Thursday, January 6, 2011

Thursday Thoughts...

Getting started, keeping going, getting started again—in art and in life, it seems to me this is the essential rhythm.
Seamus Heaney

A good friend shared this quote with me this week and I liked the ideas it contained. The idea that life has this rhythm of initiation, movement, then the need to start again. A sort of cycle at play and gentle reminder that very few things simply take off and fly all by themselves without needing a little bit of impetus to renew them.

Practising art is very much like this as well - not so much a stop-start paradigm; but that sense of having to get started again after you hit a wall, try something that doesn't work brilliantly or head off down an unsuccessful path.

Art is often about exploring - new techniques, approaches, formats. Not every time will we get it right, but we shouldn't be too dismayed by that. The exploration and attempting is as much a part of the journey as the finished product is, so we should just dust ourselves off and get started again. Sometimes we just need to start again after a break, an interruption or after a distraction that was fascinating but not actually helpful!

It helps me to realise that this rhythm is a part of the process, and of life.

I took this photo of a bug working its way across a leaf in Japan a couple of years ago. I think the meandering marks it leave behind reflect the starting, keeping going, starting again rhythm of it all.


  1. Very true. Seamus is an insightful man. and congratulations on your selection for Southern Cross. well done.

  2. Very good advice, Fiona, and as usual, plenty to think about. It's the journey, not just the destination. I need to remember that.

  3. Humbling to think that all we mark-makers are more like that bug than we care to admit! But in some ways, a comfort too. By the way, Heaney is one of my favorite poets!!

  4. i'm reading leslie marmon silko and the leaf photo goes right along with her new book, a memoir, largely about her place on earth.

  5. Fiona,
    You have a way of getting to the heart of things and making me stop in my tracks and think, yet a friend of mine told me the other day that I would be happier with my creative life if I felt more and thought less! I like your take on it best. Lesley

  6. Fiona, thank you for your insight, I think the meandering path is the perfect 'visual' for you thoughts. As always-you inspire me!

  7. Thanks all - I'm glad the ponderings and thoughts make sense for folk every now and again.

    Ida - I'm sure there is a lot more to Seamus and I'm keen to follow up.

    Carol - I sometimes forget how important and enjoyable the journey is; that's one reason I have committed to studio time each day rather than pressure-cooker time when I have to deliver. We'll see what happens; but the journey has so many interesting twists and turns!

    TT/G - Hilarious isn't it to think that the bug and we share so much in common!

    Velma - thanks for the mention of leslie; I'm discovering more and more authors worth exploring

    Lesley - I'm a terrible one for thinking; but it works for me. I'm not sure about the feeling but I do love the flow; when it all happens as if by magic. One thing I like about so many other blogging folk is that they have a thoughtful and considered approach to their art and think about it in many different ways.

    Jane - it was an inspired choice of a photo wasn't it - my art path feels just like this!


I appreciate your thoughts and comments; thanks for taking the time.