Monday, April 24, 2017

Minding My Muse 08: Domains of Creativity

A year ago I responded to the writing prompts in Priscilla Long's Minding the Muse. That process helped me explore and re-enter my current memoir project as well as to diversify my creative activities. I share these unedited journal entries as inspiration for your own creative explorations.

“Have you put into place or could you begin a daily practice of observation – even if for five minutes – of writing or sketching what you perceive with your senses, whatever is directly in front of you?” (Priscilla Long, Minding the Muse, p. 54)

I like this idea – observation, even if only five minutes – of what my senses perceive, then write or draw it. I don’t know how to draw but the attempt, even to think about an attempt causes me to see differently, see parts and angles and expressions and colors. I bought a new sketch pad and watercolor pencils yesterday at UW Bookstore. I have not yet opened the box or marked the first page. I lack to knowledge, the skill. I do not know how to make art.

But perhaps it’s about observation rather than art. No one need see my rudimentary attempts to see and sketch. I simply need to be brave enough to try.

“Do you tend to work in the same way all the time? Could you shake it up a bit, add a random element? What would a lateral move mean in terms of a piece you are working on right now?
(Priscilla Long, Minding the Muse, p. 54)

I have not been working much at all this summer. The memoir sits idle. So how would I re-enter and how would I move sideways to generate new ideas or lost memories? Color, art, music would help. Daily writing would definitely make a difference. If I get stuck, perhaps writing in other POVs – mom’s, Arturo’s, Maureen’s, Judi’s.

And then there’s the abecedarian that might generate ideas/memories, and the idea to copy Rivera’s paintings if only I could develop the skill. All these things could put my back in Mexico – place and time.

But was I even living consciously, or merely floating through, making the movements, saying the words, but somehow not fully present, not in the present, not creating real conscious memories when I lived in Mexico? I remember the French class, the ballet class. I was alone. My brain was active. So was my body. But I do not remember any of my teaching pedagogy classes, only French. So odd.

“What alternate domains (spheres of activity or knowledge) might you investigate in order to get novel ideas, structures, directions?” (Priscilla Long, Minding the Muse, p. 54)

I remember ballet and French. I remember piano and drawing in Santa Cruz. Of the four only dance gave me a sense of confidence, that feeling that I could achieve. But I remember all and they gave me something, though I’d be hard pressed to identify what it was that causes me to remember. Clearly I need to try art again – with or without classes.

Other domains to again explore that will be elements of the memoir: letters and journal. Shall I write letters again? Save the lost art in some small way? To whom? My mother's sisters? The letters would be much appreciated, I’m sure.

And the diary or journal. Perhaps my morning pages, these pages of thoughts and exercises, these are journal pages. But I also need to write about my life, about the wedding, about being the mother of the now-married daughter, the sister of a woman fighting of cancer, on the edge, not knowing what to do, how to help.

So: art, letters, journal – revisited domains of creativity to explore

Prior posts in this series:


Sheri Nugent said...

I am so proud of you for buying a sketchbooks and pencils. For me, the biggest challenge I had (and have) to overcome in my new burst of creativity and drawing is to not be stopped before I even start by self-doubt and critique. "This sucks, I can't do it correctly, etc.." For me, the mandala opened the door and something new has flown out. I started with a mandala on-line class in January. I learned the basic technique and did many mandalas per those instructions. Once I felt competent at that, I took it further to where I am now... inserting my own drawings within the mandala structure of circles and patterns. The STRUCTURE of the circle is what I needed to build in. The blank page is a scary place, right?

I heard/read that reading, writing and drawing are the same thing and I think that's true. It's starting, creating, in a linear fashion one step at a time.

You've mentioned perspective. Maybe that's the place to start. There are lots of YouTube videos that show how to do that. Search "Drawing perspective." There's YouTube videos on everything you want to learn. My mandala instruction started with an on-line class and then supplemented with YouTube videos.

A book I like is Betty Edwards' Drawing on the Artist Within. Step by Step instruction that's as much about seeing as drawing.

Keep sharing your creative journey! I am interested and inspired by your/our creative exploration. Knocking down those walls that block expression!

arleen said...

Hi Sheri,
Thank you for sharing the process you used for getting started. Great ideas! I did use one perspective book: Drawing 3-D by Doug DuBosque. I did all the exercises, but I found the next book I bought too difficult. I'll try YouTube and Betty Edward's book you suggested. Thanks!

I love your mandalas. Maybe you'd like to do a guest blog post with a few images and the stories behind them. What do you think?

Sheri Nugent said...

Yes! I would love to do a guest blog post!