Trusting the Magic

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“And suddenly you know.  Its time to start something new and trust the magic of new beginnings.”  Meister Johann Eckhart (from The Painter’s Keys)

What is the magic of new beginnings?  A paraphrasing of the dictionary definition of magic calls it a power that allows people to do impossible things.  “Impossible things” is a wide-open description that could mean anything and everything.  Many artists struggle to create a vision that lives inside.  Freeing this vision feels impossible, insurmountable.  Yet this vision, this inner voice is crying out.  It wants to sing but how?

Sometimes it’s necessary to sweep out all the old visions, the old thought processes.  That inner voice wants to sing but can’t.  There’s too much Old Stuff hanging around blocking the view.  The voice can’t see it’s way clear to freedom, to expression.  It’s easier for an artist to quash the voice than to deal with the Old Stuff.  That Old Stuff has been around a long time.  It’s soft and worn and comfortable.  Anything new would require the work of breaking in.  Who wants to break in the new?  The old is so comfortable.  It’s too much trouble to change. Why bother?

That old stuff is tired, faded and dusty.  Everything it creates will be tired, faded and dusty.  Breaking in the new is a fresh adventure, a new beginning.  Opening a path for the new voice to sing feels impossible but it’s really quite simple.  All it needs is a little trust.  Trust the magic of new beginnings.  Once that voice is free to sing impossible things can happen.  The impossible makes even the oldest rustiest tin can sing like the sweet sound of a meadowlark.   Time to kick that rusty can down the road and let the magic of new beginnings sing.  The impossible is happening.  That old can is being replaced by the sweet sound of a new song.  And that is magic.

Artists in Healthcare–Bloggers Who Know

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“Art washes away from the soul the dust of daily life.”  Pablo Picasso

Picasso’s statement above pops up frequently.  It is a much-quoted line with a depth of wisdom that touches on many areas.  As related to the Arts in Healthcare, the line can literally mean the difference between sickness and health.  No.  I am not saying the arts can replace medicine but they can come in and wash off the dust leaving the pathway clear for healing.  Stress complicates the healing process.  It is a well- documented fact.  Art can relieve stress.  As the arts continue to grow in healthcare where can a person go for more information.  Aside from the big organizations, there are several blogs dishing out the skivvy.

Marti Hand of Creativity in Healthcare is both a nurse and an artist.  On her blog she states, “This blog serves as a platform for my passionate interest in integrating creativity and the creative process (the arts) into healthcare, particularly in the care of patients/clients.”  Hand talks about how the “science and art” of medicine has left off the art part.  Her goal is to bridge that gap by bringing art more into the healthcare setting.  Creativity in Healthcare features articles and important links for those interested in what is happening with creativity in healthcare.

Much has been said about the benefits of the arts with the aging yet few projects are focusing in geriatrics.  Dancing Hands is one blog that directly seeks to bring the arts to seniors.  According to the blog, Laurie Lunsford is an “Interactive Arts Specialist who promotes well-being and community through creative interaction in nursing care facilities.”   She particularly works with Alzheimer’s care.  Lunsford uses sensory stimulation through the arts by spontaneity and self expression and she is passionate about her work.  Read more at the Dancing Hands blog for up to date information on the growing area of Artists in Healthcare for the aging.

 Createquity is a “virtual think tank” and gathering of individuals covering all the basics of Arts in Healthcare.  The stated vision from the blog says Createquity “is a hub for next-generation ideas on the role of the arts in a creative society.”  While they cover more than just the arts in healthcare, quite a bit of the blog is devoted to bringing more arts and creativity into today’s healthcare.  Check them out for a wealth of resources.

The arts are growing in healthcare.  As usual, bloggers are helping to map the way.  These are just a small sample of the bloggers writing on this ever-increasing arts endeavor.  Follow the maps of these bloggers and check out what’s happening as the Arts in Healthcare gradually become an accepted and important part of “washing the dust off our souls” in the healthcare setting.  The field is in the budding phase and is about to bloom wide open.  The bloggers are on top of it.

