Reflecting on this (Robert Davidson) quote again, I think “the knife edge” between the past and future is where true creativity lives. Some think creativity is only painting, drawing, dancing or making music, but I think it is really also about living.
As many of my students have told me, their lives seem richer because they are seeing better and seeing more. It’s helpful to remember that we don’t teach reading and writing to produce only poets and writers, but rather to improve thinking. Betty Edwards in Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain.
This December I had my dream experience of spending two days, mostly alone, at our National Gallery in Ottawa. I have been asked several times what my favourite piece was but I don’t really have an answer. Actually I think what I enjoyed most was the process of looking.
A weekly planner has been part of my daily life for over ten years now. There are countless ways of keeping track of life’s commitments; such as in a wall calendar, computer or phone. I enjoy being able to write on paper and getting an overview of a whole week at a time. Once the year is done I have a record of this time in my life in one little book.
Sketches aren’t about making a perfect picture, it’s the act of looking that is important. By completely stopping to look and draw (a flower, a tree, person, building..) you start to notice things you didn’t before.
Daydreaming is a way of making connections in our life, finding meaning and coming up with new ideas. People value busyness and the resulting rewards of a productive life but I believe that time to just let our minds completely wander is underrated.
One thing I’ve learned about being an artist is that no one else will tell you that you must create. An artist needs to have their own belief in what they have been most equipped to do. This takes an incredible amount of courage and also: self-love. And not in a pumped up ego kind of way, but in a way that you truly believe that you are a worthy person and it is right to trust your inner voice.
I’ve travelled on many trails in a variety of landscapes; such as circumnavigated the Yosemite Valley, hiked up Mt. Albert Edward in Strathcona Park or a ridden a myriad of trails in twenty years of mountainbiking. Every time I set out on a hike, bike ride or even start a new painting I am aware that I am assuming some risk, taking a step into the unknown and that I may emerge from the ordeal or event, changed in some way. I find this process to be an essential part of who I am.