22 March 2010
Drawing the Line
I had a friend once who, when upset and feeling distraught, would go outside (weather permitting, of course) and lie down on the ground, thus putting the earth beneath her and the sky above her. Once she had done this, she felt centered and at peace.
Wherever I go, especially if it is a new place I've never visited before, I make a mental note of where North is. It's this little unconscious ritual that I've done since I was a child. I do have Narragansett and Potawatomis blood in my veins, which may account for this internal compass. I also watch for lichen growing on the north side of trees. Go figure.
Ralph Waldo Emerson noted that a healthy eye demanded a horizon line, that centering line that divides earth from sky, sky from water. And in art I find myself seeking this line, just like the North, whether painting a landscape or a simple pot of flowers.
If you do not know where your feet are or in what direction you are looking, how do you know where you truly are?
Sunday morning was a bad start -- anything I did on Saturday had nothing to do with creating, just a series of tasks that every weekend warrior performs. The day was so gloriously warm and sunny that I spend most of the latter part of the day on the deck with my daughter, reading, chatting and relaxing with some wine.
But by Sunday, I was feeling defeated. My sense of disorientation was overpowering: it felt like June, but it was March! Saturday had slipped away so quickly that I felt I needed another Saturday. My weekend was disappearing.
I needed to orientate myself, otherwise I would drift. I know this is true for me. Without a goal, I tend to sink into a been there, done that mindset that is pernicious, leading to a sense of paralysis.
So I drew up a Long-Range Art Strategy Plan -- sounds obnoxious, doesn't it? Everything that makes that right brain quiver in fear and loathing. But luckily this time I listened to my left brain. I thought about where I want to be with my art and creativity in 5 years and how I was going to get there from here (got your compass handy as this could be confusing).
My long-range goal is to open my own art gallery. At first, part-time as I'll still be working full-time. But eventually, it will be 3/4 time (the benefits of retirement). I know many artists and photographers in this area, as well as writers and poets, that I envision my gallery as a celebration of the arts & humantities.
But to get there, I need some in-between time objectives, such as getting my works into galleries, something easier said than done. And, of course, joining various art associations, which I think of as more of a "political" thing. Perhaps a self-published book via Blurb.com or Lulu.com?
But these are further off along my timeline. I need something to keep me oriented and motivated now. So move to Plan B -- are you still with me?
Plan B is immediate: to run an Open Studio this autumn in my own home. Why not, I ask myself? Plenty of people do so. Here in New England, the weekend of Thanksgiving you can practically stumble upon these open studios blind-folded.
So now I have my horizon line: Open Studio, early November, 2010. And to get there I will need about 3 dozen paintings, matted photographs and such.
Excuse me -- I must go outside and lay down on Mother Earth before I fall down from these dizzying heights of strategic planning . . .