|Oil on canvas (24" x 30") American Hut on Eagle Mountain|
|Oil on canvas (30" x 40") Delicate Arch, Utah|
The first few minutes of the PBS special began with Rosie Perez speaking to an audience of young adults at the NYAF. She began, "Being an artist is not easy. Ever go into a room and feel like you don't belong? You feel that way because you have the soul of an artist. You feel that way because your skin is electric. Use that energy to create, express yourself. Let your heart live. Let your life defy that moment. Its a great thing to be an artist."
|Oil on canvas (24" x 30") Mennonite Quilters|
|Oil on canvas (24" x 30") Bamburg Barn, Ontario, Canada|
Why do we create? Because we can. Why do we struggle with it? Because we must - to perfect. How do we feel after we've performed, or finished a work of art? For myself I've learned to feel little other than a momentary sense of accomplishment. Then the drive to do better next time, whatever it is I attempt. And why? Because the act of creating is what makes me feel alive. Its the process, the challenge, the adventure. All that I do teaches me more and more about myself and what I'm not only capable of, but also what I may not be.
I cannot speak for others, but I do know that for myself, feeling the need to ground myself is of the utmost importance. Creating is like an obsession, and when the product is complete, there's an initial sigh of joy, then emptiness. It is not the emptiness of not having a next project in mind, its the loss of the adventure in creating. The end of the journey. Its likened to watching a child go off to college. You nurtured it, and now it has a life of its own. I once had a drawing teacher tell me that after he drew a picture (he taught charcoal drawing), he'd take the piece out back and burn it. He told me once you create something, it belongs to the world, and if its personal to you, destroy it. I would reword this as, "Once you create something, it is out there forever."
How often have you heard a song on the radio, or sat in a theater watching a musical, and hummed that tune for the next several days? Or thought long on a piece of art you'd seen? Or watched a dancer leap into the air and land as if on air, and not be able to get that image out of your head? Once you create something, it is out there forever.
There is never a time when I don't feel inadequate. Its a struggle for artistic perfection that keeps me going. Yet, I know when I've completed something that it is good. Its simply not my opus. Being an artist is not easy. It is not like going off to play at something. It is work. It is cerebral. I needs an intelligence, an intellect and life experiences to grow and develop. An artist needs to be aware at all times of their surroundings, the details of every living and inanimate thing. It is self examination and honesty. Above all, being honest with yourself. From shadows, to stars, from objects to the spaces in between and the natural, pleasing arrangement of beauty. Often we are intense individuals who seek release from the stone. We sculpt our lives and our memories to leap to the stars in one brilliant achievement. To dream the impossible dream, and make it possible.
"This is my quest
To follow that star
No matter how hopeless
No matter how far
To fight for the right
Without question or pause
To be willing to march into Hell
For a heavenly cause
And I know if I'll only be true
To this glorious quest
That my heart will lie peaceful and calm
When I'm laid to my rest
And the world will be better for this
That one man, scorned and covered with scars
Still strove with his last ounce of courage
To reach the unreachable star"
This blog is, and always has been on the creative process. I chose to open myself up to you in this article, and also share some of my early work. It helps me remember where I've come from. It helps a reader understand where my art comes from, and possibly why I do what I do now. I recall reading an article once that shared that Pat Benatar was trained as a classical performer, an opera singer. Yet when she was asked to sing Rock and Roll, she never looked back. If you're not having fun, you're not doing it right was the lesson. However, the fun for an artist is all about seeking, learning more and new, applying that knowledge and working through the challenges. Never giving up or giving in.
Miss E. Mouse
|Oil on canvas (24" x 30") Father George, my second cousin, unfinished|
|Oil on canvas (30" x 40") Road to Zion, Utah in Autumn - the last canvas I painted|