Friday, March 27, 2009

VALIDATION

After talking about feeling misunderstood, I got an acceptance in a national juried show today, this piece, "3 Women" oil on board with gilt background. 14 x 16 inches. Actually, it's the third of a series of these three women I've done, and I want to do a mosaic of them as well. Something about them has struck me.

I am finishing up my second big mosaic -- have all the tiles arranged, then the next step is gluing it all down on the support, then when it dries there is grouting, and making the frame. A lot of steps. However, I can't imagine anything I'd rather be doing.

Monday, March 23, 2009

SEEING ART

Today a person who is not connected to the art world came to my studio -- as she was visiting my friend down the hall.

I realized immediately that this woman had only one motivation and that was to sell me something, or perhaps she was just distracted, but I was struck that she has obviously never looked at a piece of "art" in her life. She seemed in such a hurry and with no focus.

Her way of looking at my stuff was just to walk fast and her eyes briefly lit on things. I felt that nothing registered. Even my huge picture seemed not to stop her for two seconds, and everyone else always stops and looks at it for a while. To me it seemed her mind was going at such a rate that most of what she was seeing didn't register. I doubt she could be a crime scene investigator or detective remembering details! I tend to be so much the opposite. I have to let a picture "sink in" and look at it a long time, feeling it deeply, letting the colors textures and the images do their work on me.

I felt sort of insulted at first, but then thought about it and realize that to learn to look at art is an art in itself. You have to learn to open your eyes, and although there are things that can be comprehended immediately the act of connoisseurship is a slow process. I cannot imagine this woman would understand a Gaugin, or a Miro. The pictures of Paul Klee would be to her simply child's play.

The seer of art must be an artist too.

Friday, March 13, 2009

INITIATE

INITIATE, 2008 48 x 36 inches mosaic over painting with mirror pieces.





Monday, March 2, 2009

Desire, Anger, Ignorance

STILL LIFE WITH BOUDOIR SLIPPER -- oil on board

Sometimes I get fed up and depressed about life because I go down and work on my pieces and feel that it's all just a waste of time. I feel that living my life in general is a waste of time when it comes to that.
Usually no one bothers to come to my studio when I'm open, and even though I have a lot of positive feedback from the people when they do look at my things, I guess I want more!

Then there is the nagging fear that the "economy" will have a terrible effect on all as well. Somehow I cannot quite believe this, as we have lived through this sort of difficult life for years and always seem to get by with several different jobs. The art is something I just manage to afford, it is not a job but something I would rather do more than anything else.

I have been surfing the net and publications and see there are tens of thousands of other artists out there, all the shows, the installations, the pieces selling for huge amounts, many of which to me seem not to merit it, and I have to admit, I do feel the above emotions, Desire, Anger and Ignorance. The Buddhists say these three things are the cause of all suffering in one way or another.

Desire: because somehow there isn't a sense of satisfaction, that all these works I've done are piling up. Should I quit cluttering the universe? Maybe I should give everything away. I don't know. I ask myself, what satisfaction does an artist want? Maybe it has nothing to do with marketing or fame. It is a striving for arete, that word the Greeks had for "excellence" something within that must be satisfied. I do see that there are many artists who have that sort of motivation, they are the ones I admire the most.

Anger: mine is often sublimated into depression and that causes inertia, being stuck in a grey place. I believe depression can be anger turned in onto oneself. And I feel this anger that things aren't going as I would wish them to. It is sometimes nameless, formless, but when I paint it dissipates with the colors sometimes. There is the angry regret that I haven't lived my life from A to B in a straight line, and there are all these mistakes I've made and keep making. Again as I put it into words I realize that what I "want" is perhaps more nebulous than any concrete idea or concept. No, I wouldn't have made a good bacteriologist (one of my goals) nor scientist. Nor would I have been a good college teacher. And I wasted a lot of time just trying to make a living and get along. Isn't that the road for many of us? So my little pictures are in a way so much more precious because of it all.

Finally the third poison, ignorance: Yes. the lack of wisdom that arrives along with the desire and anger. If I did have true wisdom I don't think there would be any unhappiness. I think of Mr. Natural doing the dishes, then saying, "Another job well done." Yes, that is it. That is the Zen way of doing things: "When I'm hungry I eat, when I'm tired I sleep." How simple, how hard for us driven to fill our days with so much more than will fit in.

Tomorrow I will go do some practical and impractical things, and I will try to live the day without regret, and just be who I am.