Turbulence

Blue Skies. Greenwood Base, Nova Scotia. Acrylic on Canvas. K. Cameron

Airplanes are  fascinating things. They can remain  suspended on basically nothing but certain laws of physics . I’ve always loved airplanes; doesn’t matter if they were super fighter jets or just ordinary (ish) passenger jets. Then there’s those old vintage aircraft that pop up on movies or in airshows like the Douglas DC-3. You gotta’ just love those silver winged ships that were built for sepia adventure in lost jungle lands.

Well I’ve never been on a plane. I’ve stood next to them; photographed them and touched them. I don’t feel at a loss but perhaps that can be chalked up to my latent anxiety of confined social situations.

We all know that turbulence is a word that scares the crap out of most people except perhaps those of some elite RAF or US Navy Seals that almost relish the challenge. Bring it on bitch! That kind of attitude for I which am grateful some of those trained men and women can have.

I don’t believe in spreading  the starving artist myth. To do so is just to  perpetuate this fictional dragon. Artists don’t have to be poor just because they are artists. The reasons for poverty are many but in a money-based society artists can suffer for lack of business acumen. In a western, democratized society I truly believe the reason for starving artists is simply because they have not *yet mastered the business side of art And/Or they do not have access to sound business counsel. To admit that there can be an art business that does not interfere with the creation of said art could be  the first step away from an empty cupboard.

One has to do what must be done. Selling is not copping out. Getting a part time job  is not selling out. The problem here is that the artist (photographer, musician, etc) has to have two heads upon one neck! Yes back to those sepia adventures. Unknown lands of two headed cyclops’s ( can there be such a thing?).  Y’know like the ones we saw in the matinee that introduced the main flick. Ah the good ole days when we spun flattened popcorn boxes like frisbees at the silver screen.

One head must only be thinking of creating art and dwelling in an abstract dream-like-land. The other twin head must be focused on marketing, selling, the books…the cupboard!

Why I almost did not post this.

I will confess to you if you ever followed this blog you will see that I have always been an advocate for not allowing money to determine what gets created. I still believe that. However although  I may have , ” slipped the surly bonds of Earth And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings…” in the process of creation I have ignored the necessity of money’s place in the grounding of our current lives. I do believe in some future world that money will mean nothing.

A caveat:  You can do art without selling it. More power to you. But you must be prepared to do something else for a living or make some kind of arrangement the likes of a  Tom Selleck TV series where you get a Ferrari and lodging in exchange for your skills.

Personally this past year or so has been particularly hard financially for my wife and I. As I said poverty or poverty-like situations can come to anyone. It’s when a series of events i.e. illness, job loss, car problems, confusion -all come calling on horseback like some biblical epic.

I think we are coming through the turbulence now. Nothing but blue skies from now on…, I hope.

Let it be said if you want to make a living from art then, for sure, for damn sure make it your living. Money is not surly. It is not good or evil. It is just a note of trade that will put food in your belly, a coat on your back and if  you wish– silver wings to carry you away!

*This includes myself as well.

Thing to be added: I wrote this. Hesitated a couple days. Then got weak knees, so to speak. This is because I did not want to make it sound like making money from art is an easy thing. It’s not. The best minds in the world can see that. What I am saying is that Selling art has to do more with selling than Making, in most cases. It means that the better you are at marketing and sales in anything , given the right conditions,consumer demand, network,etc., then the better you will be at selling your creations.

Often this is why extremely talented artists struggle financially. Conversely some poorly gifted or unskilled artists are successfully wealthy. This was meant to be more of a get out there and do it, rah-rah post than I just solved your life post.

Thanks for reading!

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When you feel spent…

Crescent Beach, Lockeport NS

There are times (like right now) that I do feel spent. I’m sure you’ve been there too. The words of Peter Parker’s (Spider-Man) Aunt May come to mind, “Peter, you do too much!”

Sometimes it’s not so much that I feel like I actually did a lot but that I have so many ideas of stuff to do and create, paint, etc that it just floors me. It feels like putting in 110% but getting 3% (ROTI) return on time invested.

How does one handle these things? What happens when you just feel like taking a nap or a hiatus away from art and creating?

Sometimes it’s the business side of art that feels like I’m just walking into the wind and the only result I’m getting is  bad hair. This is happening recently to me as I feel I should or could be putting more effort into selling my art. After all we just passed Black Friday and are heading into Cyber Monday ( hmmm,I wonder of it’s Cyberman Monday for Doc. Who). There’s so much pressure to sell this time of year.

