I will have my studio open at GRACe in Denver's RiNo Art District this upcoming First Friday from 6-9pm. I’ll be painting throughout the evening and will have other works in progress on display. I will also have small to large works for sale.
I will have my studio open at GRACe in Denver's RiNo Art District this upcoming First Friday from 6-9pm. I’ll be painting throughout the evening and will have other works in progress on display. I will also have small to large works for sale.
2015 has included some incredible experiences: time with family, making new friends, connecting with old friends, more studio time, a lot of new artwork, stimulating work, travel and a lot of change. It has been an intense year on a global, local and personal note. It has also been a memorable one and I'm grateful to have these 365 days of art and words as my own record of it. I'll write more on this tomorrow but I'm off to have one more glass of champagne and ring in the new year.
May 2016 bring you the best kind of change!
A little something from Sam Cooke to kick it off...
"Your thoughts become your words, your words become your actions, your actions determine your outcome." - Sarah Robbins
“He allowed himself to be swayed by his conviction that human beings are not born once and for all on the day their mothers give birth to them, but that life obliges them over and over again to give birth to themselves.”
― Gabriel García Márquez
“All of us have failed to match our dream of perfection. I rate us on the basis of our splendid failure to do the impossible. If I could write all my work again, I'm convinced I could do it better. This is the healthiest condition for an artist. That's why he keeps working, trying again: he believes each time that this time he will do it, bring it off. Of course he won't.”
― William Faulkner
“Think of love as a state of grace not as a means to anything... but an end in itself.”
― Gabriel García Márquez
“I wish I could describe the feeling of being at sea, the anguish, frustration, and fear, the beauty that accompanies threatening spectacles, the spiritual communion with creatures in whose domain I sail. There is a magnificent intensity in life that comes when we are not in control but are only reacting, living, surviving. I am not a religious man per se. My own cosmology is convoluted and not in line with any particular church or philosphy. But for me, to go to sea is to glimpse the face of God. At sea i am reminded of my insignificance-- of all men's insignificance. It is a wonderful feeling to be so humbled.”
― Steve Callahan
“Your outside is just what you live in, sleep in, and has little connection with who you are and even less with what you do.”
― William Faulkner
"Be a good steward of your gifts. Protect your time. Feed your inner life. Avoid too much noise. Read good books, have good sentences in your ears. Be by yourself as often as you can. Walk. Take the phone off the hook. Work regular hours." - Jane Kenyon
“We often lose ourselves to where we think we should be, rather than celebrate where we already are.”
― Chris Burkmenn
“Recognize that the very molecules that make up your body, the atoms that construct the molecules, are traceable to the crucibles that were once the centers of high mass stars that exploded their chemically rich guts into the galaxy, enriching pristine gas clouds with the chemistry of life. So that we are all connected to each other biologically, to the earth chemically and to the rest of the universe atomically. That’s kinda cool! That makes me smile and I actually feel quite large at the end of that. It’s not that we are better than the universe, we are part of the universe. We are in the universe and the universe is in us.” ― Neil deGrasse Tyson
“I was surprised, as always, by how easy the act of leaving was, and how good it felt. The world was suddenly rich with possibility.” ― Jack Kerouac
“The starting point of all achievement is DESIRE. Keep this constantly in mind. Weak desire brings weak results, just as a small fire makes a small amount of heat.” ― Napoleon Hill
“To succeed, planning alone is insufficient. One must improvise as well.” ― Isaac Asimov
“Don't simply dream, create. Don't simply create, ship. Don't simply ship, dream.” ― Ryan Lilly
“Where you stumble and fall, there you will find gold.” ― Joseph Campbell
“Ply the original path that life has laid out for you. Don't let it get shrouded with weeds” ― Constance Chuks Friday
“The only thing that scares me more than space aliens is the idea that there aren't any space aliens. We can't be the best that creation has to offer. I pray we're not all there is. If so, we're in big trouble.”
