Results 1 to 10 of 10

Thread: Beginnings

  1. #1

    Beginnings

    Three and seventy years
    Iíve drawn pure water from the fireÖ.

    Ingo
    From 'Japanese Death Poems (written by Zen Monks and Haiku Poets on the Verge of Death)'

    We shall not cease from exploration
    And the end of all our exploring
    Shall be to arrive where we started
    And know the place for the first time.

    Susan Griffin

    Conversation two: BEGINNINGS

    For the past week I have been deep in the Colorado Rockies, without cell or internet service, with two women artist friends of mine. Lots of time for mountain walks, wildlife viewing, sitting and good conversations.

    One of my friends started an interesting discussionÖhow we each became artists, how creativity opened in our lives and how we found different ways to express ourselves through this creativity.

    Briefly, I wasnít exposed to the arts during my 16 years of formal education. I went to Catholic schools and there was no visual art, music, creative writing, at any level of my education or at home. I loved to write, and I loved to work with my hands Ďmaking thingsí, sewing, drawing, building. But it was a pastime and no one, including me took it seriously.

    It was not until I was in my mid 20s did I start to explore. My degree was in English Literature, a totally useless degree and made even more so by the times. I graduated in 1967 and only employment for females was in teaching, nursing and secretarial. No interest in any of those areas, but not clear on what I really wanted.
    Something seemed to be missing.

    I was attracted to creative people photographers, film makers, writers, painters and cherished my friendships with them. It was through them that I gradually found my way. But it was a convoluted path to where I am now. First as a production potter for 12 years. Graduate school introduced me to materials, metal, drawing and then after graduation adding dozens of other mediums to my palette of materials. Currently Iím sewing, which is full circle from my first exploration with making things; when I was 6 I first learned to sew.

    Truly art along with meditation has saved my life.

    I thought that you might enjoy sharing how you originally opened to creativity. When did that pull happen, how did it manifest? Was that pull early or maybe later in life? How it brought you to where you are now. Was it a convoluted path (as was mine) or were you clear in your direction from the beginning? And finally, the importance of creativity and art in your life.

    Please share your creative path and posts if you are so inclined.
    crayon drawing, me 4years old.4 years old adjsuted.jpg

    gassho

    Anne

    ~ST~

    PS. So pleased to see all the interesting, thoughtful and thought-provoking responses to the inspiration post. Do keep posting on that site.

  2. #2
    For me creativity is as natural as breathing air. I grew up in the local arts scene. My dad was well connected and involved in the arts here. There was a large close community of artists, sculptors, musicians, poets, writers, playwrights, actors, photographers etc here. They supported each other all over the city and beyond. During the 60s and 70s they were quite dominant within Canada (of which they were quite proud). The families all had kids about the same age and we all became friends as well. Many (not all the kids) got involved in some arts. It was inevitable that I'd end up involved, for me mostly in music but I ended up in a few films and helped out on other stuff.

    I know this is a very unique perspective and experience. I couldn't help being creative when so many others around me were also doing stuff. Interestingly very little derivative work between the generations. We were encouraged to find our own way and pretty much did.

    Interesting topic. I look forward to hearing other people's experience


    Tairin
    Sat today and lah
    Last edited by Tairin; 09-19-2018 at 05:50 PM.

  3. #3
    I keep starting and deleting this response. My path isnít that interesting: Iíve always been interested in making things, and writing. Like Anne, I have a B.A. in English Literature (and not to be That Kind of English Major, but that quote up there attributed to Susan Griffin is actually T.S. Eliot .) I thought Iíd be a novelist, and had some success getting short fiction and poetry into literary magazines, but my interest in that fizzled out over the years. I could say itís because I wrote a not-very-good novel nobody wanted, or because the internet made it practically impossible to get paid for anything (both true) but, honestly, I think I always used writing to tell myself my troubles, and these days I feel much better than I used to.

    I wish sometimes Iíd gone to art school instead, but oh well. I had exactly one art class in high school. It was required, and terrible. I learned to draw and paint on my own, and wasnít bad for a self-taught amateur, though I can see now all the little things a good teacher could have helped with. I can see that because Iíve been taking metalsmithing classes for about five years with two different teachers, both excellent. I finally get the value of having an instructor, not to mention a sort of community of classmates who are also excited by this stuff and who are doing their own things and sharing their passion. This is probably obvious to other people, but as someone who often wrote and created alone and/or in secret (I was never exactly encouraged to be an artist, you know what I mean?) this has been revolutionary.

    Iíd like to take the next step and be a Working Artist Who Sells Things, but I also worry that trying to make a career of it will ruin my enthusiasm, not to mention having to dedicate my time to making a production line of pieces to sell, as opposed to new and enjoyable explorations. And the whole business end of things . . . I am interested in hearing how others have managed all this, although maybe that's getting off-topic.

