contemporary collage paintings
the process
Leslie Avon Miller

My life flows when I'm in my art.

Jean De Muzio

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Buried Treasure No. 2 - It’s About Time and Answers to the Fourth Question

It’s About Time and Answers to the Fourth Question

The author of Art Revolution, Lisa L. Cyr, the new art book I recently reviewed stopped by the blog and left a comment about her book. I have placed it in the side bar of my blog. She said writing the book was a real labor of love.

This is another round of Buried Treasure – a blogging event sponsored by Seth at The Altered Page. It has been a lot of fun to meet more bloggers by participating in this event! I notice Robyn of Art Propelled has reposted one of my all time favorite posts of her’s – about the Elephants in Africa.

I have reposted here the story about Time Management for Artists. Along with that I am sharing with you a collage I did – for fun – from vintage photos I collected. I did it with scissors and arranged these folks on an old Telegram. I use the image when I want to send a card to someone from a group.

In this re-post are blog reader’s answers to one of the questions I asked about art making. These answers are to the question #4 What are your biggest hopes and dreams for your creativity?

I woke up early this morning, and began to think of all the things I want to do, need to do, and feel I have to do. I got out of bed, even before my coffee was delivered, and instead of noticing the very first wisps of day light arriving through the trees, and hearing the early morning bird song, I came downstairs and announced to Kurt that “I just have so much to get done, and I don’t feel like I can give all the time I want to for each thing I need to do.” And so my day started; already off to a stressed outlook. In his wisdom, Kurt pointed out a shift in my thinking might be helpful. Perhaps I could choose not to do something today. His point? Make a choice. Today, I can make a list, make choices, and let go of the stress. I can say “no”, so I can say “yes”.

When I feel overwhelmed like this I am reminded of the following story about time management. It has been around a long while. I present it here, slightly altered for creative folks, as a reminder for me, and perhaps for you as well.

One day an artist who was also an expert on time management was speaking with a group of artists and, to drive home a point, used an illustration. As this woman stood in front of the group of creative artists she said, “Okay, time for a demonstration.” Artists love demonstrations!

She pulled out a very large, wide-mouthed vintage blue glass jar and set it on a table in front of her. Then she produced about a dozen fist-sized speckled rocks, each picked up on a lovely beach, and chosen for their beauty, and carefully placed them, one at a time, into the jar.
When the jar was filled to the top and no more rocks could fit inside, she asked, “is this jar full?” and everyone in the gathering said yes.

She said, “Really?” . . . then reached under the table and pulled out a small bucket of white gravel. She dumped some gravel in and shook the jar, causing pieces of gravel to work themselves down into the spaces between the big rocks.

Then she smiled and asked the group once more, “is the jar full?”
By this time the clever artists were on to her. “Probably not,” was the answer.
“Good!” she replied. And she reached under the table and brought out a bucket of shining black sand. She started dumping the sand in and it went into the spaces left between the rocks and the gravel. Again she asked, “Is the jar full?”

“No!” the artists said, smiling to themselves.
Again she said, “Good!” Then she took a hand blown multi-colored glass pitcher of water and began to pour it in until the jar was filled to the brim.
Again she asked, “Is the jar full?”

Many in the group said yes. Others weren’t so sure, and they smiled as she took a hand carved wooden salt shaker and emptied it into the jar, as well.
Then—the artist and time management expert looked up at the artists and asked, “What is the point of this illustration?”

One delighted artist said, “The point is, no matter how full your life is, if you try really hard, you can always fit something more into it.”

“No,” the artist replied. “That lesson could be drawn from this illustration, but that’s not the point I wish to make. The truth this illustration teaches us is: “if you don’t put the big rocks in first, you won’t get them in.

How we spend our days of course is how we spend our lives. – Annie Dillard

Answers to the Fourth Question: What are your biggest hopes and dreams for your creativity?

I can tell you I want to be a better artist. I want to work much bigger, and I want to be as authentic as I can be. I want my art to say something. I want my art to generate some income so I can have more time to generate art, and because art has real value. I am developing a work shop. I am very excited about that. And someday, I’ll tell you the really big dream, the one that takes my breath away and makes me levitate. The one that is a little fuzzy around the edges because I don’t have a clear vision yet. Sometimes it makes me giggle.

