Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Strange Art

We artists are driven towards personal lives nourished in these strange techniques of self-pursuit.

Lawrence Durrell
YEEESH. I see I'm having to address the subject of my last entry. "It can always be better" does not mean that it isn't good. It does NOT mean that you have to sweat and struggle to climb Mount Everest or run a Marathon. And it does NOT mean that you can't settle for good enough. I cite the example of myself in the recording studio. I wouldn't have been there in the first place if I wasn't good enough. I merely took the opportunity to try to make it better by fixing a little thing here and a little thing there. Faulkner said "Try to be better than yourself."
He didn't say you must be better or you ought to be. He merely said "try." If a thing isn't perfect, and it never is, then it can always be better. If you do a thing well then it's good. If you have the chance to make it better, take it. If you don't then so what it's still good. I hope that better explains what I mean to say. Now let me talk about my painting.
I used to practice what is sometimes called "Mail Art." At first I just took blank index cards. On one side I would address it and write a note and on the other side I drew an original picture, sometimes it was a scene, sometimes just an abstract design, stamp it and mail it.

Then I found a pad of post card size water color paper and with very thin acrylic paint, which is magical stuff, I would paint a picture and mail that.

Another time I took a regular white envelope, opened it up and used it as a pattern to cut out on interesting colored paper on which I would paint designes, then fold it up and glued it back into the shape of an envelope and mail that with a letter inside.

I finally realized that, with a few exceptions where people actually framed things and displayed them on a table or book shelf, most of those items ended up in the trash. Someone might look at it, say "Hmm" and toss it.

It's okay. They were just simple ways of saying "Hello" in a personal manner beyond words.

I've just had a rare experience with one of my paintings. The local artists organization, of which I am a member recently held an exhibit of members' works. We were told that the pieces had to be framed and/or wired so that they could be easily hung. I have a litter of paintings which I love, some better than others, but very few of them are framed. Two of them are hanging in the gallery where no one ever comes. Another one I had planned for a different exhibit. I wasn't particularly fond of the few remaining pieces. I finally chose a small painting I had done years ago. I didn't know if it was even any good. No one had ever seen it before so I had no comments about it to go on. It was the runt of the litter. But I took it over there and entered it in the exhibit. When I went to the opening reception, there it was hanging bravely with many other larger pieces.

The exhibit lasted for about a seek and was open to the public every day. When the exhibit had ended and the day came to pick up the picture I saw it furtively leaning against the wall, tucked between other pictures that hadn't been picked up yet. I picked it up and took it home. As I held it in my hands it slowly began to take on a different character. It had made its debut, it had been seen by total strangers, to whatever degree it had expressed itself, it had projected itself into the world, it had a history. The runt had grown up a little. It has its own life.

Now I cherish it. It is displayed here now and not sitting in a canvas bag in the corner. I have had other paintings on exhibit but they were works I proudly put up. I don't know if this one will ever be shown again, but it sure has had its day and has won my heart.

DB - The Vagabond


Rose said...

Your "Mail Art" sounds so interesting and unique! You have many, many talents! Kudos!

Mail Art sounds like something I would like to try.


Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

The little painting that did :o)

Lori said...

I love that story of your little painting! I'm so glad it had its day. My artist sister still send me original drawings on post cards or in letters. You two sound a bit alike. I cherish each and every one. I'll put them up somewhere to be seen for a while, and then I'll put them in a box or in a scrapbook so that I can take them out to enjoy them later.