Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Artistic Pursuits

So, I have this thing. This thing many consider to be a gift. For years I've carried it at arm's length. A beautifully packaged present I have been afraid to claim or become too attached to, I struggle to own the title of artist. I have acted courageously in response from time to time, but just as frequently, my attitude has been of (ashamed) apathy.

Beautiful things stir me; I know I'm not the only one. There's something about a purple carrot cut into a round revealing a radiating white center, something about sunlight filtering through a curtain, something about little details of life that stir and capture me and send me longing for more. I want something bigger, something even more breath-taking. And so I go to canvas. I go to textured water-thirsty paper. I set my fingers to lettered computer keys.

I make these inadequate attempts to say something that expresses what my soul thinks it's trying to say, what it longs to voice. Oh, it's a wondrous thing when clarity comes. But, most of the time, it takes a hard persistent journey to reach that clarity, and there is the ever-wondering if it will show its peaceful face.

Here's one example of clarity that came. I was honored to be commissioned to paint a piece for a mere acquaintance. She was looking for a wedding present for her husband and out of their love for art and the collage of their own experiences together thus far, this idea came together.

The bride and I got together for coffee and she shared the subject that initially inspired this idea. It is a tree she and her groom have continued to come back to during significant moments in their relationship, so from that, we talked about other activities and ideas they mutually value. There are many details in this painting, so I will just choose a few main things to expand upon. First of all, while I loved the look of the tree and recognized the great value of its sentimentality, I had also immediately recognized this couples' desire for a rich, grounded base together. Thus, the roots became significant. In order to keep the tree a main component, I repeated it from another perspective as well. Secondly, the shape moving upward and across the canvas is that of a kayak, a popular activity for the two of them and a symbol of a new and hopeful journey. Lastly, the words "Love, Trust, Adventure" written across the top are words the bride had engraved inside her groom's ring as a surprise.


I finished this painting in July, and my easel has been mostly unoccupied since. I have two large paintings that need some reworking and polishing this coming year. I hope to make 2011 a year in which safe, arms-length-away living just isn't possible, especially in the arts. Especially in who I'm meant to be as an artist hungering after the Master Artist.


Michelle Stiles said...

There is nothing more pure than following your passion. Dive in head first

Rachael said...

Another amazing work of art from your vast talent! If I could I'd fill my house, every wall, with your artwork. So far I'm fortunate to have a few.

I look forward to seeing lots more of your work in 2011.

Misha Leigh. said...

I've been wanting to see this one! It's lovely. Keep going, friend!