Vexing Vexations

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“Expectation is the mother of all frustration.”  Antonio Banderas (from Brainyquote)

All artists experience frustration at some time or other.  It is a fact of life.  How one chooses to handle the frustration can make a huge difference.  Or not.  Fantasizing about destruction of another’s artwork may have occurred in the thought processes of some artists at one time or other.  Most people will grumble a bit.  Others will, perhaps, voice a few well-chosen descriptive words.  Some may even take to a blog to spout some derogatory witticisms.  Few will act out of violence toward another artist.

One artist recently vented his frustrations by very publically destroying the one million dollar work of another artist, (see note below).  His frustration was supposedly due to the gallery in question’s statement of intent to support local artists.  The destroyed artwork was by an artist who was not local. While the frustration is understandable, what purpose does violence toward another artist serve?  Or is this a case of civil disobedience?

In Max Ehrman’s famous Desiderata is the quote, “Avoid loud and aggressive people as they are vexatious to the spirit.”  While the frustration is understandable the reaction is quite vexing.  Where does smashing artwork get anybody beyond the “15 minutes of fame” spotlight?  It did call attention to the galleries statement.  That could result in possibly a few more pieces by somebody local.  But long-term change seems doubtful from this bit of destructive violence.

Insight from the blog, Johan Turdenmeier’s Miscellany pinpoints the innate problem with this behavior.  “I wonder when if ever the vexatious person will notice they are the cause of other’s retreat.  If they have any idea that they’re behavior is literally sucking the spirit out of their companions.”  Violence does suck the spirit out of those around it.  The art- smashing artist is probably wondering where his friends are about now.

Had this artist taken the time to examine his frustration a bit he might have come up with a less vexing response.  Organizing a protest would have been a good start.  His friends may have joined him for that.  The publicity would undoubtedly have been more favorable, not to mention the optics.  When expressing vexations it is always better to avoid vexing potential supporters.  Vexing the target problem would have garnered significantly less vexation and possibly led to future reductions in vexatious-ness.  We could all get behind that.

(This account is purposely not reporting the artist’s name or the gallery in order to not assist in perpetuating more of this behavior.   We observe the 15 minutes of fame rule whenever possible. We hope the smasher’s 15 minutes are now over.)

 

If you would like to read more there are accounts at these links:

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/fla-artist-smashes-vase-worth-1-million-miami-museum-article-1.1617638

 http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/wireStory/fla-artist-smashes-1m-vase-miami-museum-22554551

 

More from Johan Turdenmeier can be found at the blog:

http://turdenmeier.wordpress.com/

Mossy, Knife Sharpening Green

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“All theory, Dear Friend, is gray.  But the Golden Tree of Life springs ever green.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (from Brainyquote.com)

Landscape painters, ceramists, make-up artists, soap makers and more love this mossy green pigment.  Chromium Green has been available for two centuries and has recently been discovered in the paintings of J. M. W. Turner dating to around 1812.  Few warnings accompany this lovely green paint reputed to cause only some minor skin irritation in a few people.  Those who eat it could have mild stomach upset so it is probably best not to ingest it.  Otherwise Chromium Green has a wealth of uses.Screen shot 2013-10-09 at 10.14.24 AM

Brittanica reports Chromium Green as having been discovered by French chemist Nicolas-Louis Vauquelin in 1797.    The name derives from its multi-colored compounds.  Merriam-Webster says “Chromium Green is a moderate yellow green that is greener and deeper than the average moss green, yellower and duller than the average pea green or apple green.“ “This natural green provides landscape artists rest in a summer painting saturated with vibrant greens,“ according to Daniel Smith.com. Natural Pigments.com has the scoop on the Turner discovery and is also a great source for purchasing the pigment.

While you are obtaining the pigment for mixing paint, you can also grab a bar of Chromium Green for sharpening your knives and sculpting tools.  A bit of Chromium Green in your roofing tiles will add some UV protection.  If you happen to be considering building a spaceship, Chromium Green can be mixed with other metals for “super high performing aerospace products.”  Or just add it to your camouflage for high infrared reflectance, whatever that might be.Screen shot 2014-02-13 at 10.32.24 PM

For many artists, Chromium Green is a must have for the paint box.  Mossy greens add a wonderful richness in any painting.  Chromium Green is beautiful in ceramics, as well.  Other non-artist fans of Chromium Green may be found on the rooftops fitting the tiles.  Or that spaceship your neighbor is building could feature some bits of Chromium Green in the materials but I wouldn’t get too close.  He may be guarding his spaceship in his infrared reflectant camouflage with the knives he recently sharpened on the leftover Chromium Green.  It’s probably best to stick with the people who only use Chromium Green in artist materials.  Steer clear of the ones with the spaceships and the knives.

