Monday, June 28, 2010

Art Wars

Creation goes through its ebbs and flows. I like to think of the time when creation slows as a time of filling the well so that future work may be replenished. I believe that being creative means keeping a commitment to create, a disciplined approach that maintains a regular contact with the work you are creating. I don't subscribed to the notion that an artist is someone who waits for inspiration to strike and then fills the canvas with that inspiration. Rather, I find that inspiration comes out of working every day, in my case, drawing, especially when you don't feel particularly inspired at all. The common notion of inspiration is related to the mystification of artists, perhaps by themselves, where the artist is seen as some sort of magically endowed human who can do what no ordinary human can do. I think that any of the artistic avenues of creation are completely accessible to anyone who cares to spend the time needed to develop the skills related to the art form they are interested in. To be sure, there seems to be a range of aptitude whereby initially, one person may pick up the techniques of this or that art more quickly or with more ease than another, but experience shows me that the race goes not to the swiftest but to those committed to the long haul. The fact that genius exists does not mean that only genius should be considered worthwhile. While few of us will ever be like Mike, we can all learn to play the game and enjoy it for its own merits. Recently I have been in one of those chop wood, carry water times, not feeling particularly inspired in my drawing and I came across Art Wars, a website that offers periodically running contests for artists as a way to generate inspiration among other things. I entered the piece posted here as entry for the "Eyes" contest. Just like doing this blog every week has been a great boost for me artistically, I think entering in art contests such as Art Wars will be a boon to me as well.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Cherry Picking

İt's cherry season here in Turkey and one of the yearly traditions in our family here is to meet in one of my wife's family cherry orchards and spend the afternoon with family picking cherries, eating some of the pickings and other delicious foods. We just came back from an afternoon of that so if you are in the neighborhood, you are welcome to come a get some of the cherries that are overflowing from our fridge. Sinan had a great time playing with one of his cousins and hated having to leave. After being cooped up in the big city, getting out into the country is such a treat. The rain has been generous around here and the fields around my wife's village are golden with grain and green with knee-high sunflowers. And of, course the cherry trees are heavy with fruit. An interesting aside about the area where the village is, it became the homeland of a group of Celts who left Southern France to be auxiliaries for the Roman legions nearly 2000 years ago. There is one hill İ have visited overlooking her village topped with a field of rocks that looks like it could have been part of some ancient fort. İ hope you avail yourselves to the opportunity of seeing such things and more when you pay me a visit.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Dancing Days

When I was four or so, I visited my cousin Todd on a family night once when he was attending a Boy Scout summer camp. During that experience, I was dazzled by some dancers in Native American regalia performing in the fire-lit night. I made a promise that one day I would do likewise. Years later I joined a Boy Scout group for those interested in Native American dancing. We made costumes, learned dances, performed in shopping malls and went to powwows through my middle school and high school years. Years later, when I was living in Portland, OR I made another dance outfit, one that I had been planning and collecting supplies for since I started dancing. I spend 6 months or so putting it all together and danced in it at a local powwow. This process ultimately led me to getting into drawing. In addition, the whole process taught me a lot about following through on your dreams. The photo here was taken shortly after I had finished making the outfit.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Giving Up and Letting go...

Today İ found something that İ had long ago assumed İ had lost. İt amused me to find this thing as it was where it should have been and it must have been staring me in the face all this time. İ must admit that my belief that it was gone seems to have kept me from seeing it all along. İt was a reminder of how powerful belief is, how it can keep us from seeing what is right before our eyes and similarly, how it informs what we do see. This little experience made me wonder about how my beliefs affect my perceptions. İt seems that only when something unexpected comes along and rattles us a bit can we get a reminder that our beliefs are at best the map, not the territory. Plato's cave metaphor comes to mind. İ welcome learning of any similar experiences you have had along these lines. What was the last thing that made you question a belief?