Archive for July, 2021

Drums Along The Nile. Digital 2021.

This painting was created in a Flow state. According to Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, psychologist and discoverer of Flow, this state is recognizable by 6 characteristics:

  1. Complete concentration on a limited field of creativity or information. Attention locked onto the task. Enjoyment in the here and now.
  2. Merging of action and awareness. No longer able to separate the doer from the activity being done.
  3. Sense of Self vanishing. In flow our sense of self melts, or even at times disappears.
  4. Altered sense of time. Time may slow down or speed up depending on the person and the activity.
  5. Sense of control. We become the pure energy of creativity.
  6. The activity is its own reward. We may have a specific goal, such as remuneration for our efforts, but the pure act of creativity brings its own joy.
  7. We will experience joy spontaneously arising from within. This could be analyzed in terms of brain chemistry and neuroscience, but the process of Flow will always have an element of mystery or we could say: the Mystical!
  8. Instagram: RobZentaur1

Art, Mind & Money

 For many years I have been drawing, designing, painting, and creating. Sometimes I take inspiration from the work of the great masters, past and present.  At times, quite simply, I paint because I have no choice. I am an artist. 

Comparisons of my own work with that of other artists, living or dead, gets me nowhere. If I get caught up in thoughts about what you like or whether you will approve of my work, or whether you will pay me for products of my artistic labors, I get stuck in self concerns and projections. That is not pure creativity.

If I am focused on my painting moment by moment, with mind relatively clear, then I am in the flow and nothing else really matters.

Years ago, I did a lot of work using the stipple technique with a technical pen, consisting of thousands of dots, creating an illusion of three dimensionality. Because of the repetitious nature of the method, I found myself thinking about all kinds of other things while drawing. Noticing the wandering mind, I would just focus on creating those dots, and not follow the train of thought. This turned drawing into a meditative process. That was very refreshing, and I found the creative inspiration arose very naturally.

In the pen & ink drawing below, created in 1986, I initially set out to create a portrait, and I didn’t know what the end product would look like. The costume, the various symbolic animals, and the background came from a pure creative source which I cannot claim to own.

If I sit down and try to create a painting that will sell, or get ‘likes’ on social media, I usually do not find much joy in it because I’m trying to guess what other people’s reactions will be. I have always been fortunate in that I do not have any pressure to sell my art. This allows me to paint and draw in a very free process. It also contributes to the joy, the sheer fun and satisfaction of experimentation. Curiosity is a big driver for me. How will this turn out? What if I apply a different brush to that area? Oh, that’s interesting. Let’s try some more of that. Or perhaps a new lighting effect? I find digital painting has expanded my artistic horizons a thousand-fold.

Recently I have decided to jump on the NFT (non-fungible tokens) train and see if I could sell some of my art for crypto currency. I came to realize that other people’s opinions of my art would matter a lot if I was to make real money.  So I decided to redesign my art website, post some of my best work on Instagram, revive my blog, and just generally get more recognition from the public and from fellow artists.  Frankly, this has been a struggle. I am not naturally inclined towards marketing and learning all the various new strategies has proved somewhat difficult. I find myself wanting to paint rather than promoting my paintings. 

So I picked up a book on peak performance, ‘The Art of Impossible’ by Steven Kotler, and am learning Passion, Purpose and Persistence, and some progress is being made. I am beginning to enjoy dealing with the many challenges. And not saying “I’ve had enough.” when the going gets tough!

To be continued…….