Monday, May 18, 2009

The Quickie

How Listening Can Be Heard Round the World, mixed media collage

Today I was in the mood for a quickie. I gave myself 15 minutes to create an art piece. This time limit included finding materials/images and creating the piece above. I wasn't methodical or precise, and I didn't focus on meaning or composition in a conscious way. I just let my body and intuition guide me.

During these 15 minutes I said to myself (mostly in my head, but occasionally aloud to my cats) things like, "yeah that feels right" and "okay, that works," and "uh-huh, yes." My body said yes:
yes to letting go of a particular result, yes to not understanding, yes to going with the flow, and fittingly, yes to listening to myself.

Body-based art-making can be tremendously powerful. I would say that I create most of my art in this manner: I don't know where I am going with my creating, but I end up following a path that my intuition sets out before me. For those of you who are more precise and methodical with your art, but get stuck in your process now and then, this "quickie" exercise is a great way to burst any restrictive or self-critical bubbles you are encountering.

Set a timer and go! When the timer dings, you are done. Let yourself sit with your art just as it is, just as you might sit with yourself in meditation, listening to your breath, feeling the gurgle in your stomach, noticing the breeze against the back of your neck. Let your art piece be entirely itself without judging it. The piece represents one moment in time. Perhaps later you can revisit it to do your tinkering. But for now, it just is.

Here is your list: you, 15 minutes, and some art supplies. Go for it.


  1. I love your quickie!!

    While I'm not an artist as such, I find I often write like that. Just write what needs to be written and my editing is then less based on technique, than it is on what feels right or looks good (yes, making a paragraph of words look good!!).

    So I think there's definitely something to be said for this style of working, and allowing your creativity to rule over your harsh inner critic, who generally takes a dim view of a lot of things...

  2. wow! I cannot imagine creating anything in 15 minutes. Your collage is absolutely wonderful, so I'm going to give the timer thing a try very sooon, just to see what the result is. I can't wait!

  3. Okay, I tried to do exactly what you said. It was fabulous. So liberating!

  4. Svasti, working fast can certainly leave your inner critic in the dust. My inner critic likes to pick away at me and my work like a vulture, slowly leaving me with doubt. When I move quickly, this vulture doesn't can't keep up!

    Alberta, how fantastic that you found this "quickie" process so liberating! It's great to know that it CAN be done!

    Best to you both,