Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Its My Party
It's my party, and I'll cry if I want to
Cry if I want to, cry if I want to
You would cry too if it happened to you
Leslie Gore, 1963
A couple of weeks ago someone said to me "All your paintings are dark. Are you a dark person?" I laughed and explained that my work involves a range of values that are sometimes, but not always, at the darker end of the value scale. But, it got me to thinking.
For most of my life, I have been "fixer". If a problem or unhappy situation arose, I would almost immediately begin to work on how I could "solve" the problem - how I could fix it. One of the hardest lessons I've had to learn in life is that some problems can't be solved, some loss cannot be recovered, and some mistakes cannot be undone. But, thankfully, I also learned that living fully meant allowing feelings of grief, or doubt and loss. And, perhaps most importantly, to use those feelings, as well as joy and wonder, as raw materials for creative work. Those darker feelings add texture, depth and counterpoint to our lives and to our work as artists. Andrew Wyeth said that he was just a "clever watercolorist", until the death of his father. He used that tragic event to find himself as an artist, to allow his most deeply felt ideas and emotions to come to the surface in his work. In my own case, the landscape seems to tap into a reservoir of feelings and ideas- awe, wonder, joy, mystery, loss, longing. I need every single one of them to do the work I was meant to do.