Tuesday, July 20, 2010

How To Make Art

I am thinking some more about the process of making art. I have returned to a favourite book of mine "The Zen of Creativity, Cultivating Your Artistic Life" by John Daido Loori.

I'd just like offer up one of the many underlined paragraphs in a much thumbed chapter called "Enlarging the Universe". Here's what Loori has to say about process: "Before engaging the creative process it is helpful to understand some of the basic elements that are functioning in it.

The first of these elements is the muse, a sense of inspiration that initiates the process of creation. The second is the hara, a place within us that is still and grounded. Then there is chi, the energy contained both in us and in the subject. Out of chi emerges resonance, a feeling of recognition between the artist and subject. Finally, there is the act of expression itself, where the expression is allowed to flow unhindered from the artist to the creation. The artist steps out of the way and lets the art happen by itself."

Go forth and create!


  1. Thanks for a fabulous quote. I have had this book on my wish list since you recommended it to me a while back. No I wish for it even more!

  2. Wow - Kind of like life itself...

    I love the photo too - very creative!

  3. A wonderful, powerful book! It made me realize that those moments in art making, which are the moments it is all about (for me), didn't have to be totally random. We can cultivate them. That was a revelation for me. You are making me want to go back re-read it now...

  4. i've been thinking about johnnie rotten all week... every day (when i'm drawing) i ask myself, do i want to be the sound of music or johnnie rotten. of course johnnie wins every time when i stop and ask - otherwise the von trapp family may step in. this has been tremendously helpful.

    i'm going to put this book on my wish list. i love this quote - everything, but the part about the resonance between our chi and that of the subject really strikes me. i think about the chi of old book pages or handmade watercolor paper - that resonance is so strong.

    thank you... : )

  5. Stepping out of the way... now there's a challenge! :-D

  6. Leslie - I found my copy in a second hand store. I can't say enough good things about this book

    MeANderi - So it is true, life imitates art?

    Robyn - Yes to find a way to invoke the muse. It is a powerful book.

    Lynne - I laughed out loud at the choice between Johnnie Rotten and the Van Trap family, that kind of makes it pretty clear! You can see that resonance in your pieces on the book pages and envelope, so tender and personal.

    merci33 - I had it on my list for a while before I found it.

    genju- You are so right!

  7. I'll have to put that on my wishlist. I also enjoyed your previous post. I'll be facilitating a collage workshop and you've given some really nice inspiration.

  8. Thank you for reminding me about this wonderful book. I checked it out of the library a couple of years ago and now I will do that again for sure!Love the photograph.