― Ellen DeGeneres
"I'm not an abstractionist. I'm not interested in the relationship of color or form or anything else. I'm interested only in expressing basic human emotions: tragedy, ecstasy, doom, and so on.” ― Mark Rothko
“Being realistic is the most common path to mediocrity.” ― Will Smith
“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.” ― Mark Twain
“If you stand before a canvas, up close, almost to the point where your nose touches paint, you will see nothing but a blurred image; an image composed of thousands of tiny dots of paint. Stand back from the canvas and all those points of color merge to form an image of beauty recognizable to the human heart. Life is composed of thousands of tiny moments of time. Stand back and you will see a life of beauty, capable of touching the human heart.” ― Pen
"I really don't know why it is that all of us are so committed to the sea, except I think it's because in addition to the fact that the sea changes, and the light changes, and ships change, it's because we all came from the sea. And it is an interesting biological fact that all of us have in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea - whether it is to sail or to watch it - we are going back from whence we came.
[Remarks at the Dinner for the America's Cup Crews, September 14 1962]”
― John F. Kennedy
“December, being the last month of the year, cannot help but make us think of what is to come.” ― Fennel Hudson
“Don't get caught in the trap of "Waiting".
When I retire....
When I get off work
When I go that party this weekend
When this happens then I can live.
People miss the present and then wonder where time went. Allow life unfold in its divine sequence by being utterly present.”
― Matthew Donnelly
“The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it.”
This time of year, it feels like a big achievement to stick to any routine, but those who weather the season's busy-ness well seem to slow down and find calm in the mayhem. The last few days have been kind of a doozy so I'm taking a cue from those who are sailing through December and doubling my posts in the name of "calm." May this remind you to slowly soak up the good things that surround you during this season and forgo a routine or two in the name of enjoying time with the people you love.
“Tenderness and kindness are not signs of weakness and despair, but manifestations of strength and resolution.” ― Kahlil Gibran
“The art of art, the glory of expression and the sunshine of the light of letters, is simplicity.” ― Walt Whitman
"Your mind will answer most questions if you learn to relax and wait for the answer." ~ Sandy Hibbard
"When I paint an abstract picture (the problem is very much the same in other cases), I neither know in advance what it is meant to look like nor, during the painting process, what I am aiming at and what to do about getting there. Painting is consequently an almost blind, desperate effort, like that of a person abandoned, helpless, in totally incomprehensible surroundings – like that of a person who possesses a given set of tools, materials and abilities and has the urgent desire to build something useful which is not allowed to be a house or a chair or anything else that has a name; who therefore hacks away in the vague hope that by working in a proper, professional way he will ultimately turn out something proper and meaningful." Gerhard Richter
“You rest now. Rest for longer than you are used to resting. Make a stillness around you, a field of peace. Your best work, the best time of your life will grow out of this peace.” ― Peter Heller
“Don't be an art critic, but paint, there lies salvation.” Paul Cezanne
“Family isn't about blood relationships, it's about the meaning behind them. I rearlier now that sharing chromosomes is not the only way to having a family, it's about the friendship behind it.” ― Sarah Dessen
“All art is but dirtying the paper delicately.” ― John Ruskin
Allow myself ... to quote myself. Every now and then, I revisit my artist statement to see if it is still relevant to my work and process. While it does seem to mostly fit, I'm fairly certain that I'm the only one who reads it. And, I often wonder if the artist statement as "a thing artists must do" is no longer relevant to viewers and collectors, or maybe it never was.
What do you think? If you connect with a work of art, does an accompanying artist statement deepen that connection? Or could you live without that part?
In case you are up for reading it, here's my full artist statement:
Words. From conversation, from something I’ve read, from a thought that I’m curious about translating visually, words drive my entire process. They inform the shapes, textures and colors on my canvas. What is it that transpires between the first layers of language and the edited message received by the listener? Words in themselves are an end, but their tone, inflection, delivery and context unfold into complex meanings. Human interaction, communication, is the impetus behind my work.
