In The Zone

Salt Spring Islet, oil, 11x14

Last weekend I gave a short training course on composition (see my last post) for a group of fellow artists. There were fifteen people in the class, with different interests, painting styles and personalities. The interesting thing that we all had in common was our love of the creative process. When it came to painting, the room fell silent – we were all “in the zone”.

I used to shake my head at the talks of a mythical “zone”, meditation, “sleep working” and such, and I think that I am starting to understand why. I think that I spend most of my life in the zone. Being the only child, I was left alone for most of the time when I was a kid, did what I wanted and practically lived inside my head, conversing with my arts and crafts. Until someone talked to me and I had to talk back.

After years of adulthood which often took me out of my zone for long periods of time, I feel in the last few years that I am slowly slipping back into conversation with myself and into a space and time impenetrable by others. I noticed the same happening with my art mates in the class. What an amazing feeling!

For me, this happens instantly as soon as I can break out from any eyes, ears and expectations, luckily many times in any given day. In that state, I don’t see a point of discussing or explaining things, or hanging onto them. Everything moves smoothly and joyfully and without any particular importance. I guess I either figured it out or I am losing it in some serious way.

It is very gratifying to take excursions out of this internal life, no matter how wonderful it is, and visit with other artists to share thoughts, inspirations and concerns. A lovely weekend with fellow travelers complements a delicious solitary return to the studio.

Happy Painting!