Archive for the ‘Musings’ Category

Charles and Dorothy Clark Art Gallery

Charles and Dorothy Clark Art Gallery

It’s a strange and interesting dream an artist has … to succeed in getting your work into a museum … only to be buried and forgotten in a sub-basement somewhere and never seen for decades. A piece of yourself stored and catalogued as an artifact unless a new craze arises that makes your work relevant for a brief time. Doesn’t this seem like a peculiar ambition?

The path to get into the museum is dictated by the whims and self-interest of the dragons at the doors of the museum. The curators who dictate “contemporary taste” and long to discover an unknown artist and tie their business and personal star to this artist.

The artist must have a “cohesive body of work” and hopefully an eccentric lifestyle to elicit interest by the media who will expose the artist to the worldwide public. Meanwhile the artist must continue to produce work to fit into that “body of work” which is being touted.

Is it best to be an egomaniac and shout to the world, “Look at ME!!” …  or to just make art and enjoy the abundance of flowers, birds, clouds , rivers, mountains that surround us all?

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Delightful guests!  How can one resist those chattering, provocative individuals who spark a room with their wit and knowledge?  So what is the problem?  They bring the pleasure of new information, company, and good cheer. Yet as they wave goodby the energy consumed keeping up with them is the exact same energy which would have been spent on a painting or other creative endeavor.  Balance is needed but how to achieve it?  Social obligations suck up the time available for thinking and the day is fractured.  Now comes the effort to get back in the creative groove.  I loved the visit, and the fresh berry pie and the smiles and hugs. Yes, they were a huge reward.  Yet now I cannot find the thread leading to a resolution of the color dilemma this set of dried palm fans poses as they sit in the corner of my studio. Is this the “right” blue for that yellow?  Perhaps I should change the yellow?  Add a bit of orange or a piercing yellow-green?  Does it really matter so much which blue goes with which yellow?  YES!  YES!  The two together will either sparkle or thud and I am the one responsible for picking the one which will sparkle.  If I hit the magic combination there will be exhilaration and a pleasant feeling of “rightness.”  If I miss that combination there will be deflation and grim determination to try again … and again … and again.  Another chance to get it right.  Thanks the Gods there are always chances.  There is randomness and there is serendipity and we need a fine mixture of the two. Now here is an interesting thing … some artists like to flit between this and that … each project adds something to the other.  If you persist in doing a project when the time is not right it is like walking across a muddy clay field … every step adds a bit of clay to the soles of  your feet until you have a heavy platform shoe and you cannot go forward.  The  lesson the artist learns, over time and trial, is to let it flow and to lessen the tight control which is so tempting.  Serendipity is splendid … let it roll over us in productive waves.

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"Can You Hear Me?" by Mary P. Williams

“Can You Hear Me?” by Mary P. Williams

How did this reversal happen?

Ten short years ago people came to my office and listened carefully as I explained the intricacies of “the real estate deal”. There was pleasure in the interaction and conversation about this subject and many others.  The most interesting thing about my job as a Real Estate Broker was listening to the clients describe their own jobs and their lives. Fascinating explanations from intelligent, innovative people who loved telling me about their visions of the future.

Sandwiched between viewing one house and another house they told me how the Internet would eliminate the use of paper. How business would be done without a face-to-face meeting of broker and client. Neither of these propositions happened. The  joy with which they described the speed with which a person could buy the home they would live in and the elimination of useless “personality” in the transaction amazed me. Was it possible that the prospective buyer could simply look at staged photos of a house and buy it from thousands of miles away? What about the intangibles of weather, neighborhood, and those stately trees which add so much to the quality of life?

As they described this future world they ambled thru a house and commented on the lack, or abundance, of light and “how the moon would look seen thru this window.” The rose garden on this property and the raked zen paths on that property were compared and aesthetic decisions were arrived at. None of this could be done at a distance.

The key ingredient in the selection of the “perfect” house for the individual was the presence of a person to listen as the client talked about their desire for this or that ambiance. That was the function of the Broker … to listen and reflect back to the person a list of “needs” and “wants”. Two very different values.  I only “need” two bedrooms/one bath but I “want” four bedrooms/two baths. Listen, listen, listen.

Then came the longed for and dreaded RETIREMENT.  My young, active, movers-and-shakers were replaced by older, settled people in communities for ‘Over 55 Adults’. People who were uninterested in current affairs, politics, and who the latest artist/writer/filmmaker was and which newly opened restaurant had divine food combinations/far-out interior design. Yikes!

Who am I to talk to and listen to now ? My preference is to have face-to-face contact which provides subtle clues … body language, intonation, and facial expression meld together to give a whole sensory experience which cannot be achieved by texting a person. Yikes indeed!!

Oh, for the chance to listen to a brilliant person scintillate in front of me. “ Spouting off” is what I believe some folks would call it … I call it “creative thinking out loud” and it was the thing which characterized San Francisco in the 1980’s, 1990’s and the early years of the 21st century. I miss the enthusiasm with which they talked, debated, visualized, shouted, muttered, sang and otherwise expressed the joy of conversation.

Can you hear Me ?

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