Plans For Shibui, And Thoughts About Free Will
Today I wanted to share some things about Shibui Found Image Art and some things about free will that are also a part of creating Shibui. What happens within the mind/brain association interests me because it does have a link to the Shibui creative process and other art processes. We make choices and predictions as we move through the creative process. (I find how the brain works fascinating.)
First, I have a new subscription to an online magazine called BBC Science Focus Magazine. There are several essays about how the brain works within the magazine. This is where I found the topic of free will.
The title of the essay I discuss in this blog is, “Do we really have free will?” I ask myself, “Will I find this is a part of the creative process?” The author Dr. Lisa Feldman, is a professor at North East University. Seven And A Half Lessons About The Brain is her new book. I am wondering if it will be as interesting a read as this essay.
I am interested in the brain because of Shibui, an art form I began developing in 2011; it was apparent from the start that it would be a fascinating way to create art as an original art form. I had wanted to do something different than I was that particular day. I grabbed paper, and water color and began spattering, dripping, dropping watercolor in plops. I tipped and turn the page. And then to no on but the room, I said “Ok! Now, what’s there!” I knew right away it would be a great art therapy tool. It felt unique. The more I developed Shibui the more sure of these I became.
My goals for Shibui are to give this idea to others, especially at this time. We all need to feel emotionally, physically, spiritually, and mentally better. Shibui can become an entrepreneurial art revenue. I am thinking of those who are homebound individuals who can not work at traditional jobs. All artists need to understand the business end of art to have success, and so will all Shibuiest! I believe in art as an entrepreneurial reality. I believe there is a remarkable shift in the world of art; how we sell it and view it, and what we can do with it! Products can be made and sold using your own art. Online galleries, and social media.
Shibui Found Image Art inspires my goals to learn how the brain works during its creative process because of my plans for it as an art therapy tool. I see it as a gift to others to help heal the world; at this time especially. We need to heal emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually. Art, writing, singing, humor____all these things can make a huge difference!
A question I have is: Are there ways to improve Shibui within its problem-solving creative mode so that it tasks the mind in a way that new pathways are made by the mind. Will the mind use another uninjured part of the brain? We know it does make new pathways but how does it work with the creative process. Does color affect the mind/brain? Question-making thoughts will lead to finding answers.
Another question is what role does free will have in the creative process? Again, just how does the brain/mind work during the creative process. Perhaps I can finesse the creative process of Shibui. Repeating processes___I know the more I practice the art of finding things in the foundations the better I am at finding the commonalities that make a whole something or other.
The plan I have is to someday soon, work with neurobiologists and art therapists. Neurobiology would help me find answers about the brain itself; for example, what happens with the nerves in the brain? It would be very beneficial to understand the needs of art therapists, and their patients who do have a brain injury, neurological injuries, autism, who need help with their grief, cancer patients, other disease and disorders that use art therapy.
The plan includes courting facilities that use art therapy. Places like Grief Centers, Hasbro Children’s Hospital, NeuroRestorative, The Barbra Bush Cancer Center, Sophia House(A safe house for women), Day One (for alcohol and drug abuse.) There are many other possibilities for Shibui both as an art therapy tool and perhaps their clients who might use Shibui as a revenues stream. I have talked and demonstrated to found of these facilities.
It was great fun to show the young women at Day One how Shibui foundations work. Some were very interested. Creating Shibui is way better than drinking or drugs. And it may just fire up a young person towards art school, maybe an art therapist?
I needed to learn if there is interest in my plans for Shibui and there is! I need to find these individuals if I am to spread Shibui out into the world where it can help a lot of people.
The person I talked with from NeuroRestorative liked the fact that Shibui is a problem-solving concept and felt it would certainly help. I still hope to work with this facility one day. I intend to offer live instruction along with the instruction manual. I am also in search of people who do digital art and can help develop a form of digital Shibui. Digital Shibui would help people who are paralyzed. One person in the control group did digital Shibui, enough I could see where it would lead.
I am very serious about the Shibui Found Image Art project! But, I can’t do all I want to without other creative people getting on board. So what do you do if you have such an ambiguous project? You talk, and tell, and explain, and you keep working at it consistently. You find people who will come aboard. There are people who can show or tell me the answers to the questions I have.
The idea is to position yourself by courting facilities and working with them by holding live classes, it does not cost a lot to set up live on a computer.
You build on what your vision is. But you must, must, must create a plan, focus, and if something is not working well you take the time to pivot and rethink. It means developing theories, and following through with them. It is having a vision. It is asking questions. It is being visible.
Knowing there is interest from places like Hasbro’s Children’s Hospital, where I sat down with two psychologists explaining the foundations and the creative process of Shibui Found Image Art. They agreed and were very excited about how it would help. It would be a new approach as well. I was very excited as they wanted to hire me on the spot. Sadly, I did not live in Rhode Island nor was the instruction manual completed. However, I was inspired to try other facilities due to their interest in me!
