Sunday, February 4, 2018
An Artist in Chaos: Growth of a Discipline
When we are young, we develop habits, some good, some not so good. I have every excuse to be disorganized as I'm creative and it's a creative trademark but I have seen what happens without organization and a game plan. You push paint around....I"m gonna trademark that one of these days-maybe a book, Yes, a book.
Pushing Paint Around: I've always talked about times of fermentation and I still believe in it although I believe discipline and organization can help in two ways.
• When the inspiration strikes you are ready and available to work instead of fighting with obstacles and disorder. Disorder is something that is very agitating in a moment of inspiration. I have experienced the feeling of being ready to shoot an amazing photograph but your equipment was either not taken care of or something you needed wasn't available in the chaos.
• I think the disorganization keeps the holding pattern longer and prolongs the feeling of fermentation. I realize that as an artist, things inspire me regularly, my life and surroundings should be uncluttered and available to realize the inspiration of light, of objects, of nature.
• Disorder can depress and confuse the already cluttered mind. So many thoughts stream through becoming dried dead leaves on the bottom of a great flood instead of the light and the colors that dance on the surface of the water. How many thoughts and ideas have been lost due to clutter and chaos?
Stop Playing: Start Doing, No Excuses: I pride myself on the ability to be honest with myself about my shortcomings. There is no way to change or improve if certain parts of your personality are set in stone. I quit smoking many years back and one thing I never did is say, I'm a smoker and that's the end, I was always open to quitting and eventually I did.
I have a lot of disorder in my life, I don't take care of my things the way I need to. I could use the excuse of being an artist and having a chaotic mind but I"m continually insisting I can improve.
Discipline: is the ingredient in a cake that makes all the ingredients rise and be a cake, it is the binding that keeps the creative endeavor on track. I plan on one day having an agent but until than I need to discipline myself to be the best I can. Discipline and organization are two qualities I will use to take a life time of pushing paint into a career that I can be proud of.
Honesty: is what allows you to perfect what ever you are doing. The initial ego and excitement of creation can overshadow your subject. I have painted many portraits and animal images that at the time I was quite proud of but later saw them closer to reality.
Honesty and humility is the only way I know to get to the next level of this craft. I don't think an artist ever arrives at a place where they are an artist and that's that. It is a continual growing process and the image you are supposed to create is very illusive and changes with age. I have just recently started to see glimpses of the image I have sought for so many years.
Self-Reflection: This can really include all of the above but there can be no growth and success without self reflection and there can be little self reflection without quiet. A place, a time to be present to truly take stock in the work you've done and the work you will do, this is how an artist breaks forward and become what they are intended to be.
Teaching Painting and the Gallery Critique: I don't think art has ever been meant to be an isolated craft, I'm not saying creation is not an isolated and personal act but I do feel it needs to not be in a bubble. For me, art is something that needs to be interactive, the viewer must react or it is a beautiful tree hidden in a forest. It is still as beautiful and every bit important but it doesn't speak to anyone.
I want my viewers to react, to feel something and that charge of chemistry between the viewer and a piece of art creates a relationship that begs to be available and shared. I want what ever I create to be taken as a personal memory, a cherished thought or idea that connects deeper than the surface. The viewer nor the artist really needs to know the reality, it is that intangible and mysterious interaction that makes great art.
I have gained more from teaching art and receiving critiques from galleries than I have ever received from simple words of encouragement. You burst the bubble, you get out of what is comfortable and understood and you explore not only your own reasons for creating but how they are taken by the novice and the expert, it is a wonderful disruption of what you see is common or ritual.
I went into my studio this morning and started organizing. I felt like I was digging through some one's attic and finding perhaps a past life that has been waiting to be discovered. Suddenly the ideas became more clear, the abstract made more sense and the true need for discipline jumped out as if I was saving an artist from their own chaos. Stay tuned for a lot of work.....
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