Words are not the only means by which we communicate. Images bombard our daily lives and are all meant to evoke some thought or feeling. Art communicates itself in layers just as the meaning of a conversation evolves as it occurs. It’s constantly evolving with its audience. I aim for my artistic process to continue beyond the completion of my painting. I hope my work functions as a tool for communication. My end goal is to mirror the complexity of what transpires in our everyday communications, and in turn, to inspire a dialog among and with the viewers.
"Artistically I am still a child with a whole life ahead of me to discover and create. I want something, but I won't know what it is until I succeed in doing it." - Alberto Giacometti
“Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash.” ― Leonard Cohen
"Even an abstract form has to have a likeness." (Willem de Kooning)
“The stability of the structure is directly related to the security of the foundation” ― Blake Higginbotham
"It is not so much where my motivation comes from but rather how it manages to survive." (Louise Bourgeois)
"Forget about good. Good is a known quantity. Good is what we all agree on. As long as you stick to good, you’ll never have real growth." Bruce Mau
"A goal without a plan is just a wish.” ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
“The first and most important thing an individual can do is to become an individual again, decontrol himself, train himself as to what is going on and win back as much independent ground for himself as possible” ― William S. Burroughs
"Of course, I don't go onto the studio with the idea of 'saying' something – that's ludicrous. What I do is face the blank canvas, which is terrifying." (Richard Diebenkorn)
“Only the brave men and women can bring peace to the world, not by practicing war but by practicing nonviolence.” ― Amit Ray
“Whether you succeed or not is irrelevant, there is no such thing. Making your unknown known is the important thing--and keeping the unknown always beyond you.” ― Georgia O'Keeffe
“When you assess your own life, consider it with the eye of a gardener. Underneath the surface lies rich, fertile soil waiting to nurture the seeds you sow. Even more than you can imagine will grow there if given a chance.” ― Steve Goodier
“The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way. Some see nature all ridicule and deformity... and some scarce see nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination, nature is imagination itself.” ― William Blake
“We swallowed the chaos because we knew we didn't want to be ordinary.” ― Robert M. Drake
“Become a documentarian of what you do.” ― Austin Kleon
“The pessimist resembles a man who observes with fear and sadness that his wall calendar, from which he daily tears a sheet, grows thinner with each passing day. On the other hand, the person who attacks the problems of life actively is like a man who removes each successive leaf from his calendar and files it neatly and carefully away with its predecessors, after first having jotted down a few diary notes on the back. He can reflect with pride and joy on all the richness set down in these notes, on all the life he has already lived to the fullest. What will it matter to him if he notices that he is growing old? Has he any reason to envy the young people whom he sees, or wax nostalgic over his own lost youth? What reasons has he to envy a young person? For the possibilities that a young person has, the future which is in store for him? No, thank you,' he will think. 'Instead of possibilities, I have realities in my past, not only the reality of work done and of love loved, but of sufferings bravely suffered. These sufferings are even the things of which I am most proud, although these are things which cannot inspire envy.' " From "Logotherapy in a Nutshell", an essay” ― Viktor E. Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning
“When the apple is ripe it will fall.” — Irish proverb
“Inspiration is the windfall from hard work and focus. Muses are too unreliable to keep on the payroll.” – Helen Hanson
“It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tired into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one destiny, affects all indirectly.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.
“Mountains, according to the angle of view, the season, the time of day, the beholder's frame of mind, or any one thing, can effectively change their appearance. Thus, it is essential to recognize that we can never know more than one side, one small aspect of a mountain.” ― Haruki Murakam
“The fallen leaves in the forest seemed to make even the ground glow and burn with light”
― Malcolm Lowry
“Halloween shadows played upon the walls of the houses. In the sky the Halloween moon raced in and out of the clouds. The Halloween wind was blowing, not a blasting of wind but a right-sized swelling, falling, and gushing of wind. It was a lovely and exciting night, exactly the kind of night Halloween should be.”
