My sister Betsy recently stumbled upon this nondescript three ring binder at a local library book sale. Filled with the illustrated journal pages of an art teacher by the name of J.C. Mills, Betsy picked it up, thinking I might like to flip through it.
Might I say that THIS is one of the best gifts my sister has ever given me? A journal...illustrated...by an art teacher...dealing with everyday struggles...trying to see the bigger picture. Sounds familiar.
self-portrait by J.C. Mills
With each page I read [and I'm just a few pages in, mind you] I keep thinking this is so me... Especially this bit. Especially today:
The ability to pay attention...oh how I wish I had the mental discipline to focus absolutely. That ability to cast out the 10,000 things and deal with only one. Successful artists seem to do it...the ones who thirst for an intense probing that reveals the purity of the present moment.
The world of art is so vast, so complex...what a struggle to simplify and focus. You have to fight like hell! You cannot deal with art in a logical, linear, sequential, left brain way. There is simply too much information to process. Take over Mr. Right Brain...teach me to simplify; to focus; to travel intellectually light; to raise the tent flaps of my mind and let the wind blow all the mental clutter away---to pay attention to one thing in a delicious, sensory way. The secret seems to be in allowing---in accepting. Put yourself into action J.C. Mills. Express your uniqueness. There is only one of you..in all of time...record that uniqueness in a special way.
Activities That Help Me Focus:
making a pinch pot
drawing from nature
looking at a painting
a walk alone
playing the harmonica
milking a cow
writing in my journal
listing (such as this)
I believe this gem fell in my lap at exactly the right time. Perhaps you feel the same. If so, let me know and I'll share more. In the meantime, thank you Dr. Mills. I look forward to the time spent opening your sketchbook.