Sunday, May 31, 2009

Freedom in experimentation

Ron Ranson, "Bluebell Wood"

I'm experimenting, and it's so freeing! I've always thought, because I have such limited time, that I have to go straight from painting to painting. However, this last week I picked up Ron Ranson's book, Watercolour Fast and Loose," from my shelf & just began to play with brush strokes, colours, and tones. What fun! Plus, I discovered by playing how to solve some of the problems I've always had in executing my watercolours. Can we do this with life too!?!! Who knows what we'll discover about the world and ourselves if we dare.
Ron Ranson's web is
Happy June!!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Sea Turtles and a Prize

"Sea Turtle"
acrylic on canvas, 6" x 8"
April, 2009, Judith Nasse

I'm still very excited about art, obsessed in the positive good way. This week I won a contest writing about obsession and intelligence. My prize is Eric Maisel's book A Writer's Paris. Now I wish I could ride on the back of my sea turtle and go to Paris to write! However, I'm doing a good job of it here in Taos! I've started the deep revision of my novel. And, I'm painting & drawing each day, going deeper & experimenting. I'm using this holiday weekend to holiday in Taos by going to a couple of gallery openings & making a gourmet dish here in my own kitchen/cafe!
Here's my essay:
3. What, in your estimation, is the relationship (if any) between productive obsessing and intelligence?
I've been thinking of this topic for some time now. The way I see it is that it rather depends on how one defines intelligence. I, for one, don't think that innate intelligence, as defined by IQ tests, has as much to do with productive obsession as an emotional spark (emotional intelligence) and a learned ability to obsess. Here a higher IQ can help one reason and negotiate with the mind on how to obsess more productively.
I've seen a 3 year old run into a preschool classroom every morning, for days on end, and dash to the easel to paint one picture after another. This is an example of productive obsessing at a rudimentary level. The child doesn't reason "I'll paint for 30 minutes each day." She just does it.
On the other hand there are highly intelligent, it seems, religious leaders and politicians who obsess to the point of destruction. For instance, as a gross example, Hitler could have developed his painting and art instead of destroying lives and countries. I doubt he lacked intelligence. He lacked productive obsession about his true creativity.
For me, productive obsession means developing one's innate brain intelligence to further the productive obsession. This can be done through studying techniques and learning from the masters in art, literature, music, acting, etc. Then, and more importantly, finding ways to apply what one knows into how to productively obsess about it. This takes a growing emotional maturity and therefore willingness to schedule inviolable creative time, balancing day jobs, family, unexpected events, finances, and health with creative flow. (Creative flow is productive obsession.)
Another aspect of this creative maturity is learning to discern between a fear and a true need. Is my headache due to the fear or am I getting a cold? Is this painting too reminiscent of that mean mom or do I need to learn to paint the shadows better? Is my "depression" this morning because I'm in a blue state over my progress or because my sinus' are blocked or I have to face the day job boss about an issue?
This learned productive obsession may need support at times, like here in Eric's group. It also requires commitment, discipline, and persistence, all of which are learned over time if one, like the 3 year old, allows the productive obsession to obsess! Allow the obsession to teach us how to obsess.
Have a most enjoyable rest of the Memorial Day weekend!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Life's Little Gifts

"Spirit ", Audio CD by Willie Nelson

I'm chuckling to myself as I was, I admit, a bit whingy last week. Then, this week, I had a couple of my day jobs canceled, and had extra time to work on my latest painting, which is a challenge, both technically & emotionally, a challenge like being a dectective to solve a mystery. Well, that time is a gift. I used it as well, to clear old stuff out of my studio and to study deeply how I'm going to make the next revision of my novel as great as I can (I'm reading Donald Maass' Writing the Breakout Novel ~ GOOD).
Oh, another gift: I was getting a coffee at my favorite coffee stand in Taos, Roosters, & Jack had wonderful music playing that touched my soul, a cross between blue grass & jazz (e.g. Django Reinhart) ~ so lyrical. It was a little know album of Willie Nelson's, "Spirit". I found the CD on-line for very little & the music is still touching me! It even encouraged me to play my piano a bit!!
Time is precious, perhaps the most precious thing we have. I keep myself very busy, so I hope I'm not squandering time. Yet, as I'm somewhere in the last 1/2 century of my life, I wish I had more time to paint all the paintings in my soul, write all the books in my head & files, and give all the time I wish to my loved ones. Today, I received a photo of a former student of mine. I was happy to have the gift of 5 minutes to e-mail her and her mother! Now, I'm off to the studio to solve the next challenge in that painting. I hope your week was full of precious little gifts & time for your heart's favorite things.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

In Spite of It All

Forest Twilight
Berol pencil, Judith
May '09

Happy Mother's Day to all mother's and caregivers!
This was one of those challenging weeks, you know the kind ~ when you vow to do something important and monkey wrenches get thrown at you from all directions.

I vowed to make a magnificent obsession of my drawing and art, adding edge & stretching myself. Well, the day job was extra demanding, my house & garden were nagging me, I went to dog-sit my friend's 8 dogs, and I felt I was neglecting my editing, never mind the art. Okay, there are hours, days, and weeks like that. We all have them. I realized Friday, after I dragged myself to an art opening, that even artists who've made it, have their challenges when I observed the famous artist looking very pale and probably nervous. Then, in spite of exhaustion I came home & drew 3 drawings, one of which is above. I also realized that I have made it as an artist and writer, maybe not as far as I dreamed I would 21 years ago when I got my M.A. in art. My persistence (I was born with that, whew!) is paying off, and some years it's been baby steps and tiny progress in confidence. Oh, yes, in those years I finished raising two fantastic, creative children. So, my week went better than my monkey mind was telling me. And, I did get some garden & house work done too. Course, I love the garden part, so it wasn't nagging me so much as me itching to get out there as well as into the studio!

I hope your next week is full of creative fun in spite of anything else that comes your way.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

An Inspired Adventure

Ed Corbett

Today I went to the Harwood Museum here in Taos to see the Ed Corbett drawings. It was closed. Then, serendipity stepped in. A woman asked what I was there for as they were closed due to filming upstairs. "I just want to see the Ed Corbett drawings," I said. She let me in, and we tiptoed through the small, eye-popping exhibit. I'd only ever seen Ed's paintings, so his drawings, especially the pen and ink were informative, a surprise, and an inspiration. I vowed last week to put an edge in my own paintings & drawings. Ed's drawings are pointing the way. His drawings are different from his paintings, and just as powerful. His art deserves to be more well-known. He's a painter's painter, and he taught with and inspired Richard Diebenkorn, Clyfford Still, and Mark Rothko. He deeply inspired my own art teacher Fred Reichman.
I also reached a milestone by finishing the first revision of my novel. I hope this week is one of your most inspired ever!