Wednesday, June 27, 2007

What is the Question?

Most of my work so far has been designed to explore "what if ...?" in regards to experimentation with some technique. What if I use this color here, or stick this do-dad there? I've used the work of others to provide the "inspiration," the desired item to re-create. Combined with obvious technique and exploration, I've learned "how to" create/make stuff.

The challenge now is the "what" to create. It's time to explore what, and allow the how to emerge. Peter London, in his book No More Secondhand Art, talks about the importance of getting lost. He says,
"My work had culminated in knowing what I set out to
know. Now I had to begin again, and I set out in the direction of my not
knowing. I had to wander away from the familiar, get lost, so that I might
come upon larger domains" (p. 33).

I tell my students to forget seeking answers, and live in the question. What do you want to know? Well, it's time to take my own advice and wonder "What do I want to know?" "What am I curious about?" "What are my questions?" Here are some initial thoughts:

World Peace. I am interested in exploring elements that support peace in the world. For example, I do believe there are "angels of peace" operating in the universe, just as I believe in "guardian angels." These angels of peace guide us towards peaceful actions and decisions. I also believe in the power of women, gathering together to dialogue and meditate on peace. I want my art to reflect an intentional contribution to this dialogue and meditation.

Transitions. How do I transition into retirement? Will I be OK financially? What will I do to occupy my time? How will I keep mentally fit ? How do I feel about ending a 40 year era? What did I contribute? Who did I influence positively? What is my legacy? What does it mean to be retired? What does it mean to be the matriarch of the family? How do I feel about my change in sexuality?

Community. How do we form community in this individualistic, gated world? What communities do I wish to belong to? What form(s) of community work for me and support me? What about my dream of living in a small town -- is this pure fantasy? Where would I like to live? In what type of community?

Playfulness. How do I intentionally have more fun? More joy? How can I bring joy to others? How do I make other's and myself smile? The world is so serious and rather depressing, I want to bring joy and light into the world through my art.

Experimentation. I want to know what happens if ... I want to explore a wide variety of medium, materials, techniques. I want to learn how to ... I want to experiment for the sake of exploration, not necessarily to make something. I want to create interesting textural surfaces and join my love of paint, paper and fabric.

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