Welcome to MissouriBendStudio!

This is an online journal of my artistic investigations and a way to communicate about my work, ideas, quandries and queries! I welcome comments and conversation and do hope you enjoy these musings. My artwork is available in my shop MissouriBendStudio on Etsy.com or on my website.


Friday, January 14, 2011

A Session in the Studio With The Observer

It's Friday already...probably no one needs a reminder, but I just find it astounding that it's Friday already. I've had only a little time in the studio this week and I found myself feeling rushed, with a need to be productive--not conducive to actually having a good experience.  But, after all these years of watching and listening to the inner voice, I know what is actually happening...well, it's almost like each moment has an instant replay and the observer in me will send an echo in my ear.  Here's a bit of the account from yesterday afternoon..."look at you, you're frantic...trying too desperately to make the seasons pieces...do you think people are tired of your winter meditations?"  Well, yes and no.  Then, I tried to relax and remind myself there are no deadlines (sure there are...I've been invited to have work in a small works show in New Hampshire and I have to have six to ten pieces there at the end of the month...no deadlines, I can't be fooled into falling for that one these days!), I hear the echo a few moments later, "this desk is absolute chaos and it just gets worse as you squeeze the paint out of tubes and leave them lying about willy nilly...there are pencils and crayons, bits of thread and for crying out loud, would you clean up all those tiny beads rolling around all over the place....just stop. stop. stop. So I stopped and I knew that I just needed to straighten things up, get a little visual order as a way of slowing down and making the space to work. It is important to create a quiet, special place for centering and meditation and for me, the studio is that place and I found I was not honoring the process by creating the space for the flow to happen. The chaos of the studio was only fueling the frantic feeling inside. And so, it didn't take long, but I put things away, got some order back and felt immediately better. If you listen to yourself, you actually know more than you give yourself credit for, I usually find. I'll try to remember to leave the studio in a good state when I'm finished working, so that when I come back and sit down, the current can flow. This is another one of those somethings I need to be reminded of time and again!

Don't know how many of you know about my other blog, MissouriBendPaperWorks, where I have been posting a daily found text poem for the last year.  I've now decided to just post there once a week, on Wednesday, and have also developed a new way of making the poems that is satisfying and deliciously fun. It's a little meditation and always a surprise how the poem announces itself.  I start with a page of text from a book and scan the words, selecting some and painting others out with white acrylic paint. I guess I scan ahead a few lines to see where my next word or phrase will be and then keep painting until I get there.  The process kind of forces you to be in the moment and there is an excitement when the finished poem announces itself...plus I really love the look of white, black and the cream color of the paper....hmmmm, are these more winter meditations? Here's the poem I posted this week over at MissouriBendPaperWorks.

You have a duty to perform.
Do anything else, do any number
Of things, occupy your time fully.
And yet if you do not do this task,
All your time will have been wasted.


This quote appeared in the book I'm reading and it really struck me.  We each have our life's work....maybe you know what it is, maybe you don't.  But if you know, as I do, what I'm called to do, you'd better be about the business of doing it.  I've always said that for me, art is a calling, not a career.  You can certainly just make it a career, but for me it's a calling, not just a career.  I'll leave you with another winter meditation, from a time earlier in the week when I was most definitely in the flow.

Winter Meditation no.9

Have a great weekend...see you Monday!


  1. Okay, first of all, by the looks of No. 9 this particular viewer is not going to be getting tired of your Winter Meditations anytime soon! Oh, oh, oh.

    Second - those words "If you listen to yourself, you actually know more than you give yourself credit for" are so true! And yet, how can the opposite also be true that we are sometimes our own worst enemies and need to NOT listen to ourselves? Oh yeh, we're human, full of wonderful contradictions...

    Visual order helps me too. If my workspace gets overrun (which happens in cycles of three to four days it seems) I can't properly address anything until the chaos is somehow subdued. I don't need everything exactly right all the time, and can establish my "zone of order" just about anywhere, but for me a clear space equals a clear mind.

    Calling vs. career - spot on.

    You make me smile how your mind works. Then there's a pair of us! Don't tell! They'd advertize - you know!

  2. seems the time of year ...i know others myself included who have finally had to just stop everything and at least get my studio in good working order again.
    i can appreciate all that you have on your plate and the allowing to 'hear' and find some inner calm.
    congrats on the new hampshire thing and glad you have so much verve going on right now!

  3. I came here from SOWEN EARTHS blog and I'm glad I did. I love the winter meditations. Very calming and elegant. I did an autumn series last year but funnily enough it didn't occur to me to carry on after Autumn! Maybe this year!

  4. Lovely post with so much that I relate to. Winter no.9 is a visual haiku ..... it encourages contemplation.

  5. Hi Patti - your descriptions of your chats to yourself are so heart-warming and helpful. Its like reading books and knowing you are not alone. I find tidying my studio very healthy and a bit like a boat that self-rights it self to a balanced and upright position. Once I have done it I can continue to sail smoothly thru my work.

    I struggle with the notion of my art being a calling - I seem to have spent so much time doing other things, studying to be other things and so on. I do know tho that it's the place I feel most me.

  6. Paula...nice to hear from you and thanks for your kind words. Yes, it is the time for getting things in order!

  7. Welcome Lucky Dip Lisa...thanks for stopping by! So glad you like the winter meditations! Yes, I enourage you to keep making your work in that series through the seasons!!!

  8. G....well, glad to hear the winter meditations are still meaningful for people...they certainly are exactly where my artmaking wants to be right now...guess I should go with the flow, as they say. I'll start paying attention to my the cycles of chaos in the studio and see what the pattern is...every three or four days is about right for settings things back into the "zone of order" as you so nicely put it!

  9. Robyn...a visual haiku...thank you! That's a wonderful compliment!

  10. Fiona...I think that for you art is a calling...as you say yourself, it is where you are the most "you". I think we can spend our lives at other career or job related pursuits, which I have as well, but nothing changes the fact that you acknowledge a calling. It's only now that I am actually becoming dependent financially on the artmaking. You definitely have a calling, which I don't mean this in any religious sense whatsoever...only that it is the thing that is truly you! Cheers!


I'm happy to hear from you...comments and questions are welcome!