This is a work in progress, using some candle wax and pieces of a wick in lieu of charcoal.
For many months now my art process has taken a back-burner to the writing process. Why do I use the word process? It’s because the most precious aspect of it for the artist, this artist, is in the joy of creating . . . when something is finished there is a kind of sadness, I suppose mainly because the process is finished.
Many times I’ve found myself moving on to another picture, and right away, simply as a reaction to this sadness. It’s not a deep depression or anything like that, but merely a recognition of a need to move on – it’s a very natural feeling.
Why do I even raise the issue?
While the process is very much a pleasant imaginary journey, often times the discussions about the finished work becomes a bit of nightmare. For lack of a better term, it often gets bogged down in dogma, such as, “What kind of art is that? What is the intent? Is it fine art?” For me the biggest issue surrounds the use of technology . . . as if the use of software negates the “validity” of the final piece, and for that matter, the process. Sadly, there are many who think the machine does everything, while the truth is that it does very little, at least in my experience.
It’s strange how the focus on the piece can get so negative, so divisive, but thankfully nothing can take away from the experience of the process. I’m very tempted to respond to that technical issue here, but I won’t, because no matter how I put it, any comment will only add to the controversy.
The Bigger Picture
I’ve noticed that this kind of controversy seems to be in so many fields. For example, I can experience the same kind of exasperation in a discussion with physicists, especially about issues such as the big bang theory, the nature of the universe, and the center of the universe.
Many people get upset because of my views come from a different way of knowing, such as by simple observation and perhaps a little logic? I don’t why it’s important, or if important is the right word, but it seems it’s easy to learn things this way, more so when there is simply no intent. This issue of intent, or lack of it, is what I refer to as important.
A Very Kind Way of Learning
One of my favorite learning experiences comes from spending time with a candle now and then, gazing into the flame and watching pieces of the wick kind of swimming in the melted wax around the flame. I mention this because I’ve learned so much this way. After watching the dance within the flame, a wonderful dance, one night it hit me . . . there is no center. It is completely impossible to find the center of any given flame on any given candle.
As this is true, then it follows that if you cannot find the center of a flame, how can you ever hope to find the center of the universe? For me there is great beauty in this truth, as in my experience in the process of art. Unfortunately, the discussions that follow aren’t so wonderful, especially with those consumed with quantifiable measurement . . . sometimes logic and a little imagination should be enough . . . some say art is an expression of life without numbers.
That’s also how I see nature – an expression of life without numbers.
It’s funny how one thing leads to another . . . eventually I’ll get to why I posted this video.
I began this Saturday night determined to push my book through more social marketing, but not knowing exactly where I would do so. These days I do gravitate to Pinterest, probably because I feel that it has the potential to be an outlet for creative expression.
I’ve been thinking of doing a Pin board completely about drumming. In the last few years I’ve come to appreciate it more. There’s something persistent, and I do believe universal, about drumming . . . there’s simply no need to try and explain that. However, it didn’t take long to come to the conclusion that it’s not so easy to make a board of it, so I’m going to make a board of all kinds of musical instruments instead, but not the ones I’m more familiar with.
After a simple search, wow, what can I say? I found a stunning list of musical instruments, 120 different percussion ones, 195 string ones, and over 500 in all! It seems my board won’t be complete tonight, on the other hand it feels like I’m starting another little adventure. Pin pictures really don’t do justice to the music, such as the video above, so I’m creating a YouTube playlist that will eventually link to my Pin page . . . once it’s full enough.
On this little journey, I’m doing a lot of Google searches to look up all kinds of instruments from many different countries and cultures. At first I was annoyed that Google wasn’t very helpful on many them – even coming up blank on some of them (instruments). Strange though, in no time at all the frustration turned into a relief of sorts – I really don’t want to ever think that“Google knows everything”!
This fascinating video at the top is titled:
“FOLI” there is no movement without rhythm original version by Thomas roebers and Floris Leeuwenberg
Certainly these people deserve the recognition, as little as mine may be. This is the fourth video installment on my new playlist – the seventh one I’ve researched so far from my list of 120 percussion instruments – the other three are each remarkable in their own right. I already know this is going to make an incredibly rich playlist, and yes Giselle, it does feel like a pretty cool way to spend a Saturday night! 🙂
It certainly beats getting bogged down in an online discussion on whether including vague figures in abstract art negates the label, “abstract”. It also beats getting into another discussion on the importance of garden sheds to the careers of various writers . . . the sheds being their favorite place to write . . . I screwed up by interjecting some humor . . . apparently the discussion is for those devoted to the topic . . . seriously folks!
