Monday, June 2, 2008

Slow Art

I am, by nature, generally a slow person. I like to savor life and the things it has to offer, and even the lessons it has to teach me. Sometimes I do not go through the latter with as much grace as I would like, but I often move through it slowly making sure I have learned as much as I needed to learn.

With this in mind, it would be no surprise I am also a fan of the Slow Movement and Slow Food. One of my favorite books is In Praise of Slow by Carl Honore. My family thought it was hilarious I would read a book which encouraged slowness in life, but I learned a lot.

So lately I have been enjoying time in my studio and really getting meditative with every little brush stroke (or card slap or finger poke - well, you get the idea) I place on the canvas. I even can't stop brushing clear glaze layers on...which really intensifies the colors, by-the-way. Since I took the time (slow, again) to recognize I was doing this, I thought I would explore the web presence and idea of Slow Art.

This is a work in progress I have been working on almost daily for several weeks. In my mind, there is still plenty to do.

I was able to find some information about Slow Art, but there isn't a great deal out there, yet. One of the most thought through sites I found was a blog called, Slow Making. The two writers of this blog, MS Maker and Ampersand Duck, actually have a manifesto which reads a lot like the ones for Slow Food and the Slow Movement, in general. They asked for links to artist which met their manifesto, but I did not meet all of the requirements. I lacked in areas of sustainability where my materials were produced locally and my use of acrylics isn't exactly the most environmentally friendly. I do re-use a lot, though and meet many of their other needs. There is not a lot produced in this area where I live....well, with the exception of political bull**** (yes, yes, of course I mean "crap").

Of course I had some ideas in my own mind, which were similar to Grayson Perry's article in the Times Online. I thought that Slow Art (in my case) was creating art which encourages people to slow down and contemplate what the work means to them. In order to create Slow Art, you probably have to have a Slow Muse. Slow Art is really about creation as opposed to assembly, in-other-words, Slow Art is not "make-it and take-it" creations. I am taking my time with each work and really getting into where the process leads me.

This is another work in progress I have been working on for a while. It is no where near complete, but I am having a good time with it.

All of this Slow Talk got me to thinking about the other things I take my time with or which you can't always successfully rush. Slow doesn't mean you always move slowly, it just means you savor the parts of your life which are important to you. I thought raising my children took time and was really great. Growing plants and creating a beautiful meal takes time. You know you have to spend some times with all of that aroma, taste, textures and blending. Painting a room an entirely different color takes lots of time and provides great rewards. Learning a new language is often a slow process...at least for me it is...but I meet wonderful people and laugh a lot in the process. And real observation is truly a slow process, but I usually find the good in the places we live and visit. All of these things are well worth the time they take for me. When I can slow down enough to savor all life has to offer, I learn so much more in the process. And that makes my life so rewarding.

Now I am having a good time talking to you here this morning about slowness, but you might not have a day where you can linger over a lot of words. I really need to end this slow talking now. I wanted you to know why it seems to take me a lot of time to get works posted on here. I always want to reach out and make a connection with you. But sometimes I am just slow, or I need more time to contemplate. But rest assured, I will probably re-visit this topic.

So how about you? Do you move through life savoring the moments or the blocks of time? Do you find yourself wanting to linger over your art? Do you like to linger over life? What have been rewarding times for you to be slow?

Have a nice, slow day...

12 comments:

Paula said...

Hi Kim ~

Great post. Yes I like slow. Sometimes I sit and look at a painting in process for up to an hour. It is like a meditation I guess.

What is crazy making for me is my creative ideas sometimes flash in my brain so quickly I can barely recognize them. Then other times they sit there for a year or two before I finally respond with action of any kind. Case in point, those gourds !!! I've had them hanging in a grocery bag in my garage for at least two years. I've been thinking about what I wanted to do with them the entire time. The idea has not changed one bit. And other than being out of fresh canvas to paint on, I have no other reason for the sudden inspiration. I guess the price of gas could be the culprit since I just couldn't bear the thought of using up gas to run out for canvas.

