Showing posts from May, 2018

Exploring the Idea of Reception

Reception. The act of receiving. For many of us artists it's a difficult concept to open up to. We usually expect everything we do to come from us . But the truth is, most ideas and inspiration have a genesis somewhere outside of us. 'No Man is an Island' No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as any manner of thy friends or of thine own were; any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee. MEDITATION XVII   Devotions upon Emergent Occasions John Donne We are not islands. We are not creatures who are totally cut off from the rest of the world. If we were, we would have few, if any, ideas over our lifetimes. The fact that we are creative artists is owed to the flow of external ideas and knowledge that w

Art and the Practice of Compassion

Compassion is a much misunderstood word.  From Merriam-Webster compassion :  sympathetic consciousness of others' distress together with a desire to alleviate it  The most important part of this definition is the word others' . This is often how we see the world, especially artists. We see the world as others outside of ourselves and our own creative bubble. And it's often easy to both feel, and have compassion, for these others , but not ourselves. One of the main tenets of Buddhism is,  “May all sentient beings be free from suffering and the root of suffering.”  The important part here is, all sentient beings , which includes ourselves. As artists, why is it so difficult to practice self-compassion ? How many famous artists were compassionate towards others, yet self destructive, whether through drugs, alcohol, or other destructive behavior? Compassion needs to start with each one of us by being compassionate towards ourselves. A good example would be

Art and Practice as Clarity

“The progression of a painter’s work [should be] toward clarity; toward the elimination of all obstacles between the painter and the idea, and between the idea and the observer… to achieve this clarity is, inevitably, to be understood.”  - Mark Rothko. This quote came across my desk today and made me think, “This! This is what I strive for.” I think that as artists, we are always striving for some type of  clarity .  There are various types of clarity, and as an artist, I think it's important to know them so as to use them more effectively. In looking back on my own work, I can see these different types, and even multiples layers of types, in various work I have done. Defining  Clarity Merriam-Webster  defines clarity as:   the quality or state of being clear  : lucidity.  defines it as:  clearness or lucidity as to perception or understanding; freedom from indistinctness or ambiguity.   All artists would seem to want their work understood, s