empty canvas : wondering mind

a series of free e-books for artisans and teachers


Blind Men on a Log Bridge by Hakuin Ekaku (The Gitter Collection)

Blind Men on a Log Bridge, Hakuin Ekaku


Is this the way you feel
when faced with the empty canvas?
As though you are struggling
to find a foothold?
As though you haven’t a clue
as to what you’re doing
or where you’re going?

Well, you’ll be relieved to know that this is exactly how you will feel if you are opening to genuine creative expression.  That’s why Hakuin’s painting is such a beautiful depiction of the creative process.  Having said that, there are tools at hand to assist the intrepid traveler on his or her via creativa.

This series of free e-books is one. You won’t find prescriptions or instructions for making a certain type of art product in these books, though. What you’ll find is a host of ideas about how to simply get going.  And once you get going there are more ideas to take you deeper into your own, truly authentic, mode of creative expression.

empty canvas : wondering mind is a series of 9 workbooks, including over 200 visual language activities, object-art (craft) activities and projects – an ideal resource for teachers and students at all levels of practice.

The content of this series of e-books is basically the curriculum I developed during decades of teaching art and design within a variety of educational contexts.  As an art educator I was more concerned with encouraging students to find and express their own unique creative voice rather than turn out a certain type of art product.  This so often seemed the most difficult task facing those who wished to ‘do art’.

The activities and projects in empty canvas : wondering mind are opportunities to examine and release the notions that act to smother our natural state of creativity – the ideas, assumptions and opinions we have about it.  Why?  Because these are the saboteurs that insist our work be perfect from day one, that make it hard for us to face the empty canvas with beginner’s mind.

The heart of the matter lies in exploring the kind of radical creative activity that pushes the limits of perception’s concrete conditioning.  These e-books present a collection of projects and activities that might help make explicit those conditioned responses to both the mental and manifested ‘worlds’, thus, perhaps, enabling perception to unfold new ways of seeing and expressing the wonder of the world we create and inhabit.  Their uniqueness lies in this underlying aim: they aren’t ‘how to’ instruction books, they are ‘what-if …?’ workbooks.

empty canvas : wondering mind invites us to relax into the wisdom of not-knowing.  Of playing.  Of exploring and experimenting.  Of finding out for oneself what is possible when all traces of the artist or any other version of the self have taken a holiday, leaving the playground free.  Just to see what might happen.

Yes, the work is challenging.  But it’s also great fun, and potentially liberating.


What is the self that expresses
in self-expression?


If you intuit that the creative process can help us explore this question, these books will interest you.

Download them at my wonderingmind studio website.

– miriam louisa simons