Saturday, June 29, 2013

Where does creative vision come from?

Where do artists find their vision?  What inspired Chihuly to combine a variety of colors and shapes into this riotously pleasing composition?  Did he envision it whole, or did he assemble it, piece-by-piece, until he felt it to be complete?

He certainly had to have confidence in his vision.  Look at the individual elements:  some of them are original, some patently ridiculous, some totally cliche, but the overall effect is unique.

Sometimes artists seek to explore particular aspects of a form.  Chihuly's bowl series utilizes every color available to him (over 200) within similar forms.  The combinations of color and pattern make each bowl, though similar in shape, a unique work of art.

There are times when an artist completely changes direction, as Chihuly did with his Indian basket series.  The shapes of the bowls no longer reflected nature, but mimicked the time-ravaged reed baskets he collected.  These changes may disappoint outsiders, but are absolutely essential to the growth of the artist.

Sometimes darkness surrounds an artist, and the art is the only light available.  Often that art is part and parcel of the darkness, but, sometimes, it outlines the artist's path to sunshine.

So, where does creativity come from?  I'm not sure there's any particular source.  I think it's an attempt to create a synthesizing artifact of thoughtful engagement of the artist with his or her journey.

So, how does that apply to me?  I've never really considered myself an artist, but I think I may be ready to change that.  I've spent a lifetime finding meaning in the music, writing, and artwork of others, but I think I'm ready to create original artifacts of my own journey.  What form they will take, I could not say.  But I'm anxious to start.

How about you?  How are you documenting your own personal journey?


Friday, June 7, 2013

Life Hacks 2013: Decluttering My Dream

Sunset on the farm
We broke ground on our dream house in July six years ago.  After literally years of searching through house plans, we finally found one we could agree on.  One of my dreams was copious cabinet space and I got it!  I wanted the cabinets to store the clutter that has plagued me for years.

So, when we moved in, I was so proud of the cabinets and stored every item.  As I looked around my house, at the cluttered table tops and spaces, I wonder, "What happened?"

  1. Well, several things happened.  As much as I expected my life in the country would be less hectic, if anything, it's more.  And, because of the commute, I have at least an hour less time per day.  
  2. The second problem is the sheer volume of stuff.  I need to pare down the amount of stuff coming to the house.
  3. The third problem is that I procrastinate.  I stack stuff up thinking I will have more time later.  Later turns out to be even busier.
  4. But the most important problem is one of potential.  I see potential in everything.  I keep too much stuff because I think I could possibly use it for something someday.  It's not entirely my fault; my dad was the same way.  He grew up on a farm where repurposing was not a creative outlet; it was a survival strategy.  But, that was a time of scarcity, and this is a time of plenty.  I just have to get rid of things.

I've got to make changes, some of which are inspired by David Allen's Getting Things Done strategy of handling things a little as possible:

  1. In the stacks of stuff, I found periodicals from January that I've not read yet.  With guaranteed daylight on the ride home, I need to capture the time to read the magazines then.  Perhaps then I can catch up on the actual books stacked on the table.
  2. Get off of as many mailing lists as possible.  Go to e-statements whenever possible.
  3. Deal with it now.  Create a place for things you'll keep, put things in their place, and throw the rest away now.
  4. Focus!  If something is not usable within the short term, or at a definite point in time, pass it on--trash, recycle, or share.
This sounds like a good plan for me, but I'm not the only one who lives in my house:  I'm filing for two.  I must enlist the help of the Resident Dragon, who actually has a lower tolerance for clutter than I have.  If I make him aware the the storage spaces, he will store things.  And we'll both be happier for it.

So, I'm looking forward to taking back my dream house, one cluttered surface at a time.

What about you?  How do you tame the Clutter Monster?????????????

Living a Savory life . . .