April 2018 Connect + Create: beginning

Happy Spring to you all, may it be a wonderful time of juicy creativity and discovery. This is the time of new life emerging, of beginning. Out in the forest I notice the fragile moss pushing tendrils into the light. We are looking at beginnings this month in our own lives and art.
Suzuki also said, “The goal of practice is always to keep our beginner’s mind.” This can be challenging as we develop our skills and confidence… we might even be glad to leave ‘being a beginner’ behind! He also said, “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s there are a few.” This encourages me to stay as a beginner, and to be open to surprise.
Today in the studio I found myself stopping long before I usually do with the sense that the piece was done, or almost done. Paying attention to this means looking at the piece with beginner eyes, and the usual ways of working no longer fit. This is a joyous discovery… and a reminder that the process continues to unfold, in its own way, in its own time. With little help from me. My only job is to pay attention.
Image: detail piece by Andrea Bird.

Questions

  • how do you begin a piece of art?
  • what helps with this? what hinders?
  • what is your life experience of beginnings? Are you comfortable beginning something?
  • fill in the blank: the best way for me to begin a painting is to_________ (fill in as many as possible, brainstorm, don’t edit…)

Quotes

Every moment is a fresh beginning.
 T. S. Eliot
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All paintings start out of a mood, out of a relationship with things or people, out of a complete visual impression.
I don’t go into the studio with the idea of ‘saying’ something. What I do is face the blank canvas and put a few arbitrary marks on it that start me on some sort of dialogue.
 Richard Diebenkorn
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 Start a painting with fresh ideas, and then let the painting replace your ideas with its ideas.
Darby Bannard
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The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.
 Walt Disney
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Iaculis dignissim! – Grab the brush!
 Kjerkius Gennius, 36BC
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 What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.
 T. S. Eliot
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