Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Daily Practice 251/365

Title: "Low pressure descending"
(click image to view larger)
It was actually very pleasant this morning when I noticed the angles of the skylight in the kitchen. I thought of making an image, got distracted by cats and thoughts of breakfast and it was while I was sitting on the studio porch having breakfast that I remembered and came back in to make this image. As the day progressed, clouds rolled in and while I was working on this image it was pouring rain. All of which influenced how I decided to interpret the "negative", to create this image which is more reflective of how the day developed. And as I wrote that, I heard thunder which is so very unusual here.
In writing a couple of days ago that I was going to curtail my internet time, I was not referring to the time spent on this blog, or keeping up with the work of a few people who are special to me. Ted Orland wrote in a letter to Sally Mann back in 1974 a couple of things that resonate with what I have been feeling lately about all of this. 
At one point he writes "The pessimist in me, however, suspects that a great majority of people operate from a position of neither intuition or consciousness. I rather tend to Oespensky's view that most people spend their days in a state of sleep, guided along paths laid out by habit or by others. The need is to awaken from that state, recognize the surrounding chaos, and give yourself permission to create from it your own cosmology."
Indeed - I fear spending my days in a state of sleep, guided along paths laid out by the habit of mindlessly spending time on internet trivia. Orland went on to write: "And another thing: I used to think that developing as an artist consisted largely of things like keeping an open and probing mind, analyzing the significant elements in the landscape, reading/discussing/attending the Arts, and so on. Lately I've adopted a much simpler view: that all one really needs is Time - time to do one hell of a lot of work! And time is created not by philosophizing about it, but by the discouragingly tangible bit-by-bit pushing aside of inessential tasks and distractions."
In many ways, it was this idea of devoting time to making work on a daily basis that started this project of "daily practice". I don't take Orland's sentiments to mean he felt an open, probing mind or deep thinking about subject, or reading etc weren't important - far from it, and I feel that keeping this journal about my daily practice has more fully integrated those aspects of art practice into my work. But I do agree with him that being more deliberate about taking time to make more work, is the most important thing we as artists can do. In the best case scenario, we are compelled to do just that, but the reality is that we all have lives that consist of many other aspects that must be included and balanced. On that concept, Orland wrote in the same letter: "It's a delicate task - matching input with output, life with art. Yet the need is exactly that: to integrate all (emphasis his) the threads of one's existence until they become a working part of the total fabric."
I consider this little journal one of the positive steps to a personal awakening.

1 comment:

J. M. Golding said...

I like the play of geometry and light in this image very much!

Your comments about internet time reminded me of an article I read the other day about the iPad. The journalist (who thinks the device is absolutely wonderful) commented, or maybe quoted someone else as saying, that compared to a more full-sized computer, the iPad has a huge emphasis on the passive aspects of the internet - on consuming information, rather than actually communicating or creating (although I know you can write and send emails on it...). I wonder whether the passive aspects might generally be the more mind-numbing parts...?

The Orland quote about just having time reminds me of Virginia Woolf's statement that one needs a room of one's own in order to create. And thank you for the quote about integrating all the aspects of one's existence - that feels very true!

I suppose it's trite to say that the internet is a tool, and although it may have inherent tendencies to affect us one way or another, we need to stay centered in our ability to choose how to use it so that it benefits us. I'm so glad that you're doing that with this blog!