Welcome to Kathleen’s Art Blog!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

My Struggles as an Artist


Even though it's been 18 months since my last published thoughts, I have been actually thinking a lot. Since the last post, I've successfully curated a museum show, had a one-person show at Snyderman Works Gallery in Philadelphia, done a number of retail juried shows, and taught a number of workshops. So, why do I feel at age 59 like I'm still struggling as an artist?

Yes, art is a struggle for me. I feel compelled to make art all the time, I've been doing it professionally for over 30 years, and I've been doing it my whole life. Yet, I still am struggling with whether I have anything to say, what should I be saying, and how should I say it.

When I got my MFA, the most important single thing I came away with was said to me by a professor during a critique session. "Make your work personal". It wasn't all the technical knowledge and skill I took from my degree, but that single phrase, that was the most crucial thing for me. But how was I to do that? I've taken that phrase very seriously over the years and made different series of works that reflected the stages in my life, my inner struggles and feelings about the outer circumstances of life.

I did a series of sculptures based on the interiors of the houses of my midwest relatives when I was growing up, then a series of "Housewife Queens", then sculptures based on my daughters' childhood drawings, then a series on the Arabian Bedouin Women I bought bits and pieces of jewelry from while living overseas, then a series on the Village Women I encountered in Turkey when we lived there, then a series on women's faces and Biblical verses that were autobiographical in emotion (including a scream based on my own ruptured aneurysm 9 years ago). More recently I've done a series of pods, grass, buds, and moss sculptures/purses based on the woods I walk in here in New Hampshire.

While older work involved representational imagery of women, more recent work may not seem related because it is "inspired by nature" - a phrase I always detested as being trite and overdone. But, in fact, my more recent work of pods and buds is voluptuous at times, nearly always feminine in meaning having to do with seeds and perhaps the end of my own reproductive years and beginning of grandmotherhood.

But, now I'm at a standstill. Where do I go from here? Do I make sculptures of death even though I am most likely many years away from the end of my own life? How do I translate that into sculptures that are actually purses?

I'm actually feeling right now like all those years of making "stuff" in the end is just that - "stuff". I'm feeling like king Solomon right now when he said in Ecclesiastes, "Vanity of vanities, all is vanity and chasing after the wind". I want to still make stuff, but is it just a job to make money? Who cares in the end? I want to still make my work personal, but am struggling with how to do that right now. I am feeling the meaninglessness of worldly striving.

Art is hard work!!! If it weren't, everyone would be an artist.

65 comments:

coeurdecerise said...

Oh Kathleen!
You almost made me cry this morning. I exactly feel like you. I am 57 years old. Since the age of 14 I think, I have the passion for art and fine art. I have worked for a job that made me sick for 15 years. I had to stop because I wanted to live, I finnaly realize my life's dream create. I cannot go to bed at night if I didn't created something. At 57, I am still searching for ''my signature''. I am preparing a solo exibition for a museum for next year. I hope that my refexion and my cration for that event will be close to what I am and that I will be able to really express what I really need to say. Thank you for your frankness.
Monique P.s Sorry for my english...
I invite you to visit my blog and site at: www.coeurdecerise.blogspot.com and www.coeurdecerise.com

Lee Ann said...

Kathleen,
Thank you for your elegant words and a window into your self. We all feel that way at times. Tell those nagging voices "Quiet, be still".

It's in the still moments that we find ourselves and our faith. There is no need to question your ability of your art and no one to impress......

Let your mind be still and your hands be busy. The answers will come.

Winnie said...

Hi Kathleen, my name is Winnie Brumsickle and I have a ridiculous obsession with making handbags, that's how I found you, googling other people's work. People call me an artist but I am not, clearly you are. I am a "designer" a description that falls short. I have discovered that God has put this passion into my heart for His purposes, and the vanity lies in my trying to understand it. Design is the vehicle letting me be in relationship with others, which is such an elusive idea, but if the whole effort is about me, its vanity is the most glaring aspect. I posted (and referenced you, of course) some photos of your handbags on my FaceBook page because your expression to the world is extraordinary, and has spoken to me directly. I am launching a line of handbags, the first prototype arrives today. I am not even a good designer! But I love the lives/interests/struggles undertaken by women and the doors continue to open along these lines, this is my "vehicle" to engage, for that I am grateful. I could tell you all day what a fantastic artist you are, and you can squeeze your eyes tight and clench your fists while trying to agree in your heart, desperate to make that reality your satisfying truth, but even this cruddy designer knows it will never be enough. Our fulfillment must be in service to others.... I hope I haven't bored you or offended or whatever. I mean to be encouraging! You are a fantastic expression of artistic ability, but yes, so what? If it doesn't help others along their way... And you have helped me! some crazy stranger! I am grateful! WB

JoTee said...

