Art has to reveal to us ideas, formless spiritual essences. The supreme question about a work of art is out of how deep a life does it spring.
James Joyce, Ulysses
Precisely in proportion to the depth of mind from which it issued, so high does it soar, so long does it sing.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, “The American Scholar”
Late last night, while trying to read Ulysses, I came across the above passage and just had to close the book and my eyes for a spell. I needed some kind of epiphany, coming off a scintillating week of plein air painting activity in Arkansas and re-entering my high school to face a pile of work from my weeklong absence. It was like plunging into a warm summer pond after leaving a sauna. I had no idea how a single Monday could suck all the creative aspirations out of me, but I guess that is how the daily job can be. Today is better, because I’m feeling the inspiration once again that fueled my desires last week.
I have an incredibly busy two weeks facing me before I leave for another round of art festivals and plein air workshop activity. There is so much preparation that goes into leaving for these activities, and I enjoy most of those details, especially the anticipation of the events. But at the same time, I have this need to stop, rest, contemplate, and make new art. I have always believed that quality art comes out of the depths, and for me there is no depth when I am covered up in social encounters. The book I read last year that has come to mean so much to me, Hamlet’s Blackberry, by William Powers, urged to the reader that depth is sacrificed when one’s life is immersed in social media. I could not agree more. The art events that have enveloped me the past several weeks (with more to come) have taken me to the heights, but alas, I am not making art, not exploring new frontiers, and feel that a significant part of me is drying up. I’m glad that I know how to fix this; I just need to find a way to adjust my daily calendar in order to get back to drawing and painting.
I apologize if this has come out as a “whiny” blog (I detest those!). I suppose that what I’m putting out there right now is more of my private journal musings. But still, there may be many of you who need to read these kinds of things, so thanks for reading.
I paint in order to understand.
I journal when I feel alone.
I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.