It is quite a step to jump from doodles to passion, but I am inspired, for whatever strange reasons, to do so.
I have a great passion for doing art. I am constantly drawn to others who exhibit this passion, who spend every spare moment, or, who “steal” moments from activities that others might consider more necessary, or even sacrosanct, in order to practice art. My thoughts seldom stray far from some aspect of it. Whenever I spend money, it is usually in service of art. I read to educate myself about techniques and processes that would help me better serve my obsession. I dream of it, and wake with the desire to do more of it, always more. I am a devout practitioner, an ardent follower, of a practice that has gripped the hearts and minds of many others “foolish” enough to let their souls be revealed, openly, on paper, clay, stone, metal, cloth.
I cannot present an impressive list of accomplishments, or degrees that any institution has granted me to justify this title of artist. I have simply given it to myself. I make art to enrich my life, to better understand the world and my place in it. If I want to know something, I start making art around it. I listen for direct references or allusions to it: a song, a remark, a news article, a conversation. I notice things that are connected to it: a feather on the pavement, the colors of a fallen leaf, the design of a wrought iron fence, the gestures of tree limbs, reaching with the same yearning I experience, into an immense sky. My dreams provide startling metaphors. My hands fashion symbols, designs. To you, my piece of art may be unremarkable, go unnoticed; your journey and mine may not be compatible at present. Or, you may recognize my work as a signpost along your journey, because you intuit my underlying influences, the connections between us.
When I look at certain pieces of art, there is something that rises within me, that recognizes the beauty and strength of the artist’s vision, that is exhilarated by the possibilities inspired by that vision. I am compelled to keep looking, trying to take it in, hoping to absorb its energy or, perhaps, vibrate at the same level of energy I perceive emanating from it. At such times, I offer praise to that artist for affording me such a moment of grace. This is how I experience holiness/wholeness.
Mary Oliver says, at the end of her poem “Mockingbirds:”
Wherever it was
I was supposed to be
whatever it was I said
I would be doing–
I was standing
at the edge of the field–
I was hurrying
through my own soul,
opening its dark doors–
I was leaning out;
I was listening.
That is what I’m doing with the art I create. I’m leaning out. I’m listening. I’m opening every dark door of my soul that I encounter. And I’m willing to share the view.