• Jay Zarkovacki

    Any idea what leads us into that “zone?”

    I got to experience it again yesterday, wonderful, and I’m very pleased with the painting that resulted, too. Of course, I showed it to someone nearby and they hardly shared my enthusiasm. Ever notice that the least favorite paintings you’ve made are everyone else’s favorites? Vice versa, too.

    November 18, 2011
  • Hi Jerry:
    I just read your last three postings and feel compelled to let you know that there is someone out here listening and reading and visualizing and connecting with your thoughts.
    I have asked all of my regular students to subscribe to your newsletter and will be sending out a reminder again today as what you have written recently continues to provide them with either an echo of what they might have heard, if they were open to it, in my sessions with them or to be reinforced or prompted to think differently about what they are doing and dealing with in their struggles to become better at seeing, feeling and expressing themselves as artists. We just finished a week-long workshop on the shore of the Gulf of Mexico on Longboat Key, Sarasota, Florida. The purpose of the week was NOT to paint a painting, but to rediscover the inner child, to explore materials and the environment, to interact with each other and to feel free. Activities ranged from creating textures to studying nature to creating sand sculptures on the beach to museum visits to a workshop at a marine biology aquarium to a sunrise kayak trip. I am not certain that all of my students yet have connected the dots to see the total relevance of these experiences. Despite my preparation with them for the trip and my attempts to frame the week as it might relate to their development as artists I am certain that some of them are still regretting having come out of the week without a completed product.
    Process is a difficult concept for students to accept as essential to the eventual product. I wanted for them to totally be in the moment, to capture the energy around them, the beauty and the potential of their ideas and materials. It was not a time to teach techniques. It was a time to add to their experiences so that the next time they encounter the same subject or tools or materials it will mean something different to them, just as the word “died” does for someone who has experienced death. It was a time to be free of restrictions a blank canvas or an expectation of themselves or others might impose. I asked them to write reflections on a daily basis and then gave into their complaints about doing so. Your newsletter and this posting in particular “A Nice Failure” point out the value in writing about your thinking. There is nothing more powerful than organizing your scattered thoughts into a written reflection. I love that you reminded yourself of the magic of being in the moment and the difficulty of recapturing it. I love that you considered you made mistakes but then reconsidered that they were really opportunities for learning. Everyone needs to be reminded that taking risks often results in perceived failures. Everyone needs to realize that learning will only take place if one takes a risk. What appears as a failure or what feels uncomfortable because it is strange and different should be a signal to us that these are the very moments and experiences from which growth can occur.

    November 20, 2011
  • Linda Scott

    Thanks Jerry. I look forward to your newsletters. They give me a feeling of being there and growing in my painting. I have been outside a bit more lately now that Dallas weather is cooler. I did a palette knife painting recently that really gave me the enhanced ability you talked about. It was a moving experience. Now I will be looking for more of those experiences. Happy Thanksgiving to you and Conchitina

    November 20, 2011
  • jeffrey christ

    “It is precisely in the expression of that word, that one realizes a feeling that was unknowable before the word was spoken”.

    I had this experience recently as I read aloud a passage from a mediation, and was left wondering by the experience. You just clarified it for me. I miss working with you.

    November 20, 2011
  • Christine Mantai

    I wish my successes looked like your failures.

    February 20, 2012
    • Jerry Fresia

      I wish I had stopped which in itself is an important lesson: there is no such thing as “finish.” Yes, we may want to go further with the hope of saying more, but finish? never. We are not making cookies.

      February 20, 2012

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