With my day job of course slow isn't in the vocabulary so when I get home things do shift into another gear.

First day back at work from a nine day vacation hints that I won't be able to check the links in your post ~

Catch ya later !!!!!!!!!!

Now I know you're into slow, but really, don't waste any time getting over to see my newest post !!!!!!

Kim said...

Hi Paula....

Well, I went to see your fabulous painting before I even responded to you here. And it is quite wonderful!

Slow...as you can tell, I am slow, but I do love it. I agree, it is like a meditation.

I understand what you mean about ideas flashing through your head and not being fast enough to catch them. I make myself a lot of notes when I can catch on to what comes to me.

Well, here is a question for you...do your ideas change when you finally get to the place to work on them? I do that. I have some notes stuck on my table, but the very paintings I have notes about are not the way they are turning out. I do keep the notes, though, as they might bring something else to mind later.

One of the things I do is make sure I have some fresh canvas most all of the time. The resource I have mentioned on this blog requires I buy a minimal quantity, so when I get low, I buy more. And that changes, too. I used to paint almost only on medium canvases (the largest I can handle in the studios I have is 20" x 40"). I hear you about running out for the canvases...I am the same way...and have even painted over old ones to keep from running out!

Day jobs never allow for SLOW, do they? That is brutal. Are you getting the idea I don't handle traditional jobs very well? LOL

Thanks Paula, I really appreciate you taking the time to comment here!

WILSONART said...

Hi Kim,
I seem to move faster through life,,as has been my history through my work. I am learning to slow down however.
In my art world, it seems the longer I remain on a piece,,I usually overwork it, and lose the spontaneous feel.
My quiet, (slow) time is when reading,,or enjoying browsing on the web.Other than that, I'm usually more toward 'full speed ahead',,,,,but I don't normally miss smelling the roses either.Kind of hard to explain,,,but I think I'm reaching a balance. Interesting, how we are all so different, but also relate.

Kim said...

Hi Babs!

I had a feeling your were the speedy type! And I understand that, too. If you spend too much time with a painting, you think about it all too much. I have been known to think about things too much, too.

Oh, I know you don't miss smelling the roses...you just had one of those roses with you, right? :)

I am sure you are far more balanced than I am. I honestly think, for me, it is a matter of balancing out the people around me. Did I just say I am surrounded by speedsters? :)

It is really a beautiful thing how we are all so different, yet all the same!

Thanks so much, my friend!

Cris in Oregon said...

I tend to go slowly on my paitings. I like to see something on the easel & savor the whole process. It is like a good book to me. Its like a good mystery and I hate for it to end.
We get up in the mornings and try to linger in the sunroom drinking our Tea and Coffee & watch the birds & now baby squirrels going thru their antics. We have spent to much time rushing thru life that now we try to run at a slower pace.
This was a good post to ponder on.

Kim said...

Hello Cris!

Yes, I get that...an empty easel is really upsetting to me! And you are right, it is like a good book to linger over the painting. Sometimes I think I don't want it to end, so lately I have been just adding a little more clear glaze...how much trouble can that cause? :)

I am afraid many of us in this house are still spending time rushing through life. I have to say it is very difficult for my husband as he has a stressful job at the company's engineering office for the world. My daughter is in the middle of a Master's program at a University in Los Angeles (a city which doesn't know the meaning of slow) and my son will be beginning his BA program this fall and is working a part time job and an internship this summer. So you can see why I just have to be the balance in this family...right? :) Poor dears, they just can't seem to put the brakes on at all on days off, either...although my son does it the best of the three of them.

Cris, thank you so much for your comment here today. It is always lovely to hear from you.

CHEWY said...

Mentally I prepare slowly for a painting. Once I get in the studio, I physically work fast. Then I go away while the layers dry. Then come back, study the artwork and then work fast again.

Would you show another photo of these paintings at a later date? The first one is really interesting. Lots to look at. I'd like to follow it's progress. What size is it?

