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The Kayakers Art

Why do novel experiences feel more intense gritty and real?

 The Red Masked Mast

The Red Masked Mast

A fabulous article by Daniel J. Siegel, a clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine, the founding co-director of the Mindful Awareness Research Center at UCLA, and executive director of the Mindsight Institute. His latest book is Mind: A Journey to the Heart of Being Human (2016) summarizes the thinking I experienced when I first started working on this series. It articulates beautifully how the mind tends work around habit and thus why as an artist you need to keep fresh in order to explore and find the novel both in your art and in your life.

A Groove or A Rut - My Photographic Journal 6

 The Best New Shot - Staring Into The Rut

The Best New Shot - Staring Into The Rut

I am disappointed with my artistic efforts over the last 8 kayaks spread across February. I have shot 442 images and have nothing much at all to show for it.  The weather has been against me, unseasonable westerly winds blowing across the water creating choppy surface conditions on several occasions.  

I have been experimenting with cameras and settings again and this has been unsettling, too. I have shot with the Sony RX100 MK111 using aperture default mode at f11 and by setting the speed 1/250 to see what would happen. Results were only fair and the constraint with the focal length of the lens requiring me to paddle deep into the reflection continues to be problematic. Likewise I set the Canon at f9 and 1/125 on separate occasions. The outcomes have been disappointing. Blurred backgrounds and out of focus across the entire image has been the predominant results. I need sharpness across the entire image. 

I also found myself chasing the shot. There are three boats that offer great reflections every day and so I seek them out looking for a result. The effect of taking my eye off the serendipitous opportunities focusing instead on the destination of known opportunities means I have been less observant to what's in the moment in front of me and I have paddled past opportunities. 

I need to settle back gently into the meditation on the water I found when I first started seeing these images. Is this possible I ask myself? Have I passed the point of the epiphany that enabled me to see the creative possibilities for the Drawings on Water series. Have I now entered a calculated photographic arts skilled based process removing much of the serendipity and improvisation underpinning the original concept. Am I developing a specific photographic style that I need to dive deeply and further into to find all the creative possibilities?

Twyla Tharp, the American choreographer and author of the Creative Habit, has written about being in a groove when you are working creatively at your peak, when you recognize you are in a flow producing your best creative works. The downside of a groove she suggests is a rut. Where you become repetitive, repeating the same creative process only to produce more work of the same. 

I am not sure where I am at the moment on this continuum. I need to sit in these times of creative uncertainty to await an answer.     

Commercially, the money-art game with the Drawings On Water series is only just beginning!!