5:41am a contemplative studio practice (I)

5:41am a contemplative studio practice (I)

The moon is bright through my studio window – the electric blue in the sky continues to increase.

Emptiness. The basis of the contemplative studio practice is emptiness. Shunyata. For the Western mode of thought perhaps an oxymoron because emptiness is from where all things come. How can that be?

Many address this in their own particular way through their process of making work. Tehching Hsieh, Agnes Martin, Wolfgang Laib, Marina Abromovic, Ellsworth Kelly, Robert Irwin, Jennifer Davey – the list continues.

Is there a formula? No. Is there a practice? Yes. – Meaning the place in which we make work is a container. It is a space that allows for a mind to be empty of “rubbishy thoughts” as Martin points out in her writing.

It is silence of a particular kind. Not only space but also mind and body.

It is deliberateness. It is a structure in which there is all freedom and openness – no boundaries because there is freedom in the ritual of the practice. The understanding of awakeness in repetition itself and in the repetition of breath. Of the genuiness of being. The sound of your existence and everything else that you are with – not what is with you.

But when we are in the studio – wherever that is, when we close the door, what is the contemplative studio practice?

The sky outside the studio continues to change to a brighter blue – the moon remains bright. The mountains and tops of ponderosas appear. Sound of a cat drinking water.

The sky is now a light blue and the moon remains illuminated but has moved to the next frame of the studio window.

Is the contemplative studio practice the same every day? There is ritual – that is what needs to be uncovered. It is not created. It is already there. It is in the recognition of the existence of the senses and the movement.  A connection and understanding. It is understanding that what you possess is absolutely nothing.

It is an honesty- being honest about the nothingness of this existence. That things come and go – we are witness to them.

What happens in the studio? What is different than other practices?

It is recognizing art making as a Bodhisattva practice.

Long periods of silence in the studio

Long periods of silence in the world

Aimless wandering





Being aware of the aloneness of making

Being with the profile of the cat and the labored breathing of an old dog

Understanding every move that your material makes and having no expectations of what it will do

Watching a completed work for days on end – see it react to the times of the day

Abandoning all others

Long periods of alone time with awareness of every move – how your senses are working.

Closing the door of the studio listen to the space

Stop believing our own myth


Honoring changes of all energy within the day

Being still – internally/externally – for at least an hour in the space before you start to work

No digital or social media what so ever during studio practice – it is an unnecessary interruption

Honor discipline

The existence of the work is ultimately first, before everything else. It is the practice of engaging in and honoring perception in the phenomenal world – which is the most powerful ability that exists.


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