Saturday, February 21, 2009

Art and the Soul: Beecher

"Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures." ~ Henry Ward Beecher

I'm having a moment here...what if this quote is true and that is why my photos turn out so horribly? Is my nature so unfocused and cluttered?   I know that sounds stupid, but I get SO FRUSTRATED that the "art" I could create in my head is never the art that I can produce with my hands.  I know that the quote is about something deeper, but stick with me in the shallows for a moment.

So, I believe that we are being sold a bill of goods by the digital photography revolution - "Anyone can be a brilliant photographer! Just buy this little gadget, take a bazillion photos and viola! you are a photographer." Please understand that I am fully aware that I have had this camera for less than 24 hours. It isn't even that I'm not happy with the photos I have taken, as I have taken like two. What is true is that I keep looking up "Digital photography for beginners" and "Photography for beginners" and I am looking at all these stunning photos people take and I know I will not be able to produce the kind of photos I want for a LONG TIME. I don't want to wait. I want to be good now. This is unrealistic and I know that, but I rememebered that this is why I sometimes don't try things. I want to be PERFECT even though I know that is impossible and silly.  And I hate that I keep buying into the idea that these stupid little gadgets will help us overcome whatever it is that makes the art less than the image we have in our heads...I KNOW that you have to work on any skill or craft.  I KNOW it, but there is some sneaky thought that is lurking that thinks, "Maybe this time, it will just come to me naturally."  That is the lie.  It WON'T and if it DID, it wouldn't really be a skill, would it?  If everyone could do it, it wouldn't be special, right?   

I need to take a class. Then, at least, I can keep trying. That is really the point, isn't it? To try things? To develop more skill and understanding of what it takes to take good photos, make good art, write well...Maybe photography won't be my thing, but I could at least get some photos of my friends and family. That's worth something. A lot, actually.

I have to read that famous book again - "Art and Fear". I read it a while ago, but I'm thinking I need it again.

The sad thing is that this doesn't only apply to applies to all art. I tried photography back when I was in middle school and a dab in high school, but I wasn't immediately good at it and I moved on. Sad, huh?   I gave up taking art classes because my sister was so much better (and older and more experienced) than I was and I knew that I could excel in writing.   This fear/perfection thing connects to writing, to drawing, to storytelling, even to interpreting shows. I guess I need to learn to have a little compassion for myself.

When I was in high school, I knew that I was developing voice for my writing -  I wanted to tell the stories I wanted to tell and I was less afraid - less set in my ways. I tried lots of new stuff, wrote daily and creatively. I wasn't as afraid to try things or to create imperfectly.   I stopped writing in college for a lot of reasons - Roby, time, etc., but really, I just felt like I was never going to get anywhere with it  and I was afraid of failing MYSELF. I have said here in the blog that this is really a way for me to get back to that - writing daily, maybe creatively, at some point.  This has been a big step for me.

Maybe I'm just tired? I woke up at 6:40am for NO GOOD REASON and have been up since. I think I'm going to go with that theory - tired and delirious. That must be the reason for this somewhat frantic rant.  Maybe I can revisit all this later in the day when I've had more time to filter...I mean, wake up.

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