The Artist’s Way: Week 6

Check in: Week 5: Recovering a Sense of Possibility

I completed 7 out of 7 morning pages. However on one morning I wrote 2 pages… My creative writing, or thoughts about projects usually start to arise about 1.5 pages in each morning – before that it is all minor fears and gripes, fretting over all the nothings in life. I get that out of the way and then creativity starts to intrude. (Which is lovely)

I did my artist’s date this week. I took myself out to a second-hand book shop, that also sells amazing coffee, and sat and read. I ended up purchasing an art book on the life and work of painter Henri Matisse. Beautiful book and reading through it taught me a lot about process and dedication. It felt good to finally put some time into myself.

Again, I haven’t experienced synchronicity, but I’m not out and about doing things or having social interaction. It’s ‘lock-down’ and being in the world is a very different experience right now. I’m OK with this as my creative output has increased and I’m loving where these new ideas are going.

Reflection

Week 6 is difficult. Not gonna lie. This entire journey through ‘The Artist’s Way’ has been very up and down for me, but this week those peaks and valleys have hit a new level. With understanding why I’ve been blocked brings a sense of anger, and resentment at myself for not seeing what was right in front of me – ME.

On the other side – finally synchronicity is beginning to flow and some things are happening – all because of this course (will discuss this in next weeks blog), but very excited for it. I’m starting to find a freshness to my ideas, a curiosity and excitement I just haven’t had for SOOOO long. But with this is fear, seeing that is a good start – I know – but I also know there is some hard work to do.

Spent an evening listening to old vinyl and playing with plasticine

Catch you next week xx.

The Artist’s Way: Week 4 & 5

I didn’t write last week – life kind of took over and I just didn’t get to it. However, I’m now well into this course of Julia Cameron’s, so will give you the latest update.

Check in: Week 3: Recovering a sense of Power

  • I wrote 7 out of 7 morning pages. However, 2 morning I only wrote 2 pages as I was sick. The morning pages have become integral to my morning. They have become meaningful and creative. I am so grateful for starting this course and finding how incredible morning pages are.
  • Being unwell affected my week. I had planed out the artist’s date for Saturday, however woke up in excruciating pain and ending up in bed for the day.
  • I did not experience synchronicity this week but I am seeing myself and how my past has influenced how I engage with people and how I engage with creativity. A couple of things happened this week to open my eyes to this – so I guess a type of synchronicity.
  • What I have mainly learned from this week is to get out of bad habits and replace them with ones that serve me and my creativity.

Check in: Week 4: Recovering a Sense of Integrity

  • I wrote 7 out of 7 pages. Some of the mornings toward the end of the week became difficult – starting to feel a little scratchy.
  • I did not do my artist’s date. So haven’t been great at this exercise. Not sure why I’m finding this so challenging but will endeavour to do better.
  • Not feeling synchronicity – except in my creative writing.
  • Overall, I’m being a lot more creative. I didn’t realise how blocked I have become. The non-reading challenge has been so, so, tough and I have realised just how much time I waste on stupid stuff that is filling my brain with clutter. It’s like a dumping ground – no wonder I can’t create.

Reflection

The last couple of weeks have been very up and down. I’m absolutely creating more, but also feel at odds with myself a lot. I think it’s because I’m learning much more about how I operate, and how I create. I’ve put a lot of obstacles in my way and it has been tough to see some of them. But other times, I’m having more fun, I seem a bit lighter with myself, maybe more curious. So all in all, it is very challenging but very worth it.

Catch you next time xx.

The Artist’s Way: Week Three

Check in: Week Two: Recovering a Sense of Identity

  • I completed 7 out of 7 morning pages. On most mornings the writing naturally flowed and on several of those mornings it progressed into creative writing, which has given me hope to continue with this. However, I did not complete the artist’s date this week. I think going back into lock-down because of COVID–19, (second time round for Auckland, New Zealand), pushed me into a type of lethargy and I just couldn’t commit to anything. Which is silly, as there are plenty of things I can do and enjoy and be frivolous with, so the challenge this week is the ARTIST’S DATE!!!
  • I enjoyed the other activities I worked on, but probably didn’t put in quite as many hours as I did in the first week. However, I feel like I’m understanding what I need to create in a more sustainable way.

Reflection

This week has been interesting, I’m enjoying exercises more this week. They seem to focus on childhood and reflecting on childhood memories, especially to do with play and creativity. So this has inspired my Artist’s Date, I’m going to be a bit more youthful in my approach. I tend to get too serious too quickly about process and activities and forget about having fun. I’m not sure why. But realising this is a good step to get a bit more lighter with my creativity.

The other thing I have been doing everyday this week is a very quick portrait sketch of myself. Not in a literal sense, but rather trying to express how I’m feeling through the sketching process. Below are a couple of samples.

Also, I fell in love with this quote, and it’s been a bit of a mantra for me this week.

Anger is the firestorm that signals the death of our old life. Anger is the fuel that propels us into our new one. Anger is a tool, not a master. Anger is meant to be tapped into and drawn upon. Used properly anger is use-full.

Sloth, apathy, and despair are the enemy. Anger is not. Anger is our friend. Not a nice friend. Not a gentle friend. But a very, very loyal friend.

Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way p. 62

That’s it for this week. I hope you are all doing well. Catch you next time xx.

The Artist’s Way: Week Two

I’ll start each week in this series by checking in with the past week.

Week One: Recovering a Sense of Safety

  • I did 7 out of 7 morning pages. At first I found it difficult, but then suddenly creativity started to flow, for the first time in a long time. I didn’t feel as blocked as I have been feeling and I even started to think about filmmaking again as a possibility.
  • I completed my first ‘artist’s date’, which was watching a film at home due to COVID-19 lockdown in Auckland. I watched John Cassavettes, Faces (1968). Remarkable film, I have already watched this film several times but just felt like I needed to see this again. It reminded me about the use of ‘space’ in film, how to use it cinematically and also for storytelling purposes.
  • I also did a number of the other exercises, I wouldn’t say I did 1-2 hours a day, but I did my best.

Reflection

The first 3 days were really difficult. I just felt blocked and grudgingly did the exercises, thinking that it’s just another ‘self-help’ book and nothing would come of it. However, by day 4 something happened. I started to think about a character for my next film. I started writing!! I just haven’t done that for so long. And this time, I didn’t think about what the end product would be, I just enjoyed outlining who this person was. Just having that happen has changed my perspective and the rest of the week was nuanced with many little creative opportunities and moments. I’m not going to read too much into it, but it gave me the encouragement I needed to keep going.

Out of all the exercises, the morning pages are becoming more important, and I can imagine they will become a creative life-line for the future. I think it is these pages that are releasing some blocks, as my morning writing goes into all sorts of territory, which I just hadn’t expected – I guess it is allowing me to put my views, and feelings out there and just in doing that release things I’ve been holding onto. In week two there are more exercises to do, I like the ones with the pie-charts – I just like anything visual so got straight into them, however got stuck on the, 20 things I love to do… sounds so simple, but ended up putting in some dumb fillers, so I will attempt that one again.

This blog post by Madeleine Dore reflects her journey over the entire 12 week course. It’s a very perceptive piece on the entire course and reveals the unfolding journey Madeleine goes through. I’m only at the beginning, but it was really interesting moving along the 12 weeks with her in one read.

Hope you are all well. Catch you next week xx.