― Eleanor Estes
"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” ― R. Buckminster Fuller
“Every time we look at the clock, we must learn to feel a sense of urgency. We must learn to realize that “now” is happening and will very soon be gone. We must look at the digits on the display and be overcome with an urge to do something before those digits change. Before “now” slips through our fingers. We must look at the ink on the calendar and see an immediate opportunity to do something wonderful, incredible, or beautiful. It’s that simple. We need to change our thinking from “when the number changes” to “before the number changes”.” ― Dan Pearce
“Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.”
― C.S. Lewis
“Make your interactions with people transformational, not just transactional.” ― Patti Smith
“I sustain myself with the love of family.”
― Maya Angelou
“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style”
― Maya Angelou
"The table is a meeting place, a gathering ground, the source of sustenance and nourishment, festivity, safety, and satisfaction. A person cooking is a person giving: Even the simplest food is a gift." - Laurie Colwin
"I have always loved the desert. One sits down on a desert sand dune, sees nothing, hears nothing. Yet through the silence something throbs, and gleams..." Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” - Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
"Set your course by the stars, not by the lights of every passing ship." - Omar N. Bradley
“It's a bizarre but wonderful feeling, to arrive dead center of a target you didn't even know you were aiming for.” ― Lois McMaster
“Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything really good.” ~William Faulkner
"The most effective way to do it, is to do it." — Amelia Earhart
“You don't have to make something that people call art. Living is an artistic activity, there is an art to getting through the day.” ― Viggo Mortensen
"The only ship you can truly steer in this ocean is the one you're sailing. Quit trying to alter the winds; harness them.” ― Richelle E. Goodrich
“Emotions, in my experience, aren't covered by single words. I don't believe in "sadness," "joy," or "regret." Maybe the best proof that the language is patriarchal is that it oversimplifies feeling. I'd like to have at my disposal complicated hybrid emotions, Germanic train-car constructions like, say, "the happiness that attends disaster." Or: "the disappointment of sleeping with one's fantasy." I'd like to show how "intimations of mortality brought on by aging family members" connects with "the hatred of mirrors that begins in middle age." I'd like to have a word for "the sadness inspired by failing restaurants" as well as for "the excitement of getting a room with a minibar." I've never had the right words to describe my life, and now that I've entered my story, I need them more than ever. ” ― Jeffrey Eugenides
“The successful man will profit from his mistakes and try again in a different way.” ― Dale Carnegie
“A complete stranger has the capacity to alter the life of another irrevocably. This domino effect has the capacity to change the course of an entire world. That is what life is; a chain reaction of individuals colliding with others and influencing their lives without realizing it. A decision that seems miniscule to you, may be monumental to the fate of the world.” ― J.D. Stroube
“Sometimes I feel like if you just watch things, just sit still and let the world exist in front of you - sometimes I swear that just for a second time freezes and the world pauses in its tilt. Just for a second. And if you somehow found a way to live in that second, then you would live forever.” ― Lauren Oliver
“Thoughts are slippery fish in a cold shallow stream. If you are intent on capturing a worthwhile one, you need to stand very still, focus very hard on somewhere outside yourself, and then simply ignore it until it gets so close that it tickles your ankles. Then, pounce.” ― Vera Nazarian
“I only share when I have no unmet needs that I'm trying to fill. I firmly believe that being vulnerable with a larger audience is only a good idea if the healing is tied to the sharing, not to the expectations I might have for the response I get.” ― Brené Brown
"You might be tempted to avoid the messiness of daily living for the tranquility of stillness and peacefulness. This of course would be an attachment to stillness, and like any strong attachment, it leads to delusion. It arrests development and short-circuits the cultivation of wisdom.” ― Jon Kabat-Zinn
“Patience is power. Patience is not an absence of action; rather it is "timing" it waits on the right time to act, for the right principles and in the right way.” ― Fulton J. Sheen
“Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested.”
― Francis Bacon
“Coming back is the thing that enables you to see how all the dots in your life are connected, how one decision leads you another, how one twist of fate, good or bad, brings you to a door that later takes you to another door, which aided by several detours--long hallways and unforeseen stairwells--eventually puts you in the place you are now.” ― Ann Patchett
"If future generations are to remember us with gratitude rather than contempt, we must leave them something more than the miracles of technology. We must leave them a glimpse of the world as it was in the beginning, not just after we got through with it."