Kathleen,
Your passion for art is revealed in your finished work. Beautiful.

Yours truly is 61, having been creative most of my life, always looking, creating and searching for "the what" I don't know.

I have always told myself that "it must be fun or I don't want to do it". Sometimes I stuck to these words and at other times, I forced myself so that I could make $ to buy more supplies to continue being creative. Which I think is or has always been the "problem" with me being creative. Wow I just realized by writing this that that really is the "problem" for me.

Check this link & maybe it will be of some help in the very near future.

My dear hubby pointed my way to this link:
http://www.tarot.com/blog/?p=745

Kimbo said...

Oh please tell me that it is enough that a piece of art that has come through you has inspired another? Or simply brought a smile to a face and joy to a heart? I feel absolutely joyful when I see your work and the workshop I took from you was the single most important one of my life. You encouraged me in a way I can't describe - and not by anything you specifically said about my work, just by showing me possibilities I hadn't considered.

I sighed after I read your post and my 16 year old son asked why I was sighing. I gave him a quick rundown and read him the last paragraph. He said this, and I quote:

"Tell her she's wrong. Art isn't just "stuff" and since everybody has to have a job it is good that she has done something she liked doing. Art is tight."

As I turn 50 I aspire to own very little. In fact, I'm presently blogging about ridding myself of 5 possessions a day (at gypsytour.blogspot.com) and I can tell you for sure that the earrings I made in your workshop that have cane slices you graciously gave me will not be some of the "stuff" I'll get rid of. They are dear to me in a way I can't explain.

Best wishes as you turn this corner.

Patty said...

Hi,my is Patty, my english is not very good . I´m Argentine.I´m 51 years
Your work is very good it´s wonderfull
I´m reeding a very good book and I think can help you "Envolve your brain" Dr Joe Dispenza. Good luke and think positive

Art said...

I too walk the woods of New Hampshire and rush home to grab my polymer clay and tiles to express the beauty of nature that so touches my heart. I too a grandmother entering my 60's am trying to translate my feelings of life at this stage into art.

We have something the younger artists do not. We have held our grandchildren and marveled at my childen becoming a parent. We have learned from our mistakes and have developed some wisdom, albeit I have a long way to go, but perhaps knowing that is a kind of wisdom. Art helps me cut through the static of life, and express the peace and new love that can come later in life.

I so enjoyed your post! Thank you. Hope we meet someday.
Joann DeCosta
work at Artistic Roots
Plymouth, NH

Carol Morrissey said...

Kathleen,
No, art isn't just stuff and I know you don't have to be told that to know it in your heart. And the fact that we sell our art--well, artists have to eat and pay the mortgage, too, so it's okay! When I look at a piece that I have purchased from another artist, I am happy. I hope that someone who owns one my pieces has that same feeling when they look at it. Maybe you are questioning the "meaning of it all" because of your commercial success and the demands that are put upon you, which puts a different spin on the production of your art. People warned me when I started my business that I wouldn't have time to do the art that I wanted, because I would be too busy with the business side. They were right, but I re-prioritized, took a break from traveling and teaching for a while, and made some art for myself. And this affirms what you said, "Make it personal." That's what keeps it from being "stuff."
Best regards,
Carol Morrissey

Susan Turney said...

Maybe you're thinking too much! Let yourself create whatever makes you happy while doing it and think about where it came from afterwards!
Your work is so awe-inspiring it would be a shame to let "thinking" de-rail your journey.

Diane D. said...

