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March: Blocks, Challenges & Breakthroughs

 

Living Your Wild Creativity - All Problems Are Imagined

"Let life happen to you. Believe me: life is in the right, always."   - Rilke


SOME WORDS ON "CREATIVE BLOCKS" . . . 

It’s really quite sim­ple. To be cre­ative and pro­lific, I need to:
“Get rid of the things I don’t love to make room for the things that I do love.”  
- Janice Tanton, visual artist
 

"When I am stuck … I just search for excitement, but not too hard. It is when I find myself playing more than trying that I find my way out of a block."
-  Aris Moore, visual artist
 

“The best way is always to stop when you are going good and when you know what will happen next. If you do that every day … you will never be stuck. Always stop while you are going good and don’t think about it or worry about it until you start to write the next day. That way your subconscious will work on it all the time. But if you think about it consciously or worry about it you will kill it and your brain will be tired before you start.”  — Ernest Hemingway
 

"Choose one thing you love to draw or paint (and feel comfortable drawing or painting) already: an animal, object, a person, whatever. For thirty days, draw or paint that thing thirty different ways, a different way every day. You can use different mediums, expressions, positions, colors, whatever. Each day, push yourself to do something much different than the day before, but keep the subject the same. See how keeping one element constant (in this case, the “thing” you love to draw or paint) can allow you to break out creatively in other ways."    
- Lisa Congden, fine artist, illustrator, author

 

“What I try to do is write. I may write for two weeks ‘the cat sat on the mat, that is that, not a rat.’ And it might be just the most boring and awful stuff. But I try. When I’m writing, I write. And then it’s as if the muse is convinced that I’m serious and says, ‘Okay. Okay. I’ll come.’ ” — Maya Angelou, author,author, poet, dancer, actress, and singer

 

"For me, to overcome block, and it may sound counterintuitive, is to not care so much. If you care too much, I think that you become overly invested in a painting that you haven't even yet begun. I suggest to my watercolor class to think of every start as a study and if it works out well, then you have a painting. I've even suggested that after the sketch, to wet the paper and hit it with some splatter just to break the ice (and the white). It takes some courage and meets with resistance, but it can work."  - Steve Blumenthal, painter

 

“Now, what I’m thinking of is, people always saying “Well, what do we do about a sudden blockage in your writing? What if you have a blockage and you don’t know what to do about it?” Well, it’s obvious you’re doing the wrong thing, don’t you? In the middle of writing something you go blank and your mind says: “No, that’s it.” Ok. You’re being warned, aren’t you? Your subconscious is saying “I don’t like you anymore. You’re writing about things I don’t give a damn for.” You’re being political, or you’re being socially aware. You’re writing things that will benefit the world. To hell with that! I don’t write things to benefit the world. If it happens that they do, swell. I didn’t set out to do that. I set out to have a hell of a lot of fun."  - Ray Bradbury, author

 

“Many years ago, I met John Steinbeck at a party in Sag Harbor, and told him that I had writer’s block. And he said something which I’ve always remembered, and which works. He said, “Pretend that you’re writing not to your editor or to an audience or to a readership, but to someone close, like your sister, or your mother, or someone that you like.” And at the time I was enamored of Jean Seberg, the actress, and I had to write an article about taking Marianne Moore to a baseball game, and I started it off, “Dear Jean . . . ,” and wrote this piece with some ease, I must say. And to my astonishment that’s the way it appeared in Harper’s Magazine. “Dear Jean . . .” Which surprised her, I think, and me, and very likely Marianne Moore.” — John Steinbeck by way of George Plimpton

 

“I encourage my students at times like these to get one page of anything written, three hundred words of memories or dreams or stream of consciousness on how much they hate writing — just for the hell of it, just to keep their fingers from becoming too arthritic, just because they have made a commitment to try to write three hundred words every day. Then, on bad days and weeks, let things go at that… Your unconscious can’t work when you are breathing down its neck. You’ll sit there going, ‘Are you done in there yet, are you done in there yet?’ But it is trying to tell you nicely, ‘Shut up and go away.' ” — Anne Lamott, author

 

“If you hear a voice within you say “you cannot paint,” then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.”  –Vincent Van Gogh


What the opposite of a Creative Block?

"I don’t want the day to end, because I need to be creative forever! Sometimes I forget to eat, then I realize that I must move from my desk—so I make breakfast at two in the afternoon." 
- Ashley Percival, visual artist


Here is Nina Simone playing her composition, "How It Feels To Be Free" - along with her piano improvisation . . . great example of "an artist making art in the Present and in the Flow . . ." (notice her Joy in "the making.")


“Nor do I hear in my imagination the parts successively, I hear them all at once. What a delight this is! All this inventing, this producing, takes place in a pleasing, lively dream.” – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart


"If the Angel deigns to come it will be because you have convinced her, not by tears but by your humble resolve to be always beginning; to be a beginner."   - Rilke

    . . . soul-satisfaction requires defining our own success:
"I make art because the process of making art makes me happy. Being successful with it and doing it for personal fulfillment are separate ideas." 
- Emily Barletta, embroidery and fiber artist


Brassai asked Picasso whether the painter's ideas come to him "by chance or by design." 

