For the past few months I have been ingesting ideas and imagining creating a new series of paintings. I don’t want to let go of my beloved Rilke because I have so much more to learn from his writings. My practice also benefits from the contemplation and quieting associated with reading his words. And taking the poems inside so that they can find their way back out through my paintings–connecting the source to the form–has become an integral facet to my voice. All that said, I’m feeling a desire to go deeper into a concept rather than continuing across the broad spectrum of all the lessons in his writings. Intimate rather than vast. And isn’t that how we generally learn? by studying a discipline as an overview and then digging deeper into the ideas that interest us. That is what Rilke has offered me over this past year. A broad understanding and guidance to the creative process through his Letters to a Young Poet along with some great insights into how to find meaning in and navigate this life.
In Letters to a Young Poet Rilke suggests the turning off the outside critics, seeking and finding one’s authentic voice, embracing solitude, stepping away from safety–living the life of insecurity. Well, he could well say all these things given the many patrons that supported him throughout his life. I’ve found trying to be true to artistic intent is a struggle when one is attempting to fund your art practice with commercial sales. Too easily other voices creep in and start to impact what’s painted and safety is found in doing what you know how to do–and what people positively respond to. The gallery system also encourages this stagnation of “style”. Finding a way to ever be exploring what you know and what you don’t know–straddling the dread and the bliss as Rilke would say–takes concerted effort and risk. But, it is in the dark places of struggle that the new knowledge is allowed entry.
I wrote this passage on my first blog entry this year. “If we imagine our being as a room of any size, it seems that most of us know only a single corner of that room, a spot by the window, a narrow strip on which we keep walking back and forth. It gives a kind of security. But isn’t insecurity with all its dangers so much more human?
We are not prisoners of that room.”
So, I am moving forward with a new series and creating the environment and permission to dig deep. I’m taking a single writing–a writing which prompts me to be brave–to find my unique voice in the scary darkness where creativity lives–where doubt persists–where we are forced to seek that which is true to our art and disregard the rest–where we make our own worlds instead of consuming that which is set before us. I’m narrowing and defining the parameters of my seeking so that I can unearth something really special and uniquely my own. Over the next month I’ll share my struggles and progress here. I like the writing and how it helps me define the mumble jumble in my head, but also understand that my ideas are no longer my own once published.
There may not be many photos to share. I think I’ll keep the new paintings to myself until I have the opportunity to exhibit them as a group. I do believe that I will continue with my Rilke inspired landscapes while working through these new ideas, so quite possibly something new will reveal itself in those paintings as well. So, here’s to putting aside the horizon–that grounding line that exists outside us and which makes us feel safe–and looking inward. And, as Carl Jung said “Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.”