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Thread: Zen of Creativity Chapter 5

  1. #1

    Zen of Creativity Chapter 5

    Chapter 5
    Greetings!

    ‘TRUST YOURSELF’

    Wise words from our friend JLD. In this chapter John Loori Daido focuses on the uniqueness of our vision. He spends a bit of time deconstructing the act of creativity. We all know and can identify with each of the points but I expect we all experience creating a work of art as a singular act. Knowing the mechanisms of creativity can facilitate our creativity when we find ourselves blocked… maybe my mind is too busy, a good time to try to find the still place, or the subject matter is not really speaking to me now, energy level tanked, etc.

    He reminds us that the editing process requires the same focus, stillness and intuition that we used to make the art in the first place. And reminds us to let go of the final product when completed to clear the way for the next creative moment. I feel this critical to my creativity, not attach to each completed work. Actually, that’s fairly easy for me as I so love the process of making art that the product is secondary to the process! I’m ready to move on.

    There is a place for criticism in art, but when developing our creative effort is not a time for judgement. And be assured in this forum we offer a supportive non-judgmental space.

    And finally, I love the reminder to offer gratitude at the completion of a project. I don’t think I have ever done that consciously, but what a lovely practice.
    Expressing gratitude is essential, especially if we need to return to our work and reawaken the bond that was initially created.
    -Is it hard for you to let go of the product of your creativity? For some people I know that’s a big one.
    -Do you have any special way to offer gratitude when a work is complete?
    -Anything that struck you as helpful or confusing? I had to read his breakdown of the act of creativity a few times to really be able to see those stages in my own work. Lots going on that I’d never considered.

    Have fun with Meitou’s prompt!



    'Thus what different types of beings see is different, and we should reflect on this fact. Is it that there are various ways of seeing one object, or is it that we have mistaken various images for one object?' - Master Dogen in The Rivers and Mountains Sutra.

    Hello everyone and welcome to the prompt for Chapter 5.

    This prompt is a little different for a couple of reasons – firstly, I'm using John Daido Loori's prompt at the end of Chapter 5 -'Expressing Things for What Else They Are' and so would ask you to read this prompt carefully and allow your mind to open to anything that this brings up for you.

    Secondly, this will be a photo prompt – I hope that we all have access to some way of making a photo, via our phones usually, and some of you will have cameras. If you have neither of these, you may have an iPad or tablet with a camera, or a computer with a built in camera or attachable webcam. Along with those devices there is usually a photo editing facility, which you can also make use of in this project.

    So after reading JDL's words and considering Anne's discussion above, paying particular attention to how each of us has a unique vision, and after a short sit to enter your still point, I'd like you to move around your room, or your house, your garden, the street, the desert, the mountain - wherever you feel taken - and let yourself open to something that speaks to you. It doesn't have to be pretty, or photogenic, but it needs to intrigue you with its form, colour, pattern, texture. Look into the heart of it, let go of naming. See it for What Else It Is. As JDL says,
    At first, the familiar surface aspects of the object will become apparent. It may take some time for the subject to reveal its more subtle and mysterious dimensions. Be patient. Be willing to be with your subject without knowing what it is, without projecting your ideas on to it.
    Take as many photos as feels right. Check them - are they just representations of, for example, a teapot? Or is something else, something more coming forth – a beautiful curved form, light reflecting from a surface, an abstraction of shape within the background it is in? Experiment with editing your images, perhaps cropping into a different shape, cutting away some of the image, using different filters to express mood, using a black and white filter to express light and shadow play, rotating the image. What emerges? You may, like JDL in the examples I will put up in a following post, want to add some words to express what is speaking to you. Find your own unique vision. When you are satisfied with your results, take a moment to feel gratitude toward your subject and your own expression – and above all, have fun.

    Again, please feel free to post as many images as you want, but also know that it's fine if you prefer not to share them – the process is the important thing.
    If you feel inspired by this prompt to know more, I can recommend any of John Daido Loori's own books of photography, in particular my favourite 'Making Love with Light'. You may also be interested in this website which specializes in contemplative photography, a practice that was originally given form by Chogyam Trungpa.
    https://www.miksang.com/

    Gassho

    Anne and Meitou

    we sat today

  2. #2
    Thank you Anne. I just wrote a lengthy reply to this only to accidently touch the home screen button on my phone and lose it, gah!
    I'll come back later with my reactions and thoughts arising from this chapter and some photos which express the prompt. And on the computer, not my very smart phone!
    Gassho
    Meitou
    Satwithyoualltoday lah
    命 Mei - life
    島 Tou - island