Kathleen, don't you know that your "stuff" makes people soooo happy. That your "stuff" is paying homage to what God created. Your depiction of nature at it's best gives me such joy. You have been given a talent. Do not second guess that. You create beauty. I am 59 too and I create all the time in my studio, my garden and my cooking. Creating is what life is all about. We all question ourselves at times. Especially after an episode that effects our health. That is normal. You mentioned a daughter, look at her and see your greatest creation. So create, it is definitely what you were meant to do and we will continue to smile when we see your creations.
DianeD

Elvira said...

PLease Kathleen continue making art, you are an exceptional person, I don´t know you personaly but you are an inspiration for my and for my students here in Spain..For us you represents the spirit of the poetry in the beauty, I don´t how do you get it but you do it, your way of beauty is simply spiritual, thanks for being there.
Elvira López del Prado

韋于倫成 said...

君子立恆志,小人恆立志。 ....................................................

Sunnisan said...

Hi, kathleen. My name is sunni bergeron and i have admired your work for several years. As a polymer clay artisan, i find your work inspiring because i can feel the "heart" in your work, not just admire the skill in the creation of each piece.

At 60, i understand completely your current dilemma. I, too, am wondering if it is all "just stuff." then i look at the joy, the amazement and the happiness our artwork gives others and i realize that it may be just stuff to me, but it touches someone else in important ways i can never predict.

It sounds to me like you are at a creative standstill, one of those most important static times in our creative lives. I have found these times when i'm adrift to be the most important moments to grab. To let go. To stop thinking or designing and just play. Just pick up the clay and moosh it. Play with it with nothing in mind. To draw random lines on paper, to step back from the rush of life and just pull back into the studio and doodle. Revisit paints, techniques i haven't explored in a long time, thumb through my book of ideas or my morgue of pictures and finally make some of those notes and diagrams into something. Emulate the work of another artisan who inspires me and put my own twist on it.

This is a time to not worry about where you go from here. If death is an issue you wish to explore and convert into a sculpture, that will come out through your fingers. Dark colors, somber and rubenesque faces, angels or whatever comes to you that makes death seem more alive for you. Explore the wide variety of ancestor celebrations found throughout the world. Perhaps explore how death could actually be a rebirth of some kind. Just realize, please, that death is not necessarily the next step for you or me. We are of an age where we pause in our lives and look around, realize our own mortality and question our own importance on the wheel of life. It is a time where dallying over a long cup of coffee or tea on the porch is actually an important part of our day. Mulling, reviewing and re-evaluating ourselves, questioning the worth of it all, is a normal part of cronehood and a very important step in our growth.

So know you are fine. Life is good and you are on the right path even though you may feel adrift. Just ride the tide and relax into it. Accepting the confusion and knowing it will work itself out will help you turn to your studio as a playground and your chrysallis. When the time is right, you will once again take wing and be even more amazing than you have ever been. And know you are loved by many, many people – those you both know and don’t know – and that you are important to their well-being in ways you can never imagine.

m.e. said...

now I realize why I so admire your work .Yes ,you do have AWESOME technical skills.
But,you have thus far succeeded in making your "work personal"
No matter the medium ,it is the heart and soul the artist adds that makes just "stuff" become ART
I admire stuff for brief moments in time But, art affects my own heart and soul indefinitely.
From those of us who feel compelled to create and hope to create Art,
Thank you for reminding us the path we have chosen is not an easy one . This post is an wonderful source of inspiration !
m.e. :)

Susannah said...

Dear Kathleen,
I see you have quite a few responses here and they are valid. I, too, learned something over the years. First that there are going to be dry periods when I have no output, no inspiration, no spark. It use to bother me quite a bit. Then, by chance, a wise woman said to me something that has changed my life. I will try to share it with you, but it is not a quote.

Every human has stages they go through, like infancy, toddler, and on up. We 'adults' tend to think we are grown or finished when we enter into our early 20s and all we are doing after that is acquiring experiences but that is far from the truth. We never become grown and just as a child eats more before every physical growth spur we adults take a pause before every change in ourselves. This happens about every 7 to 10 years in adults. These pauses are a regeneration period. It is normal that we are searching for the question to guide our restlessness. I now call these periods restorations and think of them as times when I am alone in communicating with the muse that guides me. I intentionally set out to enjoy these times and I make every effort to do something I have not done in the past. Not creating, but experiencing. For instance, I have never had a professional facial so I've begun making a schedule at a small skin care salon that just opened near me. I also go for idle walks along different busy city streets, sit in the park and watch the people passing by or have a cup of coffee on a sidewalk cafe, or watch the night sky. All things quiet and reflective work best for me.

