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June 2014

Strategies and Outcomes

“Using strategies to force outcomes”, author unknown, is one of those random collections of words that hit home.

I plan out my artistic goals, and I know others do as well.  We each have a vision of success, and it becomes about the “doing” coupled with the “expecting.”  A way of thinking that not only frustrates us but magnifies our fears.  Because all this planning and strategizing and goals met or missed doesn’t help strengthen creativity.  In fact it might accomplish the opposite.

What if we could disengage long enough to put art back into its original form?  If each painting, carving, bit of clay became an object of devotion or entreaty?  The way the shamans in the caves at Lascaux used red, yellow and black to mirror reality and validate their experience?

Because until we tap into honest human experience, we cannot communicate that to others.  And until we understand we hold unique experience, we cannot let go of the expectation of universal acceptance.  We cannot force that outcome. 

It is not the result that holds importance, but the act of creativity itself.  The showing up, the participating in a visual conversation that has gone on for thousands of years and validating a part of human existence that would be lost were it not for you. 

We cannot use strategies and outcomes as the measurement for creative work.

But we can show up.  We can begin each day with a search for our inner truth.  The struggle is not easy but it might just be the only one with meaning.  

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Tide Pool, 11 x 14, oil

A re-emerging theme in my work is water, in part because it is ever changing, yet there is power, energy, and peace in its movement. With each surge something new holds possibility.  With each withdrawal there is reflection.  And the cycle begins again.

Like life. Like art. 


Feeling like you need to reconnect with your art?