the other side of the coin

This is my current screen saver picture. I took this picture when I was camping in Vermont and didn't even know that this is where I would finally stop and start to make art. I was camping in the Green Mountains and on my 2nd or 3rd day saw this house and felt like I had just found an exotic dying creature. I'm always a little thrilled when I see this picture. Unfortunately I only had a 3 mega pixel camera and didn't know I would be making art, let alone art with photography. This house is long gone but I have the image and it does print out as an 8x10 so it's there when I want it.

So I've been walking a fair amount in nature, thinking about forgetting my own personal limitations, what do I want? I wonder about artists and their inspiration and how they do what they do. I need to walk in nature on a weekly basis, daily when I'm at the top of my game. I don't get inspiration from nature as much as I get a sense of having meditated. Taking a bath in complete darkness also does it. My mind sends me flashes of how I could do something or even what I could do. I'm not consciously thinking about art and then suddenly, like one of those nanosecond subliminal messages you hear about being flashed at some unsuspecting viewer, I get a flash and then I know what to do. A problem is solved and I can resume my work. I guess that is inspiration but not in the way one thinks. Looking at a flower or trees never infuses me with direct ideas for art making. I don't even know where my ideas come from.

So I know I need to live where I can easily/always access getting away and walking on a path. I did it in Arizona and that winter I lived in Minneapolis. I do it here. Where ever else I go I have to live very close to trails.

In an ideal world I would have a studio built on the same land I live on. If I lived in an artists loft I would have a hard time lugging scrap in. And where and how would I wash it? Where and how would I cut metal and wood? Who could stand the dirt and noise? I also realized I'm not the kind of artist who wants to have a place to go to. I work a little and go do something else. Things need to 'bake'. They need to sit and rise and rest while I get my mind wrapped around it. I like popping into my studio across the stairway hallway and doing something then popping out and exercising or cooking or whatever. I like being close to my work at all times as I never know when the ideas will come and the desire to do will overpower me.

So I have the two things I need. My work is here and I live a stone's throw from miles and miles of trails. It isn't perfect but I guess every day I have to accept that for someone who has nothing I have a lot.

I'm picking tod up tonight. I am also grateful that I have someone who loves my art and I can share what I'm doing and even bounce ideas off of or borrow two extra biceps when I can't do something on my own. For as much as I like being alone, I couldn't ask for a better friend to share my life and my art with. After all, making art is a two part deal for me. There is the doing and then the sharing. If I made all of this and no one ever saw it the energy would turn against itself and go bad. So for as much as I feel I'm going to go crazy if things don't change, I do recognize what I have.


Margaret Ryall said...

I love your description of how ideas come to you. You are very aware of your process to put it into words like that. Isn't life all about recognizing the positives and negatives and deciding to accept what you have. And.. the photo of the crumbling house is poetic. I have "photo envy". I get that a lot.

Jean Baardsen said...

Glad to see you're looking at the positives today. Let me add one big positive - your setup may not be perfect, but you've arranged things so that you can hear your artistic voice, and you are able to listen to it. I've done tons of artwork that people find beautiful, but I seldom hear my voice. I envy you for that.

You didn't ask for suggestions, but I have a few:
-Make postcards (print on cardstock) with pictures of your clocks, and some text like "Time to say Hi!" or "Time Flies." When you get low, send them to people to pick up their day and their spirits.
-Consider a giveaway, like postcards or notecards with pictures of your clocks. Like that lady with the shawl giveaway. I make my cards on blank note cards I buy at Wal-Mart. Costs me about $6.50 for 50 cards and envelopes, and I print them at home.
-Consider giving a talk to a class at a local elementary school. (I know, I hate kids too.) You could explain how clocks work, and give a demo of how you put clock works into one of your pieces. Hand out pictures and business cards that the kids could take home to their parents.
-Donate a clock to a fund raiser in your local community.
-Give the gardener a small gift - something you made. She probably feels you invade her space as much as you feel she invades yours.

self taught artist said...

margaret the photo envy comment made me laugh....thanks for your comment :)
and jean, i appreciate all your input! I have done the post card thing (somewhere on my blog i've listed all that info, and i handed out scads of them to taxi people and the few people i have contact with. i dont know people to send them to via mail but have tried sending to designers etc.
i have to ask you, HOW DO YOU MAKE ART IF YOU DONT HEAR YOUR VOICE? especially all the mediums you work with?????
i've done an auction before on my blog and started it at i think .99 cents. it never helped sell...i'm personally not sure giveaways of contemporary art are a good thing...i've done auction donations too same thing, nothing.
and that gardener...i smiled at your kind hearted idea but honestly she would hate it. she has seen my art and i see a cloud pass over her eyes. she cares as much for my art as i care for her flowers (i hate flowers).

self taught artist said...

jean, ps. if you go to my tag cloud on the sidebar and hit marketing you will see my postcards...i hope i dont sound like i'm shooting everything down. i have tried things :) (tod always has some with him and hands them out when he drives taxi people too)

Jean Baardsen said...

Well, it was just a few ideas, and I see you've tried most of them already. About my earlier comment, I seem to be able to make art without putting much of myself into it. I want to see what I could do if I really invested myself in my art, without worrying about what anyone else might think about it. I liked your postcards - showed off your art really nicely!

self taught artist said...

btw your talking to school kids was a great idea, if i didn't have panic attacks i would consider it :)
i get what you mean now about your voice, duh. :) thanks for checking my postcards!

Seth said...

Thought provoking post. That picture of maybe the ultimate "found object" is exceptional. You must have been head over heels when you happened upon it. Talk about inspirational.