Thursday, January 05, 2006

Noticing

The most an artist can do is say, let me show you what I have seen, what I have loved and perhaps you will see it and love it too. ~ Annie Bevan
I have driven by this gate many, many times, yet I have never noticed it before. But there it was, last week, just where it has always been, patiently waiting for me to drive by and notice it. When I am out and about in the car I am usually in left-brain mode - do I have enough time? will I meet my deadlines? Should I stop at the grocery store? But last week was different, It was Christmas break and I was enjoying a week without schedules and committments. My mind was free to wander and apparantly free to notice.

As artists, it is our job to notice. I'm usually pretty good at it. I noticed birdsong this afternoon as I took down the Christmas decorations - the bird was as happy as I was with our unusually warm weather. I noticed the way the fog rendered a crystalline appearance to the dawn this morning, just before the sun began to break the horizon. So why didn't I ever notice this gate? This is the gate I would like to have in my yard. You know - things you would do or buy if you had "discretionary income". I love that term, discretionary ~ "Available for use as needed or desired." I use it a lot because I seem to live in the land of discretionary income.

But now that I think of it, I notice that nothing makes me happier than making art. There is nothing discretionary income can buy that compares with the thrill of making something ~ that spinning of straw into gold. Noticing the way two or three fabrics can create a visual feast for the eyes actaully makes my heart leap, my breath quicken.

I was talking to my friend, nina today about how, as artists, we still retain our sense of wonder. The slightest wondrous thing can make us stop, mouth agape, eyes wide open. We are two year olds all over again, noticing everything as if it were new, because it is! Whatever it is, it has never been seen that way before, through our eyes, on that day. That's what being an artist is all about ~ noticing the familiar with our eyes and heart and then recreating it with our hands.

So here's the plan....starting today, take note of what you notice. Keep a notebook handy and note them down. Do this for three weeks. I guarantee that the world will unfold right before your eyes.
The greatest thing a human soul ever does in this world is to see something, and tell what it saw in a plain way. ~ John Ruskin
It has to do with being alive, with seeing the beauty of something in this very moment and not postponing it. ~ Burghild Nina Holzer

6 comments:

vicci said...

Oooh I really love GATES!!!! The older the better...with peeling paint..even better! That includes wrought iron too! This is really a "pretty" gate!

vicci said...

Oh YES....I was busy noticing the gate that I forgot to say...great idea about writing down for 3 weeks what we notice...I'm starting right now..with the beautiful sunset outside!

quilter said...

Wonderful post, Lesley. I am walking around today wiht newly opened eyes.

Loretta

ArtsyMama said...

Lesely,
So glad to see you've started blogging. You are such an inspiration. Look forward to keeping up with you here!

lindaharre said...

Hi, I just happened onto your blog for the first time. I found it on Red Lead blog list! Anyway, I just wanted to compliment you on your writing. The small piece on your studio/bedroom is so beautiful. I am envious of your talent to tell a story. Thanks for sharing. Linda

Scraps of my Life said...

Hi Lesley-this is Lynn from England!I am so excited that I can now comment on your Blog postings. I love the Noticing posting-I had a wreath just li,e the one in the picture on my door this last Christmas! You tell a good story,girl!