With the lack of introvert-exhausting work needing to be done on a daily basis, I’ve had a lot of space and time to think. If you’re anything like me, that is potentially a problem, but I won’t tell if you don’t. I’m going to be talking about minimalism and the relation I have with it concerning my art, hobbies and various creative endevours.
btw if you like the watercolor above you can purchase it here.
There is something calming about negative space. Of a single object, a single focus to contemplate, to gaze at, to even touch. Take for example, a lone potted plant on a sidetable. The pot, what does it look like? The plant. What are it’s leaves like? What color of green is it, what does the foliage remind you of, would it’s patterned leaves look nice as a fabric? What kind of shadow is this plant casting onto the wall, or the table, or maybe it has none at all.
Now, imagine this same table filled with various plants. All the textures, the colors, the heights, the patterns. Vines entangling leaves, others overlapping others. A smaller plant nearly eclipsed by its table partner. Suddenly there is a lot more to think about. Suddenly, our laser focus is distrupted by the colliding colors, shadows and features of the plants around it. Would it be easier to describe each plant if it sat on it’s own empty table? Singular. Surrounded by empty space.
I find that my mind is more often the table full of plants than the table with one. And like multitasking, they say that the brain is simply dividing itself amoung all its tasks and doing none of them particularily well. We, the viewer, the creative mind, the brain, can describe one plant in immaculate detail. The table of plants? Would we remember which plant was in each pot? Which pot had which color, decoration, crack or defect? What about the plants? Which were they again? How many were there? Where did the shadows cast and how did the light reflect off their leaves?
Let me add one more metaphor. Imagine the lone plant on its table. Now surround the table with all the other plants. There, is the creative idea. Surrounding it are its distractions. If you remove the distractions, focus becomes easier and the creative idea can be studied, comtemplated, extrapolatted upon. For me, that’s where I find my peace and find where my best work comes from. Getting there is another story.
We, or me specifically, are surrounded by distractions. And they are so good at distracting, aren’t they? They can be other people, they can be other ideas, even intentions. They can be the room around you. They can be where you live, who you live with, how loud your music is. And I know there are people who thrive in chaos, in the distractions and the confetti that piles up and swirls around their brain. That’s amazing! But I can’t understand them.
Minimalism then, is not only a way of life and an aesthetic, but also a thought process. Even, a game. That confetti I mentioned? I have mine in a box. Not a well-made box by any means, and sometimes when the wind blows the lid flies right off! Out flies the confetti with it, strings of reason and half-thoughts scattered in the once empty space. Or maybe it wasn’t so empty. No, there are objects in that room where the confetti can hide. I try to sweep it back up and place it all back in the box, but I know a few pieces have escaped. I don’t look for them. I pick a particular piece of confetti from the box. Maybe it’s white crepe paper. Or a foiled star. Maybe a collection of little pieces glued together to create one piece. I place the lid back on, and I carry on with my one piece.
Do I think of the confetti and imagine tearing off the lid to that box and tossing all of its contents into the air? Yes. Do I do it? No. Why? Because they are distractions. They are the many plants crowded onto one table.
There is something calming about negative space.