“We must not only protect the country side and save it from destruction, we must restore what has been destroyed and salvage the beauty and charm of our cities … Once our natural splendor is destroyed, it can never be recaptured. And once man can no longer walk with beauty or wonder at nature, his spirit will wither and his sustenance be wasted.”
- Lyndon B. Johnson President of the United States
“Listen! The wind is rising, and the air is wild with leaves, We have had our summer evenings, now for October eves!” ― Humbert Wolfe
"Patience is never more important than when you are on the verge of losing it." - unknown
“I think that we are like stars. Something happens to burst us open; but when we burst open and think we are dying; we’re actually turning into a supernova. And then when we look at ourselves again, we see that we’re suddenly more beautiful than we ever were before!”
― C. JoyBell C.
I’ve made me a moon-catchin’ net,
And I’m goin’ huntin’ tonight,
I’ll run along swingin’ it over my head,
And grab for that big ball of light.
So tommorow just look at the sky,
And if there’s no moon you can bet
I’ve found what I sought and i finally caught
The moon in my moon-catchin’ net.
But if the moon’s still shinin’ there,
Look close underneath and you’ll get
A clear look at me in the sky swingin’ free
With a star in my moon-catchin’ net.
“The river reflected whatever it chose of sky and bridge and burning tree, and when the undergraduate had oared his boat through the reflections they closed again, completely, as if they had never been. There one might have sat the clock round lost in thought. Thought --to call it by a prouder name than it deserved-- had let its line down into the stream. It swayed, minute after minute, hither and thither among the reflections and the weeds, letting the water lift it and sink it until --you know the little tug -- the sudden conglomeration of an idea at the end of one's line: and then the cautious hauling of it in, and the careful laying of it out? Alas, laid on the grass how small, how insignificant this thought of mine looked; the sort of fish that a good fisherman puts back into the water so that it may grow fatter and be one day worth cooking and eating.” ― Virginia Woolf
“I loved the city. We were anonymous, and even then I had the sense that cities were yielding; that they moved over and made room.” ― Sheridan Hay
"Work inspires inspiration. Keep working. If you succeed, keep working. If you fail, keep working. If you’re interested, keep working. If you’re bored, keep working." ~Michael Crichton
“Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things. You simply must do things.” ~Ray Bradbury
“Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do. Don’t bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.” ~William Faulkner
"Risk is exactly what I'm going for." - Picasso (via the film, Mystery of Picasso)
"It's so fine and yet so terrible to stand in front of a blank canvas." - Paul Cezanne
“Do stuff. be clenched, curious. Not waiting for inspiration's shove or society's kiss on your forehead. Pay attention. It's all about paying attention. attention is vitality. It connects you with others. It makes you eager. stay eager.” ― Susan Sontag
"Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall." - F. Scott Fitzgerald
"Abstract is not a style. I simply want to make a surface work. This is just a use of space and form: it’s an ambivalence of forms and space." - Joan Mitchell
"Even when you paint, you never stop drawing." (Igor Babailov)
"Abstract literally means to draw from or separate. In this sense every artist is abstract... a realistic or non-objective approach makes no difference. The result is what counts." (Richard Diebenkorn)
I've shared it before and I can't help but share it again, it's too good not to. If you haven't heard it, this quote is a small excerpt from an interview with Ira Glass. Watch this clip (and the lovely way it was visualized), watch the full video (accessible via this clip in 4 parts). Even if you've seen them all before, watch them again. It's a great reminder for any type of creative work.
“The lessons you are meant to learn are in your work. To see them, you need only look at the work clearly — without judgment, without need or fear, without wishes or hopes. Without emotional expectations. Ask your work what it needs, not what you need. Then set aside your fears and listen, the way a good parent listens to a child” ~David Bayles
“The cheapest route to a new opportunity is conversation."