I needed something more___I need to see what others could do with Shibui. This is why I began to teach it. I began a control group instead. Running the control group Shibui Found Image Art Live has taught me I had the cart before the horse, an important lesson. I began to teach in the group, fortifying the members with information which lead to me finessing the context of the instruction manual. This control group will continue because I know I will continue to learn what others can do with Shibui. The plan is to instruct new instructors, some from this group.
I envision Shibui as a revenue stream for others as well; as an original art form, art therapy tool, or art product. For those interested in this endeavor, it is important to learn the business end of art.
The instruction manual will be comprehensive about the processes applied, giving definitions, and techniques required, and be a guide to Shibui’s creative process for other Shibuiest. One of my instructors, Julie Baker Waite plans to take her brand of Shibui to Cancer Centers.
Once the instructional book is completed then I will be prepared to teach Shibui live. I read, and research about the brain, and about applicable techniques which helps me formulate questions and to have applicable information within the context of the manual. My interest in this essay is how free will comes into play.
Free Will and Shibui
Now, as to free will and why I see a connection to being creative. Dr. Lisa Feldman writes free will is hotly debated. After all, we do feel we are freely making choices. But Are we? She explores this. How does our brain work? I know from my psychology classes that we rattle around ideas, thoughts from experiences in short-term memory to get them into long-term memory. That we file away what we experience to be used later. Feldman gives recognition to this fact as she writes. What she writes is: “On the other hand, neuroscience evidence clearly shows that the brain usually initiates our actions before we are aware of them. Here is what I mean. Your brain’s primary task is to regulate the systems of your body to keep you alive and well. But there’s a snag: your brain spends its day locked in a dark, silent box (your skull) with no direct access to what’s going on inside your body or outside in the world. It receives ongoing information about the state of your body or outside in the world__’sense data’__ from the sensory surfaces of your body (your retina in your eyes, your cochlea in your ears, and so on).” In fact, it is light that happens outside our bodies that has the eye see colors. Then this is translated by the brain. No light, not the world as we know it.
The brain and the mind are not the same, although both are involved in consciousness and the terms mind and brain are often interchangeably used. What we need to understand is that the brain is an organ in the body that is in control of all vital human functions. The brain is a physical thing, and the mind is known to be what is mental. Our brains are composed of nerve cells and can be touched. However, the mind cannot be touched. But what are the differences? The differences are that the brain is an idea of a non-spatial truth in “perceptive terms, symbolizing the mind in the physical world: the brain, in 3-D space, manifests the mind to our senses. Thus the brain is the mind viewed in three-dimensional (physical) space. The mind is of no physical space. From the mind arises all creation.” Next question is: What is the difference between thought and mind? We define it this way, “thought is a form created in the mind, rather than the forms perceived through the five senses; an instance of thinking while the mind is the ability for rational thought. It is that thought is (think) while mind “is”. I recall this dialog when in high school and could not stop thinking about it.
It is also known that the mind can change the structure of the brain and the relationships it establishes. “Relationships can change the mind and the brain. Mind-sight integrates the different parts of the system to cultivate well-being or mental health. The mind is a product of the living brain…therefore the mind is located in the human working brain.”
Next question? What is the difference between mind and intellect? We define intellect as “the faculty of thinking, judging, abstract reasoning, and conceptual understanding; the cognitive faculty (uncountable) while the mind is the ability for rational thought.”
Back to Feldman’s essay: “But your brain does not have access to the events or their causes. It only receives the outcomes.” I had not thought of this before. But it is true. It is the outcomes we take in and file away as the truest reality. Or as the best possible information, that is true. There is a reason why we get upset when we learn something is an untruth. We depend on truth, accurate information so we can judge situations, to have perception. The mind remembers takes it all in, and we recall and re-experience. And this is Feldman’s point, that our brains call up the information stored there to be used. She states that the mind predicts what we might want. And then we chose. But I think we must discern what we choose, and go with the first thing that pops into the mind. But if our minds predict what our actions are to be______ we should think about this. The other thought is that we can change what the brain predicts foremost by replacing the old data with new ideas. New thoughts and actions. These will come to mind as well as the other information. Ever think “Why did I think of that?” Well, something triggered it. The mind is essentially a huge filing cabinet. But we do not have to use all those files!