In Feb of this year, as I was passing by some store, there in the window was a woman teaching some children origami, a medium which has never interested me. But, perhaps because it was cold and snow was drifting down, I was drawn to observe. In the amount of time I stood there I was rekindled. Now my husband says I once again have more ideas than I will ever be able to accomplish. I was patient and I was restored but best of all, I knew all along that was exactly what was happening so I never despaired.

Marike Tansey said...

hi kathleen,
i am sure your struggle is real.if you don't think you have a signature you are the only one. as i search thew polymere daily's archives, which i am steadfastly do every night as my husband is watching tv i never have to look at who made a piece by you. your art is so distinctive it jumps off the page.
i spent 20 years as a very finacialy successful folk artist and 2 years ago i hit a wall and stopped painting all together. now i have found polymere and i fell reborn. i can't give you and advice but i can tell you that you blew me away at the course i took from you at Kim's last month. since then i have watch every video i can find and bought every tutorial i can get my hands on.
so, thank you so much for reawakening me and i know i am not ready for this years master class but i will see you next year at kim's and i will be at one on our master classes soon.
thank you, marijke

Carolynsclaycreations.com said...

It is time to turn the page, begin a new chapter in your life. The "end of your reproductive years" is a new beginning. Mine ended early but the change in me has been for the better, enbrace every moment, create with great joy, sometimes just for the fun of it! You my dear are a gift to the world.
Thank you for sharing you art with all of us.

Claire Maunsell said...

Thank you for your honesty. It is rare to find a mature artist who can candidly express these everpresent (if we are honest with ourselves...) doubts and worries.

I have been in the craft world since 1985, first a 18 year career in glass, now tentatively finding my way in polymer.

The 4 years between glass and finding polymer as a medium were exceedingly difficult - it is as though my hands were not available to me as a means of expression, because as an artist/craftsperson, my work is one of the biggest ways I communicate with the world. This diminished me greatly and made me quite depressed. From this I realized that, for me at least, my hands instruct and inform my artistic brain and if that connection is lost, I die a little!(I hear my hated design teacher in my head saying over and over 'more material exploration!')

I really feel that if you wish to explore the theme of death, your hands will lead you to it - in time, or at the right time for you. Your professor was right, I think, you do have to keep it personal, but I would also add that it can't be self-consciously personal as that often erodes the intent, the emotion or the gesture in the piece.

I don't know if I am making sense to you, but being nearly 55 I have found that the doubts are inevitable and cyclical. So, I trust my hands and my brain follows. Simplistic, perhaps - but I think my hands need the work to preserve my sanity!

To clarify for yourself, you can get off your 'train on a track' career. (Easier said than done, I know..) Take 6 months, a year... Then you will know if the 'stuff' is important to you anymore. And by the way, it will always be important to other people, but I think you know that.

Best of luck and thank you for the images (I've never seen your work in the flesh).

ASTID said...

Dear Kathleen,
Your work is some of the most beautiful and inspiring out there for new and aspiring artists to gaze upon. There are many of us over 50 who are asking, "What next?" I recently retired after working for 31 years, the last 23 of that teaching high school. While I relish in the freedom, I miss the sense of having a good purpose. One sure thing I've learned in life, we are happier serving others than living for ourselves. Polymer clay is such a wonderful medium and I love working with it. When I'm making something for someone else, inspired by desire to bring them delight, that's when the work goes the best. Perhaps you are in a season of rest and renewal just now. The beauty and creativity of your work brings such delight and joy and blesses many a creative soul. You will be in my thoughts and prayers.
ASTID

Amanda said...

My immediate response to your post is this, 'its not at all about the 'stuff' but about the people you have met/influenced/encouraged/inspired along the way.'.

In essence it does not matter what you make or where your inspiration comes from, only that you continue to make and create and respond. Its all about people in the end and from the very short time that I've been inspired by you I can say that people have been very much encouraged and have had their breathe taken away over and over.

What we focus on at the core of our art is the most important thing.

(http://blogs.oddsocks.net/ahunt - this will link to my old blog which is the reason I've added this here).

Christine Damm said...

