June 2017 Connect + Create: presence

Magnolias are present.

The delicious scent of magnolia and lilac waft into the house.  This spring has been one of the most fragrant I’ve ever experienced, or is it that I’m noticing that more than usual? In any case, I am gobsmacked by the transformation and beauty at this time of year and want to savor every moment. This beauty is always there, regardless of season, but especially obvious right now!

This month we are talking about presence… how present are we during the art making process, and in everyday life? This word can mean different things to different people, what does it mean to you? Here are some other questions to ponder:

  • How can you tell when you’re present? When you’re not?
  • What impact does presence have on your art? On the process of painting?
  • What, if any, is the relationship between stillness and presence? Silence and presence?
  • Is presence something that you can make happen, and if so, how?

Am I present?

Sometimes, sometimes not. When I am present in the studio, I notice a focus – one that can hold both the details that are pulling me in and also the big picture. It feels possible to move back and forth between these two very different aspects when one is present. It’s a natural and easy transition. When I’m distracted, it’s not so smooth! The phone rings, a text comes in, the dog wants out – and I’m pulled out of the ‘zone’ and have to find a way back in. It is in that dance/space between the big picture and the intricate detail that the mystery lives.

Eckhart Tolle speaks to this when he says, “Presence is a state of inner spaciousness.”

It is the goal of my life to find and continue down this path of presence. It’s an on-going learning. There is no arrival. Making art teaches me about this by continually surprising me. I’m astounded and humbled by what shows up in the art, and what learning is there. I am slowly, over decades, learning to be present for both art and life.  I am understanding, finally, what is meant by a creative practice, and how this is inseparable from life.

Please share your thoughts on this if you are so inclined… we love to hear from you!


“All true artists, whether they know it or not, create from a place of no-mind, from inner stillness. The mind then gives form to the creative impulse or insight.” Eckhart Tolle

“The quieter you become, the more you can hear.” Ram Dass

“Stillness is not the absence or negation of energy, life, or movement. Stillness is dynamic. It is unconflicted movement, life in harmony with itself, skill in action. It can be experienced whenever there is total, uninhibited, unconflicted participation in the moment you are in- when you are wholeheartedly present with whatever you are doing.”  Erich Schiffmann

“Silence is not an absence but a presence.”  Anne L. DeClaire

“Through our consciousness, we can enter the stillness of silence and become blessed with the universal presence of peace.”  Georgi Y. Johnson


1 thought on “June 2017 Connect + Create: presence

  • I like the Tolle quote. I have found that I can become entranced by inner spaciousness. It is a peaceful place, yet full of experience – experiences of moments that follow each other in like expanding bubbles of beingness. I am always strengthened by spending time in being present.

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