Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Search for Meaning: Self Awareness

To be an artist is to embark on a journey of self-discovery toward a destination that always remains just slightly out of reach. This journey continues long after we have conquered most techniques and mediums. For many artists, the real struggle begins at this point. For many years, I tried to improve my techniques and skills. I eventually realized that there is more to a work of art. I wanted to find meaning in my work. I now know that this is a lifelong pursuit, and self-awareness is the first step. I started making lists as I went deeper and identified my likes, my interests, and my strengths. Here is my list. Have you figured out your list?

Subdued Colors: The artist should not only paint what he sees before him, but also what he sees within him. If, however, he sees nothing within him, he should also refrain from painting what he sees before him. Caspar David Friedrich, painter

Texture: Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do. Benjamin Spock

Lines: calligraphy, marks, patterns... the stars began to burn . through the sheets of clouds, and there was a new voice . which you slowly recognized as your own, that kept you company . as you strode deeper and deeper into the world... -- Mary Oliver, poet

Circles: And even better.... circles on rocks!

Dots: You have to be available to the invisible voices that are swirling around you. George C. Wolfe

Bird Nests: Think of the great musicians who practice and practice their instrument. Great musicians do more than hit the right notes; they bring their music alive with a creativity and invention that springs from an inner motivation that surpasses correctness.

Collecting rocks, fossils, driftwood, shells. Working from this inner place is the more elusive challenge, but the most essential.

TEXT AND NUMBERS: Collecting old letters, post cards, stamps, books

Collections: wooden boxes, gears, letters, antique and old and weathered stuff.

Collecting Asian tools, brushes, stamps and chops, books, papers, maps.

Books: Fear is what prevents the flowering of the mind. Krishnamurti