The Artist’s Way: Week One

After blogging everyday for July, I needed a break and a chance to reflect on what I want out of this blog. The main thing I want to do is engage in conversation about creativity. So, with that in mind, I’m starting the 12 week course using Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. I will be discussing my learning adventure over the next 12 weeks into creativity using this book as a tool.

I started on Sunday, so my course weeks will be from Sunday to Sunday, although I will post mid-week. There is an enormous amount of reviews, and accounts on the web about this book, so I will endeavour to link something of value every week, along with my own review and reflections on the exercises. The first link is Julia talking with Russell Brand. This is relevant at the moment as they talk of being in lock-down due to COVID-19. Their discussion moves around, but it does show her thinking through artists issues right now and how to overcome them.

What I have learnt so far? Firstly, the morning pages. If you haven’t heard of these, they are the foundation of the course. This exercise consists of writing 3 pages every morning. There are no rules for these pages, you can put down anything that comes to mind. And, that is exactly what has been happening to me. I’ve only completed 4 mornings, but I just start jotting down anything that comes into my head until I fill up 3 pages. I haven’t done this long enough to reflect as yet. The next exercise is the artist date. Where you take yourself out to fill up your creative reserve, this is a weekly date so by the end of it I should have taken myself out 12 times. Brilliant idea – I just don’t know where I’m going to go, and how I will fit it in – so, we shall see.

That’s it. Just an introduction into what the next 12 weeks will focus on.

Hope you are all well. Catch you next week xx.

31 July Blog

This is my last daily blog. I have missed a few days through the month, but I’m still pretty happy with my accomplishment. So instead of writing 800-1200 words once a week, I wrote just a small amount everyday during July.

It was a challenge, and more difficult than I first thought it would be. But I think challenges, whether they work out or not, are a great way to re-focus or refine what we are trying to do.

Over July I kept thinking – why am I blogging? What am I blogging for? I think because it was everyday it pushed me to hone in on the reason for starting this, and if I should keep going.

I started Kick last year, in October, as I wanted to inspire creativity, and also reflect on my own processes and thoughts when creating. My angle was to inspire the process of creativity over any product or outcome. And I’m still so passionate about this.

However, I think some of my blogs have got a bit off track – so I do need to re-focus and this challenge has taught me to stick to my initial reason for starting this.

So this is it. A little bit everyday for a month. Done.

Catch you next time.

30 July Blog

I’ve been listening to Eckhart Tolle a lot lately and enjoying his discussions on being in the ‘Now’. To understand his idea of ego, I read this blog and it helped me a lot. It is not his blog, just a definition I found online.

I’ve been trying to stay present, and sometimes I can remain in the present, (on and off), for a time. But it is difficult, not something that is natural (yet), but I guess with more practice the discipline will become easier.

If I concentrate on my senses, it helps, and I’ve noticed I’m enjoying little moments a lot more, like; birds singing, sky, plant life, the warmth of sun through the window, texture of food – just moments. I was listening to a youtube video of Eckhart’s and he discusses his definition of gratitude – which I found so lovely. It is about 55mins along the timeline, so if you just want to hear that skip to that point. However, the whole video is worth a listen.

That’s all I want to say today. My month of blogging is almost over. Catch you tomorrow xx.

29 July Blog

In drawing class last night we attempted a ball with shadow. This was my first class. About 4 years ago I did a oil painting class but haven’t done anything since, other than my own little doodles.

Really nice to get back into the classroom as a student. Normally I teach, so to be on the other side of the table was a total joy. I recommend classes. Scare yourself.

Catch you tomorrow xx.

July 26 Blog

The creative process needs to have more value than the outcome, why, because if it doesn’t you reduce time into only being of worth if productive. Yesterday, I planned out a birthday card to paint. This birthday card is for a 6 year old boy and 6 year old boys, don’t really care for cards. So, this time of planning, designing and painting is absolutely about me engaging in process – a really good exercise in being present with your creativity.

I still have more to do on this, I want to put a ‘6’ on the car in blue glitter, and stencil ‘Happy Birthday’. I could easily purchase a card, (some people may think that my time is wasted), but the enjoyment in creating something is rewarding – you can’t purchase the process.

Catch you next week xx.

July 25 Blog

Saturday falls lightly into place. My footsteps,
feel youthful. I breathe easy. 
In the distance a bird cleans its wings in the angled light.

Saturday has potential. It is spacious. Thoughts can be moved about
at an easy pace. 
The breeze curiously enters the house.

Saturday reigns supreme. Golden amongst the others. 
Clouds drift, the sea changes from green to blue.
Somewhere a dog barks.

Couldn’t post yesterday. However, today is Saturday and I have a day off. It’s been a busy week back at work and I’m already feeling the grind. I just finished planning a birthday card I want to paint tomorrow – so I will show you how that goes, also, on Tuesday night I start my drawing class. Really excited to get back into some formal art training.

That’s it for today – hope you are all well. Catch you tomorrow xx.

July 23 Blog

Thursday.
Energy, a pre-peak.
A taster, that is probably better than the weekend.
Traffic, lights, faces, no longer in 'lock down'.
Pizza and bear,
Easy to forget to wash hands, to scan the code.
Never want to go back - to that.
Like flowers leaning in to catch the last ray of sun.
We lean in, to each other. 

This is not a poem, a poem takes time, takes a poet. This is just some words about going out and getting pizza and bear after work, doing normal things in a world that has been and is very (un)normal.

Catch you tomorrow xx.

July 22 Blog

Not feeling well today, so just sharing something I found in Essentialism: The disciplined pursuit of less, by Greg McKeown:

The life of an Essentialist is a life lived without regret. If you have correctly identified what really matters, if you invest your time and energy in it, then it is difficult to regret the choices you make. You become proud of the life you have chosen to live. Will you choose to live a life of purpose and meaning, or will you look back on your one single life with twinges of regret?… whatever decision or challenge or crossroads you face in your life, simply ask yourself, “What is essential?” Eliminate everything else.

Love this, I think it has true worth. Catch you tomorrow xx.

21 July Blog

On Sunday I challenged myself to photograph my walk in detail. Today the challenge was to photograph my inside surroundings in detail. The light wasn’t great, as there is a lot of dark clouds, but I did the best I could. Also, some images are micro, so you won’t be able to know what the item is but I liked it for texture and colour.

Like these images together, I think the colours and textures work. I moved them around a bit, but have now settled on this.

I also think this collection works well. Instead of focusing on the actual object, just thinking about how the images create a collage is interesting. Fun activity, that took me way longer than it should have, haha…

Catch you tomorrow xx.

July 20 Blog

Back at work today after a 2 week break. Only had 1 week off and the other was working on my upcoming interactive installation: At The Horizon.

Great to have time away, feel less stressed, but it is so easy to fit back into bad habits. So, I listed down some aspects about work-life that I want to change – so hopefully the time has given me some valuable reflection that I can actually put to good use.

I sketched this little image a while ago, however it fits with how I sometimes feel about work. But at the same time, so fortunate to have a job.

Today I bought, You’ve got This: Life-changing power of trusting yourself written by Margie Warrell. At the moment I’m collecting self-help books, so this looked like one I would enjoy. Like usual I will share anything I find of value or any helpful quotes.

Catch you tomorrow xx.