Sell, sell, sell!  Let’s go people! Move ’em out!

Yeah it’s strange being a capitalist and being an artist. The focus should really be on becoming a capital artist, that is, just better at what you do creatively.

Maybe I’m just in a belly aching mood We’ve all been there and we all go there.

The thing with not capitulating to capitalism is that we all get, or at least I do, swept up in the surrounding deluge that it’s all about money especially at Christmas.  Somehow the cart always gets before the horse or in modern terms iPhone 8 comes out before iPhone 6.

Logos For Small Business

The first task of the artist is self-awareness and mission. Why do I create? What am I trying to do with my art and life? Money and sales are fuel; a means to keep the artist and his cohorts alive and well. Money is important but if what we do brings no value to others lives then how will we gain even financially from it.

Having some concept of why we create I suppose, is a place to return to when we feel overwhelmed and underappreciated.

That being said, sometimes a nap is just a nap…go ahead and take one! Everyone needs a rest or some sort of vacation now and then. Siesta!

Taken from ideedalcyberspazio.wordpress.com

My Art is not as Good as…

Wolfville Chimney Swift

Robie Tufts Nature Centre Wolfville NS. Acrylic on canvas board by K.Cameron

“My art is not as good as someone else’s.” True or false?

This is a feeling that comes over every artist sooner or later.

The fact that your Mom posts your art on her fridge or more likely her facebook- wall is no real assurance either.

I mean it’s great if she does post to social media (especially if she knows a crap load of art collectors) but she is ,after all, doing what a Mother would do. She’ll likely love your art no matter what.

This is where I’m supposed to come in and console you  by saying it’s the nature of art that there is no such thing as good art. Did that sentence make sense?  In other words it doesn’t matter if you color over or outside of the lines.

Yes it does. If it’s not an abstract piece and it’s supposed to be an architectural rendering then it does matter if you colour outside of the lines.

Or, on the other hand, you might be expecting “You’re art is brilliant!” and you’ve achieved your highest level of skill. In this case you’re only lying to yourself. One day you may wake up and be embarrassed to find out that you’re really not the best painter,singer, writer, etc.

So how do you know if you’re art is any good?

Basically by comparing it to someone else’s in the same genre.

Two things to remember are that :

Art is subjective (poor art can be liked by someone).

It doesn’t have to be the best art in order to sell.

In other words you can still be proud of what you have accomplished and at the same time strive to increase your skill level with the medium you use. Your art does not have to be technically perfect but it has to express, to some degree, the emotions and message you intended it to say (not so much in words).

How to get better at art.

Nonetheless, your art can always get better as your skills increase.

The only way to increase your skill(s) is to increase time spent on said skill(s).

The question of whether your art is good enough to sell is really a  no-brainer since a lot of bad art sells. If you want to get better art then you want to get better at art!

Your art has to please you, to some extent. Otherwise you will have no fun at it at all.

Being good at art means being genuine and honest with yourself and your work.

Being better at your skills means comparing your skill level to someone, like a mentor, who has put in the time to bring out (more) flavour in their art. You will be amazed at what you do if you strive to get better, taking a peek and learning from those more skilled but also having joy and thankfulness for the stage you are at now. Don’t become obsessed with someone else’s level of work; they too had to follow the same path you’re on and are following their own path.

Success as an artist can be measured in many ways but the outcome of such gauging will always lead the true artist to humility, respect and awe for others and the world around them.

Thanks for visiting! join the discussion over at my facebook page if you like!

Choosing your Artistic Medium

In a recent discussion on my facebook page the subject of ‘choosing one’s’ medium came up. That is to say how do we know which artistic medium (oil,acrylic, watercolour, etc) we would like to use? Well this is where I’d like to throw in my 2 cents worth.

After giving it some thought I realized that we often approach this sort of problem by looking at the symptom rather than the cause so-to-speak.

We likely ask ourselves – “well which medium would I enjoy using most?”  Although the question of enjoyment does come in to it this could be a bit mis-leading. It’s sort of like the question “What is my passion?”. In fact a passion is not really an actionable word but an emotion that can be brought to any task.

So if it’s not about the fit of the suit, so much, then it’s about the look!

