My Mission… Should I Choose to Accept It

In early January, 2017, I wrote a post about “mission statements”. I categorized it as “humor”, and in the post I poked a bit of fun at online “generators” which will quickly put together a mission statement for any artist. The post concluded with this “Madlib”-created note about my artwork:

“My work is in the private collection of Gavin McLeod who said ‘Oh my goodness gracious, that’s some real beautiful Art.’”

When I wrote that playful post, I was enamored of “artists’ statements” and truly looked forward to a day when I might have one. At the time, the idea was a bit far-fetched. I’d begun oil painting about 2 months before. I had no mission, no style, and frankly, no idea what I was doing!

In time, I did learn more about oil painting, and I did put together a real “mission statement” to express what I wanted to accomplish through my art:

“I love nature, and I seek to share that love through my paintings. My hope is that my art may inspire others to a greater respect for our Mother Earth, a greater appreciation of her beauty, and a greater recognition of our need to cherish, protect, and care for her.”

This “mission statement” was written in August 2020, a little over a year ago. It remains true today. I do love Mother Earth. I do want to encourage others to protect our natural resources. It’s a nice, comprehensive statement. But… is it enough?

While my mission statement reflects who I am, I’m wondering if maybe I need to expand upon it a bit, at least as far as my own understanding of art goes. It’s one thing to consider what I want to do — sort of a results-oriented approach — and it’s another thing to look at art from a process-oriented approach, not focusing on the art I create but giving more thought to how I create it.

Now, here’s where it gets a little weird. I stumbled across that 2017 “Misson Statement” post filled with its funny, computer-generated statements. And, the funny thing is, well… I didn’t really find it all that funny. I found it to be very much on the mark for the sort of artist I want to be.

Here is what I read in that January 2017 post:

Judith Kraus is an artist who mainly works with painting…rather than presenting a factual reality, an illusion is fabricated to conjure the realms of our imagination…paintings establish a link between the landscape’s reality and that imagined by its conceiver…works are often classified as part of the new romantic movement…exploring the concept of landscape in a nostalgic way…open a unique poetic vein…the fragility and instability of our seemingly certain reality is questioned.

These were little excerpts from “500 Letters” — which is a fun tool to use. Yet even while I laugh a bit at the whole idea of generating a statement online, I see a lot of who I want to be in this mission statement. I do want to paint “illusions” that are “fabricated to conjure the realms of our imagination.” I especially like the idea of “exploring the concept of landscape in a nostalgic way”. This is truly what I try to do in my landscape paintings.

As I read through the statement, I found myself wishing I could be this artist, the one who can “open a unique poetic vein” with my work, even as I’m celebrating the beauty of the earth and encouraging others to become more environmentally-aware. This is what I want, and in the coming year, this will be part of my mission.

In 2017, I wrote the post, laughed a bit, and quickly forgot about it. I was too busy learning art, and too busy thinking seriously about what “my mission” might someday be. Now, it’s almost five years later. I’m finding myself as an artist, and having re-read that statement again, I don’t want to laugh and walk away. I want to take those ideas and make them part of my art.

In the television series “Mission Impossible”, each episode began with the words… “Your mission… should you choose to accept it…” along with a notice that the message would self-destruct in a few seconds. Every mission assigned, of course, seemed impossible. But the characters took the assignments and accomplished the impossible week after week.

For a very long time, I believed anything relating to art would be a “Mission: Impossible” for me. Turns out I was wrong about that.  As wildly impossible as it seems, I am an artist today. My mission now is to better understand what my art means, why it’s important to me, and to be much more in touch with the creative process. Yes, this is my mission, and yes, I am choosing to accept it.

How would you define YOUR mission in art?

 

 

 

 

6 Comments

  1. Love this, because really, it gets to the heart of the matter. For me, it’s the why’s. Why am I drawn to this inner desire to create something new that I hadn’t even thought of yesterday. Why do I love so love all the components that make up the pieces of my art, including pieces others may overlook… interesting perspective on creating a mission statement. I hadn’t even considered it before. I love yours, both of them. Mother Nature is such a fabulous teacher. The color hues and the textures are hard to beat! You got me to thinking here. Pretty cool. Also, I didn’t know there were computer generated mission statements. Maybe I’ll try it. Just for fun!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, Geoff, I beg to differ. That’s what I said for 60 + years… can’t draw, can’t make art.. yep, that was me. But then I decided to try it, and here I am six years later creating all kinds of art, including a lot of VERY BAD art, but I’m having fun.

      Liked by 1 person

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