Y2 Art Resolutions is the second year of an evolving resolution to elevate every day by looking at art and creativity as life’s philosophy.
When synchronicity and creativity intersect…
… rejoice. For most people, it doesn’t happen that often.Through practice and commitment, I’ve developed more skill at making flow experiences happen. You know those times when you feel focused, in the zone, and forget to care about food or time. True peak experiences are more rare, as they must by definition be. Something like Haley’s Comet or the perfect storm.
Peak experiences are self-defined moments that bring a heightened sense of the profound. Mine are characterized by the positive—joy, contentment, insight, love, understanding, fulfillment, an awareness marked by an overwhelming sense of clarity and wonder.
After the build up of the last two paragraphs, I would fully expect you to expect a retelling of my latest peak experience. And I will. But let me preface that by saying not all peak experiences are equal. The sublime is fine in any dose. Which brings me to this week.
I listened to a guided meditation every day this week. What a difference it made. My blood pressure dropped. My energy increased. I became more aware of moments when I was tempted to judge myself and others. And, then let it go. I felt brighter, happier, more effective. My focus sharpened and the surge in clarity made me very productive.
The cosmic payoff was being able to fully appreciate the completion of several creative efforts in the works for some time. These were not dissertation level peaks, but significant and mildly profound in other ways. Threads of thought and activity connected to bigger ideas and loftier goals.
Simply, this was about finishing. Which, in and of itself is often enough. To be intellectually and emotionally open makes the big picture clear. Hence, finishing moves to the peak category.
Alright already. What happened?
Three things collided creatively by the Friday. A test of a business tied to art events. A second step to building toward a one-woman show. An art product proof of concept.
Eighteen months ago at the urging of some of my staff, I donated an art painting party to the silent auction for the Combined Federal Campaign. The colleague who purchased it gave it as a Christmas gift in 2014 to three close friends. A detail overseas and other interruptions of life kept her from redeeming it until Friday night. Over wine, cheese and acrylics, I listened to life stories and how these people had connected. I offered some different ways to think about creativity and a few new insights about the art process. Best of all, they left with a fresh awareness of diversity and personal expression.
Though I enjoyed meeting new people, I finished the evening knowing I would not pursue this as a business. I love the idea of it. People choosing to center their social and entertainment around art. The timeframe just doesn’t allow the depth and exploration that I want. On life’s map, this is now a road I can mark “taken” with no plans to return.
Saturday morning, I prepared two oil paintings for the Fitton Art Center’s members showcase. For the first time, I put prices on the work. Early in my career, I did commission painting and didn’t enjoy it. In my first job, I sold the best of my college paintings to pay for a used car. The guy who bought it also bought another large canvas. He was a journalism grad student who went on to be NY Times book section editor. I often wonder where those paintings are now. The point is–that the willingness to sell means I have reached a point where I can let go. Probably because I am creating more and documentation is easier and better. The act of showing also means that I am thinking more deeply about what I want to say through the art. I am becoming more philosophical and strategic in my work. Because the meaning of art in my life becomes more clear, I have a new appreciation for why creating is of critical importance in reaching my human potential in every way.
After I checked in the paintings yesterday, the program director caught me at the elevator. She pointed to the larger work, an expressionist landscape inspired by a visit to my sister’s in Los Gatos. “Beautiful,” she said and smiled.
During the art party Friday night, I got a call. The fabric piece I had dropped off to frame was ready a week early. This piece has been a wonderful surprise is an important proof of concept about a process that may work into another career. It began over a year ago at Bonnie’s studio. She introduced me to a stream of consciousness exercise that began with random drawing and evolved to adding patterns and colors and then extracting more representational images. I worked on freezer paper with markers and tempera paint. I found a peacock with feathers tightly tucked. The image and proportions pleased me. I photographed it and imported it into my electronic painting/drawing program. Down the rabbit hole I went. Caught in flow, I added layers of transparent tinted watercolor and the texture and variegation of colored pencil. I painted out the background. What emerged reminded me of Scandinavian design. I loved it and decided to print it on fabric which I stretched and framed. Dramatic, colorful, strong. The joy I experience each time I cast an eye. Peak.
And, one more thing.
I completed my bootstrap afghan yesterday. Wove in the ends. Blocked it. Then draped it over a chair and admired my handiwork. Finished. All of it reminded me that the ritual of closure is powerful. Caught up in the planning, the doing, the deadline meeting–we forget to bask in the glow of coming full circle. Finishing.