Sunday, June 1, 2008

Why Do We Do It?

Zoey and Noah and I finally finished our shell houses- it's taken us not quite a year, but aren't they lovely?
I found a new person this week- she doesn't know me, but I am so grateful to her for giving me the words- Her Name is Carol Weibe and her work has inspired me, but her words even more so-

Art is, quite literally, a spiritual practice, a way of opening to Life and Love, of putting the ineffable in a physical form. This does not take genius, or even superlative artistic talent. It does take openness, dedication, and a willingness to follow what one has seen, heard, and felt. Carol Weibe

I struggle with my work in isolation. I don't know why I don't manage to get to guild meetings or Meet-ups or whatever- but I don't. Instead I work my for pay job- and I do love what I do- and try to find the time, and more importantly- the energy- to make the attempt. I read a lot- I subscribe to some breathtaking blogs- I feel like I'm trying to absorb creativity through my skin- like Vitamin D- I am lucky enough to have dedicated space for my work- and a supportive family who encourage me, and are proud of me, and recognize that this is more than a hobby-so why don't I accomplish more?

My art IS a spiritual thing- It opens my heart and my soul to the way the light looks as I drive to work, or the grace with which a petal falls from the rosebush, or the incredible number of colors that make up Zoey and Noah's blond hair. So I think you could make a good argument that art is MORE than what you physically produce- it's in the approach to your life- it's HOW you do the day-to-day.

Daring to do something, make something, say something. And when success is not achieved, being open enough to try again, and keep on trying. Carol Weibe

I always wanted to have the 'creds' to call myself an artist. It took me years to be able to apply that word to myself- but it has taken reaching this point in my life to realize that art is what you are- not really what you produce. It's how you live your life- all of it, not just studio time.

Now, having said all that-you must have something to show for yourself. But I'm not convinced that it has to be something you can hang on the wall, or display on a shelf- I'm pretty sure it can be subtler than that- the choices we make about what we surround ourselves with- inside our homes and on our bodies- how we approach the business of living- the creativity we bring to our daily interactions- all of these are art as well. And so we must listen to the inner voice that drives us to produce- the little 'what if I...' or 'how would these two look together?' However, I think it is the being aware of the voice that makes us artists.

Stephen King has said that the way he manages to produce such a large volume of work is by showing up- being there. You must be ready to translate what the muses send your way- It's hard to accomplish the physical laying on of color or typing the words- or manipulating the fabric- if you are driving a car or pulling weeds or grocery shopping- so the product requires you to be in whatever space is dedicated to your art form- but the living your art requires what Carol describes as openness- being open to the moment- to the patterns on the wall, to the way a child's hair looks as they swing with great abandon, to the shape of a bird's wing, the blending of flavors in a salad, the caress of a lover's hand as you drift off to sleep.

That is art- all of it- and as artists we take those moments and translate them into something tangible- something your eyes can see or your ears hear, your hand can touch. And if we're very lucky we find that the magic of our gifts and the moments of wonder blend together to create something unique and beautiful.

What do you think? I would love it if you let me know.


yvonne said...

You are most certainly right; art is not of one thing, but is what surrounds you, what fills you, and in the end is the product YOU as a person display wherever you are. Its how you see the world and yourself and the people in it. Its a giant, ever evolving canvas of colors, emotions, memories and dreams. Today, I will paint myself as happy and filled with what surrounds me, beautiful flowers, fresh air, birds Just remember Mama are touching and feeling and seeing your art first hand every you've already made it tangible by realizing whats around you and you yourself, are art. Hugs and Kisses Love reading your blogs... Yvonne

Carol Wiebe said...

Mary, it sounds like you have everything important in place: a space, support from those who count, intent, an artist's sensibility. So don't beat yourself up for not having the energy for everything; I don't either! This is a beautiful post (and not just because you quote some of my words). Your words have an authenticity that gave me goosebumps, so let's high five it, sister artist, for having inspired each other!