A Quick Note Before I Collapse

It’s been a long, but productive day. Didn’t sleep much last night. Probably about an hour all told. It was a day of dead car batteries, sick children, and tax preparation. Throw in a bit of cleaning for good measure. I tried to paint, but lack of sleep is getting the better of me. I’m having some issues focusing so I’m about to hang it up for the night. I do have a couple of images from last night’s round in the studio. So I’ll post them and call it good.
Here they are. I’m hoping to put the finishing touches on this by the end of next week. That should get it done in time to put it on display at a place here in tttdt….

(at this point I started spacing out and typing rows of letters. My body had finally given out and my mind was seriously considering the beneficial aspects of a coma. Taking this as a sign that perhaps I’d pushed myself too far and needed some rest… I went to bed.)

So to pick up where I left off last night I’ll post my image updates and make some comments on the concept of No-Mind. I think there can be benefits to working in a state of exhaustion. They were NOT apparent last night and I think I was right to give up the ghost when I did. Some of my best work, however, has been created while in a state of total exhaustion. When you do something long enough you develop “muscle memory”. I experienced what I later learned was a state called No Mind during my study of Neko Ryu, dance, and when I was a new father with a cholic-y baby who never slept. We find or put ourselves into situations where we’re pushing ourselves to the point of collapse. The mind disengages to a point, but the body continues to repeat the actions we’ve learned and practiced over and over again. This is a very common state that any distance runner can tell you about. Like a “runner’s high” it can be a pretty eurphoric place.

I’ve been painting for a long time now (nearly 18yrs!) so the physical act of painting has been so ingrained that the body paints more or less on its own. Once I know what it is that I want to do with an image the act of putting it on the canvas becomes, to a point, more physical than mental. I’m still extremely focused, but it seems to me that my mind is engaged on another level. Like an outside observer. When you hit that state you take away the potential of over-analyzing your actions and paint instinctively. The results can be startlingly good. But as with anything else your mileage may vary.

It’s supposed to be warm here in Iowa so I’m looking forward to getting out and getting some more photos.
Wishing you all a wonderful weekend.

Cheers,

R

~ by Robert L Reeves on February 6, 2009.

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