“The Artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without work.” Emile Zola
Every day I am a little different to who I was yesterday. Every experience I have…. everything I see.. everything I do… everything I hear… or touch in some way creates a new perspective…. a new way of looking at things… a new understanding…. a new ability… a new idea to investigate.
During this evolution I need to strengthen the new skills and deepen my understanding of new ideas and competencies and to do this I must PRACTISE.
It is only when I have committed myself to PRACTICE, that I can develop a certain level of mastery with something…. and it is through this mastery of something which provides the strong platform for further exploration of something else.
“Often I have lamented how many hours I’ve labored, the frustrations I have felt as I practiced, practiced, measured, measured, squinted, squinted, compared, compared. How rewarding it is to assimilate it all and feel the resulting joy.” (Ann Manry Kenyon)
I found myself often in amazing environments; excited about what I was feeling and what I wanted to capture through my images. Often I would come back and look at my images and they did not portray the sense I thought they might – purely because I did not have mastery of my own equipment.
I decided to get out my manual… dive into the internet…. learn and experiment and PRACTISE using the different settings and environments and conditions…. and how wonderful it is now to go to different situations and environments and know competently how to use my tools… so that I can have the freedom to use them without being hindered by incompetency.
I decided I needed to PRACTISE using Photoshop, and Lightroom. I practised processing and developing images and compared versions to see the different resultant effects.
I PRACTISED printing using different printer settings and different papers. I PRACTISED using my pastels…. my watercolours …. sewing my books …. pasting my covers. I PRACTISED drawing in my sketch book. I PRACTISED writing words and thoughts whilst I was on location before I took any images. I PRACTISED to develop my skills and my mastery of them.
The most important thing however was that I recognised the importance of MINDFUL PRACTICE…. and I needed to be PRESENT while I was practising. I committed myself to PRACTISING being PRESENT. I made a conscious decision to commit to witnessing myself and practised focussed attention… through dedicated daily practices as well as during the things I did.
“As a mindfulness practice, become the conscious observer of your thoughts, feelings and actions today. Notice how much of your energy is being stolen from you by the time-bandits of the past and the future. Make a conscious choice to step into the Now, and do so by breathing consciously.” (Dennis Merritt Jones)
I committed myself to PRACTISING being PLAYFUL. Although this was a much easier one…I still committed to practising and trying out new things. I PRACTISED pushing the boundaries. I PRACTISED experimenting.
“You can’t hire someone to practice for you.” (H. Jackson Brown. Jnr.)
I had to do the work. My gift of creativity, expression and intuition is nothing without the work.
What PRACTICES can you implement to develop your own mastery?
Next post… the 5th “P”…. PATIENCE