July 19 Blog

I set myself a challenge today. I often walk along Cornwallis Beach, and post pics, like yesterdays post, and while the photos are lovely, they are always vistas. So, I decided to take more detailed micro photography and show my walk in 10 images.

I had to take more than 10 to get enough to edit into something interesting. It was really fun to notice the detail around me. You should try it.

Catch you tomorrow xx.

July 18 Blog

Yesterday I didn’t post as I spent the day with family. I drove down to Hamilton, picked up my sister and visited our mum. She’s been sick over the last week, when it was her birthday, so this was a post-birthday outing. We went to this awesome cafe for lunch and just enjoyed each other’s company and great food. 

I stayed on in Hamilton for the afternoon and then went to a theatre play No Exit that my niece was acting in. Beautiful day.

Today back home, doing some odd jobs, not much really to share.

I did go for a delightful walk on Cornwallis Beach this afternoon. Here are some pics for you.

Will be more creative tomorrow. Catch you then xx.

July 16 Blog

Today I’m challenging myself to write a list from the book, L’art de la: Liste simplify, organise, enrich your life, by Dominique Loreau.

The suggested list I’m going to write comes from page 167.

My Talents
Cooking vegetarian Lasagne to perfection
Knowing how the TV show is going to end
Scoring big at second hand shops
Forgetting what I have just been told (especially someone's name)
Remembering peoples' birthdays
Eating chocolate 
Reading late at night
Phoning my mum on time (everyday)
Saying 'I love you' to those I love
Remembering to water my plants

Catch you tomorrow xx.

15 July Blog

I’m half way through my daily blogging challenge for July. In some ways it has been easier than expected, and in others it has been more challenging. But, I’m determined to see it through.

Today was spent on my At The Horizon project for RM gallery in Auckland. I wont be finished until September and there is much to do. I have discussed this work a little in another post: A mixture of Creativity and Chaos. I’m mainly in the editing and colour grading stages, which takes time and a lot of careful consideration. But I feel happy with what I achieved today, so that is ‘success.’

I’ve been trying to stay in the present as much as possible today, and that has been helping my mood and creativity. So, hopefully I can do the same again tomorrow.

Took this snap at the end of our road. Went for a short stroll to get some fresh air before another session on the computer editing.

Hope you are well, catch you tomorrow xx.

July 14 Blog

Struggling with myself today. It’s like I know what I should be doing, but continually get in my own way. What is that about?

Sometimes I hold such high expectations on what something will be like, or how I will enjoy the process of something, and forget that 90% of most things are hard work. You just gotta get the work done, solve problems, overcome hurdles, and keep going.

Also, I’ve been waiting for an ‘answer’… not a spiritual sign or anything, but a knowing of where to go with this project I’m working on and I’m a bit stuck. A bit like writer’s block, I guess.

I just have to accept that is where I’m at. Keep working, keep trying and in the end have faith that something will come of it.

This picture is so accurate of me today, haha. Well, tomorrow is another day. Catch you then xx.

July 13 Blog

Living in the moment. Apparently that is where we are. Only in this moment. Not in the past or future, yet so many thoughts are caught up in those two places. Places that don’t exist.

I find it so hard to stay settled in each moment. I’m always hurrying after the next moment, waiting for something, putting life on hold till the weekend… Or, worried about something I said or did, like I can change it.

Even while writing this I drift off into what I’m going to do later.

Why is this moment so difficult to live in? It’s not worse or better than any other. I don’t have the answers. Instead I breathe, I feel my weight on the earth, I look up and see the sky. It’s all I can do.

Catch you tomorrow xx.

July 12 Blog

Just when I have some semblance of clarity fog  moves in. A common fact of life.

Sad that this is a reality, but on the other hand when I see or experience success at some level I understand that there’s work behind it. Generally not luck. This allows me to dig in. 

This week I’m working on a project I’ve talked about in A Mixture of Creativity and Chaos. I’ve  put aside the whole week to dig in. There’s a lot to figure out, there will also be a lot of fog. But that’s OK. 

Life is half and half, and understanding that makes the hard half tolerable
Hope you’re well. Catch you tomorrow xx

July 11 Blog

If you want fresh coffee in the morning, you will have to take the additional preparatory step of grinding fresh beans. If you want a better body, you will have to get up earlier in the morning (or, perhaps more accurately, go to bed earlier the night before so that you aren’t too tired to exercise). You might also have to store better food in your house so that when you’re faced with food cravings, you are prepared to eat more healthily instead.

The Seven Arts of Change, by David Shaner

This quote reminds me that if I want to transform, adjust, change, I need to prepare fully for that transition. I can reflect all I want, but that doesn’t move me forward. Reflection lets me look at what is.

Lately I’ve been so passive in life. Not just lately, probably for a few years now. I’m pretty sure this was an outcome of pushing myself so hard with filming my first feature film, and trying to complete a PhD, and when those two goals were completed, I just couldn’t push any more. I mean, I went to work, I moved forward in my career, but, creatively, for me, I have been very passive.

But this state of being is now passed its used-by-date. I can no longer put creativity on hold. I’m not saying I haven’t been creative. I have. I’m working on a project now, I started this blog, I’m creating everyday, but there still seems to be something missing.

Before creativity held higher stakes. I’m trying to find my way through creativity with smaller outcomes, and daily practices, and I’m blogging about the importance of that. But now, I think I need to prepare for the next phase.

I’m not sure what that is. But the quote above reminds me that wanting change means preparing, being open, ready, AND it means commitment and hard work.

mmm things to think about.

No pics today, just thoughts. Catch you tomorrow xx.

July 10 Blog

We have arrived back home from our break. I loved time away to reflect, but I also love home. Being outside of the usual routines, away from personal items and responsibilities has allowed me to have the space I wouldn’t usually have.

While away, I’ve been sketching, or doodling and I forgot how much I enjoy this form of creating. For absolutely no other reason than creating. I’ll share a couple of sketches with you here.

Even though I’ve written about creating for its own sake, I maybe, haven’t been doing it myself. So this was the perfect opportunity to put this to practice.

Hopefully I can keep this up. Catch you tomorrow xx.

July 9 Blog

Last day at Hot Water Beach

Reflecting is actually more difficult than first thought. I mean, really reflecting. Thinking all the big things.

Being creative, makes me happy, stimulated and refilled at the same time. And, I’m just not doing enough of it on a daily basis. Been thinking on this, musing… I started this blog in an attempt to stimulate my own creativity – but haven’t really got any further, or been any more creative.

2020, hasn’t been the most stimulating year, however, in some ways it has shown me more than previous years, where perhaps things were tracking along easier. My reflection has challenged me to take my foot off pause. That’s the first step. See where that gets me.

Road trip back to Auckland tomorrow, I’ll take some photos.

Catch you tomorrow xxx

July 8 Blog

Fourth day into our break away. Two more days, then home. Really spent most of it inside today, just relaxing and looking out the window. Finally went for a walk on the beach and took the photo below.

My knitting is progressing along, and I’m enjoying doing the odd doodle. It is beneficial having time to process this year and allow myself to breathe. My days have been on repeat, sleep in, breakfast, Yoga, knitting, drawing or reading, listening to music, beach walk and enjoying good company and good food, haha.

I’m very fortunate that I can do this, and don’t take that lightly.

Doodle of my view today

Hopefully when I get back home, this time of reflection will be a valuable asset going forward.

Even if you only have time for a walk, put your phone away, turn the TV and computer off and do it. Time to refuel is so precious.

