Monthly Archives: May 2009

There is no short-cut

“There is no short-cut to art, one has to work hard, be open and flexible in your mind, keep the child alive inside you, and through a whole lifetime be ready to learn new things and – of course – be mentally prepared for a hard punch on your nose – especially when you think you are doing well.”
Bente Borsum 

"Small Work Series #1205"  12" x 12" work on panel

"Small Work Series #1205" 12" x 12" work on panel

Things are settling down a bit. The flow of external stuff seems to have lightened up for the moment. My college boys are both working hard at their respective summer jobs and the household routines have re-established themselves.  

This week I really enjoyed reading Diane McGregors post addressing “Creative Space”. She brings up a great point about our internal space when she said; “This is where we make our art, in our minds and in our hearts, this sacred space that can give us all we need to create if we just keep it nurtured and free.” Thank you Diane for continuing the conversation! Internal or external, making the time and space to work is important – nurturing our creativity is essential.

I am back in the studio and starting new paintings. I have set a few goals for myself and I have been enjoying the results. Baby steps right now and that is ok. Working on being flexible, keeping the child alive, and being open to the results. Pushing, painting, trying new things; it is all part of my job to discover new work and then give my heart to it. I am recovering from that punch in the nose Bente Borsum speaks of in her quote above. I was not prepared and I admit it hit harder than I thought. I have been repeating this line from Danielle Shelley’s award winning essay  We do Art to be Human ; Art is a perpetually self-renewing source of energy” Agreed! The power of the creative process is self-renewing, perhaps this punch in the nose was exactly what I needed! I need to continue to work hard, no matter what punches are thrown my way.

“Your work is to discover your work – and then with all your heart
to give yourself to it.”
Buddha

Out of the work comes the work.” 
-John Cage

Painting is available.

Nurturing and Preservation

“Never forget that the nurturing and preservation of your own muse is job one. 
Lose it and you may be losing a great deal.”
– Robert Genn

"Ambitions Interface" 40" x 40" work on canvas

"Ambition's Interface" 40" x 40" work on canvas

I have been finding it very difficult to get into the studio these days. I have been inundated with all the stuff coming in. My two college students arriving home [with all of their various paraphernalia], the fresh outdoor air, and the recent dissapointing show trips, are my excuses. Stuff. Procrastination has a firm grip on my art world. Stuff. Inspiration and motivation seem to have taken a walk together and  I am left staring blankly into space. Stuff keeps coming in. Perhaps this is not such a bad thing. I enjoyed reading Tight Times Loosen Creativity  at nytimes.com. I am encouraged to read, Many artists …testifying that the recession had strengthened their commitment to their work or allowed them to concentrate on their art — since the time spent on side jobs had diminished — or had even been a source of creative inspiration.” Ok, I admit, I have not felt this sort of creative inspiration in my world [as of yet…]. I make a living through the sales and placement of my work – it is my only job. Stuff. It is what I do. More stuff. I took a deep breath when I read this piece and thought, hmm, perhaps I am not looking at the recession in the best available light. I have been studio bound for many months of the winter, I have been traveling to shows and marketing, blogging, twittering, and more stuff. I need to remember “…that the nurturing and preservation of your own muse is job one.”   Perhaps I need a break. Perhaps I need to make a little space for myself where I can think, nurture my muse, and not get inundated with other stuff coming in. 

“The hardest thing is to make this little space for yourself where you can think and not get inundated with other stuff coming in.”
-Catherine Yass

Painting is available from:
The Blue Heron Gallery
Wellfleet, MA

Play is the Essence of Creativity

“Creativity is about play and a kind of willingness to go with your intuition. It’s crucial to an artist. If you know where you are going and what you are going to do, why do it?” 
-Frank Gehry 

