The secret gallery’s blog

Maybe the first secret gallery in Doolin, Co. Clare, Ireland

Archive for the ‘Thoughts on art’ Category

Standing On The Earth I See

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Standing on the earth I see,

That you are quite the same as me,

We are both like leaves from an apple tree,

I think I am I, but I don’t even exist

surely I am, without the I added in

I look at you, as if you are you through and through

but we are all made from the same sodding goo!

Oh no that’s not right cause it’s  not goo at all

it’s something that’s no thing at all!

Now I am no wiser I have just down sized me

to a ant that is beside me,

Then I realize there is no separation at all!

For I am as large as the planet which is still rather small

And I am not sure if my cousin is the moon!

Poem by Marianne Slevin

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Written by Marianne Slevin

10 February, 2010 at 2:04 pm

Posted in Words

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Practicing Honesty While you Art!

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Just imagine that every time that we felt blocked or uninspired  it was simply that we weren’t being ourselves. We think all kinds of stuff that isn’t true, such as what we think is expected of us and what other people think, I do anyway. My Husband and Muse, James says that when I am not flowing it is probably because I am not being honest: I am trying to hold certain things back and working so hard at blocking what I don’t want to think or talk about that I cant flow. This would make sense for art too. Censoring so much that the creative muscle just gives up through exhaustion.

Many of us have a stupid notion that we are not good enough so we may think that what we do in an very honest way can’t be very good so we try to be “better” then that. Everyone is good enough it is just realizing that. We often dont really know what we are doing but if we try to see inside of ourselves and look at who we really are then it is bound to lead somewhere. It is often the pieces of art or scraps of creativity that we cringe at and don’t want to show anybody that can be the most interesting, not the  bland mediocre ones that we like to show the world instead. It reminds me of photographs of ourselves; the ones that don’t really look like us we  like but the ones that have captured us, we shy away from. Truth can be a little uncomfortable sometimes. The good thing about it however is that there is an endless source.

Some questions to ask ourselves that might help;

What do I really feel this minute?

Who am I this minute?

What do I think is missing in the world right now?

What could I do being me the way I am this minute, feeling how I feel, do to help fill what is missing in the world/my world?

Thinking outside of the box is really good for freeing up possibilities. For example many days I could absorb myself in painting but today I could feel different and need to do something that I have never done before. It could take a little while to know the answer, but for me I know when I start to feel teary that that is the one, one of them anyway. Today, I miss beauty, I think in our society we have forgotten about how beautiful things make people feel better. Maybe I like to paint and draw what I think is beautiful, such as horses and trees. What everyone sees as beautiful is different. What do you see as beautiful?

Written by Marianne Slevin

5 February, 2010 at 5:14 pm

Posted in Thoughts on art, Uncategorized

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Releasing the Grip

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There are many things that we believe about ourselves that keep us in a nice neatly wrapped up package of what we call ourselves; such as I am a vegetarian, I am good with horses, I am good at cleaning, I am never angry! The truth can be a little different sometimes! Often for the sake of easiness we will put ourselves into a box. I am a painter sometimes and a person who does different sorts of creative things, and if I try to make too much sense out of what I do it starts to vanish.

The pressure that comes from trying to be a professional artist aged 30 something can lead to feeling that by now I should know what I am doing. I should be clear and concise and be producing large bodies of work all finished and ready for hanging neatly in a gallery. That the work should have an undeniable style and theme. Now the truth is more messy then that and hopefully less boring too. The truth for me is that certain themes come and go over the years, that there are several different styles and every piece of art I make is different, this could be to do with the fact that I nearly always start a painting with pretending that it is the first painting I ever did, and seeing what emerges. I think that when you see an artist’s work that all looks very similar it probably has come from a more conscious place in the artist, and that is a valid way to make art too. I think that often galleries and the audience are more comfortable with it. This is probably why so many artists feel that they should make matching work, it looks much more together on an application.

I often intend to make a series of drawings or paintings, but after about two pieces I have lost the desire to continue, it just feels fake. Though this may happen naturally over time if it is not forced. A few times with certain types of art work I have made a series of them, such as painted text scrolls, but when I try to make a piece similar to other work it just feels like a clone and not the real thing! How ever this could all change and this time next year I could be working on “Wind blow tree No.105”!

Written by Marianne Slevin

30 January, 2010 at 4:34 pm

Posted in Thoughts on art, Uncategorized

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Don’t Think, Merge Instead!

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Riding “Iago” at Dunmoe Riding School 2009

Often it is necessary to think a great deal before you do something and after, but during it is often better to merge with what you are doing: your surroundings, the computer, the horse, the materials that you are making art with. Giving away the control can seem a little scary, but the times when something goes really well for me I am usually not doing very much! As my riding instructor used to say “like nothing” when I and the horse would jump or do some flat work well. This makes me think about when I am doing art, that I probably think too much a lot of the time. Thinking can limit the possibilities and sometimes stifle creativity. If we allow the parts of us that are usually without a voice to express themselves then we may come across something of a delicate and/or profound nature.

