For anyone who is trying to make a living in the arts or any creative endeavor, practical words of wisdom.
Loosen up. For a borderline OCD person, who’s used to creating in nice, symmetrical tidiness and who is definitely not an abstract thinker, this is a very difficult thing to do. But this year I’ve challenged myself to step outside of the cliched comfort zone, to have vision and see beyond what my hands are creating on the canvas, to go the extra mile in my art. And the more I’ve thought about it, the more I’ve felt the need to apply it to my personal life. I’m a creature of habit, of routine. The phrase “live a little” could be applied to me easily, and this is why I’ve taken small steps and exercised my compassion for others and have looked into causes that speak to me on a personal level. I’m in middle age now, but I feel I’ve grown more in the last year of my life than at any other time, that I have more to offer than I ever thought possible, and it’s a good feeling.
So, this little abstract piece is another attempt at thinking outside the box (I know, another cliche!). I like doing pieces that have energy. I hope you like it.
A wonderful post about talent, by the artist and author Richard Schmid:
“Talent. Don’t bother about whether or not you have it. Just assume that you do, and then forget about it. Talent is a word we use after someone has become accomplished. There is no way to detect it before the fact, or when someone is still grappling with the learning process. It is impossible to predict when or if mastery will click into place. Besides, the thing we label as talent is not a single ability. It is a complex mixture of motive, curiosity, receptivity, intelligence, sensitivity, good teaching, perseverance, timing, sheer luck and countless other things. If any part of it is genetic, God-given, the result of astrological fiddle-faddle, fate or destiny, that part is not the sole determining factor. All the other ingredients must be present in the right combination-and no one knows the exact recipe. Therefore, Dear Reader, don’t waste time worrying if you are talented-and don’t blame any failures on the lack of it-that is really a cop out.” -Richard Schmid
This is hard for me, as I’m about to reveal an unflattering little truth about myself. As it happens, the American Idol audition bus is in town and filming auditions for next season at our state capitol, which is where I work and take my daily walk. As I was walking today at lunchtime, I passed a young girl near the location of the auditions, clearly happy and enjoying herself. The second time I passed her someone was filming her, and as I walked by she looked at me and said, “You’re going to see me on American Idol, just wait!” Now, of course to her face I wished her good luck, but my actual thought was, “Yeah, honey, in your dreams.” Immediately, I was ashamed and appalled. This is a young adult going for her dream. Why shouldn’t she feel this way? She has courage and probably talent, and is certainly more confident than I ever would have been had it been me. So I had to ask myself: “when did you get so cynical?” After thinking about it, I realized that I’ve been thinking that way for quite awhile. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m a kind and compassionate person; I feed the homeless and stray animals (I now have three cats and I don’t even like cats that much); I go out of my way to avoid conflict; I have always supported and encouraged fellow artists; and I would never say anything so unkind as the thought that went through my head today to anyone’s face. But, somewhere along the way I’ve become hard, bitter, a pessimist, and that’s troubling, as I was always a pretty optimistic person growing up; usually happy, always looking on the bright side or finding the silver lining. The awful truth is that so much of the world is a harsh, negative place, and I think I’ve let that change me. I don’t want to be bitter and negative. I want to see the beauty and potential in people. So I’ve made a vow to myself to change my thinking, to stop every negative, unkind thought in its tracks and counter it with a positive one. Because the world can be so harsh and negative, it’s what we need: to lift each other up in encouragement and light. Join me?
Wonderful, inspiring post.
“We are the prisoners of our own ideals. We have to follow a strict pattern, a set of rules and laws, and play the role society designed for us. We are taught that our choices don’t matter, that at best we are insignificant, and at worst we are invisible, shadowy figures wandering around a desolate landscape filled with rigid concrete boxes and bleak lights shivering in the night. I guess that what I’m really trying to say is that our freedom is limited only by what we believe to be the perception others have about us. ” – Jazz
I’m not an overly ambitious man. I’m not particularly good at most things. I’m rather a pessimist, who happens to have a few moments of idealism. I think I’m too small to change the world around me, and yet this doesn’t stop me from trying.
And I see this kind of thinking…
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