  3. #3
    So, regarding letting go of the product of creativity. Initially my response was that I let go very easily. I often paint over what I've done and start again; I cut up drawings to use as collage, I draw on both sides of the pages of sketchbooks and then put those books down and never think of them again. However I do see a pattern here - my work can be a constant work-in-progress; so for example if something doesn't quite satisfy in some way, I won't persevere, I'll erase it, paint over it. I wonder if this is not wanting to invest more time in something I'm not happy with, or a manifestation of mental laziness? It's also a way of avoiding actually finishing something; and therefore letting go of it.
    I also have a problem with the fear of overworking something - I tend trust to instinct and intuition, which means that I can make a painting that I really like in about 20 minutes, but because it's taken such a short time I can't accept that it could be finished, or a 'proper' painting, so again I fiddle about, sometimes abandoning something because I think it's not enough. These are funny personal paradoxes that I am hoping JDL's writings will bring some clarity to.
    Photography however is completely different. I feel very sure, very confident with photographic images, even though again I work intuitively and never set out to capture a particular place or image - I might just see something in the house, grab the phone and snap it. However, it's taken me a couple of years to be able to edit/delete photos without fear, and just as long to give myself permission to treat my photos as serious representations of my own creative impulse. I can trust myself with photography.

    I've quickly selected a few examples of older photos that I think fit the brief; I'll start though with one of JDL's photo captions and the accompanying photo, from the book I mentioned above, Making Love with Light. I've had to photograph these from the book, hence the quality isn't brilliant, but nevertheless it's easy to see what he is aiming for with that wonderful abstract image, which is in fact a rock formation:
    jdl2 blue .jpg jdl 1 cropped .jpg


    Here are some of my images of everyday scenes and objects , seen through the lens as pattern, texture, dark and light.

    sand fence prompt 5.jpg

    wall prompt 5.jpg

    teapot prompt 5.jpg

    Gassho
    Meitou
    satwithyoualltodaylah
    命 Mei - life
    島 Tou - island

  4. #4
    Thank you for this, Anne and Meitou!

    I am reading the chapter and have not done my blind drawing prompt from the last chapter yet but thought I would have a go at the photography challenge!

    These are a few things around me and the idea was to capture something of their texture and character in their own right without any surroundings to things to contrast them with, just completely the one thing conveying the essence of itself.

    Blanket
    Bowl
    Fretboard

    Gassho
    Kokuu
    -sattoday-
    Last edited by Kokuu; 07-23-2019 at 07:54 PM.
    ------------------------------------
    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.

  5. #5
    Hey thanks Meitou and Kokuu!
    I will take my camera with me when walking the dogs tomorrow. Our New Mexico summer sun is so intense and gorgeous lighting up the deep green vegetation along our irrigation ditches. Maybe something will catch my eye. This is a fun prompt Meitou. Looking for pattern, texture and shadow.

    Gassho
    Anne

    ~lahst~

  6. #6
    Hello,
    thank you Anne and Meitou.
    Meitou, I like your pictures, especially the wave and turbulent sea is stunning.

    I am still intimidated by that big word 'Art' and usually attach 'playing with ...' or 'observing ...' as my personal label to the things, I am creating.
    Somehow that makes it easier to letting go and turning to something else.
    The garden projects, that are just a few are a never-ending work in progress and it is difficult, handing them over to the owner for continuing development (even if she/he is usually heavily involved in the process).
    My own garden is a never ending, endlessly changing living organism... Coming back to it again and again and again.

    prompt_5a.jpg

    prompt_5b.jpg

    prompt_5c.jpg

    Gassho,
    Kotei sat/lah today.
    古庭 KoTei / Ralf

  7. #7
    Kotei,
    I agree the word ART comes with lots of baggage. Which is too bad. But whatever anyone calls their creative endeavors is perfect.
    This is actually quite a fun prompt. thanks Meitou!
    I post 3 images, maybe more to follow?

    grass1 adj.jpg
    faucet sunlight.JPG
    ATTACH=CONFIG]5855[/ATTACH]
    Gassho
    Anne
    ~lahst~
    Attached Images Attached Images

  8. #8
    Kotei,
    I agree the word ART comes with lots of baggage. Which is too bad. But whatever anyone calls their creative endeavors is perfect.
    This is actually quite a fun prompt. thanks Meitou!
    I post 3 images, maybe more to follow?

    grass1 adj.jpg
    faucet sunlight.JPG
    cabin wall adj.jpg
    Gassho
    Anne
    ~lahst~

  9. #9
    I am enjoying looking around (and at your photos) with a fresh, without preconception, mind.

    Not a photo, but looking at things from this still point. Seeing things different:




    Gassho,
    Kotei sat/lah today.
    古庭 KoTei / Ralf

  10. #10
    small petals enhanced ia.jpg


    This doesn't exactly follow the prompt but still trying to get my images to download.
    Its an old images of some petals gathered from my garden and photographed on painted perspex -
    I remember being lost in the process at the time.
    Last edited by Jinyo; 07-28-2019 at 02:12 AM.

  11. #11
    Kotei,
    Indeed, what a lovely interpretation of the prompt! Dimensional interpretation. Living in the desert the sound of rain is always soothing and welcome. And Jinyo that is a beautiful abstration of petals. But a question...what is Perspex?

    I have a couple more to upload myself. Hope I can get to it today....

    Gassho

    Anne
    ~lahst~

  12. #12
    Wow, so many inspiring images here, I feel that this prompt could turn into a project all of its own at a later date - something to think about? Kotei, the video is mesmerising, and I loved it particularly because I felt a Mount Fuji vibe in there at the end, one of my favourite iconic images.
    Anne, perspex is a type of reinforced clear plastic, also known as plexiglass or acrylic glass, perspex is one of its trade names ( thank you Google roshi)
    Here are a couple more from my collection..

    lamp/plate
    lamp and plate.jpg

    tomatoes
    toms dots prompt 5.jpg

    garage door
    garage door prompt 5.jpg

    Gassho
    Meitou
    satwithyoualltodaylah
    命 Mei - life
    島 Tou - island

  13. #13
    OK, I've had some fun with photoshop (which I know almost nothing about).

    2019-07-28 001 2019-07-28 014 adj.jpg
    2019-07-28 001 2019-07-28 009 adj.jpg

    Meitou those images are amazing.

    bows!

    Anne

    ~st~

  14. #14
    Hi all

    I was reading through the chapter this morning and really enjoyed it.

    I really like the emphasis JDL puts on giving time to let the process unfold and not forcing something into preconceived ideas, instead letting it show you its nature. I have not done a bow before at the end of the process but that does sound like a lovely way to end the art session.

    At present I am finding it really hard to write. Well, that is not quite true, I can still write but nothing of any merit is emerging. Regardless, I still keep going with the process of observing and writing and maybe something better will emerge in time. Or maybe it won't!

    Gassho
    Kokuu
    -sattoday-
    ------------------------------------
    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.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Cooperix View Post
    OK, I've had some fun with photoshop (which I know almost nothing about).

    2019-07-28 001 2019-07-28 014 adj.jpg
    2019-07-28 001 2019-07-28 009 adj.jpg

    Meitou those images are amazing.

    bows!

    Anne

    ~st~
    Hi all,

    Just want to share that I am following the threads/book and participating vicariously through you.

    Gasho, Jishin, __/stlah\__

  16. #16
    This is something that caught my attention at a concert in a local park last week.shadow.jpg

    gassho, Shokai
    仁道 生開 - Jindo Shokai "Open to life in a benevolent way"
    May we all grow together in our knowledge of the Dharma

  17. #17
    Shokai,
    YES!
    Kokuu, I seem to remember that JDL will discuss blocks in a later chapter. One of my favorite topics. Because I've had so much experience with them. A block for me can be working but nor producing anything worth while. It's all a process I've learned to be somewhat at peace with.
    And Jishin glad to have you with us in spirit. (BTW..Your photos are amazing.)

    Gassho,

    Anne
    ~lahst~

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Cooperix View Post
    Shokai,
    YES!
    Kokuu, I seem to remember that JDL will discuss blocks in a later chapter. One of my favorite topics. Because I've had so much experience with them. A block for me can be working but nor producing anything worth while. It's all a process I've learned to be somewhat at peace with.
    And Jishin glad to have you with us in spirit. (BTW..Your photos are amazing.)

    Gassho,

    Anne
    ~lahst~
    Thank you Anne. You should know that you have helped my development of photography by simply being supportive in Instagram. Same goes for Meitou.

    Gasho, Jishin, __/stlah\__

  19. #19
    Hi there,

    some great images here. (Jishin - where can I view your photography).

