“We work in the dark – we do what we can- we give what we have. Our doubt is our passion, and our passion is our task. The rest is the madness of art.”
Henry JamesI must have A LOT of passion.
I have been absent from posting for a time, and I blame the season. (okay, that’s a lame excuse) As I had mentioned in a previous post, when I again had been absent a few weeks, that summer seems to be a busy time with gardening, and happy distractions with family visits, dog training; my mind ill equipped to simmer down and nestle into my writing corner. But that being the case I do have an update coming this week of what I’ve been up to of late. Nothing stupendous or earth shattering, just the bit of goings on in my studio, a proud moment in a local bar, ( proud and bar, words that normally should never be uttered together in a sentence but take an exception here), and I’ll share the view from 250 meters in the sky marking a thirty year celebration.
“Have no fear of perfection, you’ll never reach it.” Salvador Dali
These words bring me some comfort. Of course we all want to do things as well as we can, become “proficient” at our craft, take pride in a task well done, a skill mastered. And we do want it to be perfect. When it isn’t, many of us chastise ourselves feeling we’ve missed the mark (hello). I hold myself accountable to that, and with following through with a project, and I feel a little anxiousness build when I begin to slip. A fear of not perfectly accomplishing what I set out for myself; if I let that slip then all may be lost. (which, I am aware, is a ridiculous thought- but there it is). I also understand that to let this anxiousness dominate is counter-productive to creative thought and practice, nothing will come of it but tension. But, I can get caught up in a vicious cycle when this dynamic happens.
I am noticing more often now what my mind set is when I enter into a creative head space; funny I never paid attention to this before. But I do believe that over the last several months, maybe the last year, and with the help of committing to this blog, I’ve been conditioning myself to build and recognize the climate that allows creativity to expand and to overtake the mundane, and I have become aware of how this “feels.” I have been able to keep more ideas for art/creative work as the frontrunner in my thoughts and daily structure. Interestingly, I am becoming familiar with how I prepare myself internally, how I encapsulate my attention and focus. And I’m familiar with how satisfying it is to blur my surroundings and sharpen my vision to only the creative work at hand. This is a space I love to be in. A space I had forgotten I once inhabited a long time ago when an art student. I can honestly forget everything (and everyone) else and submerge into that space. An alienating prospect for an artist’s non artist spouse! (fortunately, he understands and supports)
Life has had, and continues to have, its myriad of distractions, pleasant and otherwise, that will always vie for attention. My aim now is for balance while keeping my inner eye trained on a soft but protective boundary that encircles my creative space. I can find a modicum of perfection in that arrangement. As for the work coming out of that arrangement, I will look for the perfection in its imperfection.
A bit of a ramble.
“The chief enemy of creativity is good sense.” Pablo Picasso
Easier said than done! As we grow up we become layered over time with so many “should’s” and “better not’s” and “what will people say” that we shrink into a homogenous, bland, colourless expression of our child selves for the sake of “fitting in” to the stats quo.
I’m going to keep looking for ways to allow some of my actions/ activities to fall under the definitions of Just because and Why not.
“Whether you succeed or not is irrelevant, there is no such thing. Making your unknown known is the important thing.”
– Georgia O’Keeffe
Georgia O’keeffe is one of my favourite artists. And I also admire her character, she was so much her own person. And I love this quote for its forthright grounding in reality. Drop the pretence, the striving, and contortions to grab the proverbial gold ring, it’s only a mirage. Simply make your unknown known. Then take a long solitary walk in the foot hills of Taos. (ah, if only)