contemporary collage paintings
the process
Leslie Avon Miller

My life flows when I'm in my art.

Jean De Muzio

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Seeking My Authentic Voice

I have a new appreciation for winter, after the holidays and the rush have subsided.

It’s a personal time. It’s easy to slip home after work and live simply. I find time for reflection, time for solitude, and studio time.

I think of my thought process as mental composting in a way. I don’t have to actively reflect, just see what comes up. I have no intention of any thing like a resolution. I am experiencing more “being” now, and eschewing goal setting and time frames. I am experiencing myself a la natural. It’s exciting really. What will come of it?

From this richness of space and time (and plenty of luxurious sleep), I have been working a lot in the studio. I’m going in new directions. Ideas tumble in my mind, one after the other, waiting to be acted upon. I’m having fun!

I’m not ready to share the “new” work yet, but I can tell you I have been playing with inks, bees wax, charcoal and egg shells. Even those ingredients sound a bit like a compost pile!

I have also developed a new coaching group – Seeking Your Creative Voice. This topic is so very dear to my heart.

On January 14th you can participate in a non cost teleclass exploring the topic if you like. You can find out more here. You will also find particulars about the group there.

As this idea was developing I started down a few mental dead ends; all a part of the process I suppose. Not unlike making art, for me anyway. Then this popped up from my compost pile:

When I tap into my authentic voice that’s when the doors open, the work flows and my heart knows, just knows “this is right.” Time melts. It feels good. The struggle is replaced with a sense of work; right work, good work, the work, my work.

Voice isn’t style, voice isn’t principals and elements of design, voice isn’t content, but the language we use to express our authentic voice includes all of these. Authentic voice is something more elementary than this, it’s something closer to primal, closer to the earth, and it is uniquely yours.

The authentic voice isn’t found so much as it is invited, finally recognized and accepted for what it is and celebrated.

We don’t choose it, it claims us. What we choose is to listen and dance to the sound. You may even find yourself weeping for the joy of connection with your own creative voice.

Happy January! What is coming up from your mental compost pile?


  1. Happy New Year Leslie! I've missed you. Sounds like you are doing amazing things. Love the conversation about authentic voice. That's a piece of what I do to support people is bringing that seemingly ineffable voice out in their public messages. Thanks for the inspiration and motivation! Blessings showering on you for 2011~!
    Bobbye Middendorf
    The Write Synergies Guru

  2. You are exceptionally talented and its a pleasure to read your blog :) I have added your blog to my follow list and will be visitng more often.Take care:)

  3. Nice post Leslie!

    I always noticed an awkward, clumsy mark or move that kept showing up in my work and I felt that if I could just get rid of that my work would be so much better. No matter what I tried though that clunky thing kept popping up again and again! It took me years until it finally dawned on me that that odd goofy thing was actually me! Everything else was just me putting on other people's clothes. Now I try to embrace who and what I am although Its still so easy to forget and to fall into emulating the flavor of the month. That's where your phrase "your own creative voice" seems so helpful and resonant to me in my studio today!

  4. I love the easy flow of your post and and the way you seem to intuitively know how to do contact authentic voice. Authentic voice is something that is calling to me to explore more fully (I wrote about that call in a Dec blog post) Look forward to joining you in your travels Leslie, and as always look forward to seeing your wonderful and inspiring studio creations

  5. Hi everyone -

    I'm not the only one who feels the voice is ineffable? (I had to look that one up Bobbye!) Ineffable means incapable of being expressed; indescribable or unutterable. Yep, that's the way it can seem - evasive!

    Robert you have said it so well - I think we keep rejecting our voice - crazy, but true. I'm beginning to tune in. And I'm determined to embrace what I have! And I do think our voice calls to us Carole. I don't always listen well.....

  6. Closer to primal, closer to earth .... I like that. Leslie, this post fills me with anticipation and I love your collage painting too.

  7. Authentic voice is developed through practice and most often by working with your own original ideas rather than emulating what another admired artist is doing. One can riff off another's voice, sort of like jazz musicians do. Perhaps the composting metaphor of finding one's authentic voice is more similar to music than we realize. Both are art.

