Last week I tried to focus on slowing down every once in a while in my life. This week I want to slow down in my work.

Last Friday I visited an exhibition in my hometown by artist, Makoto Fujimura. A docent explained the show, the background of the artist and spoke about the work. I must admit I haven’t visited an exhibition in a while, so it was nice to just take in work so very different from my own.

Makoto is a successful artist whose work is based on “slow art.” It is a Japanese style of painting called Nihonga.  It is basically a meditative way of painting and deals with trying to express ideas of tension and destruction and rebirth. It is based on putting on one layer, walking away and then coming back another day to put on another layer. Dozens of times. It is a slow and methodical way of building an image.

“Unless we are making, we are not really exercising our humanity out in the world”  -Makoto

If you get a chance, look up his work on YouTube and the many speeches he has given on the subject of art and our current state of the world.  It is pretty interesting, but the main thing I took away from seeing his work was this….

I am always in a hurry.

I dash from place to place, I scribble one idea and then I am on to another. I slam in pastel sticks and then I hurry up and finish something for a show. For a client. For me. 

Last week I took a day off to “hurkle-durkle” and realized how hard it was for me. When my kids were little and the family would go on vacation, I always thought that it was more work than just staying home.  I still had to cook, do laundry and clean up… just somewhere else. Then add packing for the beach, the flights and shopping at an unknown grocery store….well, you get the idea….mommy stuff. So I did not get a chance to rest on “vacation.”  I fear it is now my normal mode of operation.

I found meditation a few years ago. And I have found that a daily gratitude practice has changed my outlook on life and has made me more grounded. Slowed me down personally. But I still rush around when it comes to my work. Maybe it is a sense of running out of time now. So many things to paint. So many things to accomplish. But this past weekend I took two days off.  I took naps and turned off my phone. (Go me!) More hurkle-durkleing, but with intention this time. I let ideas and possible new paintings spin around in my head without action. Without rushing. Letting the ideas build slowly.

“Art is all about abundance” -Makoto

That is a heavy statement. For me, it is a reminder that just the state of “making” can give purpose, make connections with others and give me much-needed renewal. Fill me up. But maybe I needed a reminder to slow down a bit and enjoy the process.

So this week I will get back to “making.”  But slower. With thought. With care. Finding my abundance.

I hope I can do it.

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