I don’t have a clue. Ideas are simply starting points. I can rarely set them down as they come to my mind. As soon as I start to work, others well up in my pen. To know what you’re going to draw, you have to begin drawing… When I find myself facing a blank page, that’s always going through my head. What I capture in spite of myself interests me more than my own ideas.
— Pablo Picasso

"The practice of any art demands more than mere savoir faire. One must not only be in love with what one does, one must also know how to make love. In love self is obliterated. Only the beloved counts. Whether the beloved be a bowl of fruit, a pastoral scene, or the interior of a bawdy house makes no difference. One must be in it and of it wholly. Before a subject can be transmuted aesthetically it must be devoured and absorbed. If it is a painting it must perspire with ecstasy."   - Henry Miller


Musical Inspiration

One of the topics I want to discuss further in March is overcoming blocks and feelings of hesitancy by listening and absorbing "music" in a deep way. We seem to be attracted to music that match our moods and emotions, and vice versa: music can enable us to change and create new states of mind.    - Grant

One of the topics I want to discuss further in March is overcoming blocks and feelings of hesitancy by listening and absorbing "music" in a deep way. We seem to be attracted to music that match our moods and emotions, and vice versa: music can enable us to change and create new states of mind.    - Grant

Unconscious listening is more dependable. Thomas Carlyle maintained that if you ‘see deep enough . . . you see musically; the heart of nature being everywhere musical, if you can only reach it.’ In signifying only itself, music becomes a language translatable by the universal awareness latent in everything. This most complex of expressions is also the oldest and so appeals to our most primitive level, inexplicable through reason. At that level we all hear music the same way.
— Ned Rorem

Music can transport me into elevated feelings of joy . . . Here are a couple of short segments from the classical arena that I cannot help but feel a more robust and expansive feeling of joy and courage . . . GT

Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.
— Plato
Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.
— Victor Hugo

"All emotions are pure which gather you and lift you up; that emotion is impure which seizes only one side of your being and so distorts you."   - Rilke


On Courage:

"A man shows reckless courage in entering into the abyss of himself."   William Butler Yeats

"The word courage is derived from the Latin cor, meaning, "heart." (In French the word for heart is coeur.) We say of a brave man that he has heart; we say of a man who has given up that he's lost heart. In courage, our blood may run cold for a while, but it is running - and as we persist, it'll heat up, flowing more and more strongly, heartening and encouraging us. Courage is not fearlessness, but a resolute refusal to be paralyzed by fear, a deliberate turning and moving toward the dragon, step by conscious step, an activation of our will to persist in difficult conditions."  - Robert Augustus Masters

"Believe that with your feelings and your work you are taking part in the greatest; the more strongly you cultivate this belief, the more will reality and the world go forth from it."  - Rilke

“Your edge is the experiential zone where your deepest, most relevant growth happens. It is a domain of both trepidation and excitement, and existential threshold where you’ve begun to turn toward your fears, your pain, your grief, your shame, and your failings - everything you’ve kept in your shadow. Such encounters are what bring your edge out into the open.” - Robert Augustus Masters

"The purpose of life is to be defeated by greater and greater things."  - Rilke


A short segment from a ballet choreographed by Justin Peck, NYC Ballet . . .  (music by Aaron Copeland) a little inspiration showing how contrast, push and pull movements and harmony can produce a work that is so organic and filled with beauty . . . in any art form.


"When you look upon another human being and feel great love toward them, or when you contemplate beauty in nature and something within you responds deeply to it, close your eyes for a moment and feel the essence of that love or that beauty within you, inseparable from who you are, your true nature. The outer form is a temporary reflection of what you are within, in your essence."   ~Eckhart Tolle


"Others can provide us with tools that help us to clear the blockages to clarity, but they cannot tell us which path to walk. That’s because our sacred purpose is privately held- it is encoded within us, embodied and embedded, a karmic blueprint that can only be read by the one who carries it. That’s why not a single soul on earth can tell us why we are here. They can’t decipher a language that is unique to another soul, no matter what claims they make. It’s one of the most beautiful things about this human trip- the divine blessed each of us with our own secret language, a unique karmic code that will never be replicated again. We are the book of our life. Now all we have to do is figure out how to read it. One soul page at a time…"   - Jeff Brown


Robert Weathers, PhD, speaks of Creative Block and the Surrender of the Ego


"True happiness comes from the joy of deeds well done, the zest of creating things new."  
-Antoine de Saint-Exupery


"I'm always thinking about creating.  My future starts when I wake up every morning . . . Every day I find something creative to do with my life."   - Miles Davis


“When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy." - Rumi


"I turn to painting when I can no longer write. Painting refreshes and restores me; it enables me to forget that I am temporarily unable to write. So I paint while the reservoir replenishes itself."  - Henry Miller

"The practice of any art demands more than mere savoir faire. One must not only be in love with what one does, one must also know how to make love. In love self is obliterated. Only the beloved counts. Whether the beloved be a bowl of fruit, a pastoral scene, or the interior of a bawdy house makes no difference. One must be in it and of it wholly. Before a subject can be transmuted aesthetically it must be devoured and absorbed. If it is a painting it must perspire with ecstasy."  - Henry Miller

March - Page 2 - Creativity On Demand - excerpts from a new book by Michael Gelb

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