Whenever I begin to question why I am compelled to create or to second-guess myself, I remind myself of this quote by Martha Graham which I found on a friend's blog: "There is a force, an energy, a quickness, that is translated through you into action. If you block it, the world will not have it. You do not have to believe in yourself or your work. It is not your business to compare yourself with others. It is your business to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you, to keep the channel open."

Its All About Creating said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Its All About Creating said...

I deleted my comment because I felt, "Who am I to add anything among these artists." As I walked away I envisioned my next polymer series. So strange. My comment was that Thomas Merton said, "Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time." You referenced vanity and making stuff, but didn't balance it with your gift of touching people's souls. So, reflect, write, share and your next series will evolve. Your posting today has helped me in my own reflection of the past 62 years of my life. Thank you.

Caren said...

Kathleen, when I took your workshop last year in Albuquerque, we took turns standing up and introducing ourselves. When it was my turn, I stated that I wanted to thank you for bringing polymer clay to a higher level, and thank you for sharing your techniques. Everyone clapped, and I am not one who normally garners applause! But that room full of people knew exactly what I was talking about.

You have no idea how many times I have felt lonely, desolate, and in need of inspiration, and I have gone to your web page to see your work. It always helps me. And I suspect there are others who know exactly what I am talking about.

dlakotaqh said...

Dear Kathleen,

Thank you for sharing. No advice here but one observation. Those of us who care about you will support you, no matter what you do. Thank you also for touching my life with your "stuff" and the technical skills I learned at one of your workshops.

dlakotaqh said...

Dear Kathleen,

Thank you for sharing. No advice here but one observation. Those of us who care about you will support you, no matter what you do. Thank you also for touching my life with your "stuff" and the technical skills I learned at one of your workshops.

Nancy Nearing said...

Kathleen, I've taken several classes from you, and I always come away recharged - not just by the techniques that you teach, but by the wonder you express when you're talking about something you've found, or the creativity you show in pushing the boundaries of your own work. After reading your post, I wonder if you don't need just the kind of recharging that you've given so many of us in the past - and I so wish I could give some of it back. I agree with all of the posters who talked about how your work brings them joy - I cherish the necklace I bought from you and always find something new when I look at it.

Here's hoping that something or someone crosses your path to energize you the way you have energized us!

Michelle said...

Dear Kathleen
I hope this post isn't redundant I could not take much time to read what the others that wrote before me very thoroughly.
I am in my 50's and struggling as an artist as well. What I am struggling with is how to get my thoughts across in this new medium (for me that is) of Polymer clay. I know I'll get over this phase in my development as long as I keep at it.
I've done many things artistically in my life including costume design for Dance and Theater.
I learned a valuable lesson once as a costume designer when I designed some Mexican Fokloric Costumes. Now the design for these is a traditional one, but I wanted to make it better. I wanted the stage to be filled with twirling white lace skirts...waves of twirling lace. It took yards and yards of fabric to make those huge skirts. But I knew I had achieved what I wanted when the audience would give a standing ovation everytime those great big skirts hit the stage and began to twirl. I never expected to have a standing ovation for a costume, but clearly thats what it was. The experience was humbling for sure.
What I realized is that I had communicated something to that audience that they loved. Was I expressing myself? yes. All I wanted to say was "here is an abundance of lovely flowing lace!"
(Simple but beautiful)
What matters is the reaction of the "audience" to your work. What does it communicate to them? Have they reacted positively or the way you would like for them to?

Your work is stunning. Judging from the comments here I don't think you have a problem communicating via this medium.

What to communicate is a problem sometimes and that is what I understand from your post. That you yearn for something new to talk about or you don't know what to talk about that's personal that you think would be appealing to others. Think about this... if you find something you want to say to the world or even to just one person then it becomes personal no matter what it is...because it's your own communication, your thought your viewpoint.
Will others like it or get it?
You can't worry about that because you never know until it's done and they see it.

This time in our lives is a funny one ( our 50's). I keep thinking about the women in my family that are gone and what I would have loved to have known about them.
(We don't have many family stories).
I think about my grandchildren and what I want them to know about me when I'm gone. It's not the same as thinking about death. It's more like passing on one's life and spirit to future generations.
Perhaps you can find some inspiration there, something you want future generations to know, something you want to say to them about what you see, think about or love.