"Pieces of Imagination"  30" x 30" work on canvas

"Pieces of Imagination" 30" x 30" work on canvas

I recently read a piece called Kindergarten Cram by Peggy Orenstein in the NY Times magazine which spoke of the current state of play (or lack of it) in today’s Kindergarten classrooms. “Instead of digging in sandboxes, today’s kindergartners prepare for a life of multiple-choice boxes by plowing through standardized tests with cuddly names like Dibels (pronounced “dibbles”), a series of early-literacy measures administered to millions of kids; or toiling over reading curricula like Open Court — which features assessments every six weeks.” I can not help feeling sad reading this. Ms. Orenstein reminded me of dancing the hokey-pokey, Duck Duck Goose, and the wake up-fairy. Those were magical days with crayons, poster paints, imagined dragons & fairies, spaceships of cardboard, unicorns, wild horses, and dress-ups. After school, more play, more imagined flights to the moon staged in the dark of the downstairs bathroom (the only room in the house with no windows). We cooked on the Easy-Bake Oven, finger painted, spatter painted. Lightening Bug Glow Juice thrilled us with its magical powers. We took pretend vacations to anywhere staged in the family station wagon (while parked securly in the carport). We played. We played and played and played. 

The article in the NY Times goes on to say: “According to “Crisis in the Kindergarten,” a report recently released by the Alliance for Childhood, a nonprofit research and advocacy group, all that testing is wasted: it neither predicts nor improves young children’s educational outcomes. More disturbing, along with other academic demands, like assigning homework to 5-year-olds, it is crowding out the one thing that truly is vital to their future success: play.”  

THERE IS HOPE!! “the one thing that truly is vital to their future success: play” Yes, this line gives me hope!!

Creativity is about play – play the essence of creativity. Perhaps there really is hope that we as a society will learn to value imagination and give play the needed the time and space to grow. I believe if we give our children the tools of creativity they will learn to fly…we need to continue to give them wings for creativity to thrive.

Painting is available from artist. 

“If you’ve ever watched a child with a cardboard carton and a box of crayons create a spaceship with cool control panels, or listened to their improvised rules, such as “Red cars can jump all others,” then you know that this impulse to make a toy do more is at the heart of innovative childhood play. It is also the essence of creativity.”
-Bill Gates

Is Art a Fringe Benefit?

“Composer, sculptor, painter, poet, prophet, sage – these are the makers of the after-world, the architects of heaven. The world is beautiful because they have lived. Without them, laboring humanity would perish.” – James Allen

"Smoldering Desire"  24" x 24"  work on canvas

"Smoldering Desire" 24" x 24" work on canvas

 

I just read an interesting blog post titled “Remaining An Artist”  on a blog titled An Artist In Brooklyn. I would like to identify the artist who wrote it but I am having trouble figuring that out…sorry!  In this post the writer/artist talks about seeing friends who are artists put aside their art, walk away not  to return, the reasons, the sadness, and the encouragement from the writer to, “think of it [art] as a matter of life or death for a unique and precious part of your being…”  Art is a unique and precious part of my being – I choose to make it a unique and precious part of my world. While reading this post that is aimed at encouraging artists not to walk away, I can not help thinking about the way we view the arts in this country. The arts are the first thing to be cut from school budgets, they are considered a luxury to most, something we can do without. Can we? Should we?  Are the arts important? I think the real sadness is the way we value the arts as a luxury and not as a unique and precious part of our lives. When more people begin to believe in the value and benefits that living with art provides – the joy, the emotion, the comfort and inspiration that add to our lives – perhaps then,  more artists will be able to stop walking away from their art. As a society we need to understand and support the artists “who make life more interesting or beautiful, more understandable or mysterious, or probably, in the best sense, more wonderful”. We need to stop believing that art is a fringe benefit. Each of us has responsibilities to face, bills to pay and choices to make – choose to live with art, support the artists you know and admire, make all of the arts a unique and precious part of your life. Then perhaps, fewer artists will stop walking away and “Find that courage. And hold on to it. As if it were a matter of life and death.”

Art is important! 

New work on Canvas. Work is available.

“The artist is the person who makes life more interesting or beautiful, more understandable or mysterious, or probably, in the best sense, more wonderful.”
-George Bellows