contemporary collage paintings
the process
Leslie Avon Miller

My life flows when I'm in my art.

Jean De Muzio

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Slow Art

All images are 6 inch by 6 inch collage on paper, by Leslie Avon Miller

You have no doubt heard of the slow food movement, and the movement to slow down and counter the rushed pace of modern life. Well, I am trying out slow art. Having a day job and thinking that experience with hands on making is the surest way to establish skill, I have tried to cram as much art time in my life as possible. Early morning hours, even the tired hours after work, weekends, and holidays – all were likely art time for me. And some of that is good – after all I really want to create and I have to fit it in my life.

But now I am adding in more time to think, and clear my mind. I can see that ideas incubate best when I don’t rush them. I relate more to the work I am making and I am gaining a different sense of satisfaction.

I continue to experiment, to think about the art I am making or will be making. I am experiencing going slower with my art – finding satisfaction in the preparatory stages such as making papers, building up layers as each dries, and finding complementary elements.

This weekend I have had a walk in nature and time to connect with friends. I have cleared my mind of the every day detritus, and contemplated creating in the studio. There has been time for slow food, something we value around here. I have said good by to an elder of my family, appreciating what she told me about her life without electricity, without public transportation or interstate highways or security checks or modern day medicine. I have said hello to a brand new arrival in our family, the first of the newest generation. I wonder what he will experience in his life time.

I smell autumn approaching, and see the leaves turning. And I know that truly I have all the time I need. I am nurturing and harvesting my creative energy and noticing the beauty of seasonal change.

Slow down and enjoy life. It’s not only the scenery you miss by going too fast – you also miss the sense of where you are going and why. Eddie Canton


  1. despite living in the heart of the whirlwind i do give slow and considered attention to important things...such as [last week] reining in students who wanted to make twenty samples and coaxing them to focus on just one piece

    challenging but well worth it

  2. Enjoyed reading your writings. Nothing better than having some time for daydream meanderings and letting ideas find their own way, before we get swept up in the pace again.

  3. Leslie,

    I totally agree!! Love your way of describing subjects like this.


  4. sounds like you've entered a very rewarding time in your life, enjoy. i never thought i'd look up and quote the pointer sisters on your blog, but SLOW HAND just started playing in my head: "as the midnight moon was drifting through the lazy sway of trees..."
    'i want a slow hand'...slow works well in so many situations. GRIN!

  5. a lovely post. I am slow by nature but certainly can get wound up at times. I love your artworks and feel inspired to create when I see them.

  6. We could smell autumn in the air this weekend, too. The cool morning air on the patio had that magical fallish scent and feel. Ahh. Heaven.

  7. I have been rushing around myself but after reading your post, it has made me also take pause and try to slow down a bit. And as you know, I love the dots and circles in your work.

  8. things are rushed over these days..slowing down the pace can only bring good things...

    these pieces are fabulous!!!

    you have a creative energy style that transfers so well to the project at hand...
    in other words
    i really like your style!

  9. Time to think is so important isn't it. I'm enjoying the contemplative feeling in your latest posts Leslie. It reminds me to slow down. Your paintings have the same soothing quality as your words.

  10. slow is good, like slow dancing or strolling instead of power-walking. Lately, I've been trying to write haiku, which demands a slow cadence. I truly believe it has eased the blood pressure. I enjoy your online journal and artwork, Leslie -- thank you for sharing.

  11. these are just gorgeous! i had stopped by yesterday as i have grown to enjoy reading your posts and looking at the amazing accompanying art but you hadn't posted anything yet. what a fabulous treat for my monday!

    love the quote, too.

  12. Thanks Leslie...
    I love that four letter word S L O W :)

  13. Words to live by and ones I should take more to heart. Gorgeous pieces as well!!

  14. You have found a most valuable secret. S L O W very good for moving through life. That way, you don't miss the small things; those things that truly matter.

  15. The process of slowing down...purposeful living. Great reminders of the importance of appreciation.
    Thank you for sharing Dean Nimmer in your sidebar...I have the book but had not been on his placed in my favorites...!
    Your work is lovely, circles of delight.

  16. very thoughtful Leslie - maybe you are finding your true stride :)

  17. Hi Leslie,

    Being able to slow down and appreciate "other" things is great, or just doing something different; out of the routine. Should help us all.

  18. What a thoughtful post - thanks for the reminder. Your observation of texture and color is inspiring! Beautiful collages.

  19. Lovely post, Leslie....goodbye to elder, hello to the new one.....breathe and enjoy the simple things...your collages are reminders of this, as well as your words.

