Sunday, September 27, 2009

Art Blog: NOTHINGness

“To do nothing at all is the most difficult thing in the world, the most difficult and the most intellectual”
Oscar Wilde

This week’s “menu item” on the JOY DIET is to do nothing. That is, do NOTHING for 15 minutes per day this week. Do you know what a difficult assignment this is for me? I am a hyperactive, Type A personality with constantly racing thoughts. I don’t think I have ever experienced doing NOTHING.

Here are my thoughts right after I achieved the first fifteen minutes of doing nothing:
I set the timer for 15 minutes, lay on the couch, and closed my eyes. The first thing I noticed was all sounds coming from outside. I told my mind to “ quiet”. That lasted a few seconds. My mind was racing again and thinking about all the stuff I had accomplished earlier in the day. Again, I told myself “Stop. Try to be still.” That worked for a few seconds and then I began thinking of all the things I wanted to do after this “nothingness” time was over. At that point, I couldn’t stand it, I peeked at the timer. I still had 7 minutes left. I closed my eyes again and tried so hard to just stop thinking. I was unsuccessful. I realized doing NOTHING was going to take a lot of practice! When the timer went off, I was relieved!

Throughout the week, I practiced doing more nothing. I never felt I achieved the perfect state of nothingness, but at least I felt a little more grounded. One thing that came to mind during this week’s assignment was how I can use a variation of this technique in my art work.

When I make art, there has always been a feeling that I am conduit for a higher source of energy. In other words, I often feel that I am not making my art all by myself. I feel there is some kind of great director guiding me. In order to feel this way, I have to be in tune with my art emotions and art spirit. When I am in this state, the creative ideas flow. Recently, I have been having a hard time getting ideas. I have been grappling for new directions. I saw this quote.

"I shut my eyes in order to see." Paul Gauguin

I realized how doing nothing with a marker in hand might be the answer to finding a new path in my work. I decided to sit in silence, put a blindfold on my eyes, try not to think about anything, and just let my hand draw. Of course, the drawings looked like chicken scratch but I think there is something to this method. I am going to continue practicing doing my “nothing drawings” and see where this may lead.

"Nothing Drawing #10"

During a 15 minute drawing nothing session, I do about a dozen drawings. What is interesting to me is the fact that during these drawing stints, it isn’t until I reach the tenth or eleventh drawing, I start to feel free and quiet. It is as if it takes my mind at least 12 minutes to let go. It is fine the drawings don’t look like anything. Remember, they are drawings of NOTHING.
Click pic to see the Nothing Drawings created during one fifteen minute session.


sherry ♥ lee said...

Brilliant Sheree!! You have realized where your outlet for nothing lies...the Gaugin quote is wonderful and within your art you have found a way to find your 15 minutes of nothing! Brava!!

I look forward to working our way through truth this week!!

By the way -- my mother was going to spell my name the way you do yours...being named after the actress Sheree North, but she opted for the "y"!! :)

Melita said...

i love your nothing. so incredibly creative and joyful. that is what i have found from my nothing - joy! looking forward to sharing truth with you ;)

Miss Becky said...

Sheree, I am glad that I clicked on the name above my own first because that brought me here to you. You have enlightened me with the nothing drawings. I love this and find it intriguing. you found that you weren't totally turning off the thoughts so you saw an opportunity use it in your artwork and that in turn calmed you. brilliant! thanks for sharing.

Sheree Rensel said...

Thank you! I like this idea a lot. It reminds me of the Surrealist's automatic writing. I have been thinking about the "nothing drawings" all week. It will be interesting to see what comes from them.
In regard to our "TRUTH", I already know what I am going to be concentrating on when it comes to my truth.
Thanks for reading my blog!

Sheree Rensel said...

Thanks so much. Yes, just like I tell people when they say "You are so creative!", I respond "That is my job!!" LOL
I am anxious to see what happens with my "truth" week. I think this might be more difficult than doing nothing! LOL
Thanks for reading my blog!

Sheree Rensel said...

I am glad my nothing drawings struck a chord in you. That is great! I would really like to get to a point in which I am really turning off the brain waves as much as possible and let pure energy drive my hand. We will see!
Thanks for reading my blog!

Beth Dargis said...

You have great energy! I wouldn't have thought to incorporate drawing into the nothing time. I look forward to reading more about how that works for you.

Sheree Rensel said...

Thanks Beth! I think telling me I have great energy is a wonderful compliment. Thank you. Now I am working to see how this will help me find new ideas for my art. I am working on TRUTH now. I think this week will be even more revealing!! Thanks for reading my blog.

Karen D said...

Thanks for sharing your week of nothingness, I think it is great that you found a way that works for you, we are all so different and what works for one won't work for another. See you next week.
Love the nothing drawings, very cool.

Kim said...

Oooooooooooo, I LOVE this! I can't wait to give this a try!! Brilliant~!

Elizabeth said...

Sheree, Thanks for this idea.
I just started my new blog, more about studio life and art, less about my other stuff...
I love reading about your art life, and I also enjoy the blog list you have put together...makes great reading and connection.

Sheree Rensel said...

Karen, Kim, and Elizabeth, I am SO GLAD you responded to what I write here. That is why I am here on earth. I know, (especially now), I have some kind of weird, well honed sense of what is important to me and MAYBE other artists. Taking into account comments I have received via my blog and many other techno endeavors, I realize I am on the right track.
Thank you ALL!!!!

gilda said...

SHEREE!!!! This is fabulous! I am so totally energized by this post. I have been out of touch for the last few days at home, no internet because my modem died. Well, the tech guy just installed a new one, and I had to check your blog first.

I am turning off the tv, the lights, and my ipod, for 15 minutes.....I am going to listen to my heart beat. There has been so much swirling around me since school started....and I didnt realise just how much I have missed the SILENCE.


Sheree Rensel said...

If you try to do NOTHING for 15 minutes, you will freak out. I know you. You are like me! We are both too HYPER! However after trying this, I am so convinced it might be what we BOTH need!

Listen to your "heart beat". I remember when John Cage visited Macomb College. He mentioned a sound proof room that allowed him to hear his heart beat. I like that. I wish I had such a room. I love this book group idea and little challenges. I need this now. I am realizing so much about myself and what I need to do next.
Love you!!! ((((((((((HUGS))))))))))))

Lisa said...

I love love love the idea of nothing drawings! That is genius! Here's to our ongoing journey into truth...