That may sound counter-intuitive to what we already know about wearing clothes. It has to fit and feel good-look is almost secondary. However in the case of art it is about the look. It’s the look that elicits  a response. Follow me on this. I do know that creating art starts with an emotion but if you’re choosing a medium you want to deal with how you show that emotion. What is it about the art that draws you in and inspires you? How is that effect (or affect) achieved?

To say it another way:

If you want to know your favourite medium , even though *experimentation is good, then you want to take a good look at the art that already inspires you. What art do you like?

This is the fun part. Expose your experience to viewing and seeing other’s work. What do you see that you like? What medium is the artist using to express those feelings and emotions you identify with?

Won’t that make my art less original; less personal?

No. There is nothing new under the sun. There is only a different combination of using what already exits. Ever thought of painting realism over an abstract background?  What about the other way around?  Even this has been done but you can combine various media and styles, colours to  create something that is uniquely yours.

By seeing what you like it will get you to investigate the means ( the media) used to create that effect.

Then fall in love with the one you are with.

 

If it takes a brush to create that art then learn the brush!  If it takes photography then learn the camera techniques. If oil is what you like then explore oils!

Maybe less concern about what medium or artistic tool you want to fall in love with and more about the art you love will actually help you discover your medium.

Is there a magic medium out there just for you? Ponder more the art you love then fall in love with the tools to get the job done. Do we really build homes just because we like the feel of a hammer or saw?  It’s the dream, the concept and the idea realized that inspires us to passion!

Hope this helps…that’s my two cents, now what’s yours?

*Experimentation is a great thing. It stores in our minds and physiology a feel for what we like and what we can do. Yes I do think the same emotion can be expressed in many ways and with various media. Then just look at art. what art do you like..not so much what medium. :^)

The Thing about Art (and Artists)

This scene is based on a view near Halls Harbour NS. It’s a beautiful scene of the old house house contrasted with brilliant musk mallow flowers. Available on my Etsy shop. Please click on image.

‘Just read someone’s heart-felt, out-pouring lament about the despair that sometimes seems to cloud over artists.

To be honest I identified with what this woman was saying. All her life she wanted only one thing and that was to be recognized for her art.

The problem seems to be less with ‘money’ as  she says, but a lack of recognition and understanding among family and peers as to her ‘being’ an artist.

Also she says she only started showing her art when she was 48 years old and soon she will be turning 50. She says her “time is running out.”

On her facebook post she gets lots of comments of sympathy and encouragement. So obviously it is an artist thing. Okay I’m kind of mad at myself for thinking in a similar way at times and I’d like a good honest attack on what the heck is really the problem with ‘us’ (artists)! I’ve heard everything from creativity uses up so many ‘happy’ chemicals in the brain ( therefore leaving us depressed) to we were all just raised with a silver brush in our hands and therefore don’t know just how good we have it i.e. ingratitude.

So what’s the problem and what’s the answer?

I’m going to give it my best shot.

I want to dissect her lament (without compromising her anonymity).

First let me work backward and deal with this age thing.  These will be profoundly redundant truths but truths, none-the-less.

  1. Age is meaningless really. Most likely she didn’t start being creative when she was 48. She likely has been creating her whole life in some way; at least ‘seeing’ like an artist. We are always growing!
  2. Chances are she will actually have more time to create now that she’s 50 than since she was 16 ! Maybe not. Maybe she will have to look after an elderly parent or ill ‘child’. But if you factor in the time just spent making a living and raising kids between , say, 25 and 45 it likely took up most of her time. So a year of solid creating or painting is more time than she would have had spending an hour a week for most of her life. ( You do the math..I’m an artist, lol)
  3. She says her time is “running out”. Well I can empathize however a lot of people don’t make it to 50 and a lot more ( in our western society) are making it to 85 ! So the simple fact is WE JUST DON’T KNOW! ha ha ( maniacal laugh). So why even bother to pretend to see the hour glass that belongs to an invisible Creator? We don’t know.

Next she confesses discouragement is part of this creative life. I get what she’s saying. I’ve known (and continue to know) that too. But is it really? Aren’t there hockey players that thought they were just that good and wanted to make it to the big league but now ‘just’ coach the minors on a volunteer basis? Punch! Slam! Pow!  That must have been one big Holy Batman Bag of Hurt!

Then there’s the returning veteran who struggles with scars of night terrors and perhaps horrors that have robbed him of the very limbs he or she needs to lift a paint brush.