The Courage of Gratitude

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“The essence of all beautiful art, all great art is gratitude.” Friedrich Nietzsche (from The Painter’s Keys)

Courage is an essential part of art.  It takes courage to engage in the act of putting what is inside the heart outside into the world in some form. Whether the art is writing, painting, sculpting, photography, dancing, singing or acting, it will require courage.  The first hurdle is to give the art inside an avenue to show outside.  The next big hurdle is to begin to let it be seen by others.  The third hurdle is to face possible rejection, unpleasant criticism or other negative reactions.  The last hurdle can be the difficulty of finding a market.  Not all artists face all hurdles but it is the rare artist who does not face at least one or two.

When in the middle of crossing the hurdles, it can be difficult to think about gratitude.  Yet that is the most important time to be grateful.  Biscuitsspace.com says, “Gratitude—whether we feel it or receive it—gives birth to creative ideas.”  Taking the time to stop and note what there is all around to be grateful for can be a time for the rebirth of ideas, new directions.  Gratitude changes everything.  The very presence of creativity is a gift to be grateful for.  Art springs from gratitude.

When facing hurdles, gratitude is difficult and creativity can run dry in the process.  It takes courage to be grateful for the act of making art.  Glenda Myles on her blog says of artists: “The courageous are those who follow their heart, who bare their heart, who help open our hearts.  Those brave souls who are too often met with criticism, hatred, judgment and hostility.  But they continue on, continue to share themselves because it is part of who they are as much as how they look or talk.”  It takes courage to be grateful.  It takes gratitude to make art.

Missing the Muse Point

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“O! For a muse of fire that would ascend the brightest heaven of invention.”  William Shakespeare (from The Painter’s Keys)

Much has been written and will continue to be written on what the muse is or isn’t.  Do all artists have one?  Is it a person?  A place? A thing?  An idea?  Many writers on art, who do not think of themselves as artists, tend to view the muse as a person.  This or that person is the muse for this or that artist.  If an artist has a love interest, the love interest is thought to be the muse.  Actually, nothing could be further from the truth.  The muse is far more and far less defined than anything physically describable.

The Wall Street Journal has an article titled, “Where have all the muses gone?” by Lee Siegel with a detailed account of the “so-called” muses of many famous artists through out the centuries.  Siegel makes a very enlightening statement midway through the article, “The original muse could not of been further from an exemplar of style.  Her function was not to inspire imitation but to create new insights and new artistic forms.  She was effectively invisible, a gust of divine wind that blew through the human vessel lucky enough to be graced by her attention.”

Perhaps, the muse is not the actual person, place, thing or idea.  Perhaps, the muse is the “Divine Wind” blowing through what is the designated muse.  The real muse is the inspiration itself.  The Divine Wind has highlighted the object with an aura of inspiration that draws like a magnet.  The Divine Wind is an amorphous thing explaining why some artists seem to flit from muse to muse gaining a reputation of fickleness.  What appears to be fickleness may merely be the following of the Divine Wind.

The Divine Wind for some artists may stay in one place or on one person for a lifetime.  To others it may blow steady in many directions.  The important point for artists is to remain open and aware.  The muse can’t be pinned down.  To place the muse label on any physical form is to miss the point.  The nebulous muse is everywhere.  All that’s needed is a bit of a windcatcher.

Weekend Inspiration–The Geometry of Art

Is there a numeric formula to art, conscious or unconscious?  Possibly.  Having never thought much about this idea, I am going back to look at paintings to see if I do it unconsciously.  As I operate mainly in the right brain and don’t think much about left brain activity like numbers or numeric formulas, I would have to have done it unconsciously! It will be interesting to see if it happened accidentally.  I would love to know if others find this happening in their art, consciously or unconsciously.