Avenues to Expand Abstraction

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surely, i am a sucker for natural wonder, but these frozen leaves amaze me

 

Abstraction is a vehicle toward a beginner’s mind and expanded creativity.

Be abstract:

  • Emphasis on making something rather than defining what you are making.
  • Hold your chosen tool, face the thing you have selected to engage the tool with, and begin again.

 

Absence of Mind:

  • Quiet the volume on thinking through each step.
  • Allow the tools before you lead your expression.

 

Imagine it so:

  • If your tool can create it, so it exists.
  • Care not what it resembles, care for its originality.

Loving Tilted Frames

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Locate a tilted frame. Intend to marvel. We all have one nearby. Some of us are more comfortable letting them be. Before you supposedly “fix it” (DON’T YOU DARE TOUCH IT), sit back, relax, and marvel. MARVEL, yeah, MARVEL, that’s what I said. Quiet the rest of your mind and follow along:

 

Intend to marvel just as the frame situates. Pause and take it all in from a fresh point of view.

 

Find yourself in a comfortable posture, lengthening your spine to channel new energy. Prompt yourself to carry on steady breathing. Do not force your breathing, remember like your artistry, mindfulness is a human practice of let it be not be perfect. From this posture, notice the frame. At first, you may fixate on the tilt. You may want to fix it based on how you’ve learned most others like it should be. Let it be, instead. Stay as still as possible. All you are doing is looking at the frame.

 

Redirect your energy from tilts and shoulds. What else do you notice about the frame? Ornate or subtle design? Smooth or coarse texture? Take a good look at what’s inside the frame.

 

Thoughts, feelings, physical sensations may pull you from your intention. Practice self-compassion and do not judge nor force personal experiences away. However, like clouds, allow them to pass and come back to the intention of noticing the tilted frame. Intentions are the blue sky constant, same as flight, eventually we move through the clouds and clarity returns.

 

The frame is permission not to fix or fixate, letting go of what doesn’t matter, pausing long enough to sit with what does.

Art’s Natural State of Grace

 

Natural v. Nurtured States of Beauty

Art is not only décor or ambience, it frames everything as it is, as it is not, as it should be, and as it never should be again. The artist decides the stuff that matters based on their impulses.

Think about nature by comparison, for a moment. Are you aware of or value its authentic states. Is there a difference, for instance, when you walk through an overgrown path of woods rather than a manicured Italian Garden that you’ve paid admission to see? Is one really more valuable than the other? Applying a mindful artist’s outlook, I propose not. Yet, one is more typically viewed as majestic or artistic. If the Italian Garden persists as the essence of one’s aesthetic, well – that’s all fine and good.

However, I encourage expanding your angle on nature, like your angle on yourself, shifting into equal regard for polished and inherent states. Think of your local woods as a representation of you, yourself, as a natural muse. Just as nature may be: overgrown, thorny, dark at times, yet lush, so may you be. Awareness of who you are, organically, and where you situate, now, we access a broader toolbox. I could have never succeeded as a choreographer, let alone demonstrated the movements desired of my dancers, if I hadn’t adopted a turned-in foundation. My twentysomething knees and alignment would not allow me to prance like a ballerina anymore, but – dang – I could romp a riot with my feet facing one another.

Artistry breathes more freely when our beings, like our planet, are honored, tended to, and appreciated rather than polluted or overly manicured. Fuller awareness, and the acceptance of this awareness, expands artistry from the source. YOU are YOU, WOODS ARE WOODS, and both are bold, beautiful collections of things just as they situate.

Finding Your Way Back, to Begin Again

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lovely vacation with family, refreshed and beginning again

Getting back on track is within reach. You already have the tools: YOU and THIS MOMENT. Stop ignoring them. Pema Chodron (2009) highlights in her book, Taking the Leap, that the power of “pausing very briefly, frequently throughout the day, is an almost effortless way to do this,” and essentially propels us back onto a meaningful path (p. 13). Pausing is a verb, I like to tell my clients. There is a deliberate action. I pause. In the pause, if we are open and fully show up, we move into discovery with curiosity rather than judgment or immediate reaction.

More authentic art, less arbitrary standards.

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imagining my next move, no matter the confinement

Mindful art is authentic. Authenticity derives from pure sources like personal experiences, genuine physical states, or natural phenomena. Reframing what is within and around us, rather than what should be, art making propels itself into a unique symbol set. Your art is like your unique code. It is inherently beautiful by association. The practice of mindful art making includes:

  • Space and time to get to know your true self.
  • Honoring characteristics that make you human.
  • Curiosity with beginner eyes.
  • Less credit to someone else’s standards, inventing your own.

mindful art making 101

 

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What do I mean by mindful?

Awareness and engagement in the present moment.

Aka, show-up. All of you, show-up! And pay attention. Showing up and paying attention are the key ingredients to mindfulness. Rainbow sprinkles would be the compassion, and I like to add a dash of humor, too. Lucky for you, we are living in an era that values mindfulness. You were meant to be alive, right now, after all! You were meant to make art, right now! The art world often leads the path of modernization and is just the place for mindfulness to build its nest. Many artists do it without labeling it, and many stuck artists could benefit from its application. Artists crave mindfulness, despite and maybe because of the social media and highly subjective world in which it situates, despite and maybe because of too much reactivity and terror of our current world. For many, mindfulness may feel like a foreign language at first. Remember how you learn a language? Basics and practice! Immersion.

Thirty Day Thaw Out: Move Along, Dear!

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Moving right along deserves to be a natural part of one’s day.

Treat your art and your anxiety with that same attitude. Instead of emphasizing any one opportunity, rise to many little ones throughout the day. Instead of fixating on a rejection, redirect into authentic creative energy, for you. Instead of entertaining the critic inside your own mind, lower that volume, and dance to the beat of your body exactly as it is.

We cannot grow our artistry if we do not give it time, space, and compassion. 

Fumble, get back up. Change happens, reinvent. Obstacles are assumed, spontaneously problem solve. Fully embrace your art making by showing up and pay attention in a mindful way.