June 15, 2010
I was working as hard and as fast as I could, but I found myself really irritated with people, and minor interruptions. I was frustrated beyond the pale. I was not quite sure what was happening, and why I was so testy. I did not say a word, and was pleasant and smiled to friends and acquaintances, but underneath I could not help but feel exasperated.
The need to escape was desperate. Walking took the edge off, but I still felt crowded and hemmed in. I raced to my car trying to figure out where I could go that would calm my nerves, and soothe my ruffled feathers. I turned onto several back roads, and reached a site overlooking mountains and plains. Settling in on the hill-side trying to calm myself I realized I had not painted, worked in fabric, or photographed a scene for several weeks.
The need to express myself in an artistic way is at times overwhelming. What is it about the need to create? Why do people NEED to create? I am not sure why I need to paint, photograph, or work with fabric. All I know is that I desperately have to do something to express the images that float through my mind in the wee hours of the morning, or when I am busy working on projects that will pay the rent. Other artists echo the NEED to create, saying it is better than therapy, because it also feeds their souls.
Upon hearing a pianists composition floating across the court-yard in the movie, Rear Window, Lisa, Grace Kelly’s character, asks Jimmy Stewart’s character, Jeff, “What do you suppose inspires such beautiful music”?
“Oh, I imagine the land lady has a lot to do with it,” replies Stewart.
That might be a good enough reason for some artists, but my experience is that land ladies have nothing to do with the intense desire to express.
I have watched many children delight and squeal at the sight of a box of bright crayons, abandoning trucks or dolls, and quietly spread as much color as possible on page after page in coloring books, and an occasional wall. Adults start doodling while seemingly engaged in phone conversations.
There is something about a blank piece of paper that begs adults and children alike to splash bright colors on an empty white space and watch in awe as the plain sheet is transformed with each dye filled stroke.
Realizing I had to fulfill my immediate desire, I tore myself away from scenic beauty and headed back to my loft and tore into my paints. The pungent smell of wet pigment over took my senses. I love it when my fingernails are stained as if I had played with a rainbow. It makes me feel so worldly, erudite, as if I am almost a real artist. I promise myself someday I will become a real artist.
People ask me in what style do I paint? Style? Oh dear, I didn’t realize I needed to have a style. I am never sure how to respond. While I certainly admire the masters, and all genres in between, it has never occurred to me that I might have a style or need to develop one. For now I am not going to worry about style, I am just going to enjoy creating for the sake of feeding my soul.
After a few delightful hours of pretending I was Monet, I realized I needed more. I needed fabric. Oh, the heavenly smell of all the toxic chemicals used to dye cloth in all those exotic hues gives me a rush. Not a chemically induced rush, but the excitement of feasting my eyes on color combinations, and design. My heart skips a beat at the feel of cottons, linen and luscious silk in my hands, while fashioning a wall hanging or a quilt.
Oh, yes, Mother Earth certainly stimulates my imagination. I couldn’t help thinking about all the impressionist’s, past and present, while on a back road less traveled and coming across this wondrous flora, which would inspire any artist desiring to capture nature in its purest impressionistic form.
Art really does imitate nature.