The creative process is particularly evocative of this need to be in the moment. It is not satisfying to me what I have done in any past painting or sculpture. Interesting yes, but those are yesterday. They might be part of marketing but they are no longer part of the creative process for me at all. I also cannot anticipate what painting I will be doing next (unless there is a series) or it could stop me cold. The only real satisfaction in creativity, at least for me, is right at the moment I am doing it. In this case, right now writing this blog and trying to be open to the flow of ideas to me.
When I get to anticipating what I might do, how well a painting might work out, when I start thinking will it be as good as the last one, it can paralyze me for moving on it taking the joy right out of the moment.
Painting to me especially requires being in the moment when I see what is out there or in my imagination. It's when I choose the right colors, the brushes, maybe the shape of the palette knife I might want, the size of the canvas. From then on until the first color is on that canvas, it's about just letting it be. This doesn't mean there doesn't have to be craft involved or past learning. I am not someone who believes we just let flow when we haven't bothered to learn a skill set but even learning that skill set can be in the moment as we learn it.
Writing is also like that. Right now if I start thinking of something other than the moment with these ideas and my fingers hitting the keys, I would lose what I was intending to write and have to start over. Writing is very much an 'in the moment' experience for me anyway.
What I think being in the moment does for art is let energy flow freely using whatever medium we have. It is being constantly aware of what is out there. Now I might not always be the best conduit for that energy. Sometimes I have to go back and relearn some techniques or remind myself of rules; but it's in opening myself to being mindful of what I am feeling, to what I am seeing, that's when I have the best chance of feeling the flow and going with it. I will know it's happening, let my body do what it must, but it's all about now.
It's not like I want to never plan an art project or something I will write. That happens in my head during other things (sometimes distracting me from those moments), but I try not to let them take over what is happening to the point that I am living in a dreamworld. It's easy to have happen and miss the real moments that are right there, right now.