contemporary collage paintings
the process
Leslie Avon Miller

My life flows when I'm in my art.

Jean De Muzio

Thursday, January 14, 2010

In the Flow of Creativity

Flow is being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Have you ever been in a flow, when things just kept getting better and better? That’s happening now for me, and I am having so much fun! I am barely noticing that my studio is under construction. I hauled paints and paper and brushes to the house and have set up a tiny mobile studio in a bathroom, so you know it’s a very small space. I put a board over the sink and away I go!

Earlier this year I set up two pieces of paper on board to do warm-up mark making prior to a painting session. I just kept painting and painting on them, layer after layer. When I had a go at painting with smoke (see my last post) I used those pieces for my trial runs. I took a small section of one of those and did additional mark making to create the piece above. I wanted to let you know that if you decide to paint with smoke as Dean Nimmer outlines in his book Art From Intuition, I suggest you wear a respirator. The fumes, especially if you are working over acrylics, were very unhealthy. Dean outlined a number of safety factors to keep in mind, but not that one. When it comes to sensitivity to vapors and fumes and air born particles I am the canary in the coal mine. Just thought I would share that precaution.

Do you do it for the money, honey? The answer is no. Don't now and never did. Yes, I've made a great deal of dough from my fiction, but I never set a single word down on paper with the thought of being paid for it... I have written because it fulfilled me. Maybe it paid off the mortgage on the house and got the kids through college, but those things were on the side--I did it for the buzz. I did it for the pure joy of the thing. And if you can do it for joy, you can do it forever.

Stephen King

Meanwhile the Re-Fresh Your Creative Practice program is coming together and we are set to start Tuesday, January 19th. There is still time to join us if you wish. I am having so much fun with that creative project! If I had to choose between my love of creating art and my love of working with creative people, I would not be able to do so.

I’m in the kind of flow that fills time to the brim, and I find I am inspired even in the early morning and late night hours. I am making every effort to visit your blogs. It looks to me as if there is a great deal of creative flow going around!

We have so much to celebrate!! There is a permanent party rocking the Universe! We are all standing on one giant revolving dance floor- get out there and do your thing and do it well! Dance the dance of life, and let your own unique and beautiful rhythm flow.

Katharine Dever


  1. And I just noticed - this is my 100th post!

  2. Congrats on your 100th post. Bravo!! Love the references to jazz, free flow and dancing. Sounds like you've been having a ball!!

  3. I've enjoyed every one of your 100 posts Leslie. Congratulations! So glad you are in the flow and having fun. I love your painting .... actually I think most of my favourites are the ones you've painted in shades of grey.

  4. Leslie, congratulations on this, again, beautiful no. 100. So good to read that you are having fun with your painting, love the results!
    Regina, SXM

  5. Leslie, Congratulations on 100 posts...all have been great...I should know, I think I've read all 100!
    Great you are in the flow of your art making...bathroom, patio, studio or making. I love the new piece and the way your free creative calligraphy is showing up...Bravo. Good luck as well with the"Re=fresh your creative practice" have gathered a great bunch of ducks! ha

  6. Congratulations on your 100th post. Your posts are so inspirational and I've enjoyed reading and rereading them ever since I've discovered your blog. One day I intend to go back to the beginning.

    I'm glad to hear that your creative energy is flowing along. I'm looking forward to seeing the results!

  7. I love catching a ride on the flow when it happens! Suddenly you feel you're in that slipstream where your effort isn't what's carrying you forward. And then, just as suddenly, it can disappear and you have to start paddling again yourself.

    Makes me appreciate even more the times when the flow graces me with its presence.

    Sounds like you're right in the thick of it!

  8. Congrats not just on 100 posts but on 100 meaningful, creative and inspiring posts. I love visiting your blog. And being in the flow is like no other experience. Time just doesn't exist.

  9. Happy One Hundredth! I look forward to 100 more of your inspiring posts! I hope you do another coaching program as the timing doesn't work for me right now but I'd love to be part of it.

    And of course your art posted here is fabulous as usual!

  10. Leslie--I, too, recently moved my stuff into the house. It was getting too cold in the studio and not good for my paints. Love your stuff. Always. Can't wait to see the collages that you post for the new show.

  11. Hi Leslie,

    Congrats on your century! Glad you're having such a good time. Hope there isn't a queue outside the bathroom door!

  12. Congratulations on you 100th post.

  13. Great work and post.

    Smoke on the water, fire in your heart.

  14. this flow has a FRESH buzzzzzz in the fluid markmaking...

    the BEST is that you've picked it up and carried it on into the bathroom, boards over sink, space no matter!! in the true spirit!

  15. Hi Leslie...a friend just directed me to your blog, thank you ... I posted it in the links on my blog so I can look further and further at your wonderful work. Hope that is okay with you..... Thank you.

  16. very exciting that a new studio is in the works. I adore the concept and actuality of flow. When I wrote a lot, I could be totally in the flow for hours. In another world, the movie of the book I wrote. Also, anytime I putter w/visual craft/art I am in the flow. So much so that my artroom is a mess. Often I work on a number of projects at the same time. I need about 6 tables (Ideally) to take care of all this. But since my "studio" is now in someone else's house, I am trying to be tiny and neat in all I do.

  17. Annie- Dancing and music work so well with emotion, don’t you think?

    Robyn – Thanks! I think we can find flow in any color!

    Regina – Thank you Regina!

    Mary Ann – We have been blogging buddies from the beginning. I’m glad to be your follower. I’m enjoying the re-freshment process.

    Kim – you must be thrilled! You won Robyn’s give away.

    Bob – The flow does feel easy and smooth.

    Seth – Time just becomes irrelevant.

    Zen Dot – I suspect the Re-Fresh program will run again. I enjoy the process.

    Teri – Hi. We can move around so we and our supplies can be cozy and comfortable.

    Derrick – No queues! We’ve a spare!

    Eva – It is so nice to see you!

    John – Oh, that’s good – smoke and fire!

    Neva – Yes – it’s the spirit that counts!

    Lorraine – I loved seeing your blog – that clam shell box is something I’d like to do one day. Thanks for visiting.

    Suki – If I had six tables, I could cover them all too! And writing – that is yet another place to flow.

  18. Congrats on your achievement! I love your blog and your creations. May you post many. many more. I'll be here to enjoy them!

  19. Boy, are you on a HIGH right now-- and your enthusiasm is 'flowing' out to all of us. I just returned from teaching my workshop in Florida and there are always a few who have sold their soul, their integrity and their honesty to commerce-- they should ready your post! congrats on your 100th post-- I think I have 75 to go.

  20. HI Eva: Thanks for the good wishes and for coming by!

    Hi Donna: It is always a juggle - what to do for an income to live on, and what to do to satisfy one's creative soul. Each person's solution is different.

  21. Hi Leslie,
    I found your blog from my Google Alert that lets me know when my book is mentioned on the internet and I wanted to thank you for bringing attention to the smoke projects in Art from Intuition. I'm glad that you enjoyed the process and incorporated it in your elegant artwork. BTW, I also agree and appreciate your advice about wearing a mask to guard against fumes while working with smoke that I overlooked when I wrote the precautions. It's always good to see the interest in my book and I appreciate that you helped spread the word. More details on my book can be found at and my website is
    Best Wishes, Dean Nimmer


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