Kim said...

So you are the contemplative artist who works quickly. That is cool. I think this is very interesting to hear the way people work...the speed and the introspection or not. But you do seem to be a fast worker, but I wondered when you spoke about the sketching in the sun. Fun to guess...fun to know.

I will show these both again. The first one already has so many layers on it...I would guess maybe 30 to 35 with lots more planned. It is 30" x 40"...that is about the max I can work with here.

Thanks Chewy!

Cestandrea said...

Dear Kim,I so enjoyed reading this post and all the comments here:) I took my time, slowed down and savoured every word. The Internet does make communcation very speedy, and I want to be careful to concentrate on my blogfriends' art, their thoughts and way of life, not always easy.

I like to imagine all those layers under the work you are showing us here, I would love to see it "in nature", as the picture is a bit blurred when you open it. I know that it's difficult to not move when taking these shots of artwork, though. I love the second one too, the blues are incredible and their depth certainly has to do with you slowness and the many layers you slowly put on them:)

I am slow and fast. When I'm working on a textile piece, I a slow. The process demands slowness. When I paint in Acrylics, I'm a bit faster. The fastest I am with the pen and the watercolour, they kind of ask me to be fast but focused:)...I would very much linger MORE over my art.

It is so good to think about slowness, that is why I love that you brought this up!
In life, I try to savour each moment, and sometimes am not happy with myself when, after having met someone, I have the impressino that I was too superficial. (aries:) Then I regret it. Each day I try to do my best to be in my time, and also to bring a bit of this attitude to my husband, who always seems to be already in the next moment, the next day, although he hates it to be too active. Go figure....

Have a wonderful day, and I'm lookig forward to what you will be doing with the two pieces WIP.
love
Andrea

Kim said...

Andrea, you are so very right. The internet does encourage us to communicate fast and sometimes we might not take the necessary steps to slow down and take our time with what we find here. It actually brings up the question of...is it better to add to what I do or just concentrate more on what I already do? I am glad you liked this post. It is a subject which is near and dear to me. You are so right, it is not easy, at all, to fully concentrate in the blog world. Thanks for the reminder.

Yes, working with textiles takes a lot of time and concentration. And the textile work you do takes even more than anything I know or understand.

You are fast and prolific with your sketching and and watercolors. I suppose the medium calls for that, though.

You are also right that when we move slowly, we often have fewer regrets. Like you, I find it is important for me to be slower in order to keep the rest of my family calm. Your husband's personality sounds very much like my husband's...no surprise there!

I will be showing these two paintings again. The second one has already changed a lot.

Thanks Andrea, your insights are always so thoughtful and welcomed.

Honour said...

what a lovely posting Kim... I am a big fan of the slow movement too - and Carl Honore's book literally changed my life. I have never heard of the "slow art" movement -- and I love the concept of it. Unfortunately, I am not in slow mode right now -- finishing off a job right now ... but I booked myself a week away from phones and the internet and laundry two days after my last day of work -- so I can reset myself into "deliberate" (and slow) mode.
Thanks for sharing.

Kim said...

Thank you, Honor! I really love the work of Carl Honore to be sure. He has written some lovely books and I will be sharing another one tomorrow. There is not really a Slow Art Movement. While making art slowly is common and appealing to some, the idea expressed in the manifesto is pretty brutal for most artists. There is just not the means to make locally produced materials...not to mention enough visual artists to support those smaller companies. In addition, pigments come from all over the world.

I have to say Carl Honore actually gave me permission to live my life differently than society encouraged. Living slowly always felt right for me, but society thought that was the "Wrong" way to do it.

There are not always slow times in our lives. But finding the time to live slowly and in a focused way makes the differences in the times of our lives when we have to move more rapidly, don't you think?

I wish you the very best with the completion of your job project and the ever so lovely time when you can slow down and refocus your life.

Thank you, Honor! Here is to living slowly and your comment here!