Sunday, April 5, 2015

New Artwork: Navigation of Memory

"Navigation of Memory (All Roads Lead to Now)", 30x40" Mixed Media on Canvas
I've been working on an exercise from Julia Cameron's creativity book, "The Vein of Gold". I did the Artists Way years ago... twice actually... and found it to be really helpful in getting through a creative block. This one is different, and though I've started it a few times, I've always stopped part way through the first section. I'm going to try to get a bit further into it this time. It's not easy, but I have to think it will be worth it in the end.

The first section of the book is devoted to your story... noting down significant events in your life and seeing how your reactions/thoughts/feelings about yourself were shaped. It's interesting to try to remember things that happened decades ago and understand how it has influenced you. I was thinking about that as I was working on this piece. Decisions made, paths taken and not taken... all these things have made me the person I am. When I graduated from school I chose to go get a "real job" instead of getting something temporary and working on my art. I chose to have a family and buy a house instead of living in a small apartment and working on my art. Once I had a house I had to keep the real job... I had a mortgage to pay. I stayed in the job I found tedious and dull because it had more flexible hours than other jobs I was qualified for. Those were my choices... I have to remember that when I see a brilliant 20something win an award or a residency, and then I look at myself nearing 50 and feel like somehow I missed the boat. Looked at in a different light, at 20 I didn't have a whole lot to say. I didn't trust my own opinions and I was constantly looking to others to validate my views. Now, not only do I know what I want to say, and have a much more expansive visual vocabulary with which to say it. Sometimes, not achieving any type of notoriety can be useful... it gives you time to develop and mature without having to worry about disappointing your collectors.

Malcom Gladwell has written about the phenomenon of the  "Late Bloomer"... contrasting creative people who hit their stride later in life, like Cezanne, to those who can achieve brilliance right out of the gate, like Picasso. I wonder sometimes how many late bloomers don't actually get to bloom, because life has beaten them down before they got there. It's all too easy to just give up, but ultimately your best bet is to follow the path that leads to happiness. All roads really do lead to now.