“Maybe Human” one of the paintings in “Merging 3” exhibition by Marianne Slevin

In August, I was in a three person show called “Merging 3”. I was the person who wanted to call it Merging. At the time I was not really sure why, but the other night while reading the book called Spiritual Alchemy the author, Dr.Christine Page wrote about how when people merge with what they are doing there are greater results. In an experiment people guessed heads or tails on a computer game, most people got  around 60% correct but the difference between the people who got around 80% was that they talked about merging with the computer.

Painting and drawing are exercises in merging for me, merging the different parts of me and the materials that I use and often the environment. I also attempt to merge with something greater then myself and if I am thinking too much then that will hinder any voyages into the unknown.

Written by Marianne Slevin

26 January, 2010 at 1:08 am

Posted in Thoughts on art

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A dance between north and south and east and west

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The square or rectangle has its own north, south, east and west. Every time I find myself facing yet another blank canvas, board or piece of paper it is a new experience for me. There are also certain similarities even the very first paintings and drawings I ever did seem to repeat themselves over and over in different guises. Today as I painted layers of semi-transparent pigment and varnish certain things that I had forgotten came back to me like how I like to go between the  conscious part of my brain and the unconscious, juxtaposing serendipity with decision making, and attempting to get the best of both worlds. It feels like a kind of a dance between all the different aspects of what we call human beings; the right and left side of the brain, the conscious and the unconscious mind, the soul, the experiences we have been through, the now and also a search for something new or undiscovered.

That which is new or undiscovered can seem ugly or uncomfortable at first. So sometimes we retreat from that, covering it over with something more recognisable and safe. This can be a huge temptation, doing what we know we are fairly good at and stirring away from the dark unknown. This dark unknown can look frighteningly raw and naive, and lacking some of the sophistication and finesse that we might hope are work would have. The funny thing is that after I have  struggled and danced all over the page with leaps of faith and playfulness as well as concentration and sensitivity at times, our wonderful 4 year old daughter said to me, while looking at my painting “I could do that couldn’t I ?” I replied, “yes of course you could”. Picasso said something like, “ children spend their childhoods trying to learn how to paint like adults and adults spend their lives trying to paint like children”.

One of the things that I have been doing lately is going back to pieces and reworking them, committing to them, as my Husband and Muse suggested. I think there maybe something in this! I do have a particular fondness of the sprint method of art making! but who knows I may become a long distance walker too! 

Written by Marianne Slevin

8 December, 2009 at 11:51 pm

Remembering to Soften my Gaze

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My days of meditating have come to a stop, for the moment anyway. Doing something everyday without a break can get a bit much sometimes. I don’t like relaying on meditation to keep calm and aware, though it was great and I will probably take it up again today, after saying that! One of the tools that I found helpful was to soften my focus, this immediately relaxes my facial muscles and in turn the rest of me.

When we are making visual art or viewing it, our eyes go in and out of focus. Sometimes I like to paint or draw with my eyes totally closed. When we close our eyes our other senses become more sensitive. When we create art we don’t just use our sight even though it is very visual, we allow the other parts of us to be expressed in a visual way. Things often appear in my art work that my conscious mind has had no idea of at all about, but sometimes a while later I can see what it was about! It is all very very weird and spooky !! I wonder what the art made today will reveal in the years to come.

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Happy Halloween to you all!

Written by Marianne Slevin

29 October, 2009 at 3:26 pm

Posted in Thoughts on art

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Peace and The Little Prince

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The night before last, I was told to “go and make some art” by James, my husband. It is great to have such encouragement to do the things I really want to do but often don’t do on my own.  I have been thinking about the land art project we are doing along the walking routes in the Burren and North Clare, so I went over to the turf basket and started playing around with bits of turf! (one of the walks is on a bog road) First I created this peace sign inspired by James. I have been reading the children “The Little Prince”. I really love the book, it influenced the little stars which I cut out of banana skins.

 

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Banana skin stars on turf in the Secret Gallery between Doolin and The Cliffs of Moher.

Some of the reasons that I put little yellow stars on turf may be because:

I have been reading “The Little Prince”.

The following day we had a conversation with our friend, she was talking about it being the time of stars, as they have more effect on us, maybe because we see the stars more as it gets dark earlier. It is also the time of year that there are more shooting stars.

Stars are very big compared to pieces of turf yet they are similar; the turf is a tiny nugget of the earth which is a planet too.

I remember night time bog walks as a child looking up at the stars.

Apparently there may be some moon dust on the earth after they crash into the moon. I hope it does not upset things too much on the moon or for us as a consequence of us interfering with the mighty Moon.

Maybe because it was playful, and I liked the contrast of the smooth banana skins and the rough turf. Who knows!

Peace to all

Written by Marianne Slevin

9 October, 2009 at 11:02 am