War with my Art

I was talking with my mastermind team and the phrase “at war with my art” came from me. I thought that was a usual statement. I promised them I would explore it more. Here is the exploration.

My first thought was to decide, for me, what being at war meant. When I hear the words “at war” what do I think of. The first thing that comes to mind is that all lines of communications have broken down, that neither parties are willing to compromise, that the are insurmountable differences between the warring parties. I also think of “Take no prisoners” and “Death before surrender”. There is no honor in war but there is glory. Or maybe it might be the reverse – no glory but there is honor. I don’t know but both statements make me sad for us as a race. I also think of the futility of war. In the end it only causes more violence and hate and anger.

I don’t believe in insurmountable differences. I do believe that there are some times when no one is willing to give anything else. That no one is willing to compromise. That people can feel so backed into a corner that the only thing that feel they can do is come out swinging. Everybody loses. Funny how it is heard that there are no winners in war, yet we as a race are very eager to have one.
How does that apply to my art? How can I be at war with it? What does that mean?

The lines of communication have broken down between my art and me. Well, that is true. I no longer enjoy being with it. I don’t enjoy talking about it. I don’t play with it, explore it, invite it over to dinner and have tea with it. What is communication for me in regards to my art? Communication – communion. Communion with my art means being at one with it. I don’t have to think about what I’m doing or where I’m going, it just flows. It just is. It has been awhile since that has happened but I am relearning that again. I am finding my way back to that place of “no time” where it is just me the paper and the IDEA. The lines of communication have been jammed, if not broken, for a little while between me and my art. But the lineman are out are they are busy repairing the damage.

I am very certain that I am unwilling to compromise with my art. I have completely stopped allowing the process to lead. I have an image in my head of what the picture needs to look like. If it doesn’t, it is a complete and miserable failure. No comprise. No deviation. Just what I think it should be or nothing. Wow, when did I become so rigid with myself. I have always been hardest on myself and my work but I can’t remember when it become so stiff and hard and, well, uncompromising. When did I lose sight of the fun and the exploration and the joy of it? When did I lose that connection, that communion, to that part of me that loved the process? Where did the child go who justed loved to draw?

Are my differences with my art insurmountable? I sure hope not!

“Take no prisoners”. That certainly doesn’t apply in this case. I take prisoners all the time. Everyday! When ever I see something that I want to capture on canvas, when ever I take a picture for a future painting, when ever I have an idea that dies within me, unmade, unvoiced, never to be mourned with its passing, any time that happens I take prisoners. I have many of them. They wander around the prison camp in my mind, occasionally rattling the fence and screaming to be let out, kicking at the dirt and cursing the jailers. Maybe I should send in the Red Cross workers with relief packages and sympathy? Maybe I should just let them all go? That scares me. I have such resistance to it. “If I let them go where will I get my ideas?” Like there are a finite amount of ideas in the universe, like I will never see another flower against a stone or light playing in the tress that I must capture. How ridiculous! Let them go and let them find their way to other artists who will take them in, love them, cloth them feed them and give them back to the world. Just let them go. There will always be another idea.

“Death before surrender” Well! I’m certainly dying here, me and my art. So how do I surrender to it? Stop trying so hard. Stop forcing it to be what it may not be. Just stop. Go back to doing the art for the joy of it. Stop caring what it looks like and starting caring what it feels like to me. Stop looking over my shoulder for someone to tell me it’s good, or bad, or the wrong color or the right combination. Just stop and breathe and look and play again. Just surrender to the joy of it and the beauty of it and the place of “no time” where it’s just me, the paper, the idea and Spirit.

In love and light

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