contemporary collage paintings
the process
Leslie Avon Miller

My life flows when I'm in my art.

Jean De Muzio

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Creating in Our Own Authentic Voice - Buried Treasure

One day not so long ago I was walking back to the house from the studio, a walk of about only 80 feet. It had been a pretty good day in the studio. I had been making collage, painting papers, tearing edges, arranging shapes, and gluing pieces down.

What was appearing on the paper was something I had never seen before, and it looked good, really good. And it was unique. And I knew that through my work I was speaking about breathing room, and calmness, and the state of being. The work I did that day was fresh, clean and strong. I was feeling very satisfied.

As I walked back to the house I was carrying my bucket of dirty brushes in one hand and my tea mug in the other, as the studio is unfinished and has no running water yet. I suddenly stopped and had an epiphany. I was truly speaking in my own authentic creative voice! Gosh, I thought, this feels so good, why would anyone try and speak in someone else’s voice?

That was when I decide to really zero in on the process of becoming an artist and creative person with a unique and very authentic expression.

My curiosity about the whole process of becoming someone who can and does express herself uniquely, and from her own truth was piqued. Hence my current focus is on authenticity in the creative process.

How do we get there? What is the process, and how can we enhance that uniqueness, that authenticity in our expression? What is the value of authentic expression?

What ever it is we are currently doing it is a step on the path. What ever it is you and I are creating today, it is the way we deepen own unique creative voice. Michelangelo said David was already in the marble, the artist just chipped away the excess to reveal the statue.

As well our voices and our authenticity are with us right now, we just have to tune in more clearly, and allow the flow.

This post was originally posted on my coaching blog, Create Your Best Life Coaching. It is my contribution to Buried Treasure, "an online, collaborative project that invites art bloggers to go into the depths of their blogs and dig for buried treasure. Each participant was asked to repost one (or more) or their favorite posts from their own blog. There are so many brilliant artists out there but so little time to explore all their work fully. This gives us all an opportunity to see highlights from posts we may have missed from so many of our favorite bloggers!" Buried Treasures is hosted by Seth Apter, the creative voice of The Altered Page.

If you read my blog from time to time, you might wonder about the reference to working in my studio. In 2009 when I wrote this post I was working in the studio on a temporary basis. I had a piece of plywood set across two saw horses which actually worked out very well.

Today's update on the studio construction is that the walls are all done! They look sharp in the new coat of fresh white paint. Next, Kurt will hang the ceiling fan.

This weekend we plan to paint the floor and then I will possibly be able to move back in. The trim and a few other details will still need to be done, but I can work in there while that is completed. I'm containing my excitement in the event something else needs to be done that will delay the process, but I also have my fingers crossed!

This collage is one I recently made. Thanks for visiting!


  1. I'm so excited for you and the new studio! Hey, I like your new "look" over here! Nice.

  2. Love the collage. Thinking about authenticity, i sometimes feel that it is difficult to really be yourself when there is so much 'inspiration' out there and however much one tries not to, you must absorb others ideas?!

  3. I remember this post Leslie. It was one that made an impression on me.
    My fingers are crossed for an early move back into the studio.

  4. and in the rush to create, so many forget that the process and the working, no matter what the field of endeavour
    are the most important things
    if the outcome is also satisfying, well that's a bonus
    how brilliant to be also creating clean space for these good things to happen

  5. What an important discovery, to recognize one's true voice. I remember this post, though not at first, and as it hit me afresh I thought again about how how I might become more authentic especially when I love seeing other people's work, and learn from the seeing. The simple answer is to keep working. Be a do-er, a creator, not just a reader/looker.

    I'm excited for you that you may be in your studio soon. You've been remarkably patient.

  6. very good questions, Leslie. We are so imitative in our society in many respects that to unearth one's own voice/vision can be a long, difficult process. And so many have their eye on the prize, not the process -- thank you for reminding us!

  7. I love your work !'m excited for you

  8. Your words are always wise, Leslie. Great sentiments about authenticity. It's not an easy path to tread.

  9. I love your art!!! And your blog is such a great teaching tool. Thank you for sharing.

  10. Good words..then and now! Thank you for the re-post. Your new work right in line with subject of authenticity...beautiful!
    So close to a completed studio...a party for sure...even if just for two...breakout the champagne.

  11. Perfect sentiment to inspire, Leslie - thanks so much.
    Your collages are BRILLIANT.
    N xoxoxo

  12. Love the greys in your collage and the lovely swish of ink.

  13. yep yep yep

    this is the one, alright....

    more perfect than you can imagine.

