End of Year Contemplations 2011

In one more day, we shall be bidding adieu to 2011. For me, the first day of this year began with art, as is my tradition, and the rest of the year offered many an opportunity to show work, to write, to make both commissions and anything else that my imagination led me to make. I spend these final days of the year in contemplation of my motives for making art. I tend to revisit this sort of question because I have always thought that it would be foolish and useless to do anything without knowing why. I am quite aware, of course, that there is a bit of mystery in the creation of a work of art; sometimes results are accidentally better than planned, sometimes a daydream can lead to a marvelous piece. My first serious oil painting was something I did quite out of the blue, after all; the whim of a summer's day led to a much more defined sense of purpose and self-awareness [above, a self-portrait from 2007] and a strong vocation. Even so, art can play a powerful role in society, and one must not wield it selfishly or thoughtlessly.

Why do I make art? Why do other artists make art? I personally am a reserved character, an observer, analytical, academic, sometimes a bit of a loner, and it is possible that I keep the bulk of whatever depth I posses to myself. . . but I care about humanity, very much, about creativity, about exploring possibilities and encouraging others to embrace possibility, wisdom, beauty-- it is only sensible to know life and to live as well and as fully as possible. In 2008, I wanted to explore the concept of creation, stand in awe at the cosmos, and illustrate my findings, whether they were about the life I knew in a small room in a small town or elsewhere. In 2009, in Montreal, and the time immediately following my move back to Huntsville, I wanted to make sure that making art did not slip out of my life, at any time, regardless of circumstances. When I first began this blog in 2010, I was particularly interested in depicting "internal realities". My work is still very much about "internal realities", but it has also continued to grow into more specific roles regarding learning, discovering, understanding or shaping culture. . . and I have considered deeply what it means to be genuine, to be human, to encourage thought.
I have a few plans and assumptions regarding where 2012 will take me and my work, but I will not rule out the possibility of many surprises along the way. Happy New Year to all!


Jamie Hoffman said...

Such a noble endeavor! As a parent of small children I often feel swamped by their selfishness and have to fight continuously to stay focused on the bigger picture. Like you, I care deeply about humanity, but how can I, in all practicality, contribute to the good of all? I leave that to you. You are very correct: your art stimulates deep thought, as does your writing, as do your verbal expressions (including our conversations). I am envious of your talent, but you are also a great asset to the world at large, and that is very special indeed. I can't wait to see what you create in 2012. Happy New Year!

Christina Wegman said...

You wouldn't believe how hard it is for me to write anything these days! I have been trying to write a book for years now and cannot seem to concentrate on what I am doing. . . I would like to fix that this year. This blog is a great exercise in writing. . . but the fact that I am trying to keep things short and browser-friendly IS quite a challenge. When it comes to the written word, I heavily favor elaborations and flourishes. :-)

At any rate, we have to keep trying, each in our own way, eh? Perhaps it is simply asking the questions in the first place, placing care and deliberation in our actions, that can make all the difference. The way you raise your children and the strength of character you possess, for instance, remains inspirational to me, and I am certain to others. Perhaps in the New Year, your dedication to knitting or writing or to taking care of your family or sharing your interests with others will develop in unexpectedly wonderful ways-- I will be cheering for you! All the best!

gmaya said...

Very expressive personality in all dimensions!