Hope this helps you because you are a fabulous Artist and I can't wait to see what comes from you next.

By the way... about "stuff"

So many of the great works of art by the Masters that sit in the world's museums were also "stuff" once for someone's house.

Michelle

JaneBucci said...

Kathleen --
You are simply entering a new phase of your life. Change is unsettling at best, but it is a sure sign of life and growth. Don't be so tough on yourself! Everyone needs a bit of time to stop now and then, plants and even God himself, if the old testament is true!

Tin said...

your work is a great inspiration...pushing the medium, pointing to possibilities...I began my explorations in polymer clay due to you, tory, and gwen...and I have gone on to teach many, many children who have had great discoveries of their own...thank you for your creative gift to all of us

ruedubead said...

Hi Kathleen
I wish you knew just how much your work and words inspire me. I quite often wonder as I am working what would you have done and how would you have finished it.

I am envious of those who have had the opportunity to take a class with you. I would just love that opportunity so my suggestion would be to traval and teach along the way. See some amazing places and meet some amazing people and your creativity will return in buckets.

And please include Australia in your travel for the colours and the people and both your creativity and my wish will come true.

DEE said...

Kathleen...we are all to go through
'passages'....and sometimes feel
lost in transition. You are doing
us all a favor ...for sharing your
struggle.
THANK YOU.....THANK YOU
a struggling artist of 69.
dee

joanna said...

WOW, reading your post and many of the others i feel you are all kindred spirits...

MAKe what MAKEs you HaPpy and makes you smiLe, i have LOVed your work from the beginning, you have taught me from just looking at your work to really LoOK at things.

It is time for you to just pLaY in iT all and not to put words or thoughts to iT. Just have FuN.

You still have so much to grow, just because i and many others love to watch iT ALL! *G*

Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts, and your work, you are such a TReASURe!

~joanna

Ivana said...

Dear Kathleen,
I can understand how you are feeling, and belive it or not, even with almost 33 years you can feel like that.

I just wanted to let you know that even if you think it's for sale, for me your work feels like "Picasso". What you are creating is really ART and soo helpful for us!

Enjoy just every moment of your life, even the difficult ones...everything has a reason =)

Take care,
Ivana

Nan Roche said...

Hi Kathleen, I wonder why we should worry about why we make art, visual, physical or musical but I am confused about this also. What is the meaning, the importance of our traverse through this life? Is being a Maker really meaningful? What is meaningful? What is the urge behind this? Does art need to be what we know? Or is whatever we make, an exploration into finding ourselves in this wonderful but confusing world? I that enough? Is this exploration not a reflection of our own spirits by nature of "what we know?". I don't know - maybe this is a time of midlife crisis for many of us in this this age group, judging from others reflections. I find myself exploring religion and matters of the spirit right now. After my medical encounters and grief for two very important people in my life - I seem to need to contemplate these meanings to understand what happened to me, which I suspect are not really forthcoming. Maybe exploring the world through art and our own nature using whatever means, IS the point. Maybe the PROCESS of this exploration with art IS a gift we have to offer. I am thinking the best we can to is to give/share/make manifest what we can see of this world to other people, to excite, inspire, to broaden other lives. I certainly feel that when I view others art, I am often overwhelmed and spiritually moved by that vision of another mind. I will share an unlikely experience. My psychiatrist has a piece of art in her office that is a simple cereal box, drawn on and collaged, with the front cut out and a suspended pendulum. The bottom of the box has a poem about the magical qualities of the box, that is will show the viewer the real direction and meaning of life. The artist is schizophrenic. The box is beautiful and very personal and indeed filled with some kind "magic". Still, I have doubts, and it seems to be a time for me to question meanings as well. What about making art about doubt, about confusion? I don't know how or why this idea might or might not be relevant but I have learned that sometimes when I try to go toward something to "get" it, it vanishes. The words "falling away" from it makes it reappear to me. Don't know why, its just a mystery. Just some musings that your writing brought forth in me. Thank you for that. Nan

Nan Roche said...

