contemporary collage paintings
the process
Leslie Avon Miller

My life flows when I'm in my art.

Jean De Muzio

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Out with Lanterns

Lanterns, collage on paper 6x6 , Leslie Avon Miller

Perhaps being lost, one should get loster.
~Saul Bellow

Loster in the studio; that’s where I am. And it’s no so bad. I have no idea what I am doing and I don’t know where I am going. I only know I am continuing in a state of curiosity. I try many things and make decisions about what to keep and what to discard. 

I create papers with color and textures which will later be turned into some shapes for collage. I make marks and I follow new pathways.

I have been through most the drawers and other places I have stored papers, collage, and paintings on paper looking at my own artistic history. I am grateful that I have kept some of my earlier works. It seems to me that the ones I have kept are sensitive and perhaps not so easily understood. But to me, they have a beautiful mystery, a certain aesthetic. And I find there is a thread from them to what I am doing now. 

          And I am out with lanterns, looking for myself. 
                                                      ~Emily Dickinson
My sensibility shows up like my fairy godmother even if I am unaware. Examples can be found by following the link to my tumblr blog in the side bar.

Some fellow named Sir Herbert Reed said that art is pattern informed by sensibility.

As I commence this next phase of my life, likely the final third, I have decided to do so with increased awareness and gratitude in general and with specific appreciation for my own sense of discernment. I feel a tenderness. I am opening. I am opening and turning towards the light. 

Late Ripeness

Not soon, as late as the approach
 of my ninetieth year,
 I felt a door opening in me
 and I entered
 the clarity of early morning.

One after another my former
 lives were departing,
 like ships, together with
 their sorrow.

And the countries, cities, gardens,
 the bays of seas
 assigned to my brush came closer,
 ready now to be described better
 than they were before.

~ Czeslaw Milosz,


  1. An artist I admire once told me "It is coming from the center (soul),the hand(s) are the tool, the eyes the decision...and back to the center...

    But it is that first one that grabs us, I think....and I am!!!!

    That another way to say "sensibility".

  2. I think you capture here the sense of mystery, the fact that like canoes in the fog we are always moving into and through the unknown. And there is always that thread of continuity somehow, connected to where we've been and where we're going.

    I love that you are wisely cherishing this "lostness" with a sense of curiosity. I for one often rail against my own lostness in a most unhelpful way - and then where am I but lost and tangled.

    And the lanterns, I wonder, if like a flashlight in the fog, they actually inhibit our vision. Better I think to rely on the inner light.

  3. c'est beau! parfois nous nous découvrons nous même à travers de nos travaux antérieurs...

  4. I love that your posts continue to reflect so beautifully your interior journey. Love the Milosz poem, and the Dickinson quote is new to me. I shall hang it in the studio and my heart!

  5. It's comforting to know there are others out with their lanterns, making discoveries daily. Many little glows all over the world. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this journey. Your curiosity is contagious.

  6. Such an evocative poem! Your journey resonates with me. The passing of time simply hones your skills and makes you more aware of the road you have travelled.

  7. Ahh, you have your lantern and your words...not lost for long! Beautiful piece Leslie. I can so relate to the second stanza by Milosz...(One after another my former lives were departing).

  8. the depth, sensibility, and pure poetry of your work, words, journaling (this is so much more than a blog!) and i imagine your entire living is astounding.
    what a wonderful perfectly minimal and perfectly meaningful reflection on your journey!
    loving the lost and found quotes!

  9. thank you for sharing the textures and tenderness
    of your beauitiful, beautiful heart:)

  10. surrounded by lanterns
    I am drawn to the light
    and dwelling within
    the lantern of my heart

    how your lantern glows
    so sweet and tender

  11. getting lost
    only this morning i was searching for Rebecca Solnit's lovely book
    a field guide to getting lost
    but it has lost itself
    somewhere in the studio

    but i'm not worried, things have a habit of [eventually] reappearing
    when they are actually needed

    as does a sense of purpose
    meanwhile wandering about, lantern in hand, is a delightful means of making other perhaps unintended, discoveries

  12. Thanks for sharing your selection of sensitive poetry in text and image.

  13. Beautiful post Leslie, thanks for sharing your journey:)

  14. What a wonderful wander this was Leslie - all of the words so simply and gently expressing how you/we feel; and lovely thoughts about re-discovering parts of yourself and your work, and taking new steps forward gently yet confidently. Continue to enjoy this journey...

  15. I have just had an enormous chuckle..... I came to comment that I had just had a delicious wander through your blog, again, and I saw Fiona's comment ahead of mine. She took the words out of my mouth! I love the idea that we are out with lanterns, searching for ourselves. And the Milosz poem makes me want to rush out and read some of his work. I have thoroughly enjoyed watching your experiments over the last year and the marvellous results that have come from them.

  16. I like that word "loster"... that is where I have been for some time.
    And that first stanza of the Milosz poem... stepping into clarity... has been my mantra for a long time... I think it is the ultimate hope for an artist... to be lost for a time and then step into that clarity before the next 'loster' time.

  17. The concept of being out with lanterns -- looking for oneself -- is so poetic to me. The perfect phrase to describe the place you seem to be.

  18. Oh, can so empathize with this entry, Leslie; sometimes better to wander and wonder than to plan and contrive! Thank you!

  19. As a good friend and fellow artist.. I am in the same sort of loster place you seem to be... and you have one of my favorite poems by Milosz.. that first stanza... stepping into the clarity of morning has been my mantra forever.. as I think that is really what I am searching for.. the clarity that informs me as an artist and shows me the way forward.


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