Words From the Artist
I don’t think art is rational. That includes both the process of making it and the finished work itself. Maybe that’s why I‘ve spent a majority of my life creating art. Ironically, I’ve tried to make sense of most everything else in my life. I tend to apply reason and consider why things happen and how I play a role in this world. Spiritually, I’ve even done that only to see that my natural, common sense self needs to let go and “fear not” the unknown. Each morning, when I step into the studio, I have to ask myself, what is the point in all of this and how does it relate to the world outside this studio? How does this change me? How does it serve others? Is this profound or meaningless in the end? How does this have any impact on others and change lives? Does it even?
The studio is more than just a workspace for my art. It is a space to work on those things in my life that need to change, that need renewal. For me, it is also a sacred space, a place purposefully set apart yet at the same time it’s totally integrated into the rest of my life. So in art, like in life, I’m learning not to look too far down the road or else the spontaneity will be crushed, stifled, manipulated. I want to be surprised. I hope to be renewed. I pray to be changed. I strive to be a better artist and to discover new ways of painting. If I’m painting the same way two years from now, I will not have grown. If I treat others the same way two days from now, I will not have grown.
Committing tens of thousands of hours, grinding, searching, crafting, “perfecting”, and standing day in and day out at my easel has made me a better artist. Nothing else can prepare me for the work that I do in that studio. Of course inspiration is a great motivator. No inspiration this morning? oh well, too bad. It takes much more perspiration than inspiration to create “good” art, and possibly even “great” art. That obsessive amount of time spent makes it possible for those flashes of what some like to call “genius”. I think of it much more as awareness. Such is life. Eyes wide open to my Co-Creator in art, the One who created and inspires me.
I imagine those earliest people who painted and drew with charcoal on stone walls likely weren’t doing that for beauty’s sake, but instead, were probably trying to communicate or leave a story about a big animal they chased that day, or something like that. Good visual art, as I see it, does both. It communicates as well as leaves a visual, indelible image on the walls of our brains. When I say it communicates I simply mean art connects with us, with others, not everyone, but enough people to make it worth its attention, its existence. And when I say beauty I don’t mean pretty. Pretty is surface, beauty has depth, strength, courage, impact. Beautiful art is not trivial. Beautiful art comes in many forms. It can even be, well, slightly ugly on the surface.
With that said, when I think way back to when I did my own very first charcoal drawings I simply did them because I loved to draw and it came quite easy. I wasn’t thinking story. Maybe I was thinking beauty. I can’t recall. But I distinctly recall starting this art life, and later professionally, this journey, at the age of 15. That’s a long time ago. I have grown up with it. My art has been good to me. It has been an outlet and an intake for my world. Art has invited so many people into my life.
There can be, and I will say should be, a sense of immense pleasure and satisfaction from the creation of art. Although some days seem effortless, others are more daunting and challenging which can rattle some artists. I’ve learned to push through those tougher days and almost always I have overcome them. I’ve had to. This has been my livelihood for more than thirty-five years. So if I will dive into my art, into this studio, knowing that what I am doing may not be so rational, I do believe this one thing, art must always leave an impression without seeking to impress.