Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Are We Having Fun Yet?

 Painting, A Moment in Time, cold wax and oil, by Donna Watson

When I tell a non-artist that I am an artist, the usual response is,  "You must have so much fun!"  This always puzzles me, and usually my response back is, "I wouldn't call what I go through as fun." which puzzles the non-artist.  I have even heard some artists say "I have a lot of fun when I am doing my art."  For which I give the same response back, "I am not having any fun."  So what am I having?

Detail of painting, by Donna Watson

I guess the word 'fun' is subjective and can have different meanings to everyone.  So here is the dictionary meaning:  "enjoyment, amusement, or lighthearted pleasure... playful behavior... an activity that is intended purely for amusement and should not be interpreted as having serious purposes."

Detail of painting, by Donna Watson

So if I am not having fun, how would I describe what I am going through?  It is hard to put into words.  The quote by Martha Graham is always one I use when I try to describe the search and journey I am on as an artist.

"No artist is pleased.  There is no satisfaction whatever at any time.  There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction; a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others"

Detail of painting, by Donna Watson

Art is longing.  You never arrive, but you keep going in the hope that you will.  Anselm Kiefer

Journey, cold wax and oil painting by Donna Watson

Most people think happiness is about gaining something, but its
not.  It's all about getting rid of the darkness you accumulate.
Carolyn Crane

Spirit, collage using hand painted rice papers by Donna Watson

Things don't really get solved.  They come together and they fall apart.  Then they come together and fall apart again.  Its just like that.  The healing comes from letting there be room for all this to happen:  room for the grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.
Pema Chodron

And this is how I approach my art, as a starting point for discovery, healing, and that divine dissatisfaction with the hope that I will get "it" with the next painting or collage or assemblage.  It is the "it" that is hard to describe.