― Mario L Castellanos
“What we have forgotten is that thoughts and words are conventions, and that it is fatal to take conventions too seriously. A convention is a social convenience, as, for example, money ... but it is absurd to take money too seriously, to confuse it with real wealth ... In somewhat the same way, thoughts, ideas and words are "coins" for real things.”
― Alan W. Watts
“All paths are present, always... and we can but choose among them.”
― Jacqueline Carey
Reposting words for today's #365art from @lisapaulickmiller (via Instagram) because they (alongside her photo of her lovely studio) inspired me today:
"I read an article in the @latimes today about the National Medal of Arts being awarded to Alice Waters and other creative public figures, and Pres. Obama was quoted "They do what they do because of some urgent, inner force." Love that. Live that. So true. 👏"
“No man has the right to dictate what other men should perceive, create or produce, but all should be encouraged to reveal themselves, their perceptions and emotions, and to build confidence in the creative spirit.” ― Ansel Adams
"It's difficult to enter into this work because of how the internal dynamic of the purity of line contextualize the inherent overspecificity."
Thank you, Pixmaven, for generating some savvy art critique insights that I couldn't have conjured myself. Hehe. Check out their site to generate your own fancy art critique, bonus points if you also use your phrase in a meeting tomorrow.
“Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.” ― Albert Einstein
“By all these lovely tokens September days are here, with summer’s best of weather and autumn’s best of cheer.” ~ Helen Hunt Jackson
“Writing about music is like dancing about architecture - it's really a stupid thing to want to do.” ― Elvis Costello
“Grown up, and that is a terribly hard thing to do. It is much easier to skip it and go from one childhood to another.” ― F. Scott Fitzgerald
"We all have 10,000 bad drawings in us. The sooner we get them out the better.” ― Walt Stanchfield
“Art is unquestionably one of the purest and highest elements in human happiness. It trains the mind through the eye, and the eye through the mind. As the sun colors flowers, so does art color life.”
― John Lubbock
“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.”
― W.B. Yeats
“Do not seek water, get thirst.” ― Rumi
Being an artist is not just about what happens when you are in the studio... The way you live, the people you choose to love and the way you love them, the way you vote, the words that come out of your mouth … will also become the raw material for the art you make.” - Teresita Fernández
"Laughter is brightest in the place where the food is.” – Irish proverb
“I think life is always dangerous. Some people get afraid of it. Some people don’t go forward. But some people, if they want to achieve their goal, they have to go. They have to move …” -- Malala Yousafzai
"I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do, and that enables you to laugh at life’s realities." - Dr. Seuss
“You cannot dream yourself into a character: you must hammer and forge yourself into one.” ― Henry David Thoreau
“Weeds are flowers, too, once you get to know them.” ~ A.A. Milne
"The object isn’t to make art, it’s to be in that wonderful state which makes art inevitable.” ~Robert Henri
“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” ― George Bernard Shaw
“Art reaches its greatest peak when devoid of self-consciousness. Freedom discovers man the moment he loses concern over what impression he is making or about to make.” ~Bruce Lee
"A little nonsense now and then, is cherished by the wisest men.” ― Roald Dahl
“Don't set your goals by what other people deem important.” ― Jaachynma N.E. Agu
A piece of art is never a finished work. It answers a question which has been asked, and asks a new question.” ~Robert Engman
“The whole culture is telling you to hurry, while the art tells you to take your time. Always listen to the art.” ~Junot Diaz
“This was my first real lesson in politics… If you are cast on a desert island with only a screwdriver, hatchet, and the chisel to make a boat with, why, go and make the best one you can. It would be better if you had a saw, but you haven't, so with men.” ― Theodore Roosevelt
"There is a tide in the affairs of men, Which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat. And we must take the current when it serves, or lose our ventures." - William Shakespeare
“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity” ― John Muir
“As no man is born an artist, so no man is born an angler.” ― Izaak Walton
“Grace is darkness and light, peacefully co-existing, as illumination.” ― Jaeda DeWalt
We bounce between looking and talking... words are autopsies of seeing... In the best cases, these perceptual post-mortems can sharpen our understanding of what must have occurred in the moments of seeing, including clues about how and why seeing stopped... and, when they reach their limit, they provoke the viewer into more looking. - Michael Barnes
“Do not sit still; start moving now. In the beginning, you may not go in the direction you want, but as long as you are moving, you are creating alternatives and possibilities.” ― Rodolfo Costa
“The city had seemed like a great place to discover who you are. It just seemed that there was a lot to experience here, as if all you had to do was show up and the city would take care of the rest, making sure you got the education, the maturing, the wising-up you needed. Its crowds, the noise, the endlessness of it all, the perpetual motion, felt exciting then—revealing—just the deep end I needed to jump into. There is something unique about New York, some quality, some matchless, pertinent combination of promise and despair, wizardry and counterfeit, abundance and depletion, that stimulates and allows for a reckoning to occur—maybe even forces it. The city pulls back the curtain on who you are; it tests you and shows you what you are made of in a way that has become iconic in our popular culture, and with good reason.” ― Sari Botton
"Ease is the enemy of the artist. When things get too easy, you're in trouble."
