Mindfulness and the Artist

Artists often feel stuck and wonder, “Is it a time pressure sort-of-stuck? Or, it is a self doubt/confidence sort-of-stuck? Is this an emotional sticking point, or just a not-feeling-creative and-don’t-know-why sort of stuck feeling?”

Mindfulness can help. It takes you into the moment where you can cultivate  your awareness and in doing so, get the creative energy flowing again.

Let’s face it our lives are busier than ever. We have tens of thousands of stimuli each day to carve through, sort, and process. Due to information overwhelm we have multiple email accounts to process and delete, probably a few voice mail accounts to sort, multiple texts, and the actual communications in real conversations of all kinds, from the dinner table (hope you have one) to the grocery check out.

Then if we aren’t too exhausted we find ourselves having a  creative staring contest with a piece of paper, fabric or canvas to see who wins. How do you settle that score?

I’ve asked myself this many times as I tried in the past, to cultivate my artwork with my office work life. Now that I can focus on the business of art and creating anew in this transitional time frame, call it the “layoff phase” of my life, I can push back on my feelings of “stuck-ness” or resistance and dive in. Most of the time.

First and foremost, what is this buzzword, mindfulness?

Mindfulness is being aware in the moment without judgement. It often pairs well with an intention, such as: ‘I want to create a painting of my garden in summer.’

When you are focused on an object you are drawing, taking in the shape of the leaf or flower, the negative spaces between stems, that is a place of  awareness in the moment. Without judging each line and without the hesitation brought by self-doubt, that is mindfulness.

Here are a few tips of cultivating Mindfulness:

  • Sit for a few minutes each day and breathe, being aware of your breath and as thoughts interrupt this process, acknowledge them as ‘thoughts’ and let them go, floating away with the next in-breath
  • Give yourself  contemplation time or “think time” each day to process all the different thoughts that come from a busy life with much stimuli
  • Be kind to yourself. When you find yourself being judgmental with yourself or others, acknowledge that you caught it and just say to yourself, “There’s no need to judge.”
  • Take the deepened awareness into your creative time to be inspired on a whole new level, maybe in a new color palette or medium
  • Keep a journal of your development and the insights you have along the way and see what new inspiration you gain from the experience

You may feel more connected to the world around you when you cultivate and experience more mindful practices of awareness in the moment without judgement.

 

Dansa Designs in the City by the Bay

As the “high” season recedes into a quieter and hotter time of the year here in south Florida, I look forward to more time in my studio/gallery to paint. I have the good fortune of having a magnificent botanical garden just a few miles away from my studio and can sketch, meditate or do walking mindfulness meditation as I view the amazing assortment of botanical species and colors. I enjoy finding “paintings” in nature like this beautiful orchid showing at the Gaugin exhibit at the Selby Botanical Gardens here in Sarasota.

Our gallery hosts magnificent large format floral photography printed on canvas and aluminum, up to 6′ and  along with my drawings and abstract art offers a cool oasis during the hot summer months. Here’s a sampling of work. These are my abstract dancer scrolls that can hang indoors or outdoors on a covered patio (pictured). They can roll up to be stored, and the mesh version  can also be used as room dividers or window treatments. They are durable, scrubbable and made of a vinyl or vinyl mesh as well as a white rayon-type fabric. Click to see additional designs. These are pictured in black & white but are available with color and remain just as durable. I am happy to work with my clients to create custom and branded designs for your home or business.

New abstract paintings and limited edition prints. Please inquire to see high rez versions. The paintings have an opalescence to them added with paint. City by the Bay is followed by Rising Tides below.

-Pamela Erickson

Dansa Designs’ Art Walk

Continued from last month…Art Walks at Towles Court are a monthly event October thru May at the historic artists’ colony in Sarasota, FL.

Our February Art Walk was wildly successful! 160 – 200 people attended during our 5-9  PM stint with lots of discussions about Robert’s large and beautiful photos, mainly florals (but that’s not all), and the abstract dancers on my 5′ scrolls that can be used over doors, as room dividers and especially indoors or on the lanai. An article was also written by Carolyn Edlund (ArtsyShark.com) about our studio and another in Sarasota and you can read it here. It’s about how artists can open their own studio/gallery and be successful entrepreneurs.  Check out the Art Institutes offered by Carolyn and the Clark Hulings Fund.

While ‘season’ is at a fever pitch here on the Gulf coast, we’re looking forward to March 15 and the creative days in between!

Besides, 20% of scroll sales through March 21 goes to Sarasota Contemporary Dance! Come and dance to your music and find a decorative dancer scroll that will make your office, yoga studio or home all the more joyful!

New Studio and Gallery in Sarasota

There are times in life when you prepare. You have a vision and keep at it. You take the photos; you paint and draw and print. The inventory builds up. The closets fill up. For years. Maybe even for decades.

Then one day, opportunity comes and you have that choice to make – a “branch point” – as Jon Kabat-Zinn calls it. “Should I go for it and make a business selling my art?”

In late November 2018, my husband, Robert and I had such a choice- we took the opportunity to rent a coveted studio/gallery space in a historic area of Sarasota. We listened to ourselves and each other. We conferred and determined that it was time to step out on the proverbial diving board and dive in! We signed.

Then, we dusted and painted, and added new lighting to create a clean, minimalist look and feel. Up went the large format floral photos (up to nearly six feet), up went the 5′ scrolls depicting abstract dancers – Butler on Pointe- as well as my sketches printed on wine bags, tea towels and more.

