Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Loaded Brush, Sharpened Pencil, Flowing Pen

“Before enlightenment; chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment; chop wood, carry water.”~Zen Proverb

What every artist wants is flow. That place and mindset where the chi moves in an unobstructed way onto what's before them. Look closely at the photograph. Those beads of water on the brush just happened to show up. When I discovered them, I smiled. Flow. A simple trio of words came to me this morning: "Loaded Brush, Sharpened Pencil, Flowing Pen." The words came, not all at once. First one, then the next, and later the other. But they are significant . These little guys are all working for me right now. All primed. All good, all recognizable. Comforting. And exciting. It feels really quite fine. And it's because of the writing.

A working artist works, flow or no flow, but when that gift of freshly primed and especially fluent creativity comes forth, we celebrate. And work. But happier. Every artist has to master fluency. We have to become our own best coaches, gurus, and friends because there is every reason in the world for artists to stop. Just stop. What would the world lose after all? But for those of us who know that any other way is wrong for us. We don't. We work through, or pause, or zig to bring the zag ( that works a lot.) There are lots of days of just taking the next step, then the next. You can sharpen pencils, clean a table, take a walk, work through the night if need be. Change a routine, or listen, breathe... and work.

Because that's what everyone who deserves the name artist does. We work. In flow, or out. Whether the work is actually on the canvas, or the finished piece, or in development, we work. Even in our down time, you can bet the wheels are turning, the pauses and the activity, are just yin and yang. So flow, when it happens is as welcome as rain. That's what the struggle, the transitions, the pushes, are about after all. Flow. That's when a loaded brush, a sharpened pencil, and a flowing pen come in especially handy. Very special friends indeed.

Yes, that's them, glowing and getting all big headed.. next thing you know they'll have agents and demands. Oh wait too late. Brush get over yourself...I am not building a cabana...c'mon, time to put that cadmium orange on your tip to work. What? Pen wants to go first? Huh, Pencil, you want to doodle some ? Sheesh... I am all zen and suddenly we have divas.


ParisBreakfasts said...

"Loaded brush" is a David Dewey term for of course loading yr brush up with as much paint as possible and them letting it fall of the brush into a pool of water.
But there must be NO water on the brush, just pure paint!!!
Hope yr going to splash that paint around today :)

Janice C. Cartier said...

I know that term and I love it. It's why I love painting big. A fully loaded # 8, 9,or 10 leaves a wonderful trail of color. For me, it mimics the excitement of what inspired the loading in the first place.

Oh we are going to splash.:-)
(Nice things on Etsy BTW )

A Brush with Color said...

I can't wait to see you splash. Wonderful that you're writing and that it's keeping you energized! Good for you! beautiful brush and pen by the way!

Janice C. Cartier said...

Thanks. These guys are all demanding time. But I am hoping brush wins out today.

Karen Swim said...

Janice, loaded brush, sharpened pencil, flowing pen - I love it! You are so clearly in the flow and I love that you are taking us with you. I think I'm ready now to really face the day.

Janice C. Cartier said...

Karen-LOL. yeah, I want to just put my hands over my ears to everything else... NAH NAH NAH...can't hear you. And stay in the flow...except when I need breaks.. and a warm word or two from a friend.. thanks.