Catch you tomorrow xx

July 7 Blog

Today’s winter sunshine

On the mindful Meditations podcast on Spotify titled Gather your Energy, Sharon Salzberg suggests:

If you consider how scattered, how distracted, how out of the moment you may ordinarily be, you can see the benefit of gathering our attention and our energy. All of that energy could be available to us, but usually isn’t, because we throw it away into distraction.

Today was my first day back at mediation, and yes I did use Spotify, but I needed the voice guidance. I usually find Yoga to be enough in the morning, it’s my moving mediation, but lately distraction has been next level.

Holding onto the present moment is difficult to do. The mind wonders off so quickly and I just seemingly go along for the ride. So my focus is now to meditate 3 times a day. First being yoga, then a lead mediation via app or Spotify, then a short meditation before bed. I’m hoping these 3 points in the day can bring my ‘self ‘ into more clarity and then when ready to create, I can focus my energy.

Hope you are all well, Catch you tomorrow xxx

July 6 Blog

To be present, is to abandon the past and dismiss the future. Try it. Just for one moment, think of nothing, let thought go. View what is around you, marvel at the light, at the shadow, at the shape and presence of things.

In this space let yourself just be. Breathe. This is a place you can create from. Not thinking of goals. Not thinking of self criticism. Not thinking. Just being, creating, breathing.

It’s OK.

Catch you tomorrow xx

July 5 Blog

Road trip.

Packed, picked up coffee, and hit the road. Auckland traffic was light heading out midday Sunday. Had to take my knitting, it’s my goal this week to knit, read, walk and relax. The road soon changed from concrete-scapes to hills, bush and ocean.

We got to our beach batch. After unpacking, eating scones and cheese, we headed out for a walk into what was quickly becoming wild, wet and windy. Couldn’t go as far as we would have liked, as the tide had come in too far, but it was fun to navigate the area.

Now back at the batch, and beginning to unwind.

Catch you tomorrow xxx

July 4 Blog

Road Trip Tomorrow!!!!

Tomorrow my partner and I head off for a few days away. This will be our first get-away for some time. Really looking forward to it, and also appreciate how fortunate I am to take time off like this.

We are going to Hot Water Beach, where we can walk along the beach with a spade, dig a hole, and relax in a hot natural spring. Very relaxing in the middle of a New Zealand winter.

My one goal is not to think about work…

So, today I’m just doing some jobs around the house before we go; student marking, work emails, washing, groceries… all the bits.

Tomorrow I will post some photos of our road trip to our destination.

Catch you then xxx

July 3 Blog

Last night when leaving work to head home I noticed how pink the sky was. I stood and tried to breathe the colours in, the adaptions of tone. My first thought was to take my phone-camera out and try to capture the colour, the silhouette of the buildings, but something made me stop. Instead I just relaxed for a moment in this experience of pink light, and the mood of the evening and let that be enough, without having to hold onto it.

I’m listening to Eckhart Tolle talk with Russell Brand about awakening, which really is about tuning out of our thinking brain and experiencing the phenomenon of life. Living in the moment.

Sometimes, for me, these moments are so short, because my brain just keeps worrying, and fretting – but then a pink sky comes along, and I remember to breathe.

Catch you tomorrow xxx

July 2 Blog

A student in class today, randomly asked about soup. We were discussing films and television production, group work, directing actors, and suddenly the conversation took a side-step.

Soup – what is it we like about soup. What types of soup there are. Then an idea come up from this about sharing soup recipes. As a teacher there are times when I ‘try’ to get the class to stay on track, but occasionally we need a laugh, we need to just be a community, friends sharing soup recipes. And, that is just OK.

A soup I made 2 weeks ago, was made up of 1 leek, 1 broccoli, 1 onion, 1 carrot, 2 potatoes, 1 cube a stock, salt and pepper and water. Simple beautiful soup. I will share this with my film class. Just because.

Simple isn’t always the most beautiful, but sometimes it’s all I want.

Catch you tomorrow xx

July 1 Blog

Today is the day; the day I start blogging everyday this month. I know right? Too intense? Probably, however, I need to kick-start back into this.

Lately, things have got on top of me, (if you read my blogs then you will realise it’s gone a bit downhill). I’m not gonna lie, it’s been tough.

But with a little push, mustering a little energy, remembering how much I love writing and inspiring creativity – I’m gonna give it a go.

They won’t be long blogs, just little musings, photography of my days, some prose, art and inspiration I am finding around me.

So this is the first, just a heads up. Looking forward to it. Excited even.

Below is a collage of images I have taken over the last couple of days as we have been out and about enjoying winter’s sun, clouds, and rain.

Catch you tomorrow. xx

The Sweetness of Sharing

Often glorious finds come my way because others have shared what they are reading, watching, or engaging with. So, this post is all about sharing things I have found.

Firstly, I want to share a video from KarenBritChick. Her YouTube channel is about fashion and she does this amazing series called What everyone is wearing in New York. I love the street vibe and the way she discusses personal style. I especially like the fact that the videos are quite long, so I can settle in and really enjoy the New York vibe. But the video I want to share today is something quite different. Due to what is happening globally I think this is the perfect introduction to her: My experience with racism/What is it like to be Black?

I listen to Russell Brand (occasionally), I like how he approaches very difficult subjects with curiosity. He also has a podcast, Under the Skin, but I think this is a good introduction to him, and it’s not too long: What I’ve Learned This Week

There’s a couple of other Youtubers I want to share with you.

Firstly, Yoga with Adriene, there is so much I can say about this channel, but it’s best just to go there and try something yourself. Here are a couple of favorites. Yoga for Courage: This practice is full-on, but it reminds me to have faith in myself and my body.  Moon Practice: Very gentle practice for those days when you need more peace than challenges.

This one is quite different, Kutovakika, who inspires creativity through her ingenious self-styled photography. She shares a step by step approach with both cameras and phone-cameras, so you can follow along. Mostly she uses everyday items, which means you don’t need all the equipment. She also has some knitting tutorials, which I have yet to check out. Also, I love looking at her Instagram page: @kutovakika

For something quite different, here is an interactive documentary by Mariette Sluyter titled, Bread. This documentary is so sweet, I just love the women talking about their cultures and how they have brought modes of being (and baking) into their new Canadian country.  

Because I’m into creating film and love moving image, this one is just a must. Art of the Title. This website explores the creation of title making for films. The range is so diverse, and they incorporate who made the titles and sometimes, what went into their design.

I looooovvveee Nordic Noir television shows. So, doing some of my own research around how this type of noir developed I came across this podcast, titled appropriately: Nordic Noir. This is not a series to listen to, but a historic view of the development of this genre in this particular region in the world.

This post is short and sweet, and I hope you find something in these shares.

Catch you next week xx.

Review, Reflect, Refocus

This blog is about revisiting my New Year Resolutions for 2020, taking stock, re-planning and re-focusing. Yep the year hasn’t turned out as planed but there’s only one way out of it – and that’s into it.

Reflecting on my goals I can see that some of them are now out of my control and cannot be achieved. However, there are still several I can accomplish if I refocus and put energy and time into them.

To begin with, looking at all my goals and plans for 2020 was a little bit of a downer.

