Learning to See Helps You Be in the Moment

Learning to actually SEE is vital to becoming an artist  and a writer. Actual SEEING is complex and requires more than opening your eyes and fixing on something. That is the way that a dog or a cat looks. Seeing is much more than looking. In order to see, we must recognize the spirit of a thing, as well as its physical characteristics. When we see, we capture the essence of the subject. As authentic artists and writers, we must be able to actually SEE, and much of that involves learning to BE in the moment about which we wish to create.

Art is a lie that makes us realize the truth. – Pablo Picasso

In our efforts to survive in the 21st Century, most of us have become inundated with text messaging, social media, television, surfing of the net, videos, music, whipping in and out of traffic, multitasking, etc.; and it is very, very difficult to keep ourselves focused on anything other than the periphery of things. It is necessary to truly SEE something more deeply than that to FEEL anything about it, and my art is all about feeling. If I don’t feel anything about what I am painting, I have nothing to say about it. When I do not feel anything about my subject matter, I produce hackneyed images. All too often, they are repeats of things that I have painted before, and I am merely trying to deceive myself that I have something new to say:

Nature never deceives us; it is we who deceive ourselves.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Having a background in visual art helps me to See better as a writer, and it helps me to describe what I am seeing. When I begin to write, I close my eyes and I concentrate on something about which I want to write. When I see the thing in my mind’s eye, I merely write the words that describe what my mind sees. This is a very visual kind of writing. It is a physical thing. After I feel that I truly see what I want to create, I begin to mine what I have seen, seeking something deeper–something more spiritual, too. When I paint, something similar happens: words and even songs fill me as I paint. Ultimately, the titles of my paintings come from those words. But if I am not fully present when I create, this does not happen.

You can put your mind in order by focusing on one thing at a time, doing it well, and appreciating the opportunity that this doing offers. – Anonymous 

When a person is able to create from a place that is deep within himself, he has reached a space that, in the Eastern culture, is called the Soul.

Jean Shinoda Bolen, MD, said the following in the book Handbook for the Soul: “I think that whenever soul is present. . . .You are totally absorbed in the place or person or event, without ego and without judgment.  You are in what the Greeks call kairos.  When you are in kairos time, you are totally absorbed in what you are doing; you lose track of time. . . .Time is not measured.  You are participating in time as you make a connection through the deeper, creative parts  of yourself.  And the connection nourishes the soul, always.:” (p. 5.

Multi-tasking and other half-hearted mindsets are not conducive to one’s creating from the moment.

“Forget multitasking, find the beauty in doing one thing at a time.” – Anonymous

“If you chase two rabbits, you will not catch either one.” – Anonymous

The arts demand all of us, but when something of merit evolves from one’s ability to focus, we realize that the attention required to get into the moment was worthwhile.

I write a great deal about painting from one’s intuition. In order for the intuition to get involved with your creative process, you must be present.

While Oil Paintings Tend to Be Novels, Good Watercolors Are Poetry

Because I Paint with Intuition, I Paint More Than Rosebuds