Yohanna Jessup, my workshop partner, started us off with some key points about life force, creativity and how cultivating this wellspring can bring a level of engaging vitality and awareness not usually found in our daily lives. She asked why we would care about our creativity, how we felt about our own creative lives and how different we might feel if we were able to deeply engage in that creative force.
She then led us through some energetic/meditation practices to bring everyone to a quiet place of feeling their flow of life force. We also learned to listen deeply to each other and to ourselves as a way to simply feel what was going on as we approached our art making. Did we feel uncomfortable, energized, scared, expansive or joyful? She asked us to keep tuning in as we moved into the next art making phase, which I lead.
The projects in the art making phase were about movement and the body and how they related to the very large pieces of paper we had spread on the floor. I wanted people to uninhibitedly and unselfconsciously experience creativity by working in pairs, moving big, making big gestures in paint and all around getting their whole body involved.
Keeping it simple and fun, I gave them easy starting points by having them trace their feet and bodies many times over the paper. There was no sense of making "good" art or "bad" art. Working big on the paper and around the paper, totally absorbed like kids was it! We had some flowing, beat music at various times to help with the fun and get out of the mind.
I also had them work REALLY quickly. Like trace around your partners body in three different positions in five minutes! Start, stop!! And then from there take off with paints and pastels and markers and crayons, in only fifteen minutes! Time to stop, even if it doesn't feel "finished"!
I wanted them to feel the fullness and freedom of working this way, how invigorating it can be, how their life force and energy responded. I'd ask them to check in from time to time; were they feeling energized or tired? Was there a part that felt stuck while other parts felt okay? Did they feel conflicted and uncomfortable or expansive and playful? It was about having the experience of being more aware during the process, bringing consciousness into their creativity, however they felt.
When we were done with the last project, we cleaned up a bit and then came back together to share: how their energy was feeling, what some of their experiences were, what felt different, what felt the same, what they saw and realized about their creativity. Working in this way can bring a variety of experiences. For some it felt immensely playful, freeing and energizing. For other's, discomfort came with realizing how they'd been pushing away their creativity.
Below you'll see the pics. Funny thing is that most of them are out of focus...low light with so much movement and sometimes music that we simply couldn't take still photos! Feels perfect.
|Feet taking off.|
|Completely focused-images emerging.|
|Collaboration - building the project together.|
|Homage to a favorite pup.|
|No holding back!|
|Seriously focused - letting it flow.|
|The final stage - taking apart the earlier work....|
|and building the new.|