Monday, September 19, 2011

Mull it Over Monday: Think Less, Paint More ...tapping into joy

From my archives, a detail of c/p w/c on paper
I recently read Eckhart Tolle's The Power of Now. It's a wonderful read.  He talks a lot about joy.  He says it doesn't come from the outside...   He says we should be more conscious and "think" less. When I apply that concept to my art, it works on many levels. Mixing the right color, intuitively finding the right tools and equipment, arranging a still life: Most of it is better accomplished on the fly in the moment. Many of my best paintings were done with not a thought to be found. In fact, the more I think about my art the less I actually do it. Having a vision that motivates and gives us our get-up-and-go even before we grab a paint brush is a magic and sometimes fragile alchemy. The "joy factor" is there when ideas inspire and sustains us as the creative act unfolds. 
Always good for a laugh, this website.
I believe that artists have a unique ability to tap into joy.  When it's there it's great, when we're not feeling it: Thats when thinking less can really come in handy.  Getting quiet helps.  Switching out a media of choice, trying a new subject matter, size or supports will reset one's creative flow.  My husband sometimes tells me I need "a fresh set of eyes" --and achieving that can be as simple as a good night's sleep.  How do you recharge?


  1. Thanks for posting this, I get too wrapped up in the 'thinking' - lately however, my dreams have been my guide on working out problems at the easel..then I have already done my thinking and let it flow. I have no control over this - which is probably a good thing?

  2. "Most of it is better accomplished on the fly in the moment." Isn't that the truth! Thanks Di, for continuing to inspire and kick me in the...oops, I mean encourage me in my own creative pursuits.

  3. what a great post, Diane! When I paint ..there's not too much "thinking"..most of my paintings are done with they think for me. The colors are there ..positions are already placed..not like you who sets up your own still life. I wish I can be like you!

  4. You are absolutely right!! If I start thinking it could end up being days before I find the inspiration to paint,and the longer I leave it the harder it gets.Painting is instinctual and joyful.

  5. Diane, that is such a good post! I think, too, that my best paintings are when I turn off that unrelenting 'shoulda' voice... ("You should have articulated that section more, you should have balanced the color pop with more grayed tone, you should have made the flower smaller, bigger, whatever... warmer, cooler ugh!)
    Just 'be'....

  6. Excellent, Diane! It is so true that we can over think things, in this case paintings. They become dull and life-less with too much thought. At least that is my opinion.

  7. The Power of Now is one of my all time favorite books! So glad you liked it, too. When I'm able to turn off the thoughts and separate out the feelings to just 'BE,' it's definitely an altered state for me! But a thrill to be there. I'll also say that reading Tolle's book several times has helped so much in raising a teenager. The sequel, 'Practicing the Power of Now,' is also excellent, and expounds on some of the concepts a little more.

    To 'recharge,' I have learned not to sweat the dry spells. When I'm ready to create, I'll know it, and time will allow for it.


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