I received a phone call tonight saying that 2 more of my art pieces have been juried into a show in Vanderhoof at the end of this month. Juried shows look great on a resume as your work must pass through a panel of individuals who evaluate it and decide if it is thematically and technically skillful enough to include in the show. I have a painting and an installation about pine beetle kill in this area which will be included. I further heard that the show received funding and may go on tour! Kevin and I just finished making a crate for my last set of work that is going on tour for a year. Wow, things are really happening. It is exciting, but a lot of work. I thought I was going to be gardening all summer, now I have two software programs to learn and a bunch of art to crate...hey, I asked for it :)
This blurp is an excerpt from a Fast Company article on Brain Calisthenics. If you try it, let me know how it worked for you.
Exersise: Capturing unexpressed potential
Source: Robert Epstein, West Cost editor, Psychology today; visiting scholar, University of California San Diego
Place a pad and pen by your sofa. Relax on the couch, holding a spoon over a plate placed on the floor. As you begin to get drowsy, the spoon will drop to the floor, hitting the plate, waking you up, Grab the pad and sketch out whatever you were seeing during that drowsy state. The goal is to focus attention and preserve the unusual ideas. Epstein says Salvador Dali got ideas this way, and Thomas Edison had a similar approach.
Writer of the article, David Lidsky reports:
"How it worked for me: Incomplete. I slumped off the couch like one of Dali's clocks in The Persistence of Memory, the spoon ended up in the sofa cushions, and it took me three hours to wake up from my nap."
Idea #18 from the mini handbook How to Improve Student Learning* tells me I need to do this. It also tells me to be sure the students are performing for me and not the other way around. How many times have I felt like I was performing? I remember my first try at teaching adults. I was asked to present on using the internet to disseminate research information for a forestry grad class at UNBC. The students sat there looking at me with sleepy eyes. No matter what I said or did up front, I failed to impress them. Several of them began a 'wave' of yawning that knew no end. A couple of people folded up their books and replaced them in their backpacks. As Idea #18 says, I should have 'blown the whistle', I needed to 'coach', rather than to 'impart imformation'. I have since applied this to my teaching. Now, if only I could apply it to my parenting.
*How to Improve Student Learning, Dr. Richard Paul, and Dr. Linda Elder, published by The Foundation for Critical Thinking
I love talking about nothing. It is the only thing I know anything about.
I have been wrestling with this question for years. Perhaps it is my desire to see procrastination as a friend. Indeed it can be as the stress of a short time frame stimulates my mind with a flurry of creativity. Apparently there is scientific support for this type of creative stimulation. Hormones, apparently...is it my imagination or is every sort of "stimulation" in human beings traced back to hormones? Sometimes and I contemplate the scientific explanation for my behaviour, I feel like such an animal! The side of my brain that recognizes myself...(the definition of a sentient being), would like to think otherwise. Do other animals procrastinate? It would seem so if you watched my dog. There are times when he very obviously needs to go outside to relieve himself, but because he has positioned himself on the warm furnace vent, he is reluctant to move. He's going to get a bladder infection one of these days. I tried to tell him that, as I push him towards the open door, but he doesn't care.
It starts off as a gentle pressure, but quickly increases to an urgency that I cannot ignore. I have to create something soon or I am going to slip away into a learned helplessness. What are the recovery rates from there? I think many operate from this mind set every day, but I do not want to be one of them. I have spent too much of my life doing what I thought I should do and very little time doing the things that I am really good at. I just have no patience for this anymore. What will it take to motivate me to take that step? Change is there, waiting in the wings. I just have to invite it in.
"You can have neither a greater or lesser dominion than over yourself." Leonardo da Vinci
I have been thinking about entity relationship diagrams, and how I can use these in my artwork. It seems to me that society is continually moving towards dehumanizing relationships. The general public is represented in a variety of different stats, for example, stats on violence, stats on obesity, stats on unemployed. Individuals are represented by titles at work, but more so by employee numbers, students = student numbers. Think about how many ways in which you, yourself are identified...most of them being numbers or codes, your social insurance number, your medical number, your drivers licence number. How many plastic cards do you own? Charge cards, debit banking cards, points cards, library cards. Could an entity relationship diagram of yourself, and all the ways in which you are "known" be an eye opening experience?
I've been thinking about how hard I am on myself when I create. I think I am comparing my work to some unknown ideal. If you look around my small basement studio (closet), you will see many drawings, sketchbooks, and paintings that are half finished. They have been abandoned by their fickle creator for some other fancy. I'm sure some would think this small room a gold mine. I used to think that about my grandmother's living room. Under every chunk of furniture was a unique clay sculpture. Under the furnishings were the burial grounds for what she considered to be her failures. To me they were a treasure. She used to panic as we pulled out the pieces, "put that back, I hate it. It just doesn't look right." We used to "shop" under her couch at every visit. I still have 3 of her pieces, although not her best work, they are a reminder that Mary Berezan was a talented artist whose once lived in Athabasca Alberta. She dug her own clay out of the banks of the river, and created her sculptures of nature. Her artwork was(is) valuable as it represents the point of view of one who looked closely at nature. I owe a lot of my influence to her, also to my mom...but that's another story.
It has been raining every day for almost two weeks. When I was a kid, I looked forward to rainy days as it meant time indoors to read or draw. Each time the rain settles in, I have that same feeling. My mind turns inward. The bright sun is not a distraction today, therefore I will accomplish much indoors. Great justification...raining anyways, might as well work. It's important to have days like that when your workplace is also your home because sometimes the call of the birds and the warmth of the sun is just too much to resist. Needless to say, I have accomplished a lot these two weeks!
I have had this idea to teach people to access their own creativity for years. Recently, I began to assemble an outline of what such a class would look like. This is not a class strictly for artists. This class is for all who recognize that unleashing your own creativity allows you access to an amazing amount of brainpower. Yes, you all have the ability to be highly creative in areas of your own choosing. In my research I came across an article in the Northword Magazine by Tanya Davidson. She discusses the "nine multiple intelligences" (Howard Gardiner, Intelligence Reframed: Multiple Intelligences for the 21st Century, Basic Books, New York, 1999). Intelligence goes far beyond the IQ test! and by removing your blocks to creativity, you can access this pot of gold. Consider these: Linguistic Intelligence (word smart), Logical-mathematical intelligence (number/reasoning smart), spatial intelligence (picture smart), Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence (body smart), Musical intelligence, Interpersonal intelligence (self smart), Naturalist intelligence (nature smart), and Emotional intelligence. You are only limited by your own negative self-talk! I am putting together a series of exercises that will open up that tunnel vision to a wide, panoramic view. Should be fun!