Ah HA! The Job of the Artist

I started reading “No Time to Spare” by Ursula K. LeGuin and what a read it is. A blurb on the back by New York Times Book Reviewer Melissa Febos promised “The pages sparkle with lines that make a reader glance up, searching for an available ear with which to share them.”

And so dear reader, since the cats sprawled nearby look confused by my fist pump just now, this share is for you! (emphasis mine) Ursula writes about that question writers are asked: what does it mean? She encourages readers to seek out reviews and other analysts of writings if they can’t decide for themselves.

It’s a job I do as a reviewer, and I enjoy it. But my job as a fiction writer is to write fiction, not to review it. Art isn’t explanation. Art is what an artist does, not what an artist explains. (Or so it seems to me, which is why I have a problem with the kind of modern museum art that involves reading what the artist says about a work in order to find out why one should look at it or “how to experience” it.)

I’m on page 42 of this slender volume and this just stopped me in my tracks.

You may now return to your regularly scheduled programming.

Meanwhile, today was a gray rainy day, not for painting, but I managed to buy some new socks. I also managed to go into an art supply store and leave without anything. I got an EZ-pass thing for my car after finding out from a co-worker that you can buy them at drug stores and grocery stores. Well, you buy it but they put all the money as a credit on the pass so it’s all good. Did some wash, did some reading, watched a favorite movie.

Yesterday I tried again on the scene I’d painted two days ago. Trying to figure out if it’s the change of paper (at least in part), paints getting rehydrated (they are now), me being rusty (yes and yes) but anyway here’s what happened. No explanations LOL per Ursula. Done from photos I’d taken of each scene.

Ah HA! The Job of the Artist

Words to Ponder

Thanks to James Gurney for these words from a fine poet.

…May your inner eye
See through the surfaces
And glean the real presence
Of everything that meets you

May your soul beautify
The desire of your eyes
That you might glimpse
The infinity that hides
In the simple sights
That seem worn
To your usual eyes.

John O’Donohue, from “For The Senses”

You might ask, where the heck have you been? Well I’ve been writing and editing. So many words. Found an ending, found a prologue and an epilogue. On re-reading found a semi-baddy was still lying. LYING – she’s still lying about what happened, I shouted at the rest until they figured it out and brought her to a deserved justice.

It’s grey and cold and winter’s not kind to painters that like to be outside, but I find writing makes it hard to do visual things and so I’ve been quiet and writing. I did get out one day mid-January to try out a new tripod and throw some paint around on a pale evening.

Also grateful to have celebrated Mom’s 90th birthday with family. A good time was had by all!

Now, bring it on February!

Words to Ponder

What You’ll See and Not See in 2017

So it’s a bizarre thing to be a blogger and an artist and writer. Part of the reason I blog is to share my process and work in progress along with whatever catches my eye or ends up in my camera. Sort of journal/diary-like but not too personal.

Truth be told though, part of being an artist and writer is getting your stuff out there into the public view and these days almost every single entry form says something like “cannot have been published, even on a personal website.” Just this year Quilt National relaxed its view on this but after all the years of such a big fuss being made over what constituted publication, I didn’t feel comfortable showing this quilt until it was done.

And frankly, the whole thing makes me laugh since on a good day I might get ten to twenty visitors and a few of them are my mother. So yeah, previous publication, big deal.

But, you have to play by the rules of others when you enter their arena. So you’ll probably be seeing more painting and photographs than poems etc for awhile anyway. More musings about process and life. Not like things will change that much but just in case you’re reading this and you’re wondering what’s going on.

Home again, home again