contemporary collage paintings
the process
Leslie Avon Miller

My life flows when I'm in my art.

Jean De Muzio

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Four Questions

In Common Purpose, collage by Leslie Avon Miller, collection of Michele Cronkhite

What is it that you get back from your art?
What is it that you give to your creativity?
What gets in the way and frustrates you in your efforts to create?
What are your biggest hopes and dreams for your creativity?

I am currently discussing these questions with artists from around the world. It has been so much fun to connect with people! If you like, please post a comment about your responses to these questions, send me an email, or contact me to set up a time I can call you and we can talk by phone. My email address is leslie avon miller @ (remove the spaces).

So far, the answers are heartwarming. Art means so very much to us. I think as artists we are tapping into our life purpose, authenticity, passion, healing, legacy, and so many important values. We are making our marks on this earth, and saying “I’m here.”

What I hope to get is a sense of the value of art for each of us. I hope to understand how artists honor that value. I hope to get a sense of the issues that artists grapple with; getting studio time, getting unblocked, placing monetary value on their work, time management issues, what ever they face.

And the question that has been especially fun is the one asking artists to identify their biggest hopes and dreams for their art and creativity. That’s been so enlightening, for the artists and for me.

My plan is to synthesize this information and do a series of blog posts. No one’s specific information will be shared. The posts will be generalized and I hope, will open further discussion. As artists, some of us benefit from discussing our process and hearing about the process of others. I know I do.

I have also spent quiet time answering these four questions for myself. Meanwhile, I had a good afternoon in the studio yesterday. I think my own creativity is being stimulated by talking with other artists. In the studio I made collage papers, stumbled on a new use for a familiar material, and created background papers. I had so many ideas for the workshop I am developing that I spent half my time writing in my ever present notebook! When I head over there this morning, I expect everything will be dry and I can get started. Kurt also made me a table for sanding. I make such a mess when I sand a painting. This will allow me to have a separate work surface for the mess. When I am on a roll, I don’t want to slow down to tidy up!


  1. Looking forward to reading those posts about creativity Leslie. Your questions have started me on a whole train of thought. It was interesting to actively contemplate what my hopes and dreams are for my art in the future. I hope everyone who reads this post gives some time to considering your four questions. I took the time to write out jot notes and when I re-read them, I was very surprised to see things written that I wasn't even aware of in my day to day art practice. Reflection is very powerful.

    I appreciate your posted clock. I'll have to hunt for one.

  2. sounds like some very interesting developments in process in your life! looking forward to your art dialogues here.......

  3. This is a great post. I hope you get many people to respond.

    From art?--a sense of purpose, a feeling that art is food and medicine.

    Giving to creativity?--one voice joining with others speaking for all that is hopeful, good or inspirational for change.

    Frustrates my efforts?--fatigue, the business of life!

    Hopes and dreams?--to experience process wholly, and to communicate that expression as honestly as possible.

    Your work is stunning! Looking forward to visiting again and reading your assessment of your own answers and those of others.

  4. These are such deep questions and thank you for challenging me to answer them for myself.
    What do I get back from my art? A part of my soul... a secret thought... a new color or texture... a surprise.
    I give to my creativity my heart... but it gives me myself.
    I need more time!
    Hopes and dreams. Big pieces and little pieces. For my art to tell a story... my story...

    Thank you Leslie.

  5. More to come - as I'm terribly sleepy, but I had to say how much I've always loved that quote from Dumbledore.

  6. Yes, As I suspected, things are on fire at textures, shapes and color blogplace! I've enjoyed thinking and feeling the questions and my answers. Hopes and dreams were the mystery or surprise answers?! This is great...thank you for this connection.
    Love, your art wall with orchid...look at those buds!

  7. Beautiful post as usual, and beautiful collage, Leslie!

  8. I checked out time zones as I said I would and and just as I expected, I will never find a clock to post for NL time zone because of our weird half hour difference. I've never looked at it on a time zone map before. It's all quite interesting. I noted Iceland also has a half hour added to their time too. You've sent me on another learning journey.

  9. Hi Leslie,

    The texture in your piece today reminds me of leather. An old desk with the rings of ink bottles on it!

  10. Margaret: and thank you so much for your participation. I too have been learning a lot about international time zones and the date line.

    Jeane: I love to talk about art!

    Melinda: Thank you for visiting and also for responding. I especially enjoy “art is food and medicine.” Nurture, substance and healing. I also enjoyed seeing your blog.

    Roxanne: I enjoy your story, and think that “creativity gives me myself” is lovely.

    Patrice: I love Dumbledore too. What a great guardian angel he would make!

    May Ann: Thank you for your thoughtful contributions. The orchid shots were a lot of fun. I will probably post at least one more. It’s been about 5 years since it bloomed. It likes the coolness of the kitchen garden window.

    B & W: Thanks for the visit!

    Derrick: That’s just great Derrick! I love old desks, old leather, and ink bottle rings. Perhaps from the desk of a famous writer from long ago.

  11. Leslie, it is always such a pleasure and learning experience to visit your blog. This time your post has left me plenty to meditate on as to what my answers would be.

    Another wonderful exquisite work of art too!

  12. Love your orchid with your art as the backdrop.

    Hope your notebooks will blossom into a book!

  13. I am still pondering my answers to your questions. I have been working them out in my journal and will post on my blog soon. So far, I have only tackled the questions about creativity you posted before this one. Thank you for these thought provoking questions.

  14. Leslie, your questions have given me food for thought for days. Our discussion has been such a highlight, I keep remembering bits of conversation and find myself smiling to myself.

  15. Mary: Wishing you fruitful thoughts about your work. It is always nice to have you visit.

    Willow: Thank you. It is the first time the orchid has bloomed in years. Beautiful to see, and color coordinated.

    Miki: I have been reading your posts. You are a thoughtful artist.

    Robyn: Me too! What a pleasure it was to talk with you.


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