My daughter and I were planning a trip to Greece and I had other adventures planned, also the interactive-experimental documentary, At The Horizon, which I have mentioned changed. Because of New Zealand’s lock-down the gallery that was to host the exhibition had to push a lot of the projects back to 2021. I wrote about this creative project in Process: A mixture of creativity and chaos – Part 1.

I’m blessed, I haven’t lost my job and I have my health and family, so these aren’t major issues. But I feel like the beginning of June is a perfect time to review, reflect and refocus.

So where to go from here?

I can’t push all projects or goals back. Some are just no longer practical in this changed world. Yes, they may happen, in a year or two, but for my own mental health and creativity I need to focus on now, on today.

In my New Year Resolutions 2020 post, I categorised all my goals; personal, health, creative, and work.

So, in review: two goals in my personal category can no longer happen, the health goals haven’t changed, and the creative goals and work goals need to be realigned

In reflection, and being honest with myself, my six personal goals were probably a few too many anyway. As stated, two can no longer happen and one has been removed, so now I have just three to focus on. The health goals haven’t changed, one of them I have maintained throughout this year, but the other has not happened at all, so I need to focus on this. I had five creative goals, one has been ticked off, YES!!!!! One I’m going to let go, which leaves three. The two work goals will still happen, but I need to develop new timelines for them.

Also, in reflection, I simply can’t ignore what is happening around the world. I’m not an island in space, I am connected to my world. I have to be honest; my mood, positivity and energy have changed. I’ve needed more time out, more rest, more down time.

So that’s they lay of the land, now I have to refocus, while giving myself a bit more time.

Years ago, my partner and I bought a property that needed a lot of work. We were both taken with how cute the house was and could see all the potential.  Some of the issues were dealt with straight away, and some were left for, “when we could get to them”… After a few years, everything began to bug me, I started to see all the flaws and it was overwhelming Then after talking with someone I realised that the house hadn’t changed, it was just how I was thinking about it. Seems cliché but that is exactly what happened, I remembered why we had bought it, my attitude changed, and I actually started doing things on the house again.

Refocusing can be tricky. But there is a reason why you do the things you do, a reason why you create in the way that you do.

You love it.

Yes, you get frustrated, you don’t have the time, you feel depleted before you begin, but you still love it. And just settling on that for a while can assist to grow motivation. I try to remember moments that I’m in the flow, times when my creativity takes over, or seeing someone impacting by work I’ve done. That is often enough to get me going again.

But that is not all it is. It can’t just be daydreaming about the good times. It is also the work. Refocusing means recommitting to the work ahead. Making timelines, breaking goals down, writing lists, putting deadlines in the calendar. You know, all the hard stuff.

I’m not going to leave it too long before a reflect again. I think I need to do this more regularly.

Well that’s it from me. Catch you next week xx.

Lists

Lists to do. Groceries, jobs, crossed out or ticked off.

What lists do you make?

Well I want to start with a few different types of lists, fun lists, list that open up creativity. Something I’ve picked up from the book: L’art de la Liste: simplify, organise, enrich your life. Written by Dominique Loreau.

The first one I want to start with, is a list of self description. A written self portrait. Try it. It is more difficult that is sounds. Below is my attempt…

There are so many lists that are fun – the next one is a ‘wish list’. Dominique Loreau states:

Writing down your dreams – even seemingly impossible dreams – may lead to a strange phenomenon: They may come true.

My wish list is pretty simple:

I wish to travel, see the world, the whole of it.
Everything.
Which now seems further away.

I wish to talk in languages.
German
Te Reo
Spanish or French.

I wish to work in China for a while.

Loreau states:

Make a list of your wishes – date them and keep them. Don’t worry if they contradict each other. All you need to do is believe in the unthinkable, the unimaginable, in mysteries and miracles. Lists of wishes have more potential to change your life than you may think. Every word conceals a certain energy. When we commit our desires to paper, we accord more importance to them; we cherish them. Our words are the cement, and our dreams are the bricks.

One more list I want to try is a memory, this is a time I spent with my Nana.

floral carpet and floral curtains
custard kisses and cheese rolls
horses
flowers
a spare bedroom with coats hanging in the cupboard
a boat in the shed, unused
a rest in the chair after lunch

Try making lists – not the ‘to do’ kind, the type that lets your imagination wonder.

Catch you next week. xx

To Choose, or not to Choose

Even though they sit in the same word family there are some differences about the words choose and choices –

Choices: is to have options

Choose: is to make a decision, it is an action word

Here are some synonyms of the word choose: select, pick, take, indicate, elect, cherry-pick, decide, all good words, all words of ‘action’.  (I especially like ‘cherry-pick’). So why is it, that with so many choices we often give up our privilege to choose.

This time last year I chose to visit my brother and his family in Australia. Great decision on my part.

With this new framework of staying at home due to covid-19, our choices have become more limited and within that I’ve began to realise the varied choices that ‘were’ available to me and reflect on why I didn’t choose to take up some of those opportunities.

When given a multitude of choices it is easier not to choose. In that way every choice is still possible, or that is what you are telling yourself. Yes, sometimes you do need to keep yourself open, but what if you do that too much, what if some doors you don’t go through because you’re always expecting a better choice to turn up, or you’re scared that going through one will rule out another.

Recently I was approached to be part of a creative collaboration. I jumped at the chance and for a time spent my creative energy on the project. I found time, I became excited by the work and once it was finished, I realised that I had not been choosing my own project. The one that means something to me, the one that I’ve been working on for a few years.

Was it because I was no longer excited by the work, or was it because I wasn’t choosing it?

The short burst of work I engaged in collaboration reminded me that I love the creative process. So, the following week, I choose to work on my project, and I’ve been actively involved ever since. My renewed decision sparked my energy and I now look forward to each time I spend on it.

So, what was happening. Over time opportunities, or things you think you want to do accumulate. Not only important things, but the small fun stuff too, the catchups with friends, the drive to a particular beach, the activity you’ve put off all summer. All the things you want to do become this long list, and how do you divide your time up between them. Well, maybe you don’t. Maybe having too many choices is actually the problem.

With time being spent at home over the last six weeks, I’ve been reminded that I don’t need a lot of things and choices cluttering up my day, week or month. Actually, less is better.

Love this quote from poet Mary Oliver:

Tell me, what is it you plan to do / with your one wild and precious life?

We may be told that we can have it all, and do it all – but really, if you think about it, that’s not true, and why would you want that anyway? Your one wild precious life – keep that in your head and heart when you are making your decisions, or when you are full of indecision and fear. Life is so short, it is wild, precious, beautiful – don’t spend it on things you’re not that into, or feel obligated to do, don’t fill it with worry, that is not worth your time.

Greg McKeown author of Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less states:

When we forget our ability to choose, we learn to be helpless. Drip by drip we allow our power to be taken away until we end up becoming a function of other people’s choices – or even a function of our own past choices. In turn, we surrender out power to choose.

I think we also surrender our power to choose when we have too many choices. All the choices may hold interest, may be meaningful, but because you can’t have it all or do it all – YOU HAVE TO CHOOSE.

When you are walking and you put your left leg out, then your right leg out – do you ever ask yourself if you started walking on the wrong leg? No, well I don’t? So why think about choice as wrong or right, it is a step, and you need movement to get where you want to go. If you don’t know where that is, start moving and maybe you will end up where you don’t want to be and then at least you can decide where to go from there.

But if you’re not moving?? Well you know that answer.

Make choices, make decisions, move, find out, discovery what is and what isn’t for you. Don’t let too many options stall your movement – keep discovering how you want to live your one wild precious life.

Catch you next week xx

Breathing

Difficult times. 
I’m having a difficult time.
Breathe. Breathe in, then out, 
slowly through the mouth. 

I’m not going to offer advice about 
how to get through it, not even gonna try. 
Instead I’m gonna tell you how 
I’m getting through this. 
I breathe in through the nose, 
then out slowly through the mouth.

I’m trying to wake up at a similar time 
everyday, (doesn’t always work). 
I get dressed - even though I stay at home. 
I do my hair, and sometimes put on make-up. 
I try to exercise everyday, 
either through yoga or walking. 
The more strenuous stuff I've given up, for now. 
I need light exercise, just movement - that is enough. 
Breathe.

I don’t snack too much - 
just eat at regular times. 
As I breathe in I count slowly to 5.

I get caught up on my social media feeds. 
I try to put the phone down, sometimes I can, 
and sometimes I can’t - but I’m not 
going to be too hard on myself. It’s OK. 
I breathe in, counting to 5, 
then I hold my intake and slowly breathe out 
through the mouth.

Sometimes I lie on my bed, I make a nest, 
with pillows and blankets. I just lie there. 
I think of my family that I haven’t seen, 
I wonder what they are doing. 
I imagine they are safe, happy, 
and coping with what is happening. 
I talk to my mum everyday at 4.30pm.
Breathing, in and out. Slowly.

I sit at the window and watch 
people walking in bubbles, or jogging past. 
I think about crowds, 
and what it was like to be on a crowded train. 
I used to complain about crowded trains - 
I wonder if I will do that again?
I breathe in, counting to 5, 
then I hold my intake and slowly breathe out 
to the count of 7. 

Sometimes I snack on the news, 
on what is happening around the world. 
I look at the numbers and can’t make sense of it. 
Then I start again on my social media feed, 
just to dull my mind, 
to flatten the numbers. 
I breathe in, then as I breathe out 
I relax my shoulders down.

I’m still working. 
So fortunate that I do. 
It gives my weekdays structure, 
I’m busy during that time, 
focused and the days blur from one to the next. 
I breathe in, I breathe out, I relax my shoulders.

Lately, I haven’t been snacking on the news, 
and I’ve been feeling guilty, 
because I don’t know the numbers. This is complicated. 
But, I’m getting through. I’m lucky. 
I’m breathing.

Hi.
How’s it going?
I hope you are well. 
Catch you next week xx.








Creating… Because you have to

This is my first post. I have now been blogging for six months and decided to re-post it. Happy I’ve been able to show up every week, can’t believe 6 months has rolled around so quickly – please enjoy…

I didn’t initially know what to call this article, however, I did know that being a creative isn’t an option for me. I need to state I’m not talking about creating for work or a product, but just being creative for creativities sake. I believe that creating is part of who we are, we are a creative species. The thing is, we’ve got so caught up in product-driven creativity that something about the process has been lost. And, it’s such a shame.

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2021 Art in process: Just continue on.

Can’t believe it’s the start of May already. I’ve got six weeks until I begin at RM Gallery, so I need to press on. It’s been a very busy week, and I didn’t get a lot of research accomplished but I will continue on.

One thing I have been doing is re-watching films from early avant-garde filmmakers. It’s interesting to see the development of film following the great art-movements of the early 20th century like; Dadaism, Surrealism, German Expressionism and such. I’ve never enjoyed the aesthetic of Surrealism in the plastic arts, but now find myself caught up in these 1920 and 30’s films, especially Un Chien Andalou (1929) by Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dali. There is a looseness to the work, which I’m intrigued by. Marcel Ducamp’s film Everyday (1929), which I cited in What the heck am I doing, has more of a structuralist approach – very tightly edited, extremely controlled, but Un Chien Andalou allows for more abstraction in association between each image in a sequence.

I’ve never worked this way myself – but might try experimenting with this in editing. Not sure. But I want to push myself and this to me would feel very uncomfortable – so that must be a good thing.

I want to also look at the Russian filmmakers again, especially Sergei Eisenstein, Dziga Vertov, Lev Kuleshov and Vsevolod Pudovkin. Eisenstein, of course well known for developing the montage. I’m not sure I see these filmmakers as avant-garde probably more experimental if I have to come up with a label. However, their use of montage is intriguing and I know it did influence the Surrealists at the time.

The only other thing I’ve been doing towards the research is pondering. Yep, pondering. Especially on the development of the ‘event’ in my last post. I had a good conversation with a friend about how the narrative should develop technically. For example, if I’m developing the idea of a spiral narrative form inspired by a shell the camera could constantly be moving in a spiral formation. So another layer to ponder on. And of course sound! How to develop sound is something I also need to think about – so pondering is important.

That’s all from me. I’m just continuing on. I didn’t get done what I thought I would, but sometimes life has other plans and gets in the way of our creative intensions.

I hope you all have a great week. Let me know about your own creative endeavours.

Catch you next time xx.

2021 Art in Process: The Pinecone

Out of all the natural objects I’ve collected, I didn’t think the pinecone was going to be the pivot-point for this research. In last week’s blog I put up a photo and a drawing of a pinecone, and the two main ideas that come from brainstorming around this shape was ‘vacancy’ and ‘layers’. Then I decided to reduce the pinecone into an abstract drawing, then into a more diagrammatical image. I just allowed myself to mull on these images, without rushing.

This is hard to do. Just being and thinking is hard to do.

In this mode of ‘mulling’ I come up with an approach to narrative that I don’t think I would have thought of without this reflective process. Which gives me some confidence in the work. It is difficult to push ahead, especially without knowledge of where the project is heading. I guess this comes from judging what I have done before and projecting that into the future. What I mean is that if I haven’t done something before, I can’t judge it on my past work. So the lack of knowledge or lack of known pathways can cause discomfort. But I have to push through.

So, the pinecone. Who knew?

I thought the research would be based around the spiral in the shell, or the speckles in a river stone. I wasn’t going to even use a pinecone, it was a random decision on my part. And, I wonder if because the shell and the stone already have connotations of narrative to me in their make-up they are in a way loaded in the research. But this pinecone I’d never intended to use, so my thoughts were a lot more free to roam and question how this object could inspire narrative or narrative structure.

Original sketch of the pinecone
First adaptation of the shape
Diagrammatic render with brainstorm

The words I initially used to describe the sketch of the pinecone, ‘vacancy’ and ‘layers’ have not been developed. Rather the idea of an ‘event’ presented itself. How to develop that further, will be the work of this coming week. But I’m quietly confident I can work with this idea. It certainly has potential for narrative or non-narrative exploration depending on how I develop it further.

The ‘event’ could seem very similar to the ’cause and effect’ approach of conventional narrative filmmaking, however, I believe the concept of the ‘event’ can strike a deeper philosophical meaning.

So, where to from here?

First I will analyse the term ‘event’ starting with the etymology and then look at any writers or artists that have used or been inspired by the term.

I’ll leave it there for this week. Catch you next time xx.

Oh… before I forget – I wanted to say I’ve posted my very first Vlog. So if you want to see me chatting about this research click here.

2021 Art in Process: What the Heck am I doing?

This post is going to go over what the heck I’m doing, how I got to this point, and how I’m jumping into process no-matter if I don’t actually know what the final outcome will look like.

I’ve written in my posts over this year that I’m working towards an art residency that begins in the middle of June and runs till the end of July at RM Gallery in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland.

An arts residency is difficult to qualify in terms of: what it is or what is expected from the gallery, as galleries will have very different processes and expectations. I applied last year for this residency, as I had already exhibited at RM and found that there was mutual understandings around art and community – so I wanted to engage with them again. In my application I discussed how my main practice is moving-image and my interest in exploring different approaches to ‘making’. Instead of fitting content to the usual commercially driven narrative structures, my intention was to take objects of nature: for example, a shell or a feather, and analyse these objects structurally and then use that information to influence how story or theme unfold. Luckily the gallery was interested in my application and they are very open to what outcomes forge out of my research and creative practice.

So, now I’m 8 weeks out from the residency. The residency consists of a working space to create work and has wifi, a kitchen, a wet area and quite a lot of tools and resources for art-practice.

Going back – I’ve been making moving-image for a long while now. I’ve worked in television, film, corporate video, social media content, even done a wedding or two, and now I teach it. However, lately my main interest in moving-image has taken a turn towards art film, avant-garde film, experimental film, poetical film and DIY filmmaking. This interest started quite some time ago, however at the time I was still engaging with the commercial industry as well. It’s only in the last couple of years that I have committed to an arts-practice approach to my moving-image making.

Since January I’ve been slowly researching my idea, which looks like reading, viewing, drawing and taking notes. And I’m at the “What the heck am I doing?” stage. I’m asking myself that a lot. And if you are also engaging in a creative process and feel a bit lost in it all – it’s OK. It’s actually part of the process. There’s always this moment, many moments when self doubt kicks in, even confusion or a feeling that the idea and project is sh*t. But this is where you push on, keep moving, even if you don’t know exactly where you are headed.

The latest object I’ve been working with is a pinecone. (So difficult to draw). The main aspect of the pinecone that I’m interested in structurally is ‘layers’. There is so much you can do with layers, I jotted down a few ideas but I think I need to think about layers more, before I go into the next stage. So for this week, I want to look at the idea of layers conceptually, and what it means for storytelling in moving-image. I have some ideas.

I just re-watched Marcel Duchamp’s Anemic Cinema (1926), where he is super inspired by Dadaism and reduced form to shape and movement. I’m really interested in this type of graphic reduction, and my intention for this week is to play with reducing the ideas of ‘layers’ into a diagrammatic image – this will be a 2D drawing, but will allow myself to think-and-play further on the concept of ‘layers’. Actually Duchamp’s Everyday (1929) is very much a layering of plot and character to create form and intensify the theme of modernity at work. If you haven’t seen it, it is worth a watch.

As I said at the beginning of this post, I don’t know where I’m going or what the final outcome will look and sound like. But that’s perfectly OK. I know I’m gaining momentum and I just have to trust myself in this process.

If you are in the middle of a creative process, let me know down below how you are going…..

2021 The Art Process that Never Ends…

Well it’s been another month since I posted last and not another week… life has squeezed me. Now I’m only 2 months out from my residency at RM Gallery – and I need to get the shit done. So yes I will be blogging – and I’m going to start Vlogging EEEKKK- and YES it will be every week. I commit to that. I’m going to do it. Haha.

I’ve decided that the output for this residency will be an experimental film, or maybe avant-garde film is a better definition, as even though I’ll be using and experimenting with technology, the main focus of the research is to create film outside and pushing against main-stream cinema. But definitions aren’t everything when it comes to this type of film, you could call it art-film, poetry-film or underground film: something that is not narrative driven.

If you’ve read the other previous posts in 2021 Art in Process series you will see what I’m being influenced by and the ideas so far. I have done more research – I justI haven’t blogged it.

This is a pattern I created out of linear sentences – which I think is interesting.

About the above image: I wrote a letter to myself about the research and then drew around the words that made up each line – then used colour and texture to create something aesthetic. Because I have been using objects of nature to inspire diagrammatic drawings, I wanted to consider how to create a diagrammatic drawing from what I would usually use to start a film project, “sentences”. I haven’t analysed it yet, but I’ve found it a thoughtful exercise.

What I’m doing this week is gathering examples of avant-garde film that intrigues or inspires me in some way. So next week (YES next week), I will link what I have found, and discuss why these types of film are of interest to this project.

Also I’m working on my first Vlog – nervous as heck. But I’ll do it anyway.

That’s it for me. Chat soon x.

2021: Breathe: Art in Process

I haven’t been blogging for several weeks, but I did do some work on my project. It’s pretty difficult at the moment to make time for everything, but I’m trying to spend a little time a few days a week, which does add up. I’d love to be more methodical in my routines, but, yeah, just never happens.

My approach for the last several weeks was much the same as week 4, but accomplished more using nature to inspire the structure of possible storytelling. I’m trying to see if I can develop a method, so then I could possibly lead a workshop in it – which would be fun and hopefully beneficial to those who attend.

So, the method seems to be working, however I need to repeat it a few more times and develop it into something more substantial so there are more divergent ways someone could use it, but I am beginning to see the potential. Last week I took a piece of grass we have here in New Zealand, which we locally call Harestail Grass, but which is formally called, Lagurus ovatus, and although it is originally from the Mediterranean, it is found in most coastal areas. It’s a pretty grass, soft and used often in dried flower arrangements, so it’s a good example to keep.

Like in week 4, I first described the object – not scientifically, just on what I could see. I didn’t draw it this time, however, I did spend a lot of time looking at it and thinking about its qualities. Then I chose 3 of those qualities to explore.

There is a lot in one stalk of grass! I decided to choose 3 points of inspiration to carry on with, brainstorm and explore. These were:

  • Random
  • Life after death
  • Peeling back layers.

At this point I created 3 structural diagrams. This process is totally intuitive, I’m not a mathematician or statistician, all I’m doing is taking inspiration from nature to inspire the creation of structure and it helps me to draw a diagram of sorts.

So, for ‘random’ a drew dots and just randomly connected them, for ‘life after death’ I drew a timeline backwards, and for ‘peeling back layers’ I started off in a linear fashion but then drew parts returning to a point and going somewhere else from there. From this process I decided to take ‘peeling back layers’ one further step.

You can see this on the right hand side of the image. I have worked narrative into the diagram, tried to see where and when plot points could be returned to. Again just an idea at this stage, another exercise which furthers this particular project. From this point, a story could be formed and placed within the narrative – just thinking – it may be beneficial to create several structures and layer one story over all of them to see how they develop or unfold. I guess this would be called plot – the story is told through plot.

That’s all my notes and developments at this stage.

Catch you next time xx.

2021 Breathe: Art in Process Week 4

Today I spent some time thinking about a ‘shell’. Yep a small sea-shell and how it could inspire me.

It is a process.

To understand what I’m on about you will probably need to glance over week 1 – 3, however, I’m working towards a body of art-work and interactive media for an exhibition later this year. The project is based around being influenced by elements of nature to create structures of narrative.

Surprisingly it did – inspire me, the shell. I first drew it and then just listed elements I could see and feel. Things like: lines of spots, 3 rings, textured, neutral colours… and so forth. It took a bit of contemplation and for a while I was thinking, ‘what the heck am I doing?’ – how is this shell going to inspire the structure of a interactive media installation??

This is the shell, which I used in last weeks blog.