Hi Kathleen, I wonder why we should worry about why we make art, visual, physical or musical but I am confused about this also. What is the meaning, the importance of our traverse through this life? Is being a Maker really meaningful? What is meaningful? What is the urge behind this? Does art need to be what we know? Or is whatever we make, an exploration into finding ourselves in this wonderful but confusing world? I that enough? Is this exploration not a reflection of our own spirits by nature of "what we know?". I don't know - maybe this is a time of midlife crisis for many of us in this this age group, judging from others reflections. I find myself exploring religion and matters of the spirit right now. After my medical encounters and grief for two very important people in my life - I seem to need to contemplate these meanings to understand what happened to me, which I suspect are not really forthcoming. Maybe exploring the world through art and our own nature using whatever means, IS the point. Maybe the PROCESS of this exploration with art IS a gift we have to offer. I am thinking the best we can to is to give/share/make manifest what we can see of this world to other people, to excite, inspire, to broaden other lives. I certainly feel that when I view others art, I am often overwhelmed and spiritually moved by that vision of another mind. I will share an unlikely experience. My psychiatrist has a piece of art in her office that is a simple cereal box, drawn on and collaged, with the front cut out and a suspended pendulum. The bottom of the box has a poem about the magical qualities of the box, that is will show the viewer the real direction and meaning of life. The artist is schizophrenic. The box is beautiful and very personal and indeed filled with some kind "magic". Still, I have doubts, and it seems to be a time for me to question meanings as well. What about making art about doubt, about confusion? I don't know how or why this idea might or might not be relevant but I have learned that sometimes when I try to go toward something to "get" it, it vanishes. The words "falling away" from it makes it reappear to me. Don't know why, its just a mystery. Just some musings that your writing brought forth in me. Thank you for that. Nan

Joanna said...

Hello Kathleen,
your work is fab. i think you just need some fallow time, to sit and think and be. time to nourish yourself and be kind to yourself. all creatives give themselves a hardtime. your work is really exciting. thank you.
all Good wishes,
Joanna.

Sera said...

Aaah Kathleen,

The world is made up of "JUST STUFF" - and yours, without a doubt, enriches our world in so many ways.
Your doubts and mental challenges are what make you the artist you truly are.
Thankyou for sharing your thoughts that clearly resonate with so many.
Regards,
Sx

韋于倫成 said...

Great minds think alike...................................................

David said...

You are the hardest-working and nicest person I know. I like the 'stuff' that you make and so do a lot of other artistic people around the world. Put the dogs on your lap, take some good naps in the sun, enjoy being a grandmother and you will think of more good things to make that reflect your feelings and inspire others.

彥安彥安 said...

Judge not a book by its cover.......................................................

欣怡 said...

Better late than never...................................................

AZ Dobe Rescue said...

Oh what good it does me to hear you! YOU, of nearly all people! Here I am, at 64, a beginning in polymer, longing to be anywhere near your level of competence and creative vision, and sharing exactly the same terrifying fear of "now what?"!

How else, I wonder, do you see yourself as a person, a woman, a participant in our time and world? You are a mother, a grandmother, a feminine female, a woman, a mammal, profoundly a part of and aware of her natural habitat.

How do you respond to the BP crisis? As a healer? A voice of irony? A voice of rage or grief? How do you envision the world your grandchild will inhabit? Who are you in relationship with others -- so many possibilities. What are your thoughts? What have you learned that you would most like to share with those you love? Who do you love? Do you hate? Are you angry? Is there a Kali among your personalities?

Stuff? Stuff is sold at Wal-Mart. Your work is not stuff BECAUSE of all that it embodies and all that it communicates, radiates. You have connected with more people on the planet in your 30 years than most people can in their whole lives. You have blazed trails, held the lamp, touched hearts and souls. Stuff? I don't think so.

How do you put your work out there? Are there other ways to explore? Other audiences? Do you teach outside your comfort zone? What do you say to the inner city child who doesn't know that beef comes from cattle or seeds come from pods? Is there monumental art--or micromonumental art--in your future? Are there gifts to modest public schools? I am not presuming to dictate, and I'm certainly not preaching. What I hope is that I can hit on one pregnant thought that might be of use to you.

Meanwhile, be well. Know that you are loved and held in the arms of thousands as you are being born.

sdas said...

我在戀愛著?--------是的,因為我在等待著..................................................

rodriguezp said...

河水永遠是相同的,可是每一剎那又都是新的。..................................................