    Gassho,

    Jen
    Frustrated Office Worker

    ST

  4. #4
    Jen, thanks for the quote correction. I should be more cautious about checking my sources! I didn't think it sounded like Griffin, but I loved it...

    You bring up an interesting point. Does making something a career flatten the enthusiasm?
    I don't have an answer, but I know for me I cannot be creative part time if my main 'job' uses me up. Many years ago I chose to clean houses to make money because there was no creative energy involved, leaving me in my spare time more ripe for my art. But that's me. Others might be more capable of that cross over.

    And lucky you Tairin, growing up in that sparkle of creative juices!

    This conversation is about wherever we want it to go...so much to learn from one another.

    Gassho
    Anne

    ~st~

  5. #5
    Does making something a career flatten the enthusiasm?
    I don't have an answer, but I know for me I cannot be creative part time if my main 'job' uses me up.
    This may very well be a personal choice. When I was younger a friend of mine opted for a career which did not excite him (although he did not hate it) on the grounds it would give him sufficient money and free time to pursue what he wanted at weekends and holidays. For me, my career had to be my main passion, even though it did end up using me up and spitting me out.

    Some people do find that making their creative outlet into a career either diminishes the pleasure they gain from it or reduces the quality of their output due to the necessity of making enough money. That said, many writers adopt a policy of not waiting for inspiration to strike and sit at the desk for a requisite number of hours a day.

    My own beginnings were far from creative. Neither of my parents were artistic or musical and school failed to fire me in that way either. My early trainings were as a scientist, although there is some creativity to be found in that.

    Writing outside of science had to wait until my mid 30s when I started catches snippets of phrases during meditation which ended up becoming haiku poems. However, my early passion for nature as a plant scientist remains one of my inspirations so I am of the feeling that all of our life is a wellspring to draw from when creating art, and even life itself could be considered an ongoing performance poem! (I believe that someone might once have even pointed out that the world is a stage and the people on it merely players! ).

    Gassho
    Kokuu
    -sattoday/lah-
    ------------------------------------
    Feel free to message me if you wish to talk about issues around practicing with physical limitations. This is something I have been sitting with for a fair while and am happy to help with suggestions or just offer a listening ear.

  6. #6
    I've really enjoyed reading this thread, but I've found it quite difficult to get the words together to describe my beginnings - the plural is apt because I feel I've had two.
    Like most children, I was drawing from a very young age - together with reading these were the two things I loved above everything else. As I left primary school and went on to the local grammar, it became obvious that I had no talent or interest in anything else. I was hopeless at sport, maths, chemistry and physics and hated them with a passion. I loved my art teacher, I loved drawing anything and painting still life and it was a given that I would go to art school. The problem was that at 17 I had no idea in what direction to take my creativity. I was naive and immature, in love with the whole 'art school' scene, impressionable and easily led. I didn't know how to handle criticism and rather blindly accepted it, shutting down and turning away instead of asking for help. On my foundation course, a quite terrifying fine art tutor looked at something I was doing and casually told me I had no sense of colour; instead of asking for his help and advice ( because none was actually forthcoming) I allowed that throwaway remark to crush me and any idea I had had of taking a degree in fine art. I applied and was accepted on to a graphic design degree course at the same school. After a great start, I started to have difficulties - graphic design, pre computers - required some basic maths skills, accuracy, salesmanship, competitiveness and ambition - all of which I lacked totally ( and still do). Looking back it was an odd experience; I found out many years later that the art school and in particular the graphics department were in their absolute 'golden age', I was surrounded and being taught by a unique group of tutors who were all immensely talented ( and in some cases very famous) artists and designers in their own right. How did I do so badly?! The fact remains that great designers at the top of their field aren't necessarily going to be great teachers. Although I had problems fitting the designer mould, in my defence I can honestly say that I received plenty of criticism but very little remedial help or encouragement from tutors, I was simply too immature to know how to stand up for myself. My confidence faded, my self esteem sank to zero. When I left art school with my poor degree, I did get some freelance work, but I needed regular earnings and ended up in a customer services/ office job - which actually I really liked and stayed with in one form or another for the rest of my working life.

