outflows and inflows of creativity

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Revenir de Suite

I finally got back to my easel!!! It's been entirely too long . . . and oh how I missed it! I set aside some time this past weekend and worked on a painting I started a few weeks (months?) ago. The brushes in my hand felt heavenly, working with and mixing the paint like a reunion with a long ago friend.

Here's my painting, revenir de suite, (Be Right Back) which isn't quite finished, still on the easel, and a corner of my studio.

What has kept me away from my first art love has been another form of creativity - writing. I've begun the first ever art blog for my town's newspaper. I get to make people aware of what's happening art wise, and I hope to joggle a few folks into realizing art is as necessary as other forms of commerce, even more so. To those of us who create, and those who appreciate the creations, it is our lifeblood, our reason for being, not just a way to make a buck, although making a living off our compulsion is nice, too. I find it exciting, and a bit scary. I intend to trumpet the artists and the artists' creations, to show how much richer we are with them around.

The blog is called Drawing Attention. I hope you all like it.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Artist Jonathan Green

South Carolina artist (he now resides in Florida) and native son Jonathan Green graciously granted an interview with me. I have always admired his work - the colors, the joie de vivre that is so abundant in his paintings. Here are his thoughts on art and culture, and the role they play in our lives.

"Marsh Woman" 1999
Copyright 2006 Jonathan Green Studios, Inc.

What are your thoughts on the role of artists and what
specific needs do they fulfill?

Artists are our shamans, their role is to record and inform visually- through music, through dance- the culture. Artists create and through that creativity the culture can be remembered for all time. Every community needs artists - they are vital.

What inspires you?

The now. What I'm feeling, doing, seeing, drinking, eating . . . all that and more.

What is your day like?

It depends on the season. In the Fall I'm up later, around 4:00 AM, and I work until the sun goes down, about 5:00 or 6:00 PM. I take an hour or two for lunch. I work six days a week, I spend the seventh day reading, relaxing.

Do you use studio assistants? Do you stretch your own canvases, etc.?

No, I do it all myself. I want to put time into art, not stretching canvas. I want to implement the imagery I have in my mind. My inspiration, my muse, is always around. I live in my home for my work and for other people - I represent that in my work.

What was your early subject matter, and at what point did you decide to focus on Gullah subjects?

Gullah has always been my subject. As a child I saw and did things and I knew the more one participates the more one is respected and acknowledged. People around me were always working and doing.

How do you support the arts on an individual basis?

I like the younger up and coming artists, and I like WPA art out of Chicago, and African American artists. I devote my life to making sure the imagery of American artists is not forgotten.

What are your thoughts on the way art is taught in public schools?

It isn't taught! It is a wide open field. Art should be taught at the family level. Families need to take the responsibility to support the artists in their family, to nurture that creativity. They should be taught to tap into their intuitive inner feelings . . . which is the importance of family . . . love, food, beauty, history. Art was our first language. The notion of art has nothing to do with an institution - it has to do with family. It needs to be nurtured by family, and the family needs to invest time into the child's vision. 99.9% of families are not supporting their members in the arts. If the family supported the arts, communities would support the arts, then cities, then states, etc. It ALL begins at the family level.

Many visual artists also write. Do you?

No, I speak rather than write. I put a lot of emphasis on speaking.

Can you share where your artistic direction is taking you?

On the first week of March, 2008 I'll be conducting a symposium on "Seeking" - I will start at the Gibbes Museum, then go to the Charleston County Library, Then to the University of South Carolina, and finally end at the College of Charleston. For more information contact Barbara Burgess 843 345-3664.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Still Thankful

It's almost Thanksgiving again, and I suppose I will join the hundreds of other bloggers and report on the season. Not terribly creative or original, I know.

Thanksgiving, however, is a time I look forward to each year. Not for the obligatory food or family get togethers, though. Of course I remember Turkey Day's past, and instances of both family peace and drama.

What is special about the day for me is the call to be grateful, to be thankful, for all things. As I posted last year, here are a few things I'm thankful for:

Leaves that are more beautiful than any painting
The ability to see those leaves
Men and women who have the courage to fight for the freedoms I enjoy, sitting here writing.
Election Day
Friends who love me like we share genetic material
The sound and smell of the ocean
Coffee and chocolate
That feeling you get when you get home after a long day and your dog is wagging all over
A loving, supportive spouse

Have a super Thanksgiving, everybody. (Photo courtesy audreyjm529)

Monday, November 12, 2007

Art Star

I had an opportunity to meet an artist I have admired for a very long time. Jonathan Green, a world renowned South Carolina artist from the tiny hamlet of Garden's Corner (which is nothing but a sign along side the road) was at the Penn Center's Heritage Days. This is an annual event that takes place on St. Helena Island, and is a celebration of Gullah culture.

Jonathan Green's work is a celebration of life, with bright colors, bold compositions, and inhabited by people who are happily going about their life. Seeing his work has inspired me to embrace my cultural heritage; to appreciate beauty and to see it everywhere. His paintings are harmonious and cause me to feel relaxed.

There was a long line to meet him and calendars and other items with his art were for sale.I bought a calendar, and got in line. There were people from all over the state, as well as out of state, there just to meet him. This is the small town guy who made it big.

Finally, my turn came. About six photogs were milling around - my friend Neta snapped my pic with him.

"Hi, Mr. Green! I've been an admirer of your work for a long time . . . if you have time may I have an interview for a blog I write?" Just knowing this man is too busy - look at all the people! He has had a ballet written and performed based on his art; he has awards and degrees . . .

"Sure", he said, "Here's my personal number, give me a call anytime."

Well, I'll be.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Unique Creativity

Creativity can and does come in all forms. Halloween is one of my favorite holidays because of it - it brings out the artist in people who don't, or won't, let it show at any other time of the year. This was evident at my dayjob in the library, when one of the librarians just let her inner Van Gogh burst through . . .

Here's the cake she made, which freaked us all out good. The poem she wrote read,

"Is this a trick?
Or is it a treat?
Is it nasty,
Or is it sweet?

If you're feeling brave,
Then scoop up some and eat!"

Thanks, Julie Knotts . . . it was delicious, by the way.