Mad in Pursuit Notebook

the art life: exploration mode

Organizing for the Art Life in 2016, Part 3

Exploration Mode

Jan. 11, 2016. [Cont'd from Jan 10] If my production goals are about writing and textiles, why did I kick off the year with a commitment to a daily DRAWING exercise? Why did I spend hours reorganizing my photo files? But didn't I read somewhere that the world was veering away from books and heading (back) toward visual storytelling? Should I even be asking myself these questions in Exploration Mode? Maybe I've lumped "experimentation" into the same category as "practice." Is that a bad thing? (Thinking. Thinking...)

Ok, either way, it's all about learning and expanding my capacity to produce good work. To do this I'm going back to the diagram I sketched on New Year's Day:

art happens

This mode involves nurturing three things:

1) I wrote "abundant raw material" (pictures, cloth, thread, data, etc.), which may be literally true. But the generative mind also requires a SENSE OF ABUNDANCE, the confidence that I have enough to work with, that I have enough stuff to start making creative connections with, to begin seeing new relationships, new possibilities. Some days I have to stop and gather together my abundance -- whether it's combing my computer files or piling up old clothes to rip apart and re-purpose.

2) The correct tools, mastered to the point where they don't pose their own distraction. How many times has a software program baffled my good intentions to capture a great idea? Some days I have to step back from a project and re-watch the videos on, say, Adobe Indesign.

3) A quiet mind. For this I mean a certain openness of spirit, but it also means planting my butt in a chair long enough to start unraveling the mysteries in my raw material and to apply my tools to get something new and interesting to emerge. Some days this too demands that I step away from the work and clear the cruft from my mind by reading, walking, or taking photographs of stars.

Some days these three requirements do snap together like puzzle pieces and produce ART.

I think these ideas set me up for 2016 "exploration," whatever that turns out to be.

Next: Infrastruction Mode>>>


THE SUDDEN SILENCE: A Tale of Suspense and Found Treasure (2015) Thailand: lovers of ancient treasure tangle with international black markets. Delia Rivera pulls Martin Moon back into the game and their quest turns deadly. In paperback and Kindle editions.

TRIBE OF THE BREAKAWAY BEADS: Book of Exits and Fresh Starts (2011) Time after time, Mary asks herself: Do I go or do I stay? She finds her power in her ancestors: Smart women turn discontent into action. An illustrated memoir in paperback and Kindle editions.

PASSION AND PERIL ON THE SILK ROAD: A Thriller in Pakistan and China (2008) The twin forces of revenge and redemption drive Nellie MacKenzie and Taylor Jackson on a crazed adventure into the heart of Central Asia. They grapple with issues of ethics, trust, rage, and bitter heartbreak -- as well as the intrigue of the international antiquities trade. In paperback and Kindle editions.



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