Saturday, September 19, 2009
Monday, September 7, 2009
“Really, I think one’s art goes only as far and as deep as your love goes…
you have to feel deeply to do this kind of thing.”
Listen, I don’t need to understand everything. Do you? I used to want to understand absolutely EVERYTHING…but I’m over it. I just want to be open to receiving and catching as much inspiration as I can…no matter where it comes from. Sound a little risky? Perhaps. But, if I am grounded in reality and truth, and committed to doing the right thing, then I should have no concerns as to where my inspiration comes from. My muse could be you, God, or even that bulbous pear sitting over there…
Follow this link to hear more on this topic:
Friday, July 31, 2009
We are home and I am back to work in the studio happily painting the hours away. Life is finding its rhythm once again. However, as we passed the threshold of this last chapter of our lives, realizing that the other side was completely blank, we found ourselves saying, “Now what?” We were told to plan a funeral and now it appears this man is going to be around for a while. We’ve been given an enormous gift! We are overwhelmed with gratitude and acutely aware that there is a responsibility that accompanies this precious gift of life. What to do, what to do? More of the same? No way, man!
Mike and I are huge Francophiles and so, it didn’t take us long to make the decision. We are liquidating everything and moving to France. The timing will depend on Mike’s health. He needs to get past the one-year anniversary of his surgery without much ado. Then we will begin the process of the move. So, it is still a year or so away.
What will we do when we get there? Well, I will paint, of course. I will work on my own paintings, but I will also teach plein air painting. Of all of the classes I have taught (and there have been a few) plein air is my most favorite. I will also finish my memoir (ending in France; kind of nice, huh?) and perhaps write a second book about plein air painting in France. I will take my guitar down the street and play/sing for the locals. I will garden. Mike would like to sell French antiques online. I will buy him a chapeau and he can drive my students around for me. We will travel…a lot. It might be fun.
I’m smiling big right now. Can you tell?
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Interviewer: “Master, how did you think of the divine motif of your Ninth Symphony?”
Anton Bruckner: “I sat down by a little brook, unpacked my Swiss cheese, and that darn tune popped into my head!”
Sometimes we simply think too much. I’ve written about being aware of your thoughts. But sometimes (more often than not) our minds are so consumed with what we’ve done or what we are going to do that we completely miss out on what is happening to us (in us) at the moment. Precious creative ideas can breeze right on by us and we miss out on them completely. This is a tragedy for an artist.
Bruckner’s account of opening a package of cheese only to encounter his brilliant Ninth Symphony is a perfect illustration. All he was thinking about was opening his lunch and voila! Genius knocked on the door! Do you have to “be” a genius for those moments to appear? I highly doubt it. I believe that we just need to be “aware” of the possibilities in the moment and be watching for them.
It is true that we need to practice our craft, be it painting, playing an instrument, writing, etc. We need to nurture our creative nature by “breathing in” the wonders of life. We need not be self-consumed. However, we do need to care for our body (one person calls it his “earth suit”), our mind and our spirit if we are to do our best at anything. But let’s face it…we too often allow our minds to become cluttered with too much random, useless and repetitive information. This is a bad habit that creates “busy-ness”, clouds our judgments and creates confusion. It is a huge distraction. In short, it makes us miserable.
I would like to suggest that the next time you sit down to create, whatever that may be, try to clear your mind of thoughts of the day’s trouble. Let go of yesterday and worries about tomorrow. Be present in the moment of your creative “right now”. Just let it all go and see what happens.
Monday, September 8, 2008
“No amount of skillful invention can replace the essential element of imagination.”
“Imagination is more important than knowledge.”
I love a good story. I can't really sit and tell stories like some of my amazing friends can. I love to sit at their feet and breathe in their imagination. It takes little effort for me to visualize the characters, the places, the atmosphere…I can almost decipher the fragrance of each new scene. It’s my favorite thing to do…listen to a good storyteller.
I dabble in poetry. I don’t profess to be a “poet”, but being a musician, I love to express myself with rhythm. I confess that I am easily enamored by a good word-smither. I will drink in line after line before I fall asleep at night and create the images in my mind while the words float across my thoughts and I drift off to somewhere other than the worries of my day. Poetry makes me smile. My poetry is very personal. And as I have said, I rarely share it with anyone.
