When you’re in the studio painting, there are a lot of people in there with you. Your teachers, friends, painters from history, critics.., and one by one, if you’re really painting, they walk out. And if you’re really painting, you walk out. (Flack, Art & Soul, p.15)
When you sit down to your Art, and by that I mean sit down to your computer, your window seat to your journal, stand up and walk over to your canvas, sit down on the beach with your sketch book, walk in the woods to hear your ideas, lean against the wall strumming your guitar
and listen to your calling, and by that I mean to summon yourself, to hear your artistic call, which does not punch in and out and which does not worry about the weather or plan a road trip by the most logical destination route
When you sit down to your art, you are squished in a crowded place where thought, feeling, worry, doubt, judgment, criticism, hunger, agendas, deadlines, people, problems, time, they are all there, all observing you, all wondering when you will be finished so that you can stand up and DO something.., get back to us, they cry, we need you, we are important, you are important to us, it is imperative that you GET UP AND DO SOMETHING FOR GODSSAKE.
and you keep listening to your Art, keep looking at your world through the eyes and heart of an artist, focus on your sculpture, your journal, your breath, your lack of it, you do not raise your head to these fools who devour and absorb your life into the sponge that returns to the ocean and never squeezes out accomplishment, only crosses things off a list.
Even the poetry of parenthood– something as sacred and pure as parenthood! Is just a series of things to cross off on a list:
become pregnant, give birth, bond with child, experience post-partum depression, get over it, look at your child, feed it, bathe it, wipe its ass, pull it from the streets, get sick with it, get over it, look at it in its bed, take it to soccer practice pick it up from soccer practice, make it dinner, find its sneakers, love it, blame it, get mad at it, get over it, parenting is a continual stream of things being crossed off a list, as is all the “stuff” of life– kids, partners, job, pets, homes, automobiles, entertainment, on and on. All of these are in your room when you summon your Art. They all scream, “I am real!! I am real! Stop this nonsense and get back to me!”
Art has no agenda.
Only Art is real.
Why is it real? Because Art is pure flow of feeling and expression. When you and your “stuff” walk out is when Art comes.
How does it come?
A silent feeling becomes a silent thought, which becomes a quiet idea.
Idea becomes stirring.
a disturbance… an anxiety
a pulling… tugging
It becomes a reminding, then a nagging. Eventually, it must be expressed, or else we fall into a coma. Art obstructs our lives, whether figuratively, as an inability to focus on tasks, or literally, such as materials scattered all over the house. Ironically, all the “meaningful stuff”– that robs us of our time alone with art– suffers when we are not free to express our Art… We cannot “get on” with our lives until it is expressed.
mundane and insignificant tasks left unfinished when Art is suppressed. … unfree until Art is free.
What happens when you release your Art? Do you give birth when you express it, or do you kill it? Does it come alive, free from the confinements of within, or, now an object that people can experience– does it die in its new subjective prison, sentenced to an eternity of opinions?
You see. In its expression comes Eternal Interpretation. Only within does Art retain its pure life of true expression. Only from within is Art truly art.., the vibration. Truly you. Your Art is safest within, as it lives in its most sacred of space. Mona Lisa is not safe in the thick, glass confinements. Every eye and every opinion damages her, diminishes her. Every body ruins her. Even those that adore her, they are not the artist, they did not know what he felt when he created her. Mona Lisa flowed through da Vinci; he is the only one who knows what she felt like to create. Not what she means: Art doesn’t mean anything– but what she felt like. Only da Vinci will ever know.
Don’t count on life to provide you a sacred space for your Art. You, alone, are your ovn provider and your own sacred space. Everything else– from the most serene sunset to the most private cave– is some place …. someplace you go to, run to, find solace in.
What happens to you, dear one, when the sun disappears, someone enters the cave? No one can enter you unless you allow it.
This is Sacred Space. This is where real Art emerges. Everything else is just props. Everything else is just widgets and devices and cleaning supplies and rigmaroles and stuff. Life is simply the interruption of the flow of your Art.
Sit down with yourself. Pull out your Art. Look at it. Listen to it. Be alone with it. Feel your Art as it stirs within you, as you birth it, and as you cradle it in your arms. Fondle and stroke your Art, love it, see it, smell it, breathe it in, breathe it out. Get to know it. Feel it before you go running to the publisher to validate its “somethingness” for the world. Feel it before you go running to the gallery to give it “meaning.” Do not send yourself rejection slips. Don’t judge your Art; just love it, like the child that it is.
Because, the minute you give it to the world, you lose it. The world will pick it up and tell you what your Art is. It will describe your Art in annotated bibliographies, and captions below a painting. The world will pick you up and tell you who you are. The world will hand you a label with your name on it, for you to wear over your heart. Do you want this? Or, do you want to tell the world who you are?
Or, do you want to tell yourself. You better be sure of what you want, because once you open the door to your sacred space and let them in, they will eat your food and drink your wine and sit on the arm of your comfortable chair and lean over your shoulder and ask you what you are doing and they will stay a while, too long, and you will tire, your energy will wane, and your Art, your fragile, amazing Art which has no voice of its own, only a feeling which taps at you gently
your Art will slink away, will tell you, it’s okay, I will come back later.
Except that after a million days like this, Art will not come back. It never dies, it just stays away. It knows when it’s not wanted. Even Art can learn from your mistakes.
Do you wonder why you are so sad, so alone, why you are always feeling like you’re missing something, like you’ve forgotten something? Don’t check your “To Do” list; you won’t find what you’re looking for there.
You are looking for your Art, of course. And your Art is hiding so small, so alone, your Art is gone, and you can never find it because the phone is ringing. You better answer it.
Could be important