Rules by Artist Corita Kent – her Art of Self Improvement

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Timeless Art, Timeless Rules

If you read our newsletters and blogs, you already know I’m an admirer of artist Sister Corita Kent. I wrote a bit about her art at Stonehurst Place a few months ago, and she sticks with me. I’m hunting for a vintage collector’s edition set of her drawings, and every once in a while a Google alert pops up with search results for me. It’s usually an auction house or eBay with the reprint of her collector’s edition, so no help. Today, however, a Google alert popped up and it took me to an inspirational blog post. If I thought I admired Kent before, this sealed the deal. It is Kent’s ten rules for students and teachers, and full of inspiration.

Immaculate Heart College Art Department Ten Rules, hand-lettered by artist Lisa Congdon

IHM Art Department Rules, by Corita Kent and hand lettered by Lisa Congdon

Immaculate Heart College Art Department Rules

Written for a class Kent taught in 1967-1968, the rules need not apply to an Art Department – it feels like they apply to me.  I’ll bet you, dear reader, will feel the same as you carefully read them over a cup of coffee or a glass of wine.  A glass of something that will give you time to savor the moment; savor her rules (and the art of Lisa Congdon’s hand lettering.)

Barb Shadomy Improvement Department Rules

It’s easy to pick out the ones just right for me to incorporate into my life (I could try all of them, but that’s too much when we’re so close to the end of the year) so here I go:

  • Rule 4 – Consider everything an experiment.  That’s pretty much how I operate, until I feel like I’ve mastered it and then it becomes something to perfect and refine. Constantly. Maybe I should go back to letting it be an experiment and ease up on myself.
  • Rule 6 – Nothing is a mistake. There’s no win & no fail. There’s only make.  I think I am pretty good at this, except for when I’m just awful at it. I’m a big fan of mistakes, and I support and encourage those who make them because they’re such learning experiences and we grow from each and every one of them. But I almost always forget to encourage and support myself when I’m the one making the mistake. 
  • Rule 7 – The only rule is work. If you work it will lead to something. Good to remember on those mornings when I sit at my desk with a cuppa and just look at the keyboard. Look at the monitor displaying unopened emails. Look at yesterday’s pile of papers left unfinished. Look at my dogs for suggestions (none forthcoming). What I should do is see there is an opportunity right in front of me, somewhere in the pile or in the emails below the fold, that will lead to something.
  • Rule 8 – Don’t try to create and analyze at the same time.  They’re different processes.  I thought they went hand in hand. Enough said.
  • Helpful Hints: Read anything you can get your hands on. Perfect, spot on. For the last fifteen years I’ve been trying to carve out just one hour a day, not at night last minute, but during the day when the sun is shining. When everything around me is still buzzing, choosing not to hear the buzz but instead left myself be seduced by a book. Any book. Just something interesting, funny, smart, clever, insightful. I’m going to go do it now. Signing off.

Shadomy, Stonehurst Place

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