Waking up to Wisdom
In Stillness and Community

Technique is Unimportant

--by Leigh Hyams (Mar 10, 2008)

Technique is unimportant. It takes care of itself without any help from you. Just concentrate fearlessly on whatever you and the canvas are saying to each other. Technique comes into existence from your moment to moment passionate need to speak in a certain way. If you don't block this process, your brush will do the rest. Concentrate on what you are painting, not how, and the how will happen.

Step back and listen to your painting. Then don't block that impulse to scrape the whole left side or to add a streak of cerulean blue with your fingers. Listen to the painting with your whole body and the painting will tell you what to do. It will happen in a split second, this body "knowing", and you'll miss it if your everyday brain is in there scrambling everything up with opinions, judgements and learned solutions. It's hard to believe in this and harder still to act on it consistently, but it's the only way to stay on the risk-taking edge of your own creativeness and to experience the act of painting in all its simplicity and complexity. It's also the only way to make a good painting.

Every component of a painting, every dot, shape, color, empty space, line, value, thought, idea and emotion on that two-dimensional support is intricately and necessarily connected to every other one. Like the eco-system in the Amazon. You handle the whole universe when you paint, a parallel universe at least, tidying up the chaos and then seeing what will happen by exploding it again. SPACE. Penetrate it, build it up, agitate it, smooth it out, question it, interrupt it, hate it, seduce it. Let color surprise you. Then get out of the way and let the painting sing. Work with the spirit of an explorer, not an accountant.

--Leigh Hyams

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On Mar 11, 2008 marsha wrote:
I work with an incredibly creative and open spirited accountant - so I think "painting" a tapestry of our lives can happen in any profession, including accounting!

On Mar 11, 2008 Admin wrote:
Here's a great interview with Leigh Hyams in 'works & conversations' magazine:
(see link)

On Mar 12, 2008 supun wrote:
A lot of times I tend to blame my family, schooling, work, government,etc for the stresses in my life.

Reading this made me realize that sometimes I forget the utimate freedom I have in how I carry on my interactions/work/conversations/collaborations/observations. I even have the freedom to not choose how I go about doing something.

Every stroke paint could be an oppurtunity to invent a new technique?

While my friends and I were discussing this thought, I remembered a work book I came across called "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain". She tells people that the way we were taught to draw in classes were wrong (probably because they focus on the techniques and not about fostering the ablity to think creatively). Her work book has exercises that are more like "sit in front of the mirror and draw yourself. Do it for 3 hours. Try it again after the 5th lesson". She does go into different techniques that she uses or some of the techniques her students uses, but it's only as a 2ndary tool.

It also made me think about how some endeavors like "end poverty" or "end hunger" sometimes/enevitably fail because these big movement sometimes get stuck on "the how". How to get food from places of abundance to places of scarcity is very hard. But if we do it a simple scale of sharing, maybe it can happen. Sharing not just our food or money, but also our different distrubtion techiniques and doing it as an iterative experiment to find the right techinique for the right situation and creating a versatility to be able to change modes of operation as time goes on.

I also think we see something about the need to for get being stuck on following a singular recipe in movies like "The Matrix" or when Yoda keeps remiding the freedom fighters to "Use the Force".

On Apr 12, 2013 william wrote:

 Thank you Leigh for your words and inspiration.....I'm fearless with a brush because of you. n peace....

On Apr 30, 2017 roslyn wrote:

 So your accountant is also an explorer?

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