Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Re-Establish a Committed Creative Practice

Last week I wrote about the list of things I want to accomplish before I turn 50 eight and a half years from now.  One of items on the list is to Re-establish a Committed Creative Practice.

Wait a minute. Don't I already have that?  I mean I write regularly, I create costuming, I choreograph dance pieces.  That sounds like a "committed creative practice" right?  Well...not really.

My current creative practice, such as it is, tends be far more project oriented than it is practice oriented.  I book a date for a show and I create something for that show.  I receive a crochet commission and I create a piece for that commission.  I create costumes for specific dance performances.  While all of this is good, it is also very limiting.  Because my creating is done with a specific purpose in mind there is very little new exploration or creation for its own sake.  There have been times in my life that I have had a regular practice, hence the re-establish, however I don't know as I went into them intentionally.

What do I hope to get out of a creative practice?  Well, there are two parts really one personal and the other more practical:

1. To avoid stagnation.  I want my creative practice to be a living, growing and changing thing.  I want it to allow for exploration and growth.  I want to have a very well fed muse.

2. Documentation. I'll be applying to MFA programs about 18 months from now.  My current educational background is in business and law.  Not your typical MFA applicant at all. When I apply I want to have a well rounded portfolio that contains the best work I am capable of doing and to also show that despite not having had a lot of traditional formal training, as one who attended art school would, I still have the same dedication to my various artistic pursuits. The admissions counselors I've spoken with said that while my case is not unusual I will need go a bit further to show that I have an established practice than would someone who already had an undergraduate degree in the arts.

How will I go about establishing this practice?  Over the past week I've given it quite a bit of thought and I found that for me a creative practice must have six parts:

  1. Regular physical activity - so that my body may be strong enough to do all of the things I wish to do with it
  2. Contemplation/quiet time - meditation, staring at clouds, journaling, daydreaming...time to let my mind rest
  3. Time spent in nature -  keeping in touch with the rhythms of the world around me.  Reminding myself that I and what I create are both connected the universe
  4. Feeding the muse - seeking inspiration through the art of others, reading, visiting museums and galleries, attending theatrical shows, etc. 
  5. Collaboration - creating with other artists of the same or differing disciplines presents great opportunity to see things from new perspectives and to create art that may not otherwise come to life from the mind of only one person
  6. Practice, practice, practice... - practice, practice, practice, practice...
So there it is.  My somewhat loose plan of how to change the focus of my creative practice  to be less project based and more creation based.  Now of course I need to put it  

Wish me luck!


  1. Sounds like what I try to do with my whole life , really.

    1. Thank you. It occurred to me that these things could be applied to life overall. I hope that I am able to implement them as effectively as you do.