'In my craft or sullen art ...'
Ideally, that safe harbor would be Nawiliwili on Kauai, but when that ain’t possible (like now), I go elsewhere to get away. That ‘elsewhere’ manifests itself by my finding my brushes and my acrylics and turning my hand to creating a painting.
I don’t know if I’m very good, but what’s more important, is I don’t care if I’m very good. The moment I begin to care, then the freedom is gone and the ego becomes involved, and then the process is doomed to become another source of rigor in my life.
Don’t get the impression from this that I dislike writing. I cherish it, and I cherish whatever skills in that regard I was given. I’ve been doing this thing for over 30 years and have always earned some sort of living at it, so I suppose my work is decent enough. Frankly, I think I am well more than ‘decent’ at it, or I wouldn’t be inspired to persevere.
But, with art it is different. If somebody comes into the house and likes a painting that I’ve done, I’m delighted. Of course, that person doesn’t see the flaws that are glaringly obvious to me. Yet, at the same time, I really don’t give a damn about the flaws because this is purely hobby, doing what a hobby is meant to do. The second a hobby becomes an avocation, it moves into a different realm.
Actually, I’ve been involved in the visual arts for longer than I’ve been writing. I began to draw before kindergarten, and I continued throughout school with cartoons. I cartooned avidly well into adulthood, and even middle age. Some of them aren’t bad. Some of them are quite good. Some of them are funny. Some of them are dirty (but ‘funny’ dirty). I even had an exhibition back in the 1980s. Actually, I should get a few made into jpgs so I could share them here.
My first newspaper job was as an editorial cartoonist. It was a challenging task.
That killed my love of cartooning, you see. A hobby became work, and it lost much of its charm.
So, sporadically, beginning about 20 years ago, I started painting. I’d do it. Then I’d leave it off. Life would intervene. Sometimes not the most charming aspects of life. But, for the past two or three years, painting has been a bit of a continuum. I still like it.
The painting (just completed) is a scene of a dramatic canyon near Crater Lake, Oregon. I probably don’t capture the vista as magnificently as it looks in the raw. But, what the hell? I enjoyed doing it.
Labels: Cavern in a canyon