- Chuck Close
“All art is at once surface and symbol. Those who go beneath the surface do so at their peril.” ― Oscar Wilde
“Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do.
Remember our rule of thumb: The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.
Resistance is experienced as fear; the degree of fear equates to the strength of Resistance. Therefore the more fear we feel about a specific enterprise, the more certain we can be that that enterprise is important to us and to the growth of our soul. That's why we feel so much Resistance. If it meant nothing to us, there'd be no Resistance.”
― Steven Pressfield
“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
"People don't buy what you do; people buy why you do it." - Simon Sinek
What do you think? Is this statement true for you? How about when it comes to art? Should art be immediately visually striking, profoundly felt and understood? Or, can its "why" or the story that led to its creation alone make it beautiful? Or, should it be all of those things and more? I recently saw the film MARINA ABRAMOVIĆ: The Artist Is Present which made me think about my own conflicting opinions on this subject of "why" and art.
The film, a documentary, follows performance artist Marina Abramović as she prepares for her retrospective at New York's MoMA in 2010. I remember hearing about the show when I was living in Brooklyn. I was somewhat curious but never made it to the museum to check it out. Aside from the fact that performance art had never completely grabbed me, fighting the especially large weekend museum crowds (because of all of the show's hype/cachet) seemed daunting. After seeing this film, I regret not going while I had the chance.
In the film you learn about her life, her childhood, her art career and her mission. You also learn how they all very much relate. Her main "piece" at her MoMA retrospective is the culmination of it all; she sits in a chair (every day for three months, open to close) across from museum goers who competitively line up ahead of the museum's opening to capture her gaze one at a time. If you're not familiar with her or her work, I'm sure this sounds like the world's longest staring contest and you're wondering, "yes, but why is it art?" But when you see it... Some people hold her gaze and smile, others look disapprovingly at her, and a lot of people just start sobbing. It's moving, as well-executed art usually is. It turns out, staring into Marina's eyes (and anyone's, really - try it) for an extended period of time in silence is intimate, intense and revealing.
Getting a glimpse of her creative process and her drive to elevate performance art from its "alternative" status in the film, has made the art form and her work much more intriguing for me. In one part of the film, she reads her "Artist's Life Manifesto." If the film isn't a wonderful illustration of her "why," her manifesto is (especially as she reads it in this video). I might have to take a cue from her and write my own.
So back to that question... Is it true for you? Are you more likely to be wooed by the artistic process than its result? Or do you need both to appreciate a work of art? What's your manifesto?
"August brings into sharp focus and a furious boil everything I've been listening to in the late spring and summer." - Henry Rollins
"The aim of every artist is to arrest motion, which is life, by artificial means and hold it fixed so that a hundred years later, when a stranger looks at it, it moves again since it is life."
Today's 365 is a collaboration with my niece. She loves art and reminds me to get lost in the details (like strawberry seeds, for instance) whenever we get the chance to paint together.
