If I have learned anything in the past few years, it is to pay attention to the quality of my mind (both thoughts and feelings) while I am in the studio. In fits and starts I am learning to recognize when I am not really ready to paint and I have developed a variety of studio practices that serve, in the words of John Cage, to sober and quiet the mind. This enables me to slow down and focus myself before picking up the brush. When I am in the right frame of mind for painting, I move with an energy of open awareness, where possibility and delight move forward and concrete goals and ideas quietly take their seats off stage. Being aware of the state of one’s mind and developing the capacity to shift one’s awareness is perhaps one of the greatest challenges of being human.
Earlier this year I completed a collaborative project with dancer and choreographer Hope Mohr, one of the many things I was reminded of while working with Hope and the other dancers was the power of the body to sober and quiet the mind. In her most recent blog post, Hope writes about this very thing in her own eloquent way. Here is an excerpt: