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Here’s a kind of recap of the presentation today!

“Meditating on the Filled Page”

As I started to put together this workshop it occurred to me that this title was indicative of the lives of most creative practioners, and teachers. I imagine that like me, all of you struggled to make a space in your calendar for this opportunity to replenish your own spirit – to refill the well.

It seems on paper as if my life is quite empty, I have an empty nest – the last of my children just left for college – I only work outside the studio 4 days a week, so that leaves all this “empty” time for my own art practice and studio work. The reality of course is that one of my “real jobs” – teaching, encroaches into that free time. I am always reading, marking exams and projects, devising new strategies to approach familiar material, working to be a better teacher so my students get the best possible experience from me. I still have family and community commitments. I have my own work, given only to me by the universe; “my secret jealous lover (my work) is always there waiting for me… he whispers in my ear that there is not much time left for what I am meant to do” Niki de Saint Phalle.  My pages are FULL.

Not only do I battle time, I also battle procrastination – What Steven Pressfield in his book “The War of Art” calls “capital R” Resistance. The exercise I am going to share with you today was inspired by the work of an artist called Will Ashford who “rescues, salvages and transforms” other people’s words. For me the page mediations have become a tool to trick my inner censor – I am not really doing any work, not being creative, just hanging out with this old page from a book. For me this works. I can switch gears and as I am “colouring” my pages the work of the day begins to unfold and I know where to turn next in the studio. This is work as play. You can’t do it “wrong” as there is no predetermined result. Any age level can do it – any person (self-defined creative or not) can do it – although I’d recommend experimenting with different sized/spaced text depending on the manual dexterity of the artist.

As time passes I often see preoccupations surface in this visual landscapes – words that some straight from “the soup” and into the studio. As an artist I am drawn to making highly detailed, labor intensive, large scale work that uses repetitive process, so this form of meditation fits my way of working well. And I find by the time I have finished the work fro the day is restless and ready to be manifested in the world – I know what I will be working on in the studio!

* the other person both Mark and I mentioned was Seth Godin. The other book I mentioned was this.

I want to thank all of you for diving in and playing with me today – I really left feeling energized and refreshed – kudos to all!!

If you’d like we to teach this workshop for you contact me at debraeck at debraeck dot com.