So maybe we are just whining and sighing and sounding like a rusty saw.

She says she finds herself often waiting and waiting (the unrung phone, the empty inbox) for someone to ask her to paint something.

Why?!

She , like myself,is looking for Permission! Seriously. What else can it be? Who can ultimately give us permission? I think you know the answer. I think I know the answer. Sometimes she questions herself  as to why  she ever wanted “it” so badly. I take that to be the issue of recognition as an artist. So that’s a whole ‘nother thing. Let’s tackle it. ( Hey I’m expecting you to comment and flesh out whatever I’m missing here).

One last thing about the age thing. Art ( the pursuit thereof) is a lifetime thing…it NEVER stops. It takes years, even decades to become proficient in one’s skills.

Recognizing recognition.

Okay so further on in the comments on her post she mentions a spouse that is “very supportive” and is able to pay the bills. I don’t know about you but this is sounding pretty ideal. In fact I confess to a space of time where my wife was able to pay the bills and I was able to paint and pursue artistic venues full-time.

Recognition is going to come in this life in one or both of two ways.

  1. You will sell your work.
  2. People will tell you in some way that they like/love your work.

Selling Out

This artist, all artists, myself as an artist has to ask one question. How far do you want to go with selling your work? Is that what this is really about I wonder?  We want the phone to ring? ” Hello, I see you are a great artist and I want to buy your work”.  GONG!  It don’t work that way. If your goal is selling out ( of stock) then it means creating, finding, marketing your work and that itself is a freakin’ full time job! Nobody is going to save your a$$. Really.

The good news is, I believe, if you’re willing to put in the time and the good Lord gives it to ya then you can make some kind of living from your work. It means uncovering a market, it means finding your niche. It means study, study, study and work, work , work. Yeah like a mad dog. That’s what it takes. It means getting a thick skin and thinking of the veteran who just took a bullet for you and stop feeling sorry for yourself

The next great news is that with the invention of the internet you can paint while listening to free podcasts and Youtube vids on everything from marketing to creating work. Listen and listen. Replay the best ones until it gets stuck in your head how to do a thing and then practice it.

Falling in Love

After you’re dead and gone and if you could be ‘a fly on the wall’ you would hear a litany of praise on how great an artist you were. People will remember and think of how YOU made them feel better. Young nieces and nephews will say ” Gee Aunt so-an-so was an artist. It means I can be one too. maybe it runs in the family”

Every time your name passes over parting lips you will be remembered as someone who had a great gift, ” a natural God-given talent”. They’ll say stuff about you that will make you smile. They won’t say “she wasted her time”. They just won’t. The few that are saying it now have their own internal,emotional crises and it’s bitter water coming from a bitter well. Why drink from it?!

Fall back in love with your work and that part of yourself which is a special gift to others. It doesn’t have to be sold to be appreciated but it can be. Just remember that creating the art and the business of art are two different things that happen simultaneously. The artist is one who gives- not gets. This giving attitude , I believe, is what it takes to get.

To Be Continued…

 

 

Character Lines

My Hiking Boots-Kevin Cameron 1994

Have you ever had to deal with character lines while painting a portrait? Character lines are important because they can reveal the subject’s personality and perhaps character , to some degree. Hence , I suppose, the actual use of the word character !

I’ve been thinking a bit lately about faces and particularly those of actors’. Actors definitely do need character lines to make their facial expressions of sorrow, joy, perplexity, etc as pronounced and communicative as possible.

Take for instance a few male stars that come to mind. There’s John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart and  the contemporary Ethan Hawke. (Also let’s not forget those wonderful female leads as well. ) One wonders what made them stars to begin with. I don’t mean their talent, ability or hard work. What did the directors see in them? What did the audience see?  For one, I think they had defining character lines. If you watch them as young actors you do see they have a uniqueness in appearance. As time progresses these character lines seem to become more pronounced with age of course. I mean… compare the young Clint Eastwood with the present day.

As a some-time caricaturist myself, I do know the importance of getting character lines just right. Too harsh and the face appears harsh and perhaps more mature. Too much blending and softness may expose a softer, maybe even feminine characteristic. ( trying to be careful with gender references here, ha ha)

Character lines are , of course, manipulated with the modern magic of make-up artistry.  We can hide or disguise ourselves but in the end the character lines will win out the day!

So why not be a little proud of them? They are our proof of