  20. Your work is stunning. If that is the result of slowing down - I'm definitely putting on the brakes.

    Thanks for following my blog. It allowed me to find you, see your beautiful collages, and ensure I will also follow and be back.

  21. I believe art needs to be an expression of life and if you don't take the time to live, you have nothing to express.

    I need to slow down as well. Really like the idea of slow art.

  22. i rush too mucho, gracias

    top one sedately glorious

  23. Great post! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and (slow) work, Leslie. I am finding/have found the same slowing down myself recently and think my work is better for it - as is my attitude.

    I have Dean Nimmer's book (he was the head of the painting department at MassArt when I was there) and found it full of ideas to stir the pot.

    I also love reading artists' bios for inspiration about how to or not to live life and combine it with art. One recently-read bio is "A Short Life of Trouble: 40 Years in the New York Art World" by Marcia Tucker and Liza Lee. Marcia Tucker was the first female curator at MoMA and started the New Museum. She led a too-short but totally interesting, risk-taking life that she filled with people, love and curiosity about everything. Reading it is bound to make you value all the minutes you have at your disposal.

  24. Slow food, slow art.....
    I completely agree with you
    that so much gets lost in the frenzy of modern life

    and how frenzied it can be.
    time is all we have and we should spend it wisely.

    When I lived in a third world country and there was much less of everything
    how much more
    we appreciated it

    too much
    is literally

    Buster says "Hi!"

  25. Slowing down, widing down,really seeing and feeling what's happening.
    Often it's the slow and steady that so puts one into the zone.
    At least for me,,,,and these pieces prove that it works for you too!

  26. PS; I too have the Dimmer book, but wasn't aware of the website. Thanks Leslie!

  27. I'm enjoying your work and your blog.

    I love your Annie Dillard quote - it's so true...In today's fast paced world it seems that the truly important things can so easily get rushed past in the hurry of our lives. It's so important to enjoy whatever time we have available and the loved ones in our lives.

    Slow art, isn't really slow dear Leslie - it's just the natural ebb and flow of our creativity finding its rhythm.

  28. I wouldn't agree more with you. "experimenting is how I learn" I repeat as a mantra! I find it that the more I work the more ideas I get and probably it has to do with the fact that as I work I clearn my mind of all other subjects but my art. Im a fibre artist and -lucky for me- that is my day job. naturally other obligations in life such as motherhood, make me share my art time with other activities and at the beginning it bothered me a bit until I realized that I had to take a step back... look around... absorve what was going on not just go through the motions...
    Nice post and excellent... beautiful art you make.

  29. Dear Leslie,
    Thanks a lot for your care.
    I appreciate and understand your words but Barcelona is not right there.
    The exhibition at the Niebla Foundation is composed by more than 60 works.
    While the show does not happen the anxiety is taking care of me ...
    Your work goes in a good way and the images of the blog, show the consistent link of continuity, similarity in the difference.
    I hope it is as well as your entire family.

    Yours,José Brito

  30. Lovely languorous thoughts presented at just the right pace. The small paintings complement this post beautifully--they are unhurried and yet compress much into their small space. Like haiku, which is expansive though small. And unhurried.

  31. Hello Leslie, I come to you through our friend, Suki, I see we have some other common friends here. I am so glad Suki recommend you to me, because I love this blog you have going.

    I have also written about Slow Art and absolutely find it has made a difference in the work I do, just as Slow Food and Slow Life. It is amazing what happens to work and life when we truly observe and reflect in many creative ways.

    I will return to explore here more.

  32. I believe this is the first time I've been to your blog and it was perfect timing. Your art collages are drop dead gorgeous. I love your style and your thoughtful insight as you document your feelings and emotions. Your work is not just inspiring, it touches me in ways I will never be able to convey with mere words.

  33. Hello, and nice to meet you!
    thank you for your visiting my blog.
    your textures are sooo beautiful.
    but I don't know the way how to become the reader of this blog
    by the way of blogger... could you tell me the way?

    and I'm not good at English so much
    so I apologize if my expression of English are rude or

  34. I just visited your entire blog. Wonderful. Your thoughts and collage work really make me pause- so intimate.

  35. Hello nyoroko - I'll have to find out about email subscriptions. I see that at some blogs. I'll let you know. Thanks for visiting! Your English is just fine.

    Hi Wen: Gee, the whole thing? Wow! Nice to meet you! I am itching to get back in the studio - soon, soon. Thanks for visiting!

    And to the other new visitors, hello! I am going to get around to all your sites and visit soon. Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate your feedback.


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