Monday, September 9, 2013

Daydreaming is good for you

"Insight is an unexpected shift in the way we understand things. It comes without warning and feels like an unexpected gift-
                                    an AHA! moment!" Gary Klein

This morning I read an article on the Huffington Post , How to Train Your Brain to See What Others Don't, by Carolyn Gregoire. I think it is absolutely relevant to how I and other artists work. I look at the same things everyone else looks at everyday, all day long - but when I look I try to take the image beyond what everyone else might remember. I mean, what is the point of painting what everyone sees if you can't provide new information to the viewer? The article comments on the relevance of "time to daydream" because that is often where insight really lies. I can't  number the times I have been shaken out of my daydream by my family when they are ready to travel on and I am still trying to lock in my mind what I'm seeing and what I want to take away for further use. We don't always get to make reference sketches or snap photos, and often that's not the necessary information because the experience is so multi- sensory. I find myself writing notes like sound of birds far in the background, leaves were fluttering in the breeze so sunlight danced back and forth on them, almost like twinkling light, we felt alone..... those are the things that turned an ordinary scene into the aha! moment. And that's what I hope to convey for the viewer of one of my paintings so that they too, can experience what I have.

this photo of the boathouse in Carondelet Park was taken by my husband 39 years ago and still hangs
 on my inspiration board in my painting studio. Much of what I paint in uniquely tied to this park.
Childhood is where we learn so much of what carries us through our lives. When I was growing up I spent a lot of my unscheduled time in my neighborhood park, Carondelet Park. Looking at light coming through trees, sensing changing seasons through small things like the sound of a breeze in sycamore trees, fading roses and hydrangeas, sunlight dappled on the lake, and winter walks through silent snow and on frozen lakes. Aha! moments where I stopped and locked in a feeling that changed me forever. All of these things are still present for me emotionally and I will never lose the vivid memory of them. Through them I've learned a method of recall that allows me to find my emotional response to everything I paint. Those "aha' moments are significant. They don't make me think I've seen this before. They make me remember I've felt this before and that's the story I want to tell in a painting.
“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music he hears, however measured or far away.” Henry David Thoreau
Daydreaming is good for you!                                                                                                               

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