Walking The Talk

I never tire of telling people who attend Art to Heart’s workshops and courses how important it is to make time to explore and experiment, to observe and listen, to play with a wide range of material and to work across art forms, to avoid being too prescriptive and to leave room for the unexpected – in short to be open to what may come and engage with it creatively.

I specifically recommend that regular time be set aside during the week to do creative work, either alone or in groups. In saying that I am also aware that, though I’ve been involved in the arts most of my life, I haven’t so far been able to fully immerse myself deeply in the artistic process, the way I’ve always longed for.

Instead I sit at the desk planning new courses or doing research while the half-finished canvases rebuke me from the corner of the room. Sadly I realise that for all my preaching I’m not walking the talk! I’m open to what may come but not engaging long enough with it to fully reap its benefits. I skim the water rather than dive in.

Yet I really should know better because the few times I did seriously engage the rewards have been terrific and the advantages gained have invariably spilled into the work I do with others, enriching it tenfold.

This is why recently I’ve made the decision to devote serious chunks of time for art making and at last I’m experimenting widely and wildly. I enjoy making art according to rules as well as totally disregarding them. I work on carefully planned projects but also dedicate time to free expression. I love discipline as well as anarchy.

Often I don’t question and work with abandonment recycling old forgotten canvases and drawing on any available scrap of paper. Some days I’m very satisfied with the outcome and others I’m not, but, I just keep at it in the knowledge that if I turn up for work so will the ‘Muse’.

So far the consequences of this resolution have been an increased sense of conviviality, freedom and elation.

Too often in the past I have experienced and witnessed the dangers of denied creative expression. Too much procrastination! So to follow the words of the wonderful late poet Mary Oliver let’s “keep at it, keep at it, keep at it!”

Mary Oliver (September 10, 1935 – January 17, 2019) was an American poet who won the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize.