Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Wrestling With My Art...1

I would like to talke a break from medicine and spend some time on the stuggles associated with a life in art. It should be obvious by now to regular readers that my writing habits mirror my painting habits, I move from place to place.
Living in a growing community of artists has its advantages and disadvantages. On the plus side is the camaraderie, support, and inspiration it provides. On the downside is the risk of getting caught up in the art of others and losing site of your own purpose and goals.

Early in my career as an artist I was steadfast in my resolve not to look at what the other artists were doing but to remain focused on my own work. That was good advise then, and still is, but in retrospect I can see why it was easier to heed at that time.

My newly acquired skills and creative impulses were quite narrow and focused, and I had no desire to do anything other than what I was doing. Also, I was being very successful and felt no need to change. The situation is very different now. I find myself interested in a wide variety of approaches to my art, both in technique and in subject matter. The simple drawings and paintings of the past no longer satisfy me. I am interested now in more interpretive and abstract expression. In addition, my goals are greater; I want to reach a higher level of success, artistically and commercially, both regionally and nationally with significant gallery representation. Finally there is the limited commercial success I am currently enjoying which calls everything I do or don’t do into question .

Thus I find myself somewhat confused and unsure about what my artistic goals are, or whether there even are such a things. Looking at it in another way...when am I painting from my center, honestly following my heart, and when am I just chasing after some elusive goal by painting what I think will get me there? Or...when am I painting for myself as opposed to others?

I have been surprised at how vulnerable I have been to the influence of the other artists at this stage in my career. But then I have never had such intimate exposure to so many for so long as I have here in Lowertown. The challenge has been to receive the creative inspiration that is all around me, without allowing it to distract me from my own creative voice. Doing that has required a lot of work on my part, especially during the first few years here. At this time, I feel I am able to do so, and the only battles I have now are with myself.

(revised from a 2003 journal entry)

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