  8. I think THAT is the whole 'artist practice' to find your authentic work .... And to stay with it !
    I find it also difficult to accept that it might be what 'comes easy' . I always respect more my work if I had to 'fight' for it ....

  9. Thank you Leslie for this post on 'authentic voice', entering the new year seems a very good time for me to explore this concept. I will re-read my copy of Creative Authenticity for a start.
    I am greatly looking forward to seeing your new work.

  10. Hi Leslie,
    Happy New Year!
    I feel very much like you. I am always looking for the authentic voice.
    I currently have a lot of time and rest for new works.
    It is wonderful to do everything the same manner as one would like.
    many thanks for your lovely post, you always bring everything to the point.
    That helps, I think quite many here to see more clearly.
    and your painting is fantastic!
    I love it. All the best, Ralf

  11. l'oeuvre de l'en tête est magnifique..sobre et coloré à la fois!

  12. I'm intrigued with your new concocted mixture of mediums. Looking forward to the results. Your blog is looking fabulous, daaahling!

  13. wonderful post lesie- I have been wanting to comment on this since I first read it but just now found the time.
    I experienced that weeping for joy the last time I was in my studio and was working on the last painting I created for 2010. It doesn't happen all the time, but when it does, it is a spiritual moment, I think. It's such an amazing and uplifting feeling. I wish I could carry it with me all the time...well, I try.

  14. Wonderful. Without our true voice we are just bumping into things with a paintbrush in our hand. Love reading your blog.

  15. So far, I thought my favorite post on your blog was the farting around post. . . and it really still is. But the paintings I've seen in the last two posts are amazing. And I love the red in your new headder. I agree with another commenter, you are intriguing me with the list of your new work materials. Can't wait to see what you come up with; it will be great. Love ya Mary

  16. warmth
    in the hive
    in warm circles
    with the winter muses...

    xox - eb.

  17. Here I am getting caught up :-)
    What wonderful inspirational writing- what I need right now to get myself back into my studio.. and I love your black and white mixed media work.

  18. I am looking forward to seeing the results of your explorations!

    This post has encouraged me to think and be, not just do for the sake of doing.

    My compost pile is full (or, actually, not so full) of memories, ashes and fear. Hope to replace some of those items soon.

    Now, I'm off to read about your teleclass.

    Hope you have a wonderful winter and a creative 2011.

  19. Leslie, Your black and white piece is gorgeous and speaks eloquently to the subject of authentic voice. "Compost" is good description for what happens internally as we absorb experience and then utilize it, super-enriched, in our work.

    I also like what Robert said about owning one's own marks that for so long seem clumsy, awkward and untoward! So true.

  20. really enjoy that painting at the top with a hint of color to it. you speak so well of this quiet time after the holiday. the winter's hush. just being. be well, suki

  21. I find time for reflection, time for solitude, and studio time. ( I like this)

    .New year - new ideas - new courage and new results.
    This is a exciting time and I look forward to your results.
    and your header and the image are great.
    greetings from bavaria

  22. I love to hear your words,

    describing something so ephemeral..

  23. Mental composting - great concept.

  24. Hi Leslie,
    I adore your new header.... so luscious and fresh. That energy was also to be found at this post.
    I like what your write about the authentic voice claiming us rather than us choosing it... that makes a lot of sense to me...and I often reflect on the fact of listening means being surprised at times as to what awaits!
    Am enjoying your tublr I must say!

  25. Can't wait to see what comes out of the mulch! Best wishes for 2011

  26. Looking forward to your "new" work.
    Always good to play, to experiment or making sandcastles. Wishing you all the best for this year.

  27. As Derrick is leaving the blogosphere you might like to leave a message on the post "Farewell Derrick" at my blog

  28. Wow, I love this post and the new look. Sorry I have been awal for a while. But boy did I love this post. If i dont use my authentic voice then nothing happens, no art, no inspiration - blank canvas, as it were.
    Brilliant post!

  29. A Happy January and New Year!
    Beautiful color and marks fill your blog!
    To listening and connecting and all things creative:))

  30. i like the way you express this. So often voices sound homogenized, and i can't tell who is speaking and from where--and then when you find authentic sound your heart hears it, knows it!


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