Sunday, September 28, 2008

Learning From Others

Live your life in a way that when your feet hit the floor in the morning, the Devil says, "Shit, she's awake.."

Horror-Scope for today:
It might feel as if you are in a dream where everything is as it should be, yet your life can be far from ideal when you open your eyes. Naturally, you are tempted to feed your pleasant fantasies, but avoidance of reality is not a luxury you can afford now. Instead of mind-tripping to faraway places, bring your attention back to home base where you can make a positive difference.
I'd like to think that may include this:

You need a room with no view so imagination can meet memory in the dark.
Annie Dillard

"nichi nichi kore konichi" or, "every day is a good day."
John Cage
John Cage (1912-1992) was a composer, print maker, performance artist, writer, philosopher, editor, teacher, mushroom expert, collaborator and poet. Fact is, John Cage had a lot of fun in his factory. Considered one of the most influential composers of the twentieth century, he produced works with one note, no notes, notes by chance, and a noted organ composition that takes 639 years to play.

The following was posted in Painter's Keys a bit ago, never got around to posting it here so I can remember it longer!
John Cage's "Rules for Students and Teachers." Here they are:

1 Find a place you trust, and then try trusting it for awhile.
2 General duties of a student--pull everything out of your teacher; pull everything out of your fellow students.
3 General duties of a teacher--pull everything out of your students.
4 Consider everything an experiment.
5 Be self-disciplined--this means finding someone wise or smart and choosing to follow them. To be disciplined is to follow in a good way. To be self-disciplined is to follow in a better way.
6 Nothing is a mistake. There's no win and no fail, there's only make.
7 The only rule is work. If you work it will lead to something. It's the people who do all of the work all of the time who eventually catch on to things.
8 Don't try to create and analyze at the same time. They're different processes.
9 Be happy whenever you can manage it. Enjoy yourself. It's lighter than you think.
10 Break rules. Even your own rules. Leave plenty of room for X quantities.

Susan Lomuto on her Daily Art Muse blog:
1. Make friends with your limitations. Once I realized that my limitations can actually help rather than hurt me the game was on! Instead of letting myself get stuck because I don’t draw well, I learned to embrace my ability to recognize a great image – in nature, in art, in day-to-day mundane objects. I found that there are different ways to incorporate those images in my work that didn’t include drawing. Without a natural ability for drawing I learned to utilize other skills, expanding my artistic vocabulary. [see #2!]
2. Make better friends with your skills. I want to use imagery in my art to help tell the story. How can I do that if I can’t draw? I love image transfers and I do them well. Image transfers of copyright free art, a photo from my growing collection, a doodle (remember the zentangle?). I am also good at making a collage that tells a story, and I love to scan my collages and print them to use as image transfers. I also carve stamps using line images from copyright-free sources and create scenes or textiles that I use for the image transfers. There are so many ways to do this. Again, I’m capitalizing on my ability to recognize a great image and using some of my other skills that don’t involve drawing. Do you see what I mean?
3. Read a book or take a class about something completely different from the medium that you work with now. I make it a point to take a class that has nothing to do with polymer clay. When I study other art media/techniques, it helps me think about my chosen medium differently, often resulting in my art reaching a higher level.
4. Step outside of your comfort zone and s—t—r—e—t—c—h that artistic muscle. I find that making art that is just for me…just for the sake of making art helps to pull me out of the deeply grooved trough we (I) often live in. We get very caught up in judging our art, in wanting/needing it to be good. Too often we color inside the lines just to make sure we do it ‘right’. I make goofy, crazy stuff that doesn’t even remotely resemble my ‘real’ work. Make something crazy, out-of-the-box. Just do it!
5. Get physical. Exercising your artistic muscle also involves exercising the muscles of your body. I take yoga classes and I walk almost every day (almost…). It gives me clarity of mind, stamina, physical and emotional energy and it makes a difference in my art. It doesn’t matter what you do, but as much as my dear friend Alison likes to say ‘get your butt in the chair’ (love you A.), I’m telling you to get up out of that chair, get out of your house and get moving!

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And finally, many years ago I was doing a search for my birth name and found, quite by accident, the Townsend Gallery in Portland OR owned by Richard T. Harwood. He had posted his 'Laws of Creativity' and I got in touch immediately for permission to use his list, so here it is:

Most Things Are Simple
It's Simple of you Understand, Hard if you Don't, But it's a Law With Few Exceptions

Lemons Never Improve
They Stay Sour or Rot. Evaluate Your Situations and Dump the Sour Ones

Do What Comes Naturally
Strong Points Just Flow and Grow, Weak Points Just Stay the Same. Concentrate on Your Natural Talents

Positive Results are Immediate
So Are Negative Results. Don't Wait for Rersults, Keep Moving Forward

Where You Aim is Not Where You End Up
Be Flexible- Goals are Roadmaps, Not Destinations

Don't Jump to Conclusions
They're Usually Wrong, like judging a book by it's cover.

Take the Path of Least Resistance
It's Whole Lot Faster, Easier, and More Productive

Follow Your Intuition
Learn to Recognize It, Don't Take it for Granted, Test It.

Ducks Don't Sit on Power Lines
Know Your Limitations, Do What You're Best At, Let Others Do the Rest.

Play Your Own Game
You Can't Expect to Win Someone Else's Game- Do Your Own Thing

I wanted to find him again earlier this year to report on how valuable I had found his 'Laws' and unfortunately found the gallery closed and that he had passed away some time ago from complications of diabetes at an early age, a few yars younger than I am. In his obituary I also found that he grew up very near my own family of Townsends in Colorado. I doubt we are related but the similarity and parallel lives I find very interesting in that we could connect through the internet. So, now I am passing on his 'Laws' and making a little contribution to the Diabetes Fund because I know that would be a good tribute.

Sorry this is so wordy.

1 comment :

Terry said...

OMG--that baby!