What’s much more important is how this video struck a chord with me that’s been around for many years now. It seems I have a knack for putting two and two together and coming up with a picture or some words – in this case it’s words. The video reminds of something I read years ago, in Marshall McLuhan’s Understanding Media. It will take me awhile to find the exact quote. The passage has to with how the introduction of a water well completely disrupted the culture of an African tribe – the ritual of collecting water from the river was an important part of the day – the introduction of the well led to an unhappy cultural shock, whatever the intent.
This has stuck with me for many years now, and I kind of cringe every time I come across something that shows the third world becoming well-educated . . . I have very mixed feelings about this process. This book of McLuhan’s is like a fountain of relevancy – every page of it – not just to remote cultures, but to our own as well. Think about the following quote in the context of the video above, as well as in relation to our current cultural environment – the relevance is alarming on both counts:
Consider the phrase “It’s a man’s world.” As a quantitative observation endlessly repeated from within a homogenized culture, this phrase refers to the men in such a culture who have to be homogenized Dagwoods in order to belong at all. It is in our I.Q. testing that we have produced the greatest flood of misbegotten standards. Unaware of our typographic cultural bias, our testers assume that uniform and continuous habits are a sign of intelligence, thus eliminating the ear man and the tactile man.
Looked at another way, if we can’t solve so many of our own cultural problems, where is the wisdom in educating other cultures in our ways? These are some of the issues I think about often . . . as you can see, I get easily distracted. Perhaps that’s why I’m having a hard time selling my book . . . it is very much about all kinds of love, and the struggles.
I’m just glad I can still enjoy the music, like in this video above. I also believe there is much to be learned from the quote below, which is encouraging in more than one way – it turns out that he began by self-publishing as well:
“Re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book. Dismiss whatever insults your soul. ” —Walt Whitman
This is another unfinished piece…it’s based on a variation of a leaf.
Normally I don’t comment on other people’s blogs, nor do I publish a list of favorites, who I follow and so on. That’s totally because I’m worried about leaving someone out by omission. Some days its tempting to single out those who can really strike a nerve, but I’d rather focus on the positives . . . so hopefully I won’t “make the wrong mistake” as Yogi Berra said.
I’m really just getting the hang of Pinterest. I spend most of my time related to that site looking for original pins, as opposed to simply repinning. However, there are a small number of pinners that I’m following, and some or all of them also have blogs. I’m not going to comment on the blogs here, just the Pinterest boards.
If you haven’t spent much time there – or if you think it’s somehow less than blogging – I think you might re-think that if you visit Julie Green’s page. It is fascinating to explore, an intellectual and visual treat . . . the kind where you stop watching the time, so be careful!
I’m learning how busy the world of Twitter is, though it has been all pleasant surprises, kind of “rapid-fire” so it’s hard to keep up. I still have much to learn over there, but aside from that, there are some people over there. One guy,@PhilTorcivia , is amazing because of his constant and pretty consistent stream of humorous one-liners. For example, “I told my girlfriend she’d drawn her eyebrows too high. She looked surprised.” I’m not surprised that he has over 64,000 followers.
For all the authors out there, I also came across some named Jane Friedman, but I can’t remember how I came upon her first – Twitter, blog, Pinterest or somewhere else. What I do know is that wherever I come across her, I learn something new and important when it comes to writing and publishing. If you’re looking for book reviews, that’s not what she does, but for tons of great information, resources, and opportunities, I suggest starting with her home page:Jane Friedman’s Home Page
There are many other kudos I’d like to send out, and will over time. There are some bloggers that have made an extra impression lately, including Jackie Jones, especially for her wonderfully honest and great photographs of the Caribbean on her blog. She keeps apologizing for this and that photography, but I’d never have noticed without her mentioning them – they’re imperfections make them all the more intriguing and endearing:Jackie Jones’ Caribbean Photos – the little stories add to the charm.
Finally, thank to Jill Paterson for your tips on writing that all-important blurb, as well for being a friend on Goodreads:Jill Paterson’s Blog