Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Layers of Life and Art

I've been reading "Of Human Bondage" by W. Somerset Maugham. It's the story of a young man with a club foot, who is orphaned at a young age. His discoveries in life and human nature take him through a period when he is in his late teens and early 20's, where he thinks he wants to be an artist, in fact he is sure he has the "genius" for it. He soon finds out though, that his aptitude for art amounts to being able to copy others quite well. After much soul searching, and a compatriots death by starvation and suicide he finally realizes that perhaps he hasn't got what it takes, and asks others their opinion. He is told that while he is good at the mechanics, he has no real "genius" for art. His friends have the mind set that you must have the overwhelming drive, the "do or die" attitude towards art, where all else suffers, even family, so that one can paint. The idea of making money wasn't as important as creating. But, without money, you have no resources to create. Quite a dilemma, wouldn't you say?

That got me to thinking about where my artistic journey is taking me. I love to create holiday figures, or storybook figures such as this White Rabbit, from Alice in Wonderland.

I made him a couple of years ago, and he was sure a fun challenge. I have a tendency to be very literal in my thinking, and that spills over into my art. As much as I would love to create whimsical figures that delight and bring smiles to those who see them, I have an even stronger drive to paint and sculpt in a more serious vein. I would also like to make money at it, so that we can do the things we want to do when hubby retires, and not feel like we have to pinch pennies all the time. Then you throw in the human factor of the needs of those around me. I am so in tune with those around me, that I can't seem to step back and let them find other resources or support so I have more time to create. I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing, but then am I being arrogant in thinking I'm the only one who can do it right, or do I truly care those around me and want to be helpful.
I find it interesting that I should get "Of Human Bondage" at a stage in my life where I'm assessing where I want to head with my art. Do you ever have those sorts of life coincidences? What are your challenges in your creative ventures?

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