I should probably take a bit of time and explain my work and how it has developed, at least to get my head around it. It seems so different to when I last spoke about my work but it is it’s natural progression.
I think the reason it has taken me so long to write about it, is because I was waiting to have it all together, have all the answers, but I should know by now that, that is not the case, it will not stop just continue to evolve.
In the past when I have entered my work into exhibitions and fairs I have used this paragraph which is the best way I have to describe my work and process.
‘My drawings are my thoughts. Ephemeral instances captured to create an almost tangible organic moment. A therapeutic process of automatic expression and mediation, they explore and help to gain clarity and awareness over the mind while allowing access to different state of being.’
‘In the beginning, a verbal thought, unsolicited written words expressing. The form growing through sentences built up by the contemplation of labyrinths. Meditation, relaxing and letting go through the repetition of circles.’
In the beginning I start off with writing. The writing is automatic, my scattered thoughts coming out which have more of a control over me than I do of them.
Using words in my work started when I was looking at creativity, not knowing where to start and the intimation of the white paper, I wrote down ideas and thoughts, which I soon realised, this way of thinking (logical) was just as big of part of the creative process as other aspects. Just as I use drawing to represent my visual thoughts, I use writing to represent my verbal thoughts, although they are meant to be more logical and linear thoughts, I find them or they have in the past been out of control, which is what started me this quest with my art. I find writing my thoughts, gets it out and clears my mind, in some case can lead to over thinking but in both cases it leads me to becoming more aware.
Writing is such a big part of my process, since reading Julia Camron’s The Artist Way, I have been ‘doing morning pages (not strictly in the morning but when I get to the studio) ‘three-pages of longhand writing, strictly stream-of-consciousness’[i] for about five years and found it an invaluable tool ‘[writing] all that angry, whiny, petty stuff that …stands between you and creativity’[ii]. I’ll write more about my morning pages in another post.
These are how I have used writing in these works, not knowing where to start I start with what I call a superficial mind, getting down and out my rambling thoughts, to clear my mind so I can go deeper. The reason I want to go deeper is to find my (authentic) self, by getting control over thoughts /learning to focus, both leading to a more aware state.
I call the patterns I make by tracing a path around the words Labyrinths, they are not traditional labyrinths ‘a circular form [with] only one circuitous path to it centre’[iii]. I still use it as a ‘symbol that represents journey, discovery and transformation’.[iv] As I find with the labyrinths path and that when drawing my own ‘Labyrinths’, ‘as you change directions, you shift your awareness from right-brain to left brain, which induced more receptive states of consciousness’.[v]
The associated functions of the left side of the brain and right side of the brain features a lot in my work and how switch between the two or how to find a way to balance and use both together, Labyrinths are just one of the ways. Betty Edward’s Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, goes into detail about the different modes of thought associated to each side of the brain, and how to bypass the local/verbal side, so you can learn to draw,(this is one of my favourite books for the theory, the exercises are a little outdated).
I am learning to bypass the logical side through drawing to get to the side that allows you to be more aware to be the observer to the thoughts as Eckhart Tolle put it. One way I do this is by drawing small circles building up to make bigger circles, I get lost in the repetitiveness, all most going into a trance just focusing on the circles.
It is the focus leads to meditation. By training the mind to focus …’you become aware of your normal uncontrolled thinking patterns and eventually learn to relax and quiet your mind’[vi]. I call these meditations but it think with putting verbal and visual together it becomes mindfulness; the focus leads me to be more aware on my thoughts. ‘The ability to calm and stabilize the mind is a good beginning practice and important as a basis for mindfulness meditation’.[vii]
‘[Mindfulness] involves learning about yourself and the world around you…you become aware of the contents of your mind and the subtle feelings in your body. Then you begin to observe the mental habits and patterns that may be holding you back in life. Through mindfulness you can learn to be mentally present-aware of what you are doing and thinking, and aware also of the world around you – while maintaining a non-judgemental and compassionate attitude’.[viii] I see my work and my process as a discipline something I try to practise daily slowly building up. The idea is that when there is balance and harmony in my mind it shall be echoed in my work/vice versa.
[i] Cameron, Julia. The Artist’s Way. USA: Penguin Group, 1992, page 10.
[ii] Cameron, Julia. The Artist’s Way. USA: Penguin Group, 1992, page 10-11.
[iii] Gauding, Madonna. The Mandala Bible. Great Britain: Octopus Publishing Group, 2011, page 28-29.
[iv] Gauding, Madonna. The Mandala Bible. Great Britain: Octopus Publishing Group, 2011, page 28.
[v] Gauding, Madonna. The Mediation Experience. Great Britain: Octopus Publishing Group, 2010, page 292.
[vi] Gauding, Madonna. The Mediation Experience. Great Britain: Octopus Publishing Group, 2010, page 22.
[vii] Gauding, Madonna. The Mediation Experience. Great Britain: Octopus Publishing Group, 2010, page 22.
[viii] Gauding, Madonna. The Mediation Experience. Great Britain: Octopus Publishing Group, 2010, page 22.