Thursday, March 15, 2012

Time Out for Toadstools

I nearly deleted this blog.  After almost six years of blogging, I thought "Maybe I have nothing more to say.  Maybe blogging is no longer a supportive, positive part of my creative life.  Maybe blogging is more work than I'm able to handle anymore."  I took a month to think things over and at least for now, Lost Coast Post remains open.

While thinking about the future of this space, I painted a toadstool.  It was one of those cheap, seasonal greenware projects from Michaels with little, if any, relation to "fine art."  However, I lost myself completely in that toadstool.  I splattered white paint onto its scarlet red cap and antiqued the stem - burnt sienna over cream.  I dutifully applied three coats of exterior satin varnish so it could withstand the whims of Lost Coast weather.  Right at this moment, it is planted alongside a struggling jade in my balcony garden, covered in raindrops but bright and enduring.

I'd like to be like that too -  always bright and enduring -  but I'm not.  I get tired, frustrated, speechless, and guarded.  So I pull away.  I reevaluate.  I take time to steady my stance before I dive back into whatever has thrown me off balance.  Such as it is with blogging.  In the last several months, my artistic life has taken off in unexpected, unfamiliar, exciting, scary directions.  It has turned deeply personal as I unlock an imagination and cast of characters stifled for years.  I have one dear, sweet, very close art friend with whom I can easily share this new journey but otherwise, my first impulse is to shelter this new flame, to give it time to gain traction and strength before I expose it to the world.  And you know what?  I may never be ready to make this new art public.  That is a possibility too.

So that reality leaves me at odds with this blog.  The internet has become sort of a scary place as of late.  I'm sooo over Pinterest and its black-booted tromping over artists' copyright.  Now, right up front, I'll say that most have pinned from this blog and done so in a thoughtful, respectful manner.  You know who you are and I thank you - bravo and well played!.  But as the old saying goes, it only takes one bad apple...and I bet that somewhere, deep down, you know who you are as well.  As I play and experiment and open up my heart to tender places long ignored, I don't feel like taking on the extra burden of exposing my work to either the innocently ignorant or the deliberately devious.  

This thing I do, my art, is built in, molecule by molecule.  It is as precious and necessary and as inescapable as breathing.  All copyright laws aside, I am broken inside each time an image is carelessly lifted.  It hurts me that there are people who don't value art (and artists) like I do; I know it is a fact of life but it is hurtful all the same.  So I knew, as I began to explore these new paths, that I had to draw a line and keep some things under wraps.  It has absolutely nothing to do with making money off my art but everything to do with this currency of my heart.

That leaves me with a huge question, one that I pondered mightily whilst painting a toadstool:  what purpose does Lost Coast Post now serve in my artistic life?  I still have work that I am willing to post but even that feel likes it has reached the zenith of its "interestingness."  My time and energy are very limited so everything I do needs to have a reason and for a little while, I thought maybe there was no further reason to blog.  

I think, however, I have spied a new direction for Lost Coast Post.  I want to sharpen my focus more closely on ways to build a fulfilling artistic life in spite of chronic illness.  I think I've done that very indirectly over the last six years but I believe that I have more to say and give on this topic.  I'm not an expert but I've been in the trenches since the late 80s, fighting the doom & gloom of doctors, the doubts and naysaying, both internal and external, that seem to bombard someone dealing with chronic conditions.  Maybe what I have to say on that topic will be worthwhile to someone.  Maybe the art I do post will continue to inspire a reader or two.  If so, I will be happy.  I'm not ready to hit the "delete" button on this little space quite yet. 

PS...Please don't make any assumptions about who I am referring to when it comes to Pinterest.  Any differences and conflicts over things incorrectly or inappropriately pinned/copied are always handled privately & directly.  Let that be the last time the distasteful issue of Pinterest and/or copyright violations taints this space.  I'm moving onward and upward!

4 comments:

wildatheart said...

I know for my part as a silent observer of your part of the word here on blogspot that your ability to create art while in pain is inspiring. I was recently in a car accident and while I used to be artistic I find it hard to find the time to make that joy. Your talk about gloom and doom of doctors.. boy do I know that. I hope selfishly that you keep posting on that thread of conversation, that maybe someday instead of living viscerally I will be able to create again.

-Tamra

Jenny said...

Keep blogging. I love looking at your artwork, and the fact that you keep at it with so many real reasons you could put it aside is an inspiration to those of us who squander our artistic ability out of dumb fear.

Ellen said...

I am so glad you have spoken out about Pinterest on your blog. More and more artists are waking up to the fact that anything pinned from their blogs becomes the property of Pinterest and they retain licensing rights for those words and images.
This means that Pinterest could license your images to paper plate companies if they decided to! We all have re-evaluate the demans on our time, especially our studio time, periodically, and I enjoyed reading your dialogue with yourself about continuing the blog. I for one would hate to see it go down--it has been so inspiring to me in so many different ways. I am glad it will continue for a while.

Daisy Yellow said...

Michelle, There is tremendous value in sharing your insight into creating art while enduring pain and other challenges. I love your art and I'm inspired by your work, and I truly hope that you will continue your blog at whatever pace and in whatever way works for you. You help others bring creativity into their lives.

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