My Artists Statement
I wrote about my artistic process some years back. I went to revise it and decided I still feel this way so I decided not to mettle with it and post it here as well.
I still think after these many years of consciously trying to make the connection with my source, to create art, that art and it's process are a mystery.
There are things, aspects about art, I understand, predictable things, such as the elements of design, how water moves on paper or how certain paints mix. For instance, I will go to the watercolor table feeling inadequate (that is part of my process) or I'll know that my definition of art is ever evolving. I know 100% of the time when I go to the table, the camera or the computer, I doubt I will be able to come back with anything valuable, interesting or meaningful or that would cause an emotion when viewed or heard. 80% of the time I’m pleasantly surprised that I am wrong. I know that I’m the conduit not the conductor. Although, I pay careful attention to what grabs me visually. Also especially when I have a deep sense of understanding when I hear something, even if I’m hearing the words for the first time. Connection to someone’s artwork, someone connecting to mine, me connecting with the infinite, it all seems natural.
When I write poetry I’m diving head first into the subconscious, never knowing what I’m coming out with. When I paint I go into the process with a pretty solid plan which usually falls apart mid-stream, when I get side tracked into how a color mixes on the paper and I want more of how that makes me feel. When I photograph it is planned and intuitive. Intuitive wins always.
Art for me is the great recycler of all the aspects of life. I am not consciously able to articulate or intellectualize much of what I experience as a human being. Like the beauty of a sunrise, first spring flower, a newborn babe, expecting mother, a couple deeply in love or flip it; the horror of famine, war, child abuse. Even as a writer I cannot reach the depth of my emotion with the words. I call myself an artist because I express myself, in a creative way with paint, words, film, but we could take it further, cooking, decorating, gardening, mothering. How I express myself artistically is up for defining, I want artistic expression in almost every aspect of my life. The process of seeing something that triggers an emotion, that emotion is what I carry with me when I recreate it in my form, and then ironically, the viewers, not knowing my emotional intention, walk away feeling the way I originally did when I first discovered the subject. It’s like taking my love by the hand and saying “Come here. I want to show you something.” But, most of the time the something is just for me and ultimately my creative or artistic translation of it.
I paint, take pictures and write because I need to. When I don’t, I feel pent up, irritable, discontent and restless. Painting is a form of therapy, like journaling, I do that too, but somehow painting recycles; transforms through color, form and technique. Creating takes loneliness, frustration, fear, grief, doubt, guilt, shame and the affliction of self and transform them all into faith and peace for me. This is only true, however if I commit to create, even if it turns out to be junk. If I have any sort of expectation of myself, then my internal critic is alive and well and causing me great distress because I will believe what it tells me. I must battle to create, battle for time and space and then ultimately myself. Just getting to the table and getting my paintbrush wet is a miracle.
As a photographer, although I have some technical understanding of the lighting science, I feel my true talent is to know when to click. Rainbow in the meadow, click, child focused on the rocks in the water, click, my daughter staring straight into my lens with the essence of her soul, click. I don’t agonize over my pictures like I do with my paintings and writing. However, when I begin to edit film, I am again surprised by the kinds of emotions the camera picks up. I always get something I didn’t expect. Hence the mystery shows me one more time who is in control. Now, to me, that’s art.
I see art in any form, a mystery, like birth. I know to become a specialist at it will demystify it, probably quite a bit. Being part of that mystery, connected to it, when I’m in the creative process is what I crave. That's why I do it. Art satisfies a craving, that hasn't been satisfied in any other way. I am therefore a selfish artist. I do it to satisfy myself.
When I feel disconnected from my art, I read anything by Julie Cameron, author of "The Artist's Way", and many other great books. She is the great artist's midwife.
I teach watercolor to elementary school students and I believe every human is a creative, some just don't know it. I also believe that the only requirement for being an artist is courage. Get that one down and all the other attributes come easy.
I am so grateful for the way in which I am able to live and create and none of that would be possible without the love and undieing support ( in heart and pocket book) of my dearest friend and husband. I am one blessed person.