Artists live in a non-quantifiable world – a world of intangibles, the opinions of others, many of whom have scant qualifications to judge you or your art. It’s unfair……but there it is. It has always been this way.
As a counterpoint to this madness, I just refinished four hardwood chairs by hand. I sanded them. I primed them. I gave them four coats of beautiful maroon lacquer, and then I distressed them with a glaze that makes them look old, worn, and beautiful. I took my time, and refinished them with care, love, and great skill. I did that work. No one else. I made them look beautiful.
No matter how my auditions may go, I can always look at those chairs and say “I did that.” I truly believe that as artists, we all should do something tangible. Refinish a table. Plant and care for a garden. Build something with your hands. Go work in a Food Pantry. It is a powerful antidote to the intangible world all artists inhabit. Go on, get your hands dirty. It’s great.
ORIGINALLY POSTED JANUARY 5TH, 2010
“Why are my tax dollars used to pay a poet laureate when nobody even reads poetry?”
I saw this provocative question in a recent newspaper. Here is their thoughtful reply:
”‘It is difficult to get the news from poems, yet men die miserably everyday for lack of what is found there.’ This was written by the great American poet William Carlos Williams. We suggest you look him up. While it’s true that not many read poetry, they might get a lot out of it if they gave it a try. The current U.S. Poet Laureate earns all of $35,000, and that is funded by a private endowment, not taxpayers.”
I find it interesting, a little sad, and a sign of the times that something as basic as poetry is being questioned as not really necessary, not having intrinsic value, or not financially justifiable. I loved this newspaper’s reply. The value of art has the power to elevate us all. Those of us who are engaged in this, understand it deeply. But we live in a world where that’s not always the case. Aren’t we lucky to have the privilege of pursuing art?
ORIGINALLY POSTED NOVEMBER 17, 2009