Thinking so much these days about my art, how I choose its direction, how it intersects with my life, how I choose direction personally too, and how the art and life intersect each other without my say. I know, a run-on sentence to start with… and sometimes just too much to think about, but hey, it’s how my mind operates. And if I don’t follow the rabbit trail where it goes, it ends up dogging me until I stop, turn around, and look at it.
Lately, I’ve been getting a lot of comments on my work, remarks that are about more than just the art, but about me as a person. And it makes me uncomfortable, not because the remarks have been mean-spirited, but because they’ve been so good. I don’t really know what to do with it, how to keep things in perspective, and how to have a balanced view of the work so that I recognize the goodness of it, yet still see where growth and change and progress is needed.
So, as it is in art, so it is in life. Life imitates art, or the reverse, or both….
As it has been in the art career, so the personal has run along beside it. I’ve been seriously focused on building this life as an artist since 2012, and as it turns out, also working on rebuilding my personal life. I just didn’t know it back in 2012. I realize now though that the art cannot grow and transform and reflect the inner me if I am not also facing deeper issues in myself. I must be transformative if I want my art to be transformative.
And what difficult, painful work all of this is…. The life of an artist is very solitary, one in which I must find within myself the things to draw out and put on paper, so that it will reach out to others. And I notice it only reaches others when I actually do that. If I don’t draw from the wellspring within, and just do technically what I know how to do, no one relates to the work.
Do I like all this solitary living? Sometimes, yes…but most of the time, no. I’m a really social person, I love being in the company of other people, love to be in conversation, love just being in a room with other people with whom I share some affinity. Solitude is great when I’m working and when I choose it, but that’s about all I want of it.
And I love being with just one other special person too. But that’s not something I have at the moment either, and like it or not, this teaches me more about myself, and more about my art. In both ways, I know I have to be exactly who I am, and have to draw from the intuitive place within so as to make choices that serve all the gifts within.
So there’s the bottom line. It is always about serving the gift. Remembering this is how I maintain perspective when the compliments, and the criticism, come my way. And I must recognize that the gift within has to be nurtured. And that it can only be nurtured by being true to the real me (the only me that exists anyway), by being at peace with who I am, by knowing that intuition is a gift given to me by G-d, and knowing because of this, that it can be trusted. And the gift can’t be rushed. If it is rushed, I miss things, and ignore some things, and run too quickly into things that are not right.
So as I go back to the art table today, that little place in my living room where I have started over, in every way, I know there is no delineation whatsoever between what I create as an artist, and what I create in my personal life. And it is my calling, to the gift of art and the gift of myself, to allow both works of art to speak. I have to stop and listen long enough that I can follow the path where it is supposed to go and where I must let it take me.
Only then can I know that the work I am putting out there is what I am supposed to be sharing. And only then will I know I am creating, in all ways, what is meant to be shared, whether it’s with someone looking at a painting of mine in a gallery, or someone who has decided they want to spend some time with me.
What an unbelievable calling this is that I have been brought to. It is a seamless life, one that is whole and complete. One with unanswered questions, but one where I get to explore all those questions, and put some of it on paper, and share it with others who might be wondering the same things….