“Stop over analyzing. Life is simple.”
— The Holstee Manifesto
You see, a Flying by the Seat of My Pants Operation still…
This is not my usual blog post timeline, but I was in the studio for a good portion of the weekend so that counts for a lot. I would like to be able to say I chose getting paint on my hands over writing, but it wasn’t that calculated. Some times days just roll as they will. It would be oh so nice, but my new Planner can’t account for everything.
The quote at the top is part of The Holstee Manifesto which I have printed out and taped to the wall in front of our treadmill. It’s a wonderful manifesto, and I like rereading it for motivation. The “stop over analyzing” part speaks to me, I need to take that to heart. A tendency towards over thinking and making things more complex than they need to be is part of my makeup, a pattern of thinking and behavior that I’m trying to change. Trying.
Lately I’ve been contemplating the “life is simple” part. I’m not sure I agree with that. I would like to. We certainly can make things more simple by eliminating a lot of the noise in our lives (TV, internet, incessant looking-at-cell-phone apps). Working on that too.
I can also choose how to react to circumstances in my life, not make them Bigger than they are, and work to keep things in perspective as far as my tiny spec of a part in the Grand Scheme of Things.
But in some ways life is very, very complex.
I mean, just physically, we, and all living things, are walking miracles of complex engineering. Think of all that goes on in our minds and bodies to make a day happen in our lives. There’s some serious complexity that allows you to sleep, wake up, hear the birds chirping, feel the sun coming through the window, move your limbs to get out of bed, walk, get dressed, brush your teeth, remember to feed the dog (or your kids), get in a car, and drive to Starbucks so you can order your (complex) latte.
Then add in emotions, trying to be in the “now” and not the past or present (memories and worry), relationships (good, bad, and ugly), shitty days, really shitty things occurring out of the blue, and I’m not sure I could ever call that “simple.” Not to mention all the super shitty things happening to people in other parts of the world.
I realize they are not speaking of life as physical Life/Nature, but in my mind, it’s all wrapped up together in one big, terrible, beautiful ball. But I like the statement, it is nice and clean, and there is something at the edge of my consciousness, perhaps some Buddhist principle I can’t quite recall, that tells me, yes, life really is simple. Some say it all boils down to Love.
So I contemplate “life is simple.”
Art in Progress
For 7 out of the last 10 days, I’ve been in the studio for a minimum of 1 hour working on art. Not too shabby! My attempt at focus, using my new planner (still working at a system, but there’s progress), seems to be helping to create quality blocks of time for art making. I’m not moving very fast (small steps Sparky), but that’s not the point. Creating on a regular basis, immersing myself in creating, is the point.Some of my time in the studio (maybe a lot more than I want to admit) is spent stewing over what to apply to a surface next. With Still Life #6, the pressure is on because I started with a lovely (expensive) color print from our Epson ink jet printer. Some may say, “well, just leave it alone then”…but I can’t! At this point in the evolution of my work, I still need to go back in with paint, add layers and texture. Add more.
So I stew, and finally just start in one little area. There, that wasn’t so bad, right? And, I can always make another print and start over. That may very well happen. I don’t have a great Plan for the finished piece, it needs to evolve. And it may evolve into a big muddy mess.
K.I.S.S. and My Weekly Trivia Lesson
“Keep It Simple Stupid,” aka the KISS Principle. It kept coming into my head as I thought about Life is Simple.
“Simple Stupid” not “Simple, Stupid.”
KISS is a design principle that came out of the U.S. Navy in 1960, specifically the Lockheed Skunk Works. The lead engineer who came up with the phrase, Kelly Johnson, apparently did not place a comma between simple and stupid, although the comma was widely used after the fact. He was not calling his engineers “stupid,” rather:
The principle is best exemplified by the story of Johnson handing a team of design engineers a handful of tools, with the challenge that the jet aircraft they were designing must be repairable by an average mechanic in the field under combat conditions with only these tools. Hence, the “stupid” refers to the relationship between the way things break and the sophistication available to repair them.
I recall KISS was around a lot as a saying when I was growing up. Coincidentally, Mr. Johnson was born in Michigan, went to school in Flint, and graduated from the University of Michigan! My current backyard…nice!
While I contemplate “life is simple,” I can still try to make mine as simple as possible. Or perhaps, less complicated is a better view from which to approach it. Stop over analyzing. Your planner doesn’t need a rainbow of colored highlighters, three different color pens, and stickies to make it work (although, I have to say, it’s more fun. But don’t get carried away).