The Art of Improvisation

I like to listen to instrumental music when I'm working, free of the chance that lyrics might not match my mindset or mood.  Lately I have been playing Jazz in the studio. One Saturday morning we discussed how much improvisation was in the music.

Some people might consider abstract painting to be rather improvisational but mistake the one who is painting as not have any model from which to work. The top two definitions on Google describe improvisation as performing "extemporaneously". 

Keith Jarret is one of my favorite improvisational pianists and to watch him play makes it clear that performing extemporaneously requires a method of knowing how each note will resonate with all the others that are sounding, not only by tone and harmony, but by how long the sound is allowed to linger, the speed with which the fingers move, and the strength with which the the keys are struck.  Everything Jarret has ever known working with what he feels and experiences in the moment determines what comes next.  It is not rehearsed, but it is not without a method or plan.

When this level of creative insight is translated into life, every moment is an opportunity to do more than replicate and fix the way things ought to be, it is an opportunity to invent and progress in ways set standards simply can't allow. The ability to know and effectively use one's creative ability is the difference that produces the freedom to innovate and the mastery of life.

In studio, I do not necessarily teach "How to draw a landscape" or  "How to paint an orange."  Those who are studying this abstract method are having the experiences they need to know what to do as they extemporaneously or in visual art terms, expressionistically bring life to a piece of paper or canvas.

The abstract artist asks questions like "What happens when I see things this way" and "How do I blend from this to that?" strengthening and deepening the experiences.  This brings the ability to improvise to what otherwise would be just another imitation.  These same skills translate into every area of our lives including the relationships with oneself, others, and one's work.  

The abstract method is an effective, enjoyable way to develop personal and professional creative skill and community. Consider improvising a little art into your life's work

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