Tuesday, June 24, 2008
"Never doubt that a small, group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
I love to be alone. I am an only child but was rarely lonely when growing up. I need to recharge frequently and this entails returning to my home and removing myself from society for a time. However, being alone can be a blessing and a curse. I have chosen a vocation that invites and appreciates solitude. Therefore I make a concerted effort to get out and be active socially, visit friends and cultivate relationships that are meaningful to me. Nevertheless the work must be done and any activity requiring concentration takes energy and necessitates time away from others.
When working I get into little habits...ways of working that seem practical and work for me as an artist. I delight in finding out how others operate. It is a little peek into their own private realm of creativity. I understand that no way is correct, that all of our paths diverge in our own unique woods and we can take whichever paths we want to reach our goals.
I was talking with my friend Alan the other day and we were discussing how we work. I like that as artists we create in very different ways...each to their own end, with their own set of guidelines and tried and true methods. I enjoy the process of evolving as a painter...of the trials and errors, of finding out neat little shortcuts that can help streamline the process. Really, this diversity of individual approach is what lends another interesting wrinkle to the finished piece that we look at on a wall in a gallery. It is the culmination of all of the effort invested in the process.
Getting out and immersing oneself in a social network or activities is so important. My family is very small and so my friends really are my family. I am not involved in an art "scene" per se, but I do know pockets of artists here and there, along with other friends and colleagues of similar disciplines with whom to share work-related information. A community of like-minded individuals feeds the soul and provides an opportunity for inspiration. Often it can be a new member of a discussion who intrigues me and I want to paint them, or visiting a new environment that invites the idea for a new painting composition. It is a fantastic side benefit I find, being out with folks to help stoke the creative fires in the studio.
As human beings, as the most devoted hermit can probably agree, we form opinions about ourselves and who we are from sounding off of others, of living with others for a time and then going off to wherever we choose to go. We are shaped by our culture, our geography and a host of other external and internal variables. The benefit of community and a group of friends who share our passion for something, be it art or anything else, is important and undeniable. It could be a quick ping or an in-depth conversation, but those with whom we choose to surround ourselves are really an outward reflection of a bit of our inner landscape. We are all intrinsically and undeniably connected, whether near or far away.
Listening to: Strawberry Swing by Coldplay
Reading: Cabin At Singing River by Chris Czajkowski
This is a beautiful account of one woman's goal to build her own house with her own two hands in a remote area of the British Columbia interior.
"Solitude is fine, but you need someone to tell you that solitude is fine." ~Honore de Balzac