was a slow, clear morning for me (in Vermont). I intend to find that slow and clear place (no matter the geography).

Welcome back, you’ve got this.

Textured Toyin’ Around

Play around, just because it’s fun. And play around with artistic textures via these three easy steps. Bonus – repurpose expired food!

  1. Choose a medium to sketch the base image of … anything
  2. Grab some random supplies in your home to repurpose
  3. Glue or gloss (try Mod Podge for gluey gloss)

MARVEL

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On boredom…

 

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Make snow out of flour…

The topic of boredom has come up a lot lately…with clients, with acquaintances, with family. Last evening, I was guilty of a monologue regarding the hives that grow (in my head), when I hear this word.

Boredom

While I practice and actually believe in empathy no matter someone’s point of view – valid – because it is their point of view, I have struggled with people claiming boredom lately. At first, I got super righteous and described to my spouse that my allergic reaction felt on par with every time some (privileged-in-my-eyes) person might complain that their stock portfolio is stressing them out. My social worker within, as they say – born into our profession, perhaps  – the social worker in me hears the idea of boredom or stock portfolio issues – and I immediately think of hierarchy of needs. I think of my work with persons who are chronically homeless, I think of clients or colleagues who wish for a safe place to sleep, I think of people on the threshold of psychosis (the terrifying state where awareness meets the edge of a spiral) and I think of brothers and sisters of different skin tone from my own – and I automatically think, boredom? Stock portfolio? Really? Many people might be glad to have what some might coin #privileged problems.

My spouse felt I was being unfair. And, like most any spousal disagreement, he is not entirely wrong (just like, 99%, right? wink wink). The belief, he supposed, was itself too generalized. Dang it, he has a point. In my line of work, after all, I do not see much variance between the haves and the have-nots regarding hierarchy of needs. After all, there is some alleged research that says beyond a certain base income or poverty level, suffering is merely a state of mind.

I get that. I can absorb that. I witness the inner pain of the highly pressured teen student; I witness the dutiful spouse who gives of their health for the pride of the family; I witness the person who surrendered their own dreams and imagination – to stay the course for basic freedoms or finances.

But, why then – do boredom and stock portfolio references illuminate as my privileged problem? 

It’s a bit ironic, I suppose. It’s kind of my take-back on trauma. It’s my take back on my own sense of an oppressed experience – an experience less defined on my terms, often, and evolved til devolving from identity as seen by others – religious minority, female, abstract thinker, introvert (…less than, as you should be, or as I know you to be); a long standing burden. I’m the problem solver, the saint, the mascot, the “Jew that I know…but she’s not that Jewish.” I’m the survivor, the terrified of…because it happened.

I’ve had to define and redefine my situation for as long as I remember.

And for that, now, in irony – and a sort of taking back of trauma – as the world struggles with a very real global trauma – I look into the faces of people who think something will make or break them. I listen to people who consider that they are bored, victim of the way things change. I listen to people acknowledging, perhaps, as if for the first time – the nature of the universe is impermanence and chaos.

And I say: listen to me – my friend, my brother and sister, listen to the wisdom from previous survivors – your personal definition, or ability to imagine and adapt to right here and right now, it is bound only by your willingness to redefine your situation.

Welcome to the other side, we are a land of nomadic wanderers. And, as the bumper sticker goes, “Not all who wander, are lost.”

Stay safe, healthy, connected, and nourished – that is all that we need to survive. The rest, icing…

Art Vessel: you have all the inspiration you need…

 

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Artistic angles, I refer to often, are available moments that combine awareness and expression. Awareness is simply what exists within and around us. Expression happens when we synthesize what we become aware of. Sometimes, the expression is literal or matter of fact. Sometimes, the expression is as abstract as your imagination allows…

Combining impulses, of awareness and expression, mindful art-making reveals itself. When we are aware and expressive, I suggest that you’re living your artistic angles out loud. 

Bring attention to the thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations from within, right now. Jot them down for future inspiration: 

Thoughts— 

Feelings— 

Physical Sensations— 

Then, look outside of yourself. Notice the natural plus not-so-natural state of the things. Gather what you notice from your unique angles on life and the world. There is no wrong way to find inspiration in this way. Again, feel free to jot down notes for future inspiration: 

The Natural World Around Me— 

The Not-So-Natural World Around Me— 

My Imagination— 

True artists construct from whatever angles exist, with whatever materials spread out within and before them. In true artistry, the true part involves recognizing then piecing together the artistic angles. 

Angles spring from personal experiences (thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations), the world around us, and our imaginary universe. Some artists prefer one of these angles more than others. Their work reflects this. Some vary between the angles, and some flow seamlessly between all three.

Inspired by this excerpt from Reframe Your Artistry, published by Prodigy Gold Books – go onward and broaden your artistic angles, no matter the current confines. 

Creativity and Mindfulness, during Covid or Any Crisis…

 

Reframe Your Artistry the podcast – via Anchor FM, catch up and calm down with Jess, available via most podcast distributors – including Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, and Radio Public…and aiming for Apple, TBA! 

Empty? Begin again…

 

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      Even the local grocer is crying out for creative problem solving…let’s all begin again. 

 

Needless to say (which happens to be my toddler’s favorite transition statement, at the moment – FYI, thanks to the Little Critter books), so yeah – needless to say, we are in a period of forced firsts. When we use the term forced, it sounds so rough and aggressive, no? Hmmm, I’ll begin again, for the sake of modeling…

Welcome back to a period of new beginnings. Rethink how you want to be living? Reimagine how you wish to be art making? Rethink how to spend time (in the flesh, eye to eye, skin to skin) with those you cohabitate with? Reimagine….possibility.

There is no time, like this moment, to start living with new intentions and habits.

Let’s begin again, as I often say…let’s begin again:

The more time we spend with something in open curiosity, rather than routine applications, the more dynamic it becomes. Frequent beginner’s outlook applications result in novelty and playfulness. Open to the subtleties. It’s good for you. Do not judge outcomes, just take in the moment of creation. 

Reach for a new palette, explore new materials, work in a new environment, consider artistic genres of which you are curious, explore a new or neglected voice.

In these new moments of art making, begin with fresh intentions and point of view. The rest is subjective shaping, morphing into whatever it is that you – the artist– constructs – and the audience perceives, which often isn’t one and the same. How fun!