Thursday, October 1, 2009

Endless Journey


On Seinfeld, Kramer is talking to Elaine:

Kramer: I was on my way to the store to return this pair of pants, when I ducked into the subway tunnel and fell into some mud.
Elaine: What happened?
Kramer: Well, I couldn't return the pants.
Elaine: You were wearing the pants you were going to return?
Kramer: Well, yes.
Elaine: What were you going to wear on the way home?
Kramer: Elaine, you're not listening. I never GOT there!


Question: Are you satisfied with your accomplishments?
Answer: No, I don't feel satisfaction. I feel: "next." When you used the word "satisfied," I didn't even really know what it meant. John Malkovich, actor


No artist is pleased...there is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us more alive than any other human beings. Martha Graham

"The first 3 pages are a mess, but on that fourth page is a paragraph that works---and suddenly you don't care about the first 3 pages. You'll throw them out. Those are the pages you needed to write to get to that 4th page, to the one you had in mind all along, only you didn't know that, couldn't know that, until you got there." Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird
Anne Lamott's book is a wonderful, warm, funny, wise book on writing--but as your read it, you realize you can substitute any artist--painter, sculptor, potter, quilter, photographer, collage and assemblage artist, graphic designer, textile artist, and so on.. for the word "writer". As artists we are all faced with the 'blank page'. We all have that big, hard to define "goal" of becoming a better artist. How do you measure such a large ongoing goal? The goal really should be to keep growing, to keep learning, to keep trying something new. We learn new techniques, read books, study art history, go to galleries and museums, take workshops, and experiment. Along the way, we have successes and sometimes, rejections. And we discover that the journey to become a better artist never ends. If it did, we would stop growing. The journey is more important than the destination.


At 22, Dan Eldon was the youngest Reuters photojournalist ever. As he traveled 4 continents, he documented and transformed all his experiences into 17 journals. These notebooks contained photographs, words, paint, ink, and found objects collected in the course of his journeys. In the summer of 1992, Eldon went to Somalia to investigate the rumor of famine. His photographs helped trigger an outpouring of international aid. But in 1993, Eldon was stoned to death by a Somali mob reacting against a UN bombing. The Journey is the Destination is a book about art, but mostly it is a book about the art of life. Obsession. Dream. Goal. Destination. Journey.

32 comments:

jgy said...

Your posts contain so much, starting with the work you post. I began this one laughing as soon as I saw the name of the show Seinfeld, and laughed again at that Kramer moment you transcribed. Where did I go next? THe journey thru your post was very 'satisfying' in itself. Right now I will just savor that.

PS thank you for the wonderful TS Eliot quote too, yes it was that one.

Leslie Avon Miller said...

I think that’s part of what keeps me going; the challenge of creating, seeing what is just around the next bend, finding out what could happen. If it were easy I’d be bored and I would move on to the next thing. The exploration is everything. I feel it is a privilege to be a creative person, and it comes with responsibility – to create. I really enjoyed Ann Lamont’s book as I appreciate her sense of humor. Another great post Donna! Thanks.

Bob Cornelis said...

How could a blog post that starts with dialogue from Seinfeld be anything but inspired?

Seriously, a rich posting. I like how you start with small offerings of quotes, poems, photos, etc. before settling down to the matter at hand.

I've often felt that "queer divine dissatisfaction" and, in moments of unusual clarity, feel grateful for the impetus it provides to make that next piece of art.

Trudi Sissons said...

What a pleasure to read your blog posts...resonating yet again. Dan Eldon - very familiar with is work and thank you for reminding me.

Ruth Armitage said...

What is next? I can totally relate to that.

grrl + dog said...

YOu seem to have gathered up some of my most inspiring things - I treasure each page that Ani Lamont writes so much that I barely left the first chapter.

And so identify with the unrest that you feel..

As for Dan Eldon, my partner cherishes his book.

ArtPropelled said...

This post is exactly what I needed to wake up to today. Reading Martha Gaham's quote makes me feel better. This week I've been chastising myself for feeling dissatisfied with whatever I'm creating..... usually until I'm 3/4's of the way through it. Is it natural or am I just a dissatisfied person? Well you've answered that with this timely post.

Your collage is a new favourite. Do I say that with each one? THey really speak to me.

Dan Eldon's journals have intrigued me for a while now. I'm sure you know of Peter Beards journals (which inspired Dan to begin his). If not you are in for a treat.

Ian Foster said...

As I live a very sheltered life in the UK I had never heard of Seinfeld but I have just watched some clips on YouTube, it looks a real hoot.

I felt that I might be "satisfied" with the digital collage I am working on until saw your posting which is very "free' and "spontaneous" whereas mine looks rather "stiff'. I now have to decide whether to delete it and start again or to post and resolve to do better next time.