    My experience of art school left me completely lacking in confidence about drawing and painting. If I picked up a pencil or a paint brush, which I did periodically over the years, a kind of block formed immediately, leaving me paralysed with fear. I had however been good at photography and continued with that as a hobby, I had discovered cinema which remained a big influence in my life, I had proved reasonably good at writing when putting my two theses together. Eventually I gave up any form of painting/ drawing etc altogether

    Fast forward to my mid 40's, and I started to be interested in making things, hand sewing and embroidery, knitting, paper crafts and collage. Dabbling, having fun, but no time for them to be anything more than occasional hobbies. Then in recent years, having retired and moved abroad, I suddenly had more time on my hands. I started to think about art again. I took a lot of photos. A couple of years ago I started picking up on 'projects' on social media. I met some Pureland Buddhists, both great writers, who had several writing initiatives going. I learned about mindful writing, haiku, therapeutic writing. I had met a lovely woman in other circumstances, who turned out to be a very gifted teacher and writer ( and incidentally also a Buddhist) who initiated several creative projects via Facebook and Instagram. I joined in, I actually put stuff out there, photos, prose and poetry and yes, painting, drawing and collage too. I'm really going strong now in my second beginning, 40 years after the art school debacle! I would still hesitate to call myself an artist, I still get a bit nervous when facing a blank page or canvas, but this second flowering is fun and lovely and rewarding. I don't have anything from the first beginning, but here's a small bit of writing illustrated by a photo that was part of a creative project in 2016.


    The landscape of siesta, late afternoon sun setting on a crumpled bed of roses.
    5th.jpg

    Yikes, sorry to have gone on so long, that turned into a bit of a cathartic experience!
    Gassho
    Meitou
    satwithyoualltoday
    命 Mei - life
    島 Tou - island

  7. #7
    Meitou,

    What a nightmare experience. Thank you for sharing it! The pain you experienced is apparent...Criticism constructed well can be beneficial and helpful and welcome. It appears your instructors were ill equipped to be working with young art students. I would have had the same response as you.

    Good for you for rediscovering that sacred part of yourself and reengaging in your creativity. Clearly you have a fine aesthetic vision, your posts have shown strong mature work. Meitou, you are an artist.
    I am just saddened you had to face that searing rejection at a young age when we are all so vulnerable, malleable and fresh.

    It is good to hear you are 'really going strong' now.

    I've been considering a post on feedback, how to give it and how to receive and how our practice can help... more on that later.

    Gassho

    Anne

    ~st~

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Cooperix View Post
    Meitou,

    What a nightmare experience. Thank you for sharing it! The pain you experienced is apparent...Criticism constructed well can be beneficial and helpful and welcome. It appears your instructors were ill equipped to be working with young art students. I would have had the same response as you.

    Good for you for rediscovering that sacred part of yourself and reengaging in your creativity. Clearly you have a fine aesthetic vision, your posts have shown strong mature work. Meitou, you are an artist.
    I am just saddened you had to face that searing rejection at a young age when we are all so vulnerable, malleable and fresh.

    It is good to hear you are 'really going strong' now.

    I've been considering a post on feedback, how to give it and how to receive and how our practice can help... more on that later.

    Gassho

    Anne

    ~st~
    Thank you so much Anne and everyone who has posted.
    Gassho
    Meitou
    satwithyoualltodaylah
    命 Mei - life
    島 Tou - island

  9. #9
    This morning while sitting I decided to post pictures of some of my sewing projects here.

    Big breath. Time to let myself be involved here.

    I took the usual required courses in school, a few elective classes, some community classes, private lessons, and casual instruction from experienced artists. All of that was spread across many different art forms - music (classical, folk music, and jazz, on the clarinet, saxophone, piano, Thai flute, and voice), dance, graphite and charcoal drawing, calligraphy, book binding, woodworking and woodcarving, sewing and textiles, pottery, basket weaving, beading, jewelry, writing and poetry, photography.

    To be fully honest, before I sat down to write this I felt like I had no art experience at all - but on reflection, I can see that I've dabbled far more than I credit myself with. Listing it out makes it apparent that I've been interested in arts and crafts for a long time.

    Over the last year I've had the time to express myself more. I've been shackled with a childhood conception of myself as being non-artistic. Recently I've had people point out that what I call hobbies and projects are art and that I look like an artist (I am not so sure about that though). I'm more of an artisan than an artist. I like crafts; most of my projects focuses on function, both use and aesthetics rather than emotion. Still, some of my projects transcend the function and aesthetic value and I find myself trying to communicate ideas, inquire and question, and express emotion.

    Most of my projects focus on themes of self-sufficiency and living simply. Recently I've done some projects using various types of found wood - pallets, old floorboards, fence wood, fire wood, weathered wood. I've also done some things using found fabric - fabric scraps, my family's old clothing, finds from the second-hand store, trash on the side of the road.

    I'm looking forward to participating here. I just found all the sticked threads, it looks like there is a lot for me to experiment with.

    Gassho,

    Southern Forest (Nanrin)

    St

  10. #10
    Nanrin,

    It's always frightening, even breath taking to put our work on display. You are not alone in that.

    Your palette is extensive and exciting. Please feel comfortable posting images here, its a very safe non judgmental place. You bring up an interesting point, the difference between craft and art. I've been thinking of starting a thread with that topic for discussion. An age old topic for sure. A topic I am still considering...
    Thank you for posting!

    Gassho,
    Anne
    ~st~

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •