I was reading a book by Penelope Lively (an author new to me, whose writing I love and (hooray) she’s written loads of books! also, judging by her photo on the dust jacket, she looks good for a few more! Eniow, I was reading a book called Spiderweb about a retired anthropologist, in which the main character muses that there are significant similarities between children and retirees in that they do (or should do!) live for what each day can bring. It struck me that the same holds true for artists. Little children do this naturally, of course, there is no yesterday that one is regretting and rethinking, no tomorrow that has to be planned for or worried about. It is just today.
As a (semi!) retiree I have to keep reminding my self to enjoy each day, each minute for what it brings instead of always “looking forward”. What are the joys of winter, of spring of summer and of fall? What is the joy of this particular hour on this particular day in March 2012? What is special about this moment that I should especially savor (instead of just gulping down looking ahead to the next thing) now that I’m out of the hurly burly of deadlines and schedules and calendars and into my own clear (alas, though, too easily muddied!) space.
And that leads me to art – as an artist wishing to communicate an appreciation of beauty (or other emotions) I have to be aware of what I’m experiencing. The work needs to be fresh and personal; if I just rush into it going through the motions – oh I must get this finished for the next challenge, or the next show etc – then it’s likely I’ll be unable to add the savoring of experience and the simmering of thought that makes it Real (rather than copied, trite and stale) Art.
Stopping and smelling the roses (or at present, the daffodils!) takes surprising concentration, we have been so conditioned to rush rush rush. Instead I must think about it, make myself stop and do it. It’s necessary for the successful life as an artist or an old lady or both! so please, don’t just rush through your day, breathe, experience, savor and think! And, if you have been, thanks for reading! Elizabeth
PS and by the way, some kind (and, I hope, discerning!) soul has nominated me for a “best teacher” award, so if you’d like to vote…there are, in fact 27 nominees! also several other “best” somethings…go to this url:
and your comments are always welcomed and considered! thank you.