The brain figures there is a cause via sense data. Yet the brain/mind has a need for preparedness. So it guesses! As to what is needed. It guesses because it calls up the information that is similar to the present circumstances. It calls up what we might use. Or what the circumstances seem to be about. What is the best action to take, the best way to express the situation? The brain quickly determines the actions we take. What is happening is that there are neurons firing in our brains, and these prepare the body for actions. The thing that interests me is that the predictive process happens completely outside your awareness according to Feldman’s essay. She states that it is continuous throughout our lifetime. Then she says, “A number of scientists are pretty sure that it’s a primary driver of your actions.” This makes me want to get to the bottom of what we do even more. Pretty sure? Why? Because as Feldman writes, “From this perspective, your brain’s decision to eat a packet of crisps was launched as a plan for actions before your brain made itself (you) aware of this plan. So this action, like most of your actions, was guided by predictions that were under the automatic control of your memory and your current surroundings. This description of your brain’s inner workings certainly seems to suggest an absence of free will.___And so we arrive at the point where the free will debate has lingered for a long time. We won’t settle the debate here, but I’ll highlight one puzzle piece ignored. Your brain predicts (in large part) by reassembling your past experiences that are similar to the present moment. That means every new experience you cultivate for yourself__every new thing you read, every new person you talk to, every new thing you learn__is an opportunity to change what your brain will predict in the future, and which actions you may take. In other words, your brain (meaning you) can nudge its future predictions in various directions, right now, by investing in new experiences. You are continually cultivating your past as a means of controlling your future. This may be a form of free will, but it’s extended over time and therefore different from how we normally think of free will at the moment. If you practice a skill, whether it is riding a bicycle or talking to someone who believes things that you abhor, you hone your brain’s predictions until that skill becomes automatic and likely to be repeated. With practice and a little investment of energy, you can make some automatic behaviors more likely than others and have more control over your future actions. Perhaps not as much control as you might want, but more than you might think.”
This last bit makes sense to me. I think of the processes I have gone through to let the past be the past, and it has been by changing the subject on myself that I have replaced feelings, and recall the past up so acutely. The mind calls up both memories and how we felt. And then we are stuck in a limbo land of reliving or being too dam familiar with what hurts. It’s mechanical at first. But by doing something else it does change what we are thinking. It needs to be something that we need to focus on that will change what we are thinking of to work.
What I understand her to say here does indeed make me curious about how to apply what she is saying to what I can learn about the creative processes used when we create art, Shibui especially. What we also know is that the longer people stay in their pleasure center in their brain, the better they heal mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. How can we use this knowledge? Are there things we can cultivate within the creative process to help people focus better, to stay longer in that zone? Does color attract their attention? One thing for sure is that because creating Shibui is unique to the person creating it. It is their minds, brains, imagination that factor in. No two persons think the same. Experiences, the information we use is unique to us even if we share similarities. Our actions are not the same either. But yet there is a commonality between thought and action, and we are therefore a part f the equation behind our thoughts and actions.
With creating Shibui the problem-solving creative process becomes more intense as you build your skills, and learn to trust in the process itself to lead you through understanding its commonalities, and as you work it to have the illusion of realism or abstractness. Shibui begins with action art and then becomes found image art; this is where the problem-solving is at. And it is unique to everyone that uses it. There is no pre-drawn under-structure to work out, the answers are in the brain/mind. They are things that are triggered from memory but are not the kinds of things we are deeply led into. What is found is somewhat symbolic as one finds in cartoon-like simple line drawings. Tweaked the result is always magical, always abstracted, always an illusion of realistic things found.
But how does free will apply to the creative process? If what Lisa Feldman says is right, then our minds have stored away what we know about creating the various types of art we have either done or been schooled in. And then the mind is triggered by what is seen, the mind responds with predictions and makes a choice. Is the first choice a compulsion move then? I can see how the mind will predict the steps I take when creating Shibui because part of the process is to give in or follow the lead the foundation gives up. The process is to study the foundation, turning it on all four sides to see what is there, and then go with what excites the mind the most. Find the commonalities that make a whole something or other. Then go with it.
There is something unique about the process, and the results of creating a Shibui Found Image Art. It breaks the rules we make for ourselves when we create traditional art. It makes its own rules of operation. There is no understructure, for one thing. The understructure is imagined according to what is found! The understructure or underdrawing of an image is where we find the information about an object and then create it in its 3-dimensional form.
The things found in a foundation are not perfectly shaped because they are the shape of what was made by action art. Your mind will see them as flawed shapes even. What I mean by this is when I find flowers, they often take on a character of their own. They are backside too, and there is some oddness that you are forced to work with or around with intentional work. There are spatters of watercolor, that I dub “marks” for the lack of a better word. You can not erase these marks, or spatters, drips, drops, etc. you can blot them or work them with pastels or work them with lines, or design work which can take on an art nouveau look. You either let the marks stand as they are or you make something out of them. Such as little monsters or fish. What happens is that the viewer of your work will be drawn in and find them later. Like a joke! I will put fish hidden in a landscape. A little girl on a swing yet the rest of the foundation was an underwater scene. Shibui’s make their own stories. Some of these marks are splatters, drips, drops or parts of runs that you can not turn into something. And you work around them and work up to them up until the last when the rest of the foundation has solved itself. These otherwise imperfections disappear and become unnoticed until the viewer comes close, studying what he is really seeing.
I wont explain the following Shibui, I will leave them for you to study. The last will be of three undiscovered foundations. Remember that I went with what I found. The images are the story found. Often pretty wild. And often wonderful surprises!