We now have an open studio and gallery in a historic artist colony in Sarasota, Florida and it is February, or as they call it here in southwest Florida, high season. For a little city on the bay in season, there is every form of art to choose from. People come from all over the world to enjoy the warmth of winter here with more amenities than I can mention now. And, tonight is our February Art Walk.

Monthly Art Walks at the studios of Towles Court provide an opportunity to meet the artists there as well as other creative people who often become our clients. My vision was to bring Joy to people through my work. Okay: joy, conversation, connection, new opportunities, and a bit of magic. And, so it is and so it is becoming.

At the January Art Walk two friends from different states in New England met again after 15 years, flying into each other’s arms right there in my little gallery. Joy indeed! I heard some groups of people talking through the evening about what they saw in our work. And, I repeatedly heard, “It’s so joyful!” That was gratifying and truly made the hard work worth it, especially when they wanted it as their own…in their home, office or patio.

In finding our little studio and saying: “Yes” to taking it on, I know that we were listening to our deeper selves, that place that has been calling out for years – “Hey you, remember me? Express yourself and share it.”
The choice to dive in has brought us and a number of those who visit our little gallery, a deeper sense of authentic joy.

-To be continued

Dali’s Hometown – Photographed by Clyde Butcher

Clyde Butcher’s photography show at the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, FL which ended in late November was brilliant!  The rugged coastline of the Costa Brava and Dali’s hometown was captured by Mr. Butcher in his classic black and white format, harnessing the dramatic light of the shoreline with carved rocky shores shaped by the winds that sweep down from the mountains to create geologic sculptures. In contrast, Dali’s smooth white home and studio perched nearby. I have to think this installation will (hopefully) be made a permanent one, adding place and context to Dali’s life and world of art.

Check out the Dali Museum and  Clyde Butcher

Inspired by Minimalist Design

I’m inspired by the simplicity and minimalism of both Japanese and Swedish design. The design elements in these cultures are more similar than you may think. Bold and simple lines bring calm to the viewer. Clean lines, sometimes with a design element like placement, or a pop of color, coaxes the imagination of the viewer (activating the right brain) to see what they may need to see – dancer or…flower?

I’ve had the good fortune to travel in both Japan and Sweden and I felt very much at home in both cultures. My grandfather hailed from southern Sweden, Småland  (the same area of Ikea’s birthplace), from a family of lumbermen and farmers.

Throughout my travels in China and Japan, I was inspired by the brushwork in art, on scrolls and in the traditional characters of  language.

My designs often start very small with lines of brush-like quality, and perhaps a wash of watercolor to tease out the imagination of the viewer. My dancers are drawn in mere seconds and indeed, they must be, or the lines would be hesitant, not bold. Sometimes I’ll draw 50 or so figures  to find one or two that really speaks to me, and hopefully to you as well.

I find value in negative space and imperfect lines. Negative space is the space around the object or within a clay pot for example. I remember as a young girl watching a gardener create a traditional Japanese garden across the street in my suburban neighborhood. It seemed magical to me. I remember the big take away was that one leaf would be cut before the garden was completed, to remind us that nothing in life is perfect.

My decorative scrolls of dancers are intended for indoor or outdoor use. I’ve had one hanging on my patio for months, even in the humidity here in Florida, and I smile every morning when I see that spritely figure on a 5’ scroll welcoming the day, still dancing. Scrolls also have the advantage of being easily stored to change out with mood, event or season.

Leading a full life means that we are able to listen to our own music and find our own dance in this complicated and sometimes heartbreaking world. I believe that through harmonizing design, through creating beauty, taking time in nature, and developing an appreciation of each other’s cultural history, we are connected. In that connection, we can find our serenity and ignite clarity and calmness to breathe in and explore our higher calling.

 

From the Tao Te Ching:  “Shape clay into a vessel; It is the space within that makes it useful.” -Lao Tsu, Chinese philosopher, 6th c. BCE

Sarasota Contemporary Dance Has A New Home and Dansa Is There!

For over ten years Sarasota Contemporary Dance has created amazing performances without a true studio space or home office. Now, in the Rosemary District of the city, SCD (formerly Fuzion) has a new space for practice, dancers’ spaces and meeting room. Dansa Designs scrolls is there!  Check out what is happening at SCD!

Artistic Director and Founder, Leymis Bolaños Wilmott and the sincere and creative talent and strength of the company dancers will welcome a new season at the Jane B Cook Theatre , FSU Center for the Performing Arts for their 13th season. It’s bound to be amazing.

“We have enjoyed having Pamela’s work living and breathing on the walls of our new studio home. Its been a perfect addition with its clean lines and amusing personality, it brings joy to our home.”   –Leymis Bolaños Wilmott, Artistic Director  Sarasota Contemporary Dance

 

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Sarasota Contemporary Dance Has a New Home Studio in Sarasota!

Show at Sarasota Contempory Dance

Dansa is there!

Art and the Viewer: Art Invites Your Response

 

An artist! That is what you become when you interact with  visual expression, an empowered design, a work of art. Dansa Designs’ tag line is ‘Cultivating Art in Everyday Living’. Viewers of art become artists themselves when they have an emotional reaction to a work.  Think of  Degas’  sculpture – the iconic  young ballerina for example, the willful dancer with her jutting chin, the position of her feet. Every time I view her, I feel her sincerity, her poise, her sense of youthful discipline.

Drawn in, we naturally respond.

Pausing long enough to visually connect with a a design in your home – pausing and pondering and letting the work sync  with you is connection.  Art enlivens experience and invites your response.