“That’s the paradox: the only time most people feel alive is when they’re suffering, when something overwhelms their ordinary, careful armour, and the naked child is flung out onto the world. That’s why the things that are worst to undergo are best to remember. But when that child gets buried away under their adaptive and protective shells—he becomes one of the walking dead, a monster. So when you realise you’ve gone a few weeks and haven’t felt that awful struggle of your childish self — struggling to lift itself out of its inadequacy and incompetence — you’ll know you’ve gone some weeks without meeting new challenge, and without growing, and that you’ve gone some weeks towards losing touch with yourself. The only calibration that counts is how much heart people invest, how much they ignore their fears of being hurt or caught out or humiliated. And the only thing people regret is that they didn’t live boldly enough, that they didn’t invest enough heart, didn’t love enough. Nothing else really counts at all.” ― Ted Hughes
“Then we got into a labyrinth, and, when we thought we were at the end, came out again at the beginning, having still to see as much as ever.” ― Plato
“you can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will.” ― Stephen King
“We're all here for a spell; get all the good laughs you can.” ― Will Rodgers
“Art is what we call...the thing an artist does.
It's not the medium or the oil or the price or whether it hangs on a wall or you eat it. What matters, what makes it art, is that the person who made it overcame the resistance, ignored the voice of doubt and made something worth making. Something risky. Something human.
Art is not in the ...eye of the beholder. It's in the soul of the artist.”
― Seth Godin
"When we sit down day after day and keep grinding, something mysterious starts to happen... Unseen forces enlist in our cause; serendipity reinforces our purpose." (Steven Pressfield)
"A drawing is simply a line going for a walk." - Paul Klee
“Taking pictures is savoring life intensely, every hundredth of a second.” ― Marc Riboud
“We see in order to move; we move in order to see.” ― William Gibson
“How quick and rushing life can sometimes seem, when at the same time it's so slow and sweet and everlasting.” ― Graham Swift
"depth and substance. the two most exquisite qualities. be it in a poem or a person.” ― Sanober Khan
“Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” - Andy Warhol
“I do believe in an everyday sort of magic -- the inexplicable connectedness we sometimes experience with places, people, works of art and the like; the eerie appropriateness of moments of synchronicity; the whispered voice, the hidden presence, when we think we're alone.” ― Charles de Lint
“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature -- the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.” ― Rachel Carson
"You should keep on painting no matter how difficult it is, because this is all part of experience, and the more experience you have, the better it is.. unless it kills you, and then you know you have gone too far." - Alice Neel
“Open my heart and you will see Graved inside of it, "Italy".” ― Robert Browning
"I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, 'If this isn't nice, I don't know what is.'" - Kurt Vonnegut
A while ago, I asked a close family friend what phrase or quote is most meaningful to him and he said, "pax dei." I wasn't familiar with the phrase, only the latin word pax (peace). According to Wikipedia, it "was a movement in the Middle Ages by the Catholic Church that applied spiritual sanctions to limit the violence of feuding." (also known as the Peace and Truce of God).
When I asked recently what those words mean to him he said, "Back in a time when the worst we could do to each other was with a bow and arrow, a sword or some hot oil, people realized there needed to be limits. Today we have no limits in the destruction of others. We need to be reminded."
To me, he embodies those words. He teaches with his actions just how valuable peace and compassion really are. People are drawn to him. The words don't make him who he is of course but they serve as a reminder to focus on what is important to him.
There's something powerful about the words to which we attach our thoughts and beliefs. If you focus on a specific set of words long enough, you can embody their meaning... or come back to what's meaningful to you. What word, quote, phrase or mantra is most meaningful to you?
"Show up, show up, show up, and after a while the muse shows up, too,” Isabel Allende
"Thoughts are like arrows: once released, they strike their mark. Guard them well or one day you may be your own victim."
- Navajo Proverb
“Be an opener of doors”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson
"The difference between the almost right word & the right word is really a large matter--it's the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.- Mark Twain (Letter to George Bainton, 10/15/1888)” ― Mark Twain