Beauty happens unexpectedly, but it comes out of a practice of attention and humility. And beauty is always a surprise. You can’t go expecting beauty. It comes from tilling those fields. It comes from practicing that practice, staying in the place. Because it is a deep thing. It comes out of a tilth. It comes out of a depth. It comes out of remembering something far away in the past about a dog. It is unexpected and coiled up in us. And those little connections that the artist offers can sometimes invite beauty into the world because they are part of that practice. They are part of making those little nexus points. Beauty is surprise that is latent in the world. It takes imagination to catalyze it, but it is not something that we can control or demand. It invites us. That is why those little Japanese Raku pots are really beautiful. Great skill, great learning, and tradition, and then the artist hopes and prays for the accident that will make it beautiful. How do you attend the calling without getting in the way? God blowing through your horn. It sounds a certain way, but you don’t want to focus on the horn, you want to focus on the tune. A lot of artists, myself included, have a tendency to polish the horn rather than play the tune. My work goes in and out of connection to the degree that I manipulate it. Rather than attend it. For me, beauty is something in and of itself……Tom Jay
this struggle to return again and again to one’s potential that may seem like no potential at all is a reminder that it’s supposed to be this way…..it is part of our unraveling…unhusking the tough outer shell to reveal the many shades of us still undefined…..there’s nothing surprising about discomfort, but the surprise comes when the discomfort offers little gifts of inspiration one colorful bow at a time….
Until I get wherever it is I am going, I want to nurture those corners of my psyche and soul that are peaceful and beautiful. I want my work to arise out of those places. I want my life to flow out of those places. It is surprisingly difficult to do that. It requires a confrontation with myself, a discipline over myself. When I sit down to paint, a thousand distractions beckon- unreturned phone calls, unpaid bills, unreconciled bank statements, dirty dishes, etc. However satisfying it is to complete a painting that comes out of that place of peace and beauty, that expresses my feelings about wild places and wild things, disappointment and discouragement are the more common outcome. In a strange way, it is more comfortable to do our bookkeeping. The process of making art is a process of confronting oneself, one’s lack of talent, one’s lack of confidence. It is what Robert Henri called ‘the magnificent struggle’ in his excellent book ‘The Art Spirit.’ In some ways it is like meditation. Art involves a confrontation with oneself that can be surprisingly uncomfortable……Roderick MacIver
To surrender control. To let go of all what we suppose creativity should be and to embrace what arises from within is a gift. But it is not the whole journey. What does it mean to offer what you have to the world? I used to feel that writing was not a service, but rather a selfish act. ‘I should be feeding the hungry or saving forests. Instead I am sitting here at my computer typing letters that blink on a screen.’ It was during a writing workshop led by Martin Prechtel that this belief dissolved. Martin told us that a creation of beauty made with love is an offering, a prayer that, in essence, helps create a balance in this world and the next. This shift in perception is what tipped me forward into a full embrace of living a creative life. Every creative act- a kiss, a garden, a letter, a loaf of bread- can be an offering in exchange for the gift of life and an act of love that has the power to shift the balance in a positive direction….Ann O’Shaughnessy