contemporary collage paintings
the process
Leslie Avon Miller

My life flows when I'm in my art.

Jean De Muzio

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Nothing Like A Good Moodle

Typewritten Painting 12 x 12 by Leslie Avon Miller
Collection of Seth Apter
So you see the imagination needs moodling-
long, inefficient, happy idling, and puttering.

Brenda Ueland

A good, long two day moodle. I always try and resist it, but the moodle wins, every time. I took my thoughts with me to the studio. I picked up this piece, that piece, and put them down again. I looked at work in progress. I sorted papers. I mixed paint and didn’t know where to put it. I sighed. I picked up a graphite pencil and began to write those thoughts, jumbled as they were, on a larger painting. I wrote and wrote and wrote. Then I knew where to put that paint – on top of the partially obscured words. Perhaps these are the Old Bones I am seeking to move into a new white series. The old bones of thoughts, past and present. Old bones buried under paint, gnawed at, left to dry in the sun, bleached and washed clean by the elements. Old bones clumped together in a pile, old bones scattered about leaving a trail and telling the story.
The next day, relieved of some of the jumbled thoughts for the moment, I rested. I sunk down into the quiet. Silence held the space open for something new, evolving, and still unknown. Occasionally thoughts of what I could be accomplishing came to mind; art, writing, progress, at least laundry, or a pot of soup. But resting in the silence won out. And today, the sun shines, my thoughts are flowing again, and I greet the day with renewed energy, enthusiasm, and appreciation. I go on.

Here are the answers to question #3 What gets in the way and frustrates you in your efforts to create?

My answers: Limited time. Tedious obligations. Sometimes the inability of my hand to create what my mind can see. That part is getting better. Once in a while falling in love with someone else’s work can get in my way for a time. That’s getting better too. Fatigue. After a long day I need to rest, when I might like to continue. The fact that no matter how much I want every weekend to create, sometimes I have to tend to other things. It’s all a dance, and I keep moving in the right direction. I don’t always care if I get the laundry done….

Readers answers: accepting my self and my art
long list of “have to’s” and “shoulds”
being a task master and pushing too hard = stress
letting less important things keep me from the studio
physical stamina and health, repetitive stress injuries, exhaustion, fibromyalgia,
limited opportunities to show my work
interruptions; the buzz around me
lack of the right kind of studio space
wanting to treat art as my job, but not doing that
I need a wife
loss; family members illness and death
need to expand my market
scheduling my time
finding a new audience
negative voices, inner critic
my task master production work ethic
validation from family and friends; they don’t
making a living
inner critic
day jobs
very high expectations
recharting my creative compass
how to stay motivated and inspired
negative thinking
expressing my individualism
lack of inspiration
self care; everyday problems
marketing; something that will sell that I want to make


  1. This is such a wonderful post, and i love your paintings!!! So glad I've found your blog, I will visit often. Keep up the good work! You really inspire me by writing about your process.

  2. That is ne of my top quotes, and you seem to have modeled the moodle perfectly.

    It's an art.. moodling. No rushing, no clock watching, no laundry...

  3. Such an interesting post. Many concepts here to ponder...moodling (am I the only one never to have heard that word), old bones, and obstacles. BTW, Untitled is pretty amazing!

  4. a day off is one of the most creative things we do!

  5. Beautiful writing. Love how the mood changed once you got to those Old Bones.

  6. A lovely post - especially enjoyed moodling. But you don't need a long list of dos and donts; all you need to do is put paint to canvas - or anything else, I guess!

  7. Thank you for such a thoughtful and beautiful blog! I have long been drawn to collage, but have never tried it. Your work and words are an inspiration. I'll be back!

  8. Moodling is so good for the soul and you took full advantage of the a walking meditation.
    These questions are so rich by the collection...a true conversation, dialogue...thank you again!
    Enjoy your Jo art...beautifully displayed...her latest...mushrooms are spectacular!

  9. Yes, it is a dance, isn't it? LOVE the textures in this collage, Leslie! Nice!!

  10. Deffinately a top quote! I like a bit of a moodle myself! In fact I think it is essential to the inner artist! Great post Leslie - especially the old bones bit!

  11. Hi Leslie, another wonderful post and collage, it's good to have "moodling" days, they serve a purpose :)...lovely post on the MEME in your sidebar Jo :)

  12. Love this painted collage....a lot!
    I'm glad your moodle led to renewed energy and enthusiasm.

  13. I love the day in your studio that you shared, especially the words sprawling across the paper, and knowing what to do with the paint after all. Thank you for sharing our thoughts and your own on these questions. I love to read them! Roxanne

  14. If you read my blog you will see I had a similar couple of days. But you express yours much more eloquently! Thank you for the camaraderie!

  15. Leslie, each time I visit your blog I leave awed by your posts and wonderful ability to put your thoughts into words. Certainly not less amazed by your wonderful work.

  16. Moodling.
    "To engage in a divine act of laziness."
    Some days are just so good for it.
    And some days I am just so good AT it.
    Fun post.
    Wonderful piece of work atop this
    fabulous quote. The purple is very regal.

  17. Hello,
    I feel very heppy for finding your works and stories. Wonderful paintings, very esthetic compositions. Thank you.
    Happy Easter.

  18. Reading all these things and I can identify with them all. Love your blog and your words of wisdom. This wisdom and profound view of life shows in your work. You have a spiritual gift.


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