Sunday, December 11, 2011

Embracing Duality

Making art is an exercise in embracing duality; simlicity/ complexity... process/product...., personal/commercial...., yin/ yang...., nuance/boldness...., silence/speaking out. How to embrace and marry ideas that are so profoundly different? Looking at our art work as we might life...there is no light without darkness. One of the most fundamental principles of painting is simultaneous contrast; the idea that everything is relative fits with this thinking. Something is only light in value relative to what is resides next to. Something is only saturated next to something that is dull.

The process of making art might be a practice akin to yoga, in that it needs to be cultivated and exercised on a regular routine. For myself, I need to be able to get deep into my work even if I have only 20 minutes in which to work. At the same time, I need to be ok with the thought that I may need to procrastinate and percolate ideas. That I might need that day to go on a hike, or go shopping or clean house. I'm a huge advocate of mileage. Make art. Do it with whatever you have on hand. Do it as much as humanly possible and with passion but sometimes that just doesn't work. It just doesn't reside in you that particular day or time.

Being a working artist means that you are embracing the idea that you are making art then you are going to sell it as a product. These thoughts are not always in concert with one another. First of all, if you start with the idea that you are producing a product, is it art? Maybe. Maybe not. For me, the process guides the way to the end result, which is sometimes a piece worthy to bring to the public in some form or another with the thought that I will sell it. I try to approach my time in the studio as an exploration, rather than production with the idea that something may percolate to the top but maybe not. I try to be o.k. with that. Uncertainty is certain. Change is certain.

As a working artist I'm embracing technology and traditional art making tools and materials. High tech, low tech. Being able to bounce between these worlds and enjoy both is essential for my day to day routine. Approaching the unfamiliar with curiosity and a little bravery is part of this for me and not letting the little doubts about my skills or knowledge stop me from trying something, be that a new social networking thing like twitter or a less familiar tool in painting. Being grateful and curious leads me in the right direction. Not knowing what the end result will be and being o.k. with that. Just like life!

Embracing the idea of making art in the this world, not an idealized one. I can make meaningful art and make cookies. I can do math and do art. I can take on many roles and preserve the integrity of each. Everything is available to me.

Happy Painting!!!


Marc R. Hanson said...

Great post! I find art in my own cooking, building of things like wooden boats, tables, even the way I stash the extra cardboard and foam for packing and shipping paintings.

This quote, dated in it's gender language, from George Bellows is a favorite of mine...

"The ideal artist is he who knows everything, feels everything, and retains his experience in a spirit of wonder and feeds upon it with creative lust..."

Don said...

Marla I so enjoyed reading this! The wisdom of your words I find very inspiring! Thank you for sharing! I have also learned to embrace this concept in my own life and in my career as an artist. I'm an artist always in everything I do and in the way I interact with the world. I'm also a part time baby sitter for my young daughter and I'm a handyman around my home. One day I'm a plumber and the next an electrician and sometimes even a cook! I love the diversity in my life it keeps it interesting and even though I love art and being an artist the other activities help me to remember that there is even more then just art in the world. I find that helps me see life from new and interesting perspectives. For me my humanity plays the main role in my life as an artist and to always leave room for it is important. As you mentioned " Looking at our art work as we might life...there is no light without darkness." This reminds me of a quote by Leonardo da Vinci “A painter should begin every canvas with a wash of black, because all things in nature are dark except where exposed by the light.”

Marla Baggetta said...

Yes, when we treat all the aspects of our lives as gifts, it is all art!

David King said...

This sounds a lot like my love of landscape and my life long love affair with classic cars, they don't exactly seem to be compatible do they?