  14. This is a topic near and dear to me. Thank you for this repost. Authenticity and how to achieve it are two topics I would like to discuss at length with other artists. Your collage is wonderful.

  15. Hi Leslie,

    I like the restful greys in your collage. Even though we may be influenced by many others, I think we can only speak in our own voice. Happy floor painting!

  16. I love this piece, Leslie. The gold rectangle is transcendent and your marks have grace.
    This is a good article. Indeed- it feels best to use our own voice.

  17. beautiful blog..pls visit mine and be a follower.. thanks and God bless..

  18. I discover your blog with Seth's buried treasure and I love it ! :-)

    Tx for sharing.

  19. Always so very interesting reading your thoughts.Any time.
    A wonderful new collage,,,another stunner!

  20. As we slog through all the influences of art work we love, and textures and colors and lines we love, to find our own authentic voice is an ongoing journey that never really comes to an end.

  21. Greetings Leslie,

    A place of ones own is so very important in the creation of art and to see that soon your studio will be all complete, will certainly mark a milestone in your life.

    i am glad that you are already in there working and creating beautiful art.

    Wishing you a wonderful weekend and all the best,

  22. I love the 'process' too and how it infoms us of where we are---and who we are...
    thanks for re-sharing your thoughts on this, and lovely image to go with them:))

  23. I must admit I was a little confused at first about your studio. It sounds like you almost there. Great!
    I agree with your writing about creating with an authentic voice. We have such an abundance information around us that it's sometimes hard not to be influenced by others.It's a wonderful feeling when we feel we've achieved true authenticity.

  24. thank you Leslie for unearthing your buried treasure
    ! An inspiring post and I like the latest collage too

  25. Leslie, these are questions worthy of exploration over and over again. They remind me of those eternal questions like "Why was I born? What are we here to do?" I think we get "there" (meaning, perhaps, wherever we are at present) by asking ourselves these questions and then listening to the sliver of an answer that occurs to us so quickly, its almost like wisp of smoke. That wisp of insight is what then drives me to the studio. And on and on! Thanks for offering such good food for thought.

  26. Nice Leslie - then and now.
    My studio was once a folding table at the far end of the Florida room off the back of my house. Little by little I took over the wicker sitting area, the dining area, the dogs' crates . . . And now I'm often working in my kitchen, because every horizontal surface in my studio is covered with stuff . . . ummm, inspiration.

  27. I love reading about your studio. I guess it is about beginnings. I'm glad you are able to work in the studio again. My friend, an artist, told me when we complete the studio and move in, it is like a new book case. And already we are running out of room. That big studio I used to there is just barely room for me? I spend most of my life here and it is where I love to be.

  28. Leslie!
    you have a true creative spirit --I know exactly how you felt
    creating is so very exciting and makes one come alive.
    I did a little drawing the other day and felt really rusty
    and found it very hard indeed but I was really LOOKING
    --much more difficult than 'looking' with a lucky you are to have a studio
    my husband and I share quite a small space

    Buster sends a lick in your direction!

  29. When I watch HGTV and the program about real estate in NY City, I find my jaw dropping at the prices. I doubt I would have much of a studio space if I lived there. I am very aware of how blessed I am to have this space.
    All of your comments about creative voice and authenticity are appreciated. I plan on a second post to discuss all your wisdom.

  30. LOVE seeing the new studio in your sidebar. It is wonderful, and soon will be wonderfilled!

  31. This is such a wonderful post. Love the concept of authenticity in the process of our artistic expression. Your words " our voices and our authenticity are with us right now, we just have to tune in more clearly, and allow the flow. " With a new start within my own life- I hear my own voice, my own soul within myself. Thanks for this special gift of your repost! hugs

  32. This is a really good post. I think this is something a lot of us struggle with - I know I certainly do. There was a quote I had mentioned on my blog while talking about the same thing that I would like to share with you: "People don't change, they just become more of themselves." If you feel like you're becoming more authentic, it is because you already are! Also, if you care to, I would highly recommend the book Painting and the Personal Equation by Charles Herbert Woodbury.

  33. Leslie you have the most wonderful manner in the way you encourage creativity and expressing oneself... You are a delight to the senses... You have a wonderful eye!

    I am excited to hear about your new studio.. Space to do the things that thrill us is the ultimate luxury..... and necessity I might add...

    Take care and the very Best!


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