I think one thing to remember is to that the process will happen, you just gotta have a little creative faith.

Once I had listed the elements of the shell, I decided to choose 3 elements that could structurally work for story telling. I chose:

  • Shape has function
  • 3 circles
  • Live edge

Once I had chosen this list I wrote what they could mean for story structure. (They could mean anything – this is just what I came up with).

  • Shape has function: The way the story works has function for the content
  • 3 circles: 3 parts, or 3 points of view
  • Live edge: Nothing static, plot points have a living quality, some paths could go nowhere, or characters fall away (like life)

Then I started crafted the very first stages of a story together. It came a lot quicker at this point than I imagined, but by now I was really open, allowing the process to just unfold without my critical mind getting in the way.

I broke the story up into 3 parts, a diary entry, a text, and the description of the world. Once I had those parts, I just wrote, which you can see on the left – yes, I tend to work backwards…

Absolute draft stages, and I don’t think I will carry on with this story – it was just my first attempt to see if nature could inspire structure. And obviously it can. Still a lot to work through – but that is what process is all about.

This attempt only took 1 – 2 hours, I had to walk away a few times just to let me mind think of something else, then I would come back and contemplate a bit more. It’s how I work. I will try again through this week with another item. Drawing the object first was a good start, it just allowed me to be with the shell for a while, also choosing 3 of the descriptions worked well, it gave boundaries for creating structure. So I will do both those things next time, and try a few others as well.

Catch you next week xx

2021 Breathe: Art in Process: Week 3

This week is a little explanation of what the heck I’m trying to do. My partner and I were going for a walk and I was telling him what the project was about – so I thought I would share some of that here:

Often VR (Virtual Reality), AR (Augmented Reality), and interactivity within storytelling heroes the technology rather than the technology being in the background. This can easily turn into a ‘technological’ experience rather than the forgetfulness of technology – like going to the movies and not thinking about the projector.

So how to switch this around?

In this project I intend to be inspired by nature, as in the forms, structures of how nature works as a starting point to create Vr, AR or interactivity. My hope is to create a more natural placement of the technology within the story development. (I do need to add here that I’m not intending to create VR my concentration will be around interactivity with a small AR element. But the intention is for the technology of all of these to always be in the background).

For example, a person maybe seated at a gallery engaged in a installation, and within the experience the story asks the person to use something, like headphones for part of it, or glasses for part of it, or choices on the screen and it seems very natural, it doesn’t seem out of the ordinary, so the parts of technology being used are not focused on – rather inherently part of the experience.

I mean gaming is very good at this. When I’m gaming (and this is very rare), I don’t often think about the controller – unless I don’t know the game well.

So, my first mission is to grapple with how nature gives or provides structures and frameworks and how to incorporate that within a narrative piece. As I stated in the week 1 of this project I want to start with the patterns and oddities in nature and then move onto systems, as in weather patterns as such. But first off, patterns in leaves, shells and stones.

The first part for me is to collect objects and think about the forms nature has given them. There is no wrong or right way of looking at an object for this. For example the first image of the stone I’m interested in the random elements of it, but with the shells I’m interested in the patterns. What I’m not going to do is analyse why they are formed in the way they are formed – not at this point anyway. Rather, I’m just letting myself be inspired and then see what happens.

I really have NO IDEA where I’m going with this – but I have some sort of faith that I will find a way at connecting nature with interactive and AR technology….

That is the hope.

So, my challenge for this week is to be inspired from these objects with no intended outcome at this stage – just to be inspired and of course to remember to breathe.

Catch you next week xx

2021 Breathe: Week Two

How to set up a art based project?

There is no one way, there are as many ways as there are projects. So, this is not a set of rules or a check list, just the way I’m going to do it for this specific project.

My project consists of research before beginning the creative part, and the project also needs managed. So first I’m going to think about the research; how I collect it and collate research that relates to me, how I make notes and observations of my work. Then there are the outcomes, the creative part, what it is that I’m going to create – what I want the final output to be, and, lastly how do I manage the project, including time, budget…yep all the fun stuff.

1. research and observations. 2. creative work and outcomes. 3. management.

For this research I will keep topics, research collected and thoughts in a spreadsheet… For observations I will keep a journal and use OneNote.

Creative outcomes I am aiming to achieve: Feature Film Script, Interactive Video Art and exhibition, Workshop for public. I will be using Final Draft (scriptwriting software), Adobe and AVID, plus recording devices – but not sure what yet. For the workshop I will be teaching with DSLR cameras, and using Adobe.

Management systems I will be using is Trello.

You probably know about most of the software I’ve mentioned but I’ve linked them anyway, just in case. Also, these are just tools I use and there are many more that do the same task. But it is good to acknowledge what you will be using and try to stick to these, which helps with the consistency of the work. That doesn’t mean you can’t change mid-way through, it’s just helps me to set-up the project in this way.

Seems like a odd image to choose, but setting up a project is like setting up anything even setting a table. The choice over what you use will have some impact on the research and outcome, so think carefully about the systems, ways and even software, or tools. There can always be a time to explore some different tools to see what will suit the project best, but it is a good idea to come to a final decision and stick with that.

Catch you next week xx.

2021 Breathe – Art in Process: Week One

Last year I had to stop blogging. I was getting in my own way and things became unfocused; No one wants to go over 2020 again – so, breathe.

Here we go. It’s time to make new commitments with new intentions. Yay!

This year the blog will primarily focus on the process of new art work. I’ve been accepted into an art-gallery residency in June-July 2021, so, firstly I will blog my process of working and researching towards this residency, then blog the residency experience and finally I will focus on the after-process, findings of the research, and art outcomes (work, exhibitions and screenings).

I have a working title, ‘The Narrative Structuring of Nature: Te Hangahanga korero mo te Taiao’. The focus of the project is to look at creating narrative structures through patterns in nature.

I’m at the first stages of this research, so other than the idea and my first inspiration, I have nothing to show. Which is great! I have to start somewhere, and this year’s blog will hopefully document this entire process.

In my proposal for the residency I suggested that the project would look past the ’cause and effect’, ‘3-act structure’ or ‘hero’s journey’ pathways, which are very commonly adapted for moving-image storytelling, and towards unique narrative structures inspired by patterns in nature. Usually, for research purposes, I would start from, and discuss, why particular frameworks are common, successful, or “tried and true”, and then branch out from there. But I’m not going to do that.

I’m just going to dig straight into the work. Enough has already been said and is being said about these common structures in storytelling – you don’t need more on this from me.

There are a few things I want to do to set up the project, and that is to find several applications or programmes that will fit with the research. These could be anything from excel to photoshop – I want to decide on specific tools for a variety of functions and stick to those for the coming year. There are a number I have used before – but I’d also like to challenge myself and try different things out. I’m also going to write an overview of the outcomes, as there are several, and create a calendar, tasks and milestones for each to keep me on track, as each outcome is large. These planning aspects will make up the next couple of posts, so you can see my set up from the get-go. I hope this helps if you are also embarking on research or a project you need to keep track of and stay motivated with.

Me at RM Gallery, setting up for the ‘At The Horizon’ exhibition.

Must admit, I’m pretty excited for the project and happy to be using this blog as a platform to express my process. I’m going to leave the post here – just an introduction to the year ahead. Love this quote from Carla Melucci Ardito:

Learn how to exhale, the inhale will take care of itself.

Catch you next week xx.