    Anne - I have used perspex in the past to add a painted background (and mount things). I just use glass paint (Decor)which is comes in small
    jars and reasonably priced. Sometimes I use a Gutta (comes in small tubes) to draw lines with (it sets hard) to produce stained glass effect or to hold
    area of silk paint on textiles (stops the colours from bleeding into each other.)

    But just now I have a huge block on creativity!

    Re Photoshop - I had a great time with photoshop a number of years ago - it really is like painting on screen at times (the smudge tool was my favourite)
    maybe we could try a project with it some time.

    Gassho

    Jinyo

    sat today

  20. #20

    Zen of Creativity Chapter 5

    Quote Originally Posted by Jinyo View Post

    Jishin - where can I view your photography

    Hi Jinyo,

    Join Instagram. I go by jishin_treeleaf there. I also post stuff at https://500px.com/johnmichaelcobb

    Gasho, Jishin, __/stlah\__
    Last edited by Jishin; 08-02-2019 at 12:21 PM.

  21. #21
    Shokai, that's a great shot, the kind of thing I love to find!
    Jishin, I'm so glad that you are following, I had been hoping that some of our keen Treeleaf photographers would join in this discussion, you all have so much to offer!
    Anne I love those textured images. I really enjoy playing around with creative apps, although I've never actually used Photoshop. Google used to have a wonderful free photo programme, but for some reason I've never understood, some years ago they discarded it. Their editing facility on Google photos just doesn't cut it. If anyone knows of any good free programmes, do post the links here. Jinyo I like the idea of doing a project with Photoshop and/or similar, let's keep that in mind.
    So many good things coming out of this group, thank you everyone for participating, I'm loving it.
    Gassho
    Meitou
    sattodaylah
    命 Mei - life
    島 Tou - island

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Jishin View Post
    Hi Jinyo,

    Join Instagram. I go by jishin_treeleaf there. I also post stuff at https://500px.com/johnmichaelcobb

    Gasho, Jishin, __/stlah\__
    Wow - your photography is awesome ! Thanks for sharing.

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Jinyo View Post
    Wow - your photography is awesome ! Thanks for sharing.
    Thank you!

    Gasho, Jishin, __/stlah\__

  24. #24
    Here's another image. Fun to see shape, texture, shadow, contrast, color and forget about everything else.
    What is it?

    lightdark.jpg

    bows.
    Anne
    ~st~

  25. #25
    Anne, do I see a beloved dog in this landscape?! It's amazing how much we can abstract from a simple photo by looking in a different way.
    Gassho
    Meitou
    Satwithyoualltoday lah
    命 Mei - life
    島 Tou - island

  26. #26
    No Meitou, it's Jed, a horse-buddy! A friend and I visit Cleo the donkey and Jed, an Arabian and Smokey, a Tennessee walker every Thursday that we can manage. I never knew about the serene energy and gentle nature of these beautiful creatures. In fact I was terrified of equines. Bad childhood experiences with stable horses. SO this time with these three senior creatures has opened my heart to their majesty and sweet personalities. My friend grew up on a ranch in Colorado, was a real cowgirl who's first horseback ride was when she was 2. She's as at home with horses as with anyone. I've learned a lot from her.

    Good eye though. You thought it was a warm blooded being! You were right.

    bows
    Anne
    ~lahst~

  27. #27
    This is what I came up with:

    IMG_0063.jpg

    Gasho, Jishin, __/stlah\__

  28. #28

    Zen of Creativity Chapter 5

    Here is some more fun stuff:

    IMG_0064.jpg

    Gasho, Jishin, __/stlah\__

  29. #29
    Jishin;

    I found Waldo and one of Randy's Snakes in the upper right hand side.

    gassho,shokai

    stlah
    仁道 生開 - Jindo Shokai "Open to life in a benevolent way"
    May we all grow together in our knowledge of the Dharma

  30. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by Shokai View Post
    Jishin;

    I found Waldo and one of Randy's Snakes in the upper right hand side.

    gassho,shokai

    stlah
    Where?



    Gasho, Jishin, __/stlah\__

  31. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by Kotei View Post
    I am enjoying looking around (and at your photos) with a fresh, without preconception, mind.

    Not a photo, but looking at things from this still point. Seeing things different:




    Gassho,
    Kotei sat/lah today.
    Really like this Kotei.
    Thank you for posting.

    Gassho/SatToday
    流道
    Ryū Dou

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