I often speak of art as being a journey. It is, indeed. Pursuing my interest in art has led me to many places and taken me down many different roads. What makes this journey different from most, though, is that as I travel, I have no idea where I’m going.
I’m wandering along the artistic landscape, seeing the sights, meeting people, and making friends. I’m stopping here and there, exploring areas of interest, and then, after a time, moving on to someplace new.
As with any “road trip”, there are many moments to remember, a few I’d rather forget, and an undeniable sense of destination. Even though I don’t know where this journey will take me, I know that I’m going somewhere.
Poet T. S. Eliot once said, “We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”
I’ve always loved art but in the past, I didn’t have the knowledge or the ability to create it. Both, — knowledge and ability — can be obtained with desire, determination, and devotion. We can learn; we can become artists.
In many ways, art does take us back to where we began, back to childhood, back to playful days scribbling pictures of houses, flowers, and suns, grabbing crayons and our favorite coloring books, and making awesome messes with fingerpaints.
As artists — and it’s such a delight to count myself as one — we’re always searching for the way back home, which is another way of saying that we’re searching for ourselves. To me, it’s much like being lost in the woods — you know how I feel about trees and forests. It’s a beautiful place to be, but it can also be overwhelming, maybe even a little frightening at times.
I’m wandering around, or, to use one of my favorite words, I’m meandering, moving along with no particular place to go, and that’s all right because here and there I find little pieces of myself. It’s a process called “re-membering”, that is, taking the individual parts or members and reassembling them. I’m re-creating myself.
What a thought! To re-create ourselves through art. Don’t you love that word? It’s a word that speaks not only of creation but also of enjoyment. Our art is in the most truest sense, an act of recreation.
Today I’m sharing a few of the bits and pieces of myself I’ve found recently. Not works of art, but artistic playthings that have helped me discover a little more about who I am and who I want to be as an artist.
I’ve enjoyed painting these simple landscapes, playing with the colors, and creating the quiet mood that seems to settle over each of these watercolors.
These two wintry scenes give me a peaceful feeling. I want to do more of these quiet landscapes.
A more colorful scene is this mountain lake with the skies reflecting in the water. A very different palette, a very different image, yet still a feeling of serenity and peace.
I do think this is who I want to be. I think what my voice as an artist is trying to say is “Stop here and rest for a moment before you travel on.”
I hear that voice inside, speaking first to myself. It’s telling me to spend a little time where I am, contentedly exploring watercolor, hiking along trails of my imagination, and gazing up at the vastness of the skies.
But I want others to hear that voice, as well. I want my paintings to express those quiet moments in life where we step away from the hustle and bustle of the world around us, times when we go into the woods or sit at the edge of the water to reflect upon who we are.
I think I’m beginning to find my home — at least for a time.