Blog Readers Answers:

I hope to continue to have the physical stamina and health to create
I would like to have a publication about my work, a record of my journey
To show or exhibit in larger areas
I really hope my work keeps going
I want to create something very large
I want to share with people the healing power of creating
A suitable studio space
A better balance
Enough money from my work to be earning a living
I want to be published
To make and sell my art
To have my family enjoy my art
I hope that I improve as an artist
I want to keep learning
I want the guts to stay the course
I want to keep experimenting
I want to encourage others
I want to inspire others
To experience the process wholly
To communicate my expression as honestly as possible
For my art to tell my story
I want to self publish
Good health, strong mind and heart to continue
To stay open to new ways and journeys
To encourage others by example
To express my own individualism
To continue to find new relationships between existing concepts
Joy, clarity and fulfillment
I want to enjoy watching my inner vision emerge onto a blank piece of paper
I love to write for magazines
I want to travel to teach all over the world
I want to publish books
I want to invent a new art technique or new art material
I want to dialog with other artists
I would like to have my own art center


  1. Leslie your post was very apt - I was chasing my tail all day. I did get through my list but things like housework got forgotten. I will remember your post in the next couple of days as I need to organise my studio space. Thoroughly enjoyed reading your post. Thabnk you. Arrived here via Seth's blog.

  2. Thank you for a powerful and thoughtful post. The story about time management is so very good--good enough to have up on the wall in the studio, the kitchen, everywhere.

    Your collage is pretty spectacular too.

  3. I really laughed at this wonderful post and your art is simply amazing. I will be back often because I truly love your style.

  4. Today, I do little because of some medical issues. Tomorrow, I find out what my big rocks are going to be.

    Wonderful and inspirational post.

  5. I'm sure there's some blog telepathy going on this week. All day I have been thinking of ways that I can fit everything in. Thank you or this.

    I'm dying to know what ur big ambition is.....oh how i hate secrets.

    That list is both interesting and inspiring and it's comforting to know that we all'want more'.

    Love the collage too - although that lady in the background scares me slightly!

  6. This is one of my favourite Leslie posts too. The story about the big rocks first, often comes to mind. I love the collage. Thanks for the blog mention.

  7. I adore your vintage people on the telegram! Just wonderful. And I'm enjoying the richness of your new brownish background. :)

  8. Thank you for the story. Rignt now I am trying so hard to find time for the stones but the gravel keeps getting in the way. You reminded me to stay focused.

  9. Loved the fun collage & enjoyed your re-post too. Today my time (as well as many others I'm sure!) is being spent enjoying Seth's blog parade!)
    Am really liking the new background for your blog!

  10. Just what I need today! Glad I found your Buried Treasure!

  11. Great reading this again.
    I often think of this lovely story.

    Your collage is allot of fun Leslie.

  12. Hi Leslie,

    I also remember reading this one first time round and liked the illustration used to help us prioritise - not that I'm any good at it!

    The collage is fun too but I agree about the scary woman!

  13. I am impressed you laid out your artisitc intentions so clearly.

    I have not seen a telegram in so many years....the world has changed so much.

    The collage is so different from the other work I have seen here, although I am just starting to see what you do so that is a premature statement.

    Regards on a warm Friday.

  14. Perfect post to read today! I've taken the day off "real" work and can do anything I want. Maybe I'll chose those big rocks first so they will be in the jar. Thanks so much! - Jeanne in Oregon

  15. How fun to have heard from Lisa L. Cyr...I ordered her book because of your words and I believe several others did the same!
    Your 'cut out' collage is just great...wonderful to reread the great story of rocks, gravel etc....such a strong reminder. Also great reminder how rich the artist heart is in the area of hopes and dreams for creativity. Thanks you for this thoughtful post.

  16. Wonderful choice to post for buried treasure, and somewhat appropriate for here at present. I loathe those days that start like this one, full of the weight of the tasks waiting to be attended to which sometimes feel so overwhelming. Sometimes we all need to make the choice and say no, and get the big rocks in first!

  17. I am truly grateful to Seth and his buried treasure hunt for it has brought me to you and your insightful blog! I shall return for more and I'm headed to your other blog now!

  18. and here I thought your first re-post (for Buried Treasures) was brilliant ... and along comes this gem - funny, enlightening and hopeful ... thank you.

  19. excellent lesson, I learned to do the big rocks a number of years ago, my life has been full ever since...great buried treasure, and always a good reminder

    but what I really wanna know is

    how do ya get the coffee delivered?


    PS love your comments comment, may I borrow some of that for my bloggy?

  20. PSS I LOVE your collage, love, love, love!

  21. I remember this post from the first time around. Like it as much now as then. And that collage is so much fun!! Thanks for reposting.


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