家瑋 said...

你不能改變容貌~~但你可以展現笑容..................................................................

胡虹 said...

玩遊戲玩到累,還是逛逛文章休閒一下!!輕鬆自在最舒服~~.................................................................

LesW_Saulsbu信豪 said...

閒來無聊逛逛blog~~跟您打聲招呼~~.................................................................

Diane Neuman said...

I would suggest that feeling artistically lost, confused and questioning is simply the wiping clean of the slate by the brain (and perhaps the spirit). Old, familiar comfortable (and perhaps successful) patterns can clog the creative channel, the creative flow for something new and exciting and challenging. It is easy as duty-bound women to feel we must have a clear, well-organized and efficient Plan. Artistic inspiration does not, cannot, fit into that Plan. It flies on invisible wings and appears only when it is ready. I'm 75 and a lung cancer survivor and I finally understand that some of us are blessed with having disruptive artist souls. Perhaps bank tellers are less disquieted but who would trade?

文辰文辰 said...

與人相處不妨多用眼睛說話,多用嘴巴思考,....................................................................

冠慧 said...

人不能像動物一樣活著,而應該追求知識和美德............................................................

吳婷婷 said...

加油-不論如何都支持你..................................................

芸茂芸茂 said...

一個人的快樂,不是因為他擁有的多,而是他計較的少。..................................................

吳婷婷 said...

快樂與滿足的秘訣,就在全心全意投注於現在的每一分,每一秒上..................................................

郁如郁如 said...

鞋匠能作好鞋子,因為他只做鞋,不做別的。.......................................................

楊儀卉 said...

生活總是起起伏伏,心情要保持快樂才好哦!!..................................................................

陳璇竹陳璇竹 said...

期待新的內容 感謝你............................................................

淑娟淑娟淑娟 said...

人生中最好的禮物就是屬於自己的一部份............................................................

趙喜柯凡豐妤 said...

人生中最好的禮物就是屬於自己的一部份..................................................

Eva Maria Keiser said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Eva Maria Keiser said...

Touching words inviting comtemplation and honoring wisdom. Thank you!

judy said...

i read everything here with interest and perhaps some personal insights. i am 74, and 4 years ago i became blind in one eye with only partial vision left in the other. it was certainly a time for a shift 'in vision'. i have been making my living as an artist for nearly 40 years. bronze sculpture, metalsmithing jewelry and now polyclay sculpture. as single woman and single mother, i frequently had to make adjustments and concessions to both support my life and my passion to continue my work. it wasnt always museum quality, but i always felt that it was well made, well designed and always very personal. personal because all my art is from my heart. it is my life. if i am true to myself, i am also true to my art. through this journey several signature "lines" 'appeared'. some more and some less exciting. none has been as personal as my early bronze sculpture, but i wouldnt go back to that emotional period of agnst. what i found was that as i kept working, i was also evolving on all levels. i found could create things which made me and my clients happy. i have not reached the international acclaim which you have. i also do not feel that any thing has been wasted or devalued by not strongly pursuing this path. i make "stuff". everything that exists is stuff..some beautiful and lasting through the ages, some only collecting dust somewhere. not all of even the great master's works are the highest art. last nite i met a woman who told me, with a real smile, that she still has a pair of earring which i made in 1979. i know that these arent high art. i was just teaching myself metalsmiting, but apparantly i brought her some pleasure, some memories, and some joy for myself....then and now. you are so talented. give yourself time and the next phase will definitely appear. you really dont have to compete with your self, your accomplishments, or your fan club. [of which i am a founding member]..of course you know all this. just had to add my two cents. i wish you continuing happiness and success. life becomes increasingly satisfying as time becomes more precious. i dont believe that creativity ever goes away. it just needs a vacation to recreate itself. thanks for your spectacular contributions to the art world.

Arlene said...

It is the "stuff" that enriches our lives and leaves us renewed, whether it is the "stuff" we see in nature, or the "stuff" us artists create. Without the visual beauty, our lives would be drab and colorless.

The meaning for us as artists is in the process, not the finished product. It is in the creation; the bringing forth of something unique and new. The meaning for those who view or own our pieces is in their enjoyment of owning something both meaningful and beautiful. Pleasure is not a bad thing.

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