NVDT Random – Inviting Surprises

Guest Episode

I subscribe to and follow few things, but I receive a newsletter from David Limrite, a graphic artist. I’m not sure I would even like his art hanging in my space, but he has a consistent style. It’s obvious he’s looking for something, and his newsletters are positive without a saccharin component. I thought his latest was a good take on “the muse”, something universal to creative. Writers should have no difficulty reading this cross curriculum. The bolding is mine.


I love when surprises show up in my work. You know, when something appears in a painting you are currently working on that you didn’t expect.

It could be an unusual texture, a completely different color that you don’t normally use, or an unplanned juxtaposition of elements that end up working in a quirky way.

I love when this happens. And I welcome it.

However, these surprises don’t just happen by themselves. They only happen when I show up in front of my easel and work. Surprises only happen when I am trying stuff, experimenting and taking risks.

In order for surprises to present themselves, I have to set up situations that invite them in. I have to be applying paint to canvas. I have to be making marks with charcoal on paper. I have to be gluing collage on a wood panel.

I also have to be looking for and be open to surprises showing up. And welcoming. And willing for them to make a surprise appearance.

I must be present during the creation of my pictures. I have to be watching what is happening on the surface of my painting while I am working on it. I have to pay attention.

Show up, make your art, pay attention, and allow yourself to be surprised.



Published by

Phil Huston


17 thoughts on “NVDT Random – Inviting Surprises”

  1. This is all true. I’ve taken a year or so off from writing anything but tweets, (aka, not writing at all.) I missed those special surprises, but if I don’t pick up a pen, or sit down at my laptop, the, well, you know…

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, I won’t be going away again for a long time. I was really, really, missing stories, writing my own and reading those of others. I missed yours the most, I think. Stories I can get lost in, like I’m in the action, sort of, because you show and don’t tell. And btw, how did you like my 2 totally unnecessary really(s)? Snort

        Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a component of his group clinics and shows, something missing for writers as far as I’ve been able to discern. However all a writer has to do is crack a book. Skills like dissecting lit, construction… it helps to know what you’re looking for, or to know it when you see it. The same openness applies in either process. You have to be learning when you study, and when you create.


    1. Yes, but there’s a point of diminishing returns if you’re not “there” while sitting in front of the machine so running the dishwasher or tuning out for a while is a better use of time and yourself.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The most difficult part of work is showing up. Or something like that. Yeah. Gotta be present. Thanks for sharing. I’m sure he’ll be happy to know you don’t want his art on your walls tho.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He’s a coach/educator/mentor type person as well so if he gets his feelings hurt, he’s in the wrong business. He should understand that appreciation of effort doesn’t automatically equate to personally embracing a work. I mean I read stuff that goes right back in the return to Half Price Books box. That doesn’t mean I can’t see the value of the work for different readers, or learn something from it. Art has to speak to you. There’s a great line from “The April Fools” where Lemmon is way over his head with Catherine Deneuve at a trendy art gallery and he latches on to “It makes its own, quiet statement” as a response when asked about any work in the exhibit. Know what I mean?

      Liked by 1 person

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