I was invited to participate in a group “Intuitive Monoprint Play” day.  It was a gift from one of the members of our creativity group.  Prior to the set day, we were emailed some links to read and videos to watch to “prime the pump” in preparation for the day of play.  I’d never done any kind of work with a printing press.  I carefully read all the links and watched the videos, and then, always one to do research, starting searching for more information.  The more I read, the more I researched, and the more I researched I noticed that I was getting this feeling that I had to create something amazing.  It had to be really good.  (Nothing like putting pressure on yourself.)  After about an hour of that, I heard this voice in my head whispering “Be a beginner.”

Yes!  I love to learn new things, to play, to be a beginner.  Why was I creating this pressure to produce?  Once I heard that whisper I calmed down, closed all the tabs in my browser and committed to just show up and be a beginner.

Since then, I discovered that there’s actually a Zen concept of Beginner’s Mind.

“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few”  ― Shunryu Suzuki  Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind: Informal Talks on Zen Meditation and Practice

It was a fun day of play and more enjoyable for having lost the attitude of being “good” at it.

Here is a bit of the process, with one of the other beginners, after the plate had been inked:

Print Play

And here are some of my results:

20160117_105427 20160117_114359

Will I become a printer now?  I don’t really think so.  It was a fun day but the best part was the reminder to not be afraid to be a beginner.

In my photography, while I like being proficient and that is important, I frequently try out new gear or techniques to challenge myself.  It’s one of the reasons I like photography so much, there is never an end to what you can do or learn.  This is my next challenge below.  It’s a panoramic head to more precisely shoot panoramic images.  I’m still figuring out how to use it. But I will!

Nodal Ninja

Nodal Ninja

 There’s much to be gained by the willingness to be a beginner.    Have you been a beginner at something lately?