Art, My Imaginary Snowball

My purpose for writing this essay is to address the notion of “getting on with the project of making Art and avoiding making excuses”.

Perhaps I have held the final snowball. I reached into a drift and squeezed snow until it compacted. Then I sensed everything I could possibly get from it.

I wanted the experience. I had expectations because I know snowballs. Really? How about, “What is Spring?” Not in 2018. The last snowball was in Spring (so far).

Spring brings buds, and blooms, and bugs. I have those experiences. Now snowballs. Maybe a new trend.

Like when I encounter other new things it’s a signal to refresh my thinking, to be ready for new circumstances, even taking charge of new opportunities.

Now, I start– now to do those three things and I begin with the notion I shall give no concern to other person’s evaluations of me. Not a question it’s an objective.

Since I cannot fathom the intentions or motives of others I will not pick up their opinions or evaluations or judgments either because the former go with the latter like old traveling acquaintances.

I expect nothing from others — not to be nihilistic or anti-social the thinking is merely my worth is not weighed on their scales.

It is not for others to bestow praise or awards or money, to become my imaginary snowball for sensing or measuring how well I may be doing in the way of my Art. I like praise, glory, money, and success. They’re not how I measure “me” and how well I’m doing is all.

On the other side, if I get derision, rejection, suffering, and no cash, I’ll still have a fairly pleasing Art collection and the prospects of making more.

The more involved I become in my Art the more I realize I am one of the few constants upon which I can rely. Sometimes it snows in Spring sometimes it doesn’t.

I’ll get praise and then a wallop from the other side too. It’s occurred over the same piece if Art, hot and cold, like a snowball.

(c) Lemuel

16 April, 2018

Essay

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No Fear Art

I am letting you see my notes to myself.

Art, I mean real involved work has no place for the dross of fear. Fear destroys. You create.

Show your Art. If you hide not many will acknowledge your work. Do not be Invisible.

Set yourself free. You can if you set your mind, body, and soul into your liberation.

Be courageous. Put you into your Art. That is what people want. Your vitals and soul and brains and sinew. It is your story — make it the best story.

You are not a laser printer. You make the Art. You are the only you the world has right now.

Also do not work for free. Take the money. If you value your work so will others.

Set yourself free.

Be courageous.

Do the work.

Show your work.

Be fearless.

Go get ’em.

Lemuel

2018

Of Sky, a Bird, and Art

pexels-photo-101529.jpeg

 

In my county the cold clung to March with talons.

The sky was ice blue, more glacier blue, and ice crystal clouds played a game of crack-the-whip up next to space in the thin atmosphere.

I want to tear that picture from the sky, paste it in a scrapbook.

My paintings do no sky justice. The only hope I have is to rip the sky from the horizon and glue it on my canvas.

The air was cold but the sun was bright and made prisms dazzle.

A male Finch bumped my window a glancing blow. He was out cold, lying beak up, little feet curled as if perched.

I made a sick bed of a pasteboard box and a fresh warm towel.

I repeated, “You cannot keep a wild thing.”

Once warm and with no apparent damage the addled Finch stirred.

I placed the bird bed outside my window.

Soon the Finch flew—I almost missed its launch.

I knew that bird was back in the sky, part of a picture I had some small part in painting.

 

©2018

Being ready by Design

Whenever I am in the notion to work I do not want to have to struggle with tools, find things I need, clear off messy work surfaces and do double work type work to make something. I am a one person shop-studio- en plein air Artist. It is up to me to give myself every advantage I am able.

Junk in Plastic Boxes

Containers on a shelf. Like things with like things. 

On the bus I have my tools in a neat vintage Lands End™. One zipper and a snap I am ready to read or sketch. The other places I create are fairly organized, but just. I can wander between projects and return to the easel over many days. Tools line the drawers and parts and pieces fill bins, containers, and the occasional peanut butter jar.

I make it a rule to finish projects– they may not be perfect, that doesn’t matter, I complete my work. Work I’ve promised by a deadline gets to the person before the deadline. If something is needed by Thursday and I get it Monday the piece is ready on Wednesday before 5 p.m.

Because I’m cool? Nope. Because I don’t like things hanging over my head. Besides it’s my word that is worth more than the project I’m working on. If I lose my good name, even if it’s not my fault, then I cannot buy it back.

Brushes cleaned and ready

A process of brush care at the end of a session.

So I keep tools, materials, and work spaces ready for work. I won’t win any awards from minimalist decor folks. I can find anything and I can usually remember where I have filed most of my stuff. That’s my test. Keep like things with like things; label the drawers; use clear containers with labels; put up things as I go and simple processes like that. This keeps something like a mess from hanging over my head.

As I typed before, I admit I won’t win at perfection, zero mess, just a bit of wisdom in the seeming madness. I have a shop-vac, several brooms and dust pants, even a magnet on a rope when needed.

Note I didn’t say “rules”. When things are ‘supposed to be’ done a certain way, or controlled this way, or filled with judgment I usually baulk, or “buck-up” as the Aunties used to say.

Rules are fine but if I make a process that functions well, it will not be perfect. I might leave my acrylic paints all out, in trays that go into a cabinet when I’m finished, but I want to see my materials. It’s like when I get new color pencils–that excites me. I can’t wait to use the new pencil. I’ll even start a new page just to incorporate it into the composition or just go crazy mono-chrome.

Leaving an organized neat area dedicated to acrylics, or oils, or wood-block, or just my easels helps me organize my day-week-month. It’s like my “visual-control” for my project management. I can manage what I see and I “go-and-see” continuously as “walk-around-management” of myself. Big job.

Raygun Build Parts

Selected items ready for  a project.

I know by working with materials on a daily basis, seeing them regularly, and monitoring my progress what I need to replenish. I don’t have duplicated materials, nor do I run out of 20% gray pencils at 3:00 am Sunday morning. I don’t waste time looking for materials and resources; I don’t have waste in duplicated items–6 pounds of “sinker” nails is more than I need for this project–and I keep a re-order list and make a time to order as needed. I also keep a list of items to trade, give away, or sell.

These concepts help me keep my spaces ready to work. Organized for production is what I like to call it. It’s also a fun way to engage with the materials, to bring an idea or inspiration to the front and spring-board into the work.

I have to make the most of every opportunity I make or every time I get the chance to make something that I think is cool. When I’m ready to get busy I am more motivated to do just that.

Going to the shop or to the studio not a struggle, it’s a pleasure.  By design.

Art, Getting Busy

There are those days when someone passes by me whilst I’m at my drawing pad and exclaims, “I can do that!”

graphite-cat-wary

Graphite on card stock

I smile and keep drawing. After about a second, because I don’t want to lose the moment, I give them a pad and some pencils.

“Oh, no I couldn’t.”

But you just said your could. Give yourself this little gift, this precious time. Draw!

Some of the materials I favor are readily available at most office supply shops or even pharmacies. I chose them for that reason–wide availability.

Among my supplies I have A4 (8.5 x 11)  paper in white and a few colors, some A6 (4 x 6) plain index card stock, a few color pencils, #2 pencils, and blank journal books.

Then I scoop up my satchel and get busy.

I can do that.

Be Limitless Stray from the Path

The quickest path between two points is a straight line. In a crowded world that is nearly impossible.

I like the winding path. Un-enforced and edge-bumping ways tickle my fancy and are traceable only by having passed by that way.

path-winding-graphic

Stray from the path and be the explorer; sail for the edge of the map; do so with a kindly spirit and merry wonderment. Strive to overcome prior training.

I am sure of a shrinking list of propositions, like efficiency, production, and patterned recipes for success. I am friendlier toward my imagination and what I make when I ask:  “What if I?”

It is alright to stray from the path in Art. Meander in concept and in practice raise the hackles of design.

Fine but how to do all this “straying” and “raising of hackles”?

I suggest give up excuses. Then, consider each new project as an adventure; one that you make. Eliminating excuses means you have to perform. Excuses hold Artists back. Replace excuses with being limitless.

Limitless

Being limitless means experiment, explore, and expand a given method. Re-focus design, methods, and propositions, or generating more “What if’s”. In short it means give up relying on: “I can’t.”

  • What other tools work? Inventive.
  • What am I truly seeing here? Adaptative.
  • What if this material or method were used as if it were…. [fill in the blank] Experimental.
  • Transfer one set of learning to a new problem. Thinking.
  • Make a new path. Keep your promises. Responsible
  • Instructions are guides not shackles. Authentic voice.
  • Personal experience is the real and the imagined. Placing You in the Design.
  • Starting over is strength. Purposeful.
  • Be thankful for serendipity. Happy accident or unconscious play.
  • Put the “you” into your Art. Make your art a production, featuring your authentic voice. Produce your Art.
  • Create your own projects. That is how you can be truly Expressive.

Becoming Limitless

Back to the allusion of getting from point A to point B in that straight line method of efficiency. In my design I intend to make point B because I can.

Art is My Super-Power

laughing-jots

I Artist

 

I have fears. I think this is common among us humans. Perhaps that is why we crave the created beings with “super-powers” so universally. The sources I cite are our myths and legends as much as a nod to modern creators around the world.

These Super-Beings have flaws, just as I do. I so-identify with their weaker bits. One observation I made early in my reading, even at their weakest they do not quit. They command their fear and they overcome.

Art has a major villain is Fear. It is crippling.

  • What if I fail?
  • Beginnings I fear the most….
  • What if no one likes what I make?
  • “This is rubbish, therefore, I am rubbish.”
  • That is that “mess” supposed to be?

Fear makes Artists “settle”, take fewer risks, make a cocoon and wrap up in it knowing, “I knew I couldn’t make it as an Artist.” So the tools and materials are put up in a cupboard where dust can collect and a comfortable forgetfulness settles.

I propose to laugh in my fears. Laughing at fear is a great way to begin an Art session.

Round One, the Sound of Laughing

  • Stand up
  • Breathe deeply
  • Smile
  • Spread out your arms so you look like a “T”
  • Rotate your arms in a close circle
  • And, Laugh for 45 seconds.

Round Two, the Sound of Laughing some more

  • Sit down
  • Breathe deeply
  • Smile
  • Stamp your feet
  • And, Laugh for 45 seconds

Now after a minute and a half I am on my way to being my Art.

Being my Art? Right, I used to consider my Art as separate from me, Art is something I do. Art is me, my spirit, my mind and its eye, my joy, and my hope. I guard so my Art is not my fear.

Laugh at fear. My Art is my Super-Power.

 

Next post: I Artist: Be Limitless, Stray from the Path