Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Optimal Experience

I came across this idea of optimal experience from the book Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
This idea of course seems to be in the realm of painting.

Below are the markers of the optimal experience. I have made comments on the markers from my experience during painting.

1. A challenging activity that requires skill
It seems obvious that painting requires skill. It is does take constant effort to create new challenges so that the work doesn't start to feel repetitive or formulaic.

2. The merging of action and awareness
It is the nature of the painting process to pay close attention to the sensation to what is being seen. This does also lead to a feeling of awakening in the moment and quieting of the inner voice.

3. Clear Goals and feedback
The goals are simple for me to paint what I see. But it fascinating what the sensation of seeing feels like.

4. Concentration on the task at hand
Concentration is important. I think that having a solid technique helps sustain concentration.

5. Lacking sense of worry about losing control
This takes practice. There is a fear of failure but after a painting fails a few times then its not so scary. Also the more you paint the easier it is to gage the appropriate challenge.

6. The loss of self consciousness
This is important for the the creation but reappears when the product is set free in the world.

7. The transformation of time
In painting this can be both the frozen sustained act of looking and the sense of time flies when you are having fun.

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