Metaphor is something I habitually incorporate into my paintings. It’s just a thing for me. I have always done it. I know artists who don’t see the value in it. “Art for Art’s Sake” and all that. And I appreciate where they are coming from. But if I am going to be honest with my work, I need to work from my heart and my heart loves story. So…story finds home in my paintings on a regular basis.
I don’t always share what the personal metaphor is when asked. I prefer to listen to the viewer’s impression…their story. I learn so much from listening. Besides, my interpretation changes like the wind. Seriously. I think it is about one thing…then something happens in my life and voila…the painting is singing a different tune all together. It’s funny in a kind of marvelously mysterious way.
I did a painting of sunflowers years ago. Each one had their own personality. Pretty soon, I found myself attributing each blossom to a girlfriend. Before you know it, the painting was about my relationships and the goings on within our little group of the “Ya-Ya Sisterhood”. I still love that painting.
When you get accustomed to viewing artwork with “metaphor” or “story” in mind, the artwork becomes alive and pertinent. I highly recommend it.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
To update you: I have been in high creative mode. It’s a blissful and yet painful place to be at times. I am being stretched in every direction. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I am learning so much about myself as a human being, as a woman, and as an artist. And it is, of course, showing up in my work, which is always affirming.
I have always lost myself in paint and I have always found myself through paint. But lately, I am also spending a lot of my energy with other creative outlets. I’m writing more poetry than I have in years and I’m singing in a jazz trio. I’m filing the poetry. I’m painting all day. And I am singing and dancing up a storm with my jazz band at night. Being creative has taken over my life 24/7. Even my dreams are more vivid. It is like I have been struck by lightening. Electric energy.
Painting, music and writing have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. There have been times in my life when music took front and center, but for the past twenty years, my life has been consumed with painting and a bit of music just here and there. Painting will always be #1 with me. But it is a great release to be singing again. A great release. Writing poetry…that has always been very personal and rarely shared beyond a few special people. It is, for me, completely cathartic.
My keyboard player is a pulmonologist of the lung surgeon variety. He is an amazing keyboard player. Phenomenal, really. I am in awe of his gift. It’s hard to imagine him doing anything else. I told him at rehearsal last night that I have a hard time trying to imagine him in scrubs. He laughed and said that he sees me only as a vocalist, even though he has seen my paintings. But he knows that my painting and singing come from the same place.
It is interesting that creative people generally have talent in more than one genre. I know a lot of artists who are also musicians, writers, actors, etc. If it comes from the same place, I would have to say that it comes from “spirit”. Because the spirit is creative. But I would add that each genre (painting, singing, performing, etc.) comes from a different part of the spirit…at least my spirit. I can’t get the same emotional connection or release with painting that I do singing and visa versa.
Some of you know that my husband is very ill. It’s not fun. But I am so fortunate to have so many great avenues to work out my emotions. I am not sure I would go so far as to say that it keeps me balanced, but it sure is a great way to live.
Sunday, April 27, 2008
Like most artists, I listen to music while painting. I've come to realize the HUGE role music plays on how I paint. Well, actually, it plays a HUGE role on how I THINK and this plays a role on how I paint.
My husband has a serious lung disease. The news of this was, of course, very scary. I've had a year to adjust to living with this horrible news, but it still wants to control my thoughts day and night. When I am painting, certain songs conjure up certain emotions. Prior to this hard news, my thoughts would wax romantic and my paintings would reflect those emotions. Now, however, I battle fear all throughout my thought life...fear of losing my husband and all that it entails. Because my work is "honest", these emotions are creeping into my paintings.
The image in this post is a clear example. It is called, "Don't Confuse Me", oil on wood (with wooden buttons). The pigeon with string attached to its leg represents me...I'm tethered to something, and though I've broken "free", I am still dragging this string around. It seems that everyone around me has an opinion about it.
It's an okay painting, I guess. It’s honest.
But here is what I'm thinking: I am going to really work hard on governing my thoughts. I am going to make it a personal quest. A goal. I want to be aware of where my mind leads my will and my emotions. Since my work is honest, meaning there is a direct influence of my mind and emotions on how I paint, I expect that I will see results.