It's a funny thing we do, eh?
Use line and form and colour, shading and perspective to make images. They come out of nowhere. Out of our heads. From out souls, through our bodies.
Control and release. Control and release.
We watch ourselves in action, make amends. Where is it going? Shall I reign it in now or keep the flow? Will I go too far? Will I ruin it? Is it any good? What IS good?
Years and years and years it takes to truly find your groove.
When you are beginning, it's experimentation. It's easy, joyful, tentative. With a few of the early pictures, there's the element of pride and a sense of accomplishment. "Look what I've done!' It feels amazing. It's almost like a drug. As you progress, you venture further, you apply yourself for longer and longer. You realise that it is no longer just a distraction. You become aware that you have found something, an activity, that gives back as much as it demands.
It's one of the most complex puzzles that exist. It is never ending. The only rules are that there are none. You can do what ever you want. There are no wrongs or rights. It's all up to you. The freedom is incredible. And somewhat overwhelming, too. So much. Too much. There has to be some kind of structure. One that you make up for yourself. A form, guidelines within which you can let loose. You decide what is good. You feel what is good. It's very honest. There is no kidding yourself.
Before you have a relationship with art. It's sublime. The more you enter into it, the more time and energy you invest; the more you get in return. But your return is not necessarily evident to anyone else. It is not tangible. It is not a trophy or money or a cheering crowd. No, no, art is too, too precious, too mindful and murky, mysterious and profound for that. It is connected to pure soul. It is not something that can be bought, traded or sold. Not the spirit of it. A great work of art contains spirit, sure, but what is captured on the canvas or the paper is only a remnant of what has gone into. A hint. The size and quantity and breadth of the passion that has powered the artistic creation is immeasurable. Immense.
Creating a work is not unlike riding a wave. It cannot be boxed, labelled, re-created. It is fully being in the moment. Fully. Being. In. The. Moment. It is ecstasy. It is release. It is a pure connection with the absolute.
You know what I am talking about, right? You've been there, too? Not often, but often enough. Enough to want more. Enough to be grateful. Grateful to be lucky enough to realise that whatever else may transpire in this chaotic, demanding, wounding, beguiling world: you are an artist. You can transcend. You have been given the tools and you have, with passion and diligence, applied yourself, focused your body and mind, channeled your spirt and contributed to the beauty and wonder of what is real, what is true, what is pure.
You have allowed your soul to shine through. Through the quagmire of daily demands, through the mist of social confusion, through the representation of at times debilitating personal demons - the ones that are out to get you! still!! - through that, through that to something timeless and ethereal, something momentous. You have brushed up against the infinite for a few seconds, in your avid pursuit of image and splash.
You have glimpsed the glorious nature of nature and the brilliance and light. You have shifted shapes and animated line. You are a knight, a warrior, a hero to no one other than yourself. And even then. No, no, you are a hero. For a time. You have put your entire being on the line for something you believe in. Something intangible but more real than anything. Life itself.
You have communed and communicated. Touched and responded to the essence. Struggled and struggled and struggled some more. Until, years, decades later, you have found yourself. Standing in front of an image that you have conjured up out of nowhere. You know it but you don't it. You made it but you didn't. It is more that an expression, a picture. It is alive. It is you.