Perhaps I can rescue it with a few changes.

Thank you for an inspiring posting.

linda said...

ce collage est magnifique !! j'adore ses couleurs !

BLACK AND WHITE said...

That is true: the journey is more important than the destination! Great post and beautiful pictures!

Lisa said...

as always Donna..lovely inspirations...especially the book..I love the title..so true it is.

nancy neva gagliano said...

thank you...great post. collection of evidence...support...that "path" that we like and that keeps us wondering where it would lead as you mentioned on my site...just put one foot, hand, thought forward, enjoy the trees/they're not in the way. my "in search of BEING an artist": has been abandoned, christianed by a friend on the journey=we're PRACTICING artists. nice to accept that.

Blue Sky Dreaming said...

Great piece your showing here...like the words and letters and that touch of color.
Allowing the failures of the first few in order to find the "one" has been a constant in my art life. It takes courage, this art making.

Kelly Marszycki said...

Donna -- once again leaving me breathless with delight at how you gather these nuggets! Safe journey to you later this month -- I do hope you find all that you are seeking.

Delwyn said...

Hello Donna

I love your piece of art for the way that it exemplifies all of what you include in the post...I see maps and architecture, mail, the written word, the artist's reality, the aged patina of life juxtaposed with the very beginnings in the egg...
and the letter S...let me project myself onto this image and allow the S to represent soul...the endless journey of the soul...hmmmm

thank you Donna

Happy days

Coffee Messiah said...

Great collage and in another life, used to see AL in marin county and she's indeed very humorous and biting at the same time. Before I moved to midwest, she was going through a big mess with her young kids, but remained funny about that too.

Hadn't thought about her for years and your framing of your thoughts with the quotes etc is magnificent.

Cheers!

Mick said...

This piece has most of my favorite things: text, map, blueprint, torn papers. Mmmm.

Sea Angels said...

Lovely lucious post, so full of everything, like eating scrumptious chocolate cake with a sweet Kourtaki.
Hugs Lynn xxxx

Don Madden said...

Bird By Bird -- on our bookshelf right now! Perfect choice, perfect book, it's definitely read-again book.

oneartistjournal said...

Wow what an inspiring post...treasures..starting with your stunning art work and ending with the story of this remarkable youn man...it is such an enriching experience to visit here each and everytime. Thank you, Orly

Teri and the cats of Furrydance said...

I came to your blog via Suki and enjoyed my wander, like looking around in a combination bookstore, antique store and junk drawer...all at the same time. Your work is approachable, meaningful and nice to just look at too.

John M. Mora said...

a wonderful image that comes alive when clicked and enlarged so that the details and telephathy exits.

Your words also lift veils and adress the growth the change the evolution. No commas because they are one.

Artists must trust themselves even though, at least me, we find later that what we thought was good and solid could be and has been improved upon...what was I thinking?

Art - like changing subway cars with eyes wide open and them closing them and then not holding on...the ride, controilled and sometimes inspired.

Maybe I make no sense.

My best.

Lisa Sarsfield said...

Your collage above is very pleasing to my eyes, especially the top third. Just love those layers and little dashes of text and colour.

Those books...I want to read both of them but especially the last one. Sounds like that young man left quite a legacy.

Sad to hear about the Robin. RIP Robin. We had a yellow finch do that last year, although I didn't see it happen. Sad to find dead birds and see there parnters watching on...that is the cycle of life though.

Don said...

Donna,
Wonderful post with many layers. Dan, Anne, your wonderful art and bones too!

Debrina said...

Your collage work is simply gorgeous. And your post, How to Read a Stone, reminds me of a post I did a while back called Stoned Art (here, I've dug it up for you): http://mistressdebrina.blogspot.com/2007/06/stoned-art.html
It was one of my very early blog postings, but I still find the subject thought provoking.

Thanks for joining my club; I've become a fan of you too!

Seth said...

Really thought provoking post, with such interesting quotes from so many varied people. Great images too!

Linda Sue said...

WOW this post is loaded- so much to think about so much resonates- Wonderful job! I will be reading this post a bunch more times, it is so rich- thank you!

La Dolce Vita said...

Hi Donna! just thought I would check out your site! and it is awesome and so is your work!

Liza said...

This really is a beautiful and inspirational post.
I own every season of Seinfeld.
The journey really is so much sweeter when you let go of having a specific destination in mind.
"keep growing, to keep learning, to keep trying something new" Brilliant words!
Thank you so much for sharing.

mansuetude said...

...had the divine priveledge to hear A. Lamont read once; she stood up there in wrinkled linen and was so funny, so Un self conscious, i fell in love with her permission slip to be free.

a beautiful blog.

disa said...

I love it ! Very creative ! That's actually really cool Thanks.

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