Bridging Worlds through Creativity

Beginner’s Mind

How does one attain a state of beginner’s mind, when not actually a beginner? Is it possible when you have fifty years of playing with everything from crayons, play-doh, and fingerpaints, to watercolor, oils, and so much more?

I’m hoping that one of the ways might be to start from the beginning, again. My First Pear is a fresh start in pastels. Many moons ago, I used pastels to create a portfolio, for submission as part of my application to art school. I had no time to create a bunch of oil paintings, which was my preferred medium at the time, and someone recommended pastels. I discovered very quickly just how responsive they were, and I really loved them, even with no formal training in their use. A few months ago, while practicing my seeing skills of the nude figure, the studio owner offered me her set of NuPastels. It had been more than thirty years since I created anything with pastels, and I was nervous to make my first mark on the paper. But when I did, my fingers seemed to know what to do with them! I guess it’s true, body memory stays with you.

Pastels today are quite a bit more sophisticated than the colored chalk I’ve used to outline hopscotch squares on the sidewalk. There are so many choices in density and hue, numerous manufacturers, and it seems every pastelist is more than happy to extol the virtues of their favorite brand. I had no clue where to start. So, I am officially taking an online pastel painting class, with Marla Baggetta. I wasn’t sure I could keep myself motivated to complete an online class, but I’ve set aside every Thursday morning for myself, and, so far, I’ve “attended” class every week.

My First Pear, above, emphasized a lesson on light creating form. I set up a single light source, placed the fruit on a white surface, and returned to the basics by really looking at the shapes, light, shadow, hue, and value. All parts of what I remember to be the earliest lessons in art school. And, about as close as I have gotten to beginner’s mind.

How do you encourage a sense of wonder and curiosity after many years of creative pursuits? How do you return to beginner’s mind?

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