When life becomes hectic, frantic, upsetting, confusing, demanding, it's hard for me to figure out a way to find my way back into my creative space.
Oh, I can go into the studio and squeeze out some paint and move color around, but I don't feel a zip of energy. I feel empty. Blah. Beige. Believe me. Beige is not a good feeling.
When I was actively playing piano, I had a similar experience. But, I found a remedy. If I played through the Bach Preludes and Fugues (the Well-Tempered Clavier), I found my way back. You can listen to these familiar, gorgeous pieces played by Glenn Gould here.
Even today, listening to the Preludes and Fugues brings order to the chaos and calms me while at the same time directing me back to my own creative journey.
With art making, Bach works a little bit, but when I add to it a simple practice of Suminagashi, I feel myself resting and awakening. I fill a tray with water and slowly touch the surface with Sumi ink. The oil in the ink allows it to float on the water surface. I manipulate the ink and disturb the surface and watch how the water creates eddies and space. Finally, I create a print of the ink on rice paper.
Like any good meditation, Suminagashi leaves me open and ready for the next thing.
Ink, Water, Breath.