Monday, June 30, 2008

The Gift of Slow

I want to thank everyone for taking the time to read the Conversation I had with Fiona Long. I do hope you enjoyed it. Again, my apologies about the titles below the photos, however blogger just didn’t want me to do that the day I posted. If you have any specific questions about specific photos, please email me and I will give you the titles.

Also, you will note, I have not listed a name under “My Next Conversation is with…”. I will do that as soon as I can make arrangements with another willing artist. Be patient with me, it is summer and we are all busy.

A few weeks ago I wrote about Slow Art. Andrea read the post and sent me this book which her brother had introduced to her some years ago. The Discovery of Slowness is about Sir John Franklin who did a lot of exploration at the North Pole at the turn of the 19th Century.

I have really enjoyed reading this book and actually saw a great deal of myself in how John expresses his own slowness. His life was brutal as a child as he was so misunderstood. His father was mean to him because he felt he was a son who had a life not worth living. The children at school picked on him horribly, as you can imagine. But one day, a teacher thought there was more to John Franklin than met the eye. As an adult, John became a focused, but kind and gentle man. The book really details the adventures, the thinking, the struggles and the joys of this slow man. While the book is a work of fiction, it carefully chronicles the life of Sir John Franklin as close as possible when writing so many years later.

If you are interested in understanding slowness, in historical fiction, exploration or in learning to move through your life in a rich and rewarding way, I recommend this book a lot. It begins slow…imagine that…but as the story line picks up, you are swept up in the adventure and thinking of this man. One of the most interesting parts to me is his outline for the education of all types of people.

Have you experienced any slow art recently? How about any slow life? I am continuing on my path of slow art with some different types of details and lots of glazing. I began two new paintings recently, one is moving forward smoothly while the other one awaits work on the details.

Everyone have a beautiful and creative day!


sukipoet said...

KIm, I am slowly reading this book. I am still in his childhood and set the book down for more quickly moving stories but your words make me want to pick it up again.

I am now very slow with most things. I am slooooowly glazing my kimono, slooooly painting the wood for my signs and slooooowly doing the oil paintings. I have paused with the wax collages so my eyes can pick up what needs to be done next. Today, the sun is out at last. So, I can slooowly lie in the sun and gather energy, then go to the studio, then back to the sun.

You know the turtle and the hair story. I've always love that tale. Sometimes the one who appears to be slow, via clock time measurements, is actually fast in terms of getting lots accomplished in the end. Meanwhile the fast bunny has to take a four day nap, he has burned up all his energy stores.

Andrea and Kim said...

Hi Suki,

Yes, it was a bit slower in the beginning, but as I read before I go to bed, that worked out well for me. But it is amazing what happens with this man later in his life and how his patience makes a HUGE difference in what he really wants to do (and he clearly knows what it is he wants from life). And how being true to himself, no matter what, is what makes his life so rich. Lots and lots of good lessons here.

You bring up the story of the turtle and the hare and how being steady in your life progressions is more productive than speeding through. I have found that to be so very true with my own life...the rewards are so much greater. You are so right!

You have a lot of lovely things going on in your studio right now. I can't wait to see them all when the time is right. Putting things aside becomes so very important, doesn't it? Those wax collages are truly is your other work.

Thank you so much, Suki! You always give me so much more to consider with each comment you make.

Unknown said...

Hi Kim and hi Suki, Suki's comment makes me laugh:)
I forgot everything about this book except the fact that when I read it many years ago, I loved it:)
I guess, I'd like to have two things going at the same time: sloooooooow painting with acrylics, giving the painting time to rest and look at it from new angles once I pick it up again, which is reasearch at the same time, and quick drawings to learn how to see and bring it to paper, sort of teasing the right side of the brain:)

Kim, I'm looking forward to the new paintings, but I am patient and know to wait:)

Andrea and Kim said...

Hi Andrea!

There is so much in this book, Andrea! The messages, for me, were vast and so many rang true in some areas of my life. While Sir John was slow in everything, I find I can move quickly when I need to do that or can think quickly when I need to do that, but it is more because it is something I need to do in that way at that time.

Here is what is funny, though. When I create in haste (or when I "think" about it too much), I usually end up making a huge mess. But when I do it slowly and without conscious thought, my better work appears. And it is not that I don't want to do it another way, it is just that is what I recognize about myself being true. And this book helped me to understand that is important, too.

Well, Andrea...things are really busy here over the next 2 months! I will get these two done, but I am not sure how quickly it will happen.

You are so sweet to stop by this morning. I hope you find the time to re-read this book sometime, as I think you would enjoy it in maybe a different way. I will re-read it and I am sure I will find a different slant the next time!

Thanks Andrea!

Unknown said...

Hi Kim, Oh I understand you so well, I know that sometimes the paintings have to be set aside so that they can ripe (can one say that) like fruits, and it takes time and then you have work at them some more. Everything takes time, today we are just too quick to admit it.

I got the last one of the book I ordered at Amazon, Abstract painting concepts. I just love it, the other one, acrylic revolution has some interesting things in it but all in all it is as if I alread read it. Abstract painting is showing some wonderful paintings which I love and interesting realizations with different techniques, great book (I know you do know these already, and wondered what you think about them)

have a wonderful evening

Andrea and Kim said... DO know me very well! The good news is I now have a few weeks to do just that, too.

Okay, I think you mean you received the book "Abstract Painting Concepts and Techniques by Vicky Perry. Is that right? It is one of my absolutely favorite books on abstract painting. I love all of the ideas she presents and the profiles of the other artists and how they use them. You can probably see some of my experiments in some of the techniques in there :)...although they have turned out very different.

The other book, "Acrylic Revolution" I like to take a look/see. Clearly, this book was produced for the Golden Company. The recipes are good for getting ideas, but it is without techniques which is really important. With both of these I usually look through them...depending on what I am looking for...then I leave them be for a while and what keeps playing in my head I give a try. :)

Slow :)

Andrea, when you get the chance to let me know, I would also love to hear how you are using these books.

Paula In Pinetop said...

big hug

Andrea and Kim said...

Back at you, Paula! I suspected you would get it! :)


~Babs said...

Hi Kim,,,,the slow thing again, lol!
I'm still kind of in the fast lane right now,,,except for the painting. Hopefully, I'll get back to some deep painting soon,,,have been doing bits and pieces as I grab time here and there.It satisfies the immediate urge.
I too have the Vicky Perry book,,,got it just a couple of weeks ago,,,,have been reading it in 'down time' at the lake.

Cris, Artist in Oregon said...

Oh my. I paint slowly too. It seems to take me forever to be painting the birds I am painting, but then I am outside working in my flower gardens right now as it is summer like you said. The book sounds facinating. Will have to check it out but It might take me a long time to read it if it is slow.
You have to much to read here I need to catch up on. lol
If I could print out Fionas interview I might get thru it faster when I like to read in bed at night. I have read some and will read more soon. Still waiting on that cable internet. Sometimes fast things are MUCH better then slow tho. :):):) If you get my drift.

Andrea and Kim said...

Hi Babs,

Sorry about the slow thing again! I suppose it is just what is making my art go forward, so it is what is in my head. But I am about to get into the faster lane, I am guessing, over the next few weeks.

I know you are busy and am amazed you can even grab art time at all, but I am glad it is working for you.

So how do you like Vicky Perry's book?

Thanks Babs!

Andrea and Kim said...

Hi Cris,

I bet your birds do take a long time to paint! Wow! They are really cool, I can't imagine doing them. But painting what you are called to paint is what makes it all worth it.

Oh, I think we have fast things in place to help us move through our life slowly and thoughtfully. And we do things which are not so pleasurable fast so we can savor the pleasurable ones. So I get fast, too.

Enjoy what it is for you!

Thanks Cris!

fiona long said...

Hi Kim,

It looks like a very interesting book.

I think it's important to change pace from time to time. Periods of slowness, tranquilty and reflection can definitely make an impact on one's life and art. It's also a state of mind though isn't it? I was cross with myself earlier in the year for being so slow and not producing enough work. I felt like I had a block even though I was thinking lke crazy. Although I didn't produce much for ages, I had a huge splurge of activity and production at the end of that time that was the product of this slow period. I shouldn't have felt was a valuable time. It's good to embrace slow!

Andrea and Kim said...

Hi Fiona,

You know I think you would like this book.

I agree with you that changing pace is a good idea and it is often a state of mind. This book really helped to drive home the point that we need that time to reflect and evaluate.

You are so right, your recent slow time really lead to an incredible burst of production in your art. And it probably was a true result of the slowness not meaning you were not reflecting and thinking...that was probably heightened during what you consider your slow time.

I think you are right, for many of us embracing slow is a very positive thing.

Thanks So Much, Fiona!

~Babs said...

Kim, I'm not sure what I expected with this book,I love the cover art,,,I didn't find anything exactly new within it,,,but I am enjoying much of the art itself.
So, it's not like I'm disappointed with it,,,I suppose I was just hoping for something hugely NEW and exciting,,,but it's good,,,,,ALL art books are good!

Andrea and Kim said...

Babs, I totally get being drawn to the cover...oh, those sly marketers!

You are right, though....ALL books are good! :)

Thanks Babs!