Be a Sponge

 In My Blogs

Some of us grew up in an era of privacy. We were taught that eavesdropping was at best, impolite and at worst, downright rude. However, times have changed, as they tend to do, and the only privacies we have left are thoughts we keep only in our own minds, shared with no one.


Be a Sponge, Ann Grasso Pattern Art


I am not encouraging wiretapping or nanny cams. Rather, as well as Learning to See, I am encouraging listening…listening for nuggets of new, of different, of ideas that can hone our own ways of filtering all the information coming our way.

Many years ago, I took a two-week class with Lissa Hunter.  Along with the particular technique was an abundance of general information applicable to daily living as well as making art. Here is one of her thoughtful lists to employ when we are being sponges. (Note, the bold is her list; the italics are my thoughts.)

It’s not a competition:


Be a Sponge, Ann Grasso Pattern Art

“They Like to Run.” Cartoon by Stephan Michael King


The only person to compete with is yourself.  Are you seeing changes in your work?


Don’t compare. Relate:


Be a Sponge, Ann Grasso Pattern Art

Jean-Michel Basquiat, “Untitled” (1982) purchased by Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezaw, for $110.5 million at Sotheby’s May 2017.


How is your work the same or how is it different?





Then listen to the answers to your questions as well as everyone else’s.


All art is learning:

Recently, I taught a class and was reminded that not only are the students there to learn, but I always learn something about teaching, every time.


Sometimes you just have to walk away:


Be a Sponge, Ann Grasso Pattern Art

Ann Grasso, Collage


Funny thing about our brains, what they see one day may not be what they see the next, or a month from now, or a year.  A portion of a work may be the stimulus for something entirely different.


What if? I…

Turn it 180 degrees, or change one color, or cut into collage pieces or, or, or…


Trust the Process:

In every project, I get to a place where I want to stop.  Hampster brain tells me it is not good. But…



Unless something is ruined through an accidental spill, eventually, I finish.  Both the sense of completion and the difference from half-done to fully-baked is worthy of the time spent.


Be a Sponge, Ann Grasso Pattern Art

Ann Grasso, Heart


Be kind:

We need to include ourselves in this recommendation.

Showing 2 comments
  • Cari Camarra

    Thank you for these reminders.

    • blank
      Ann Grasso

      And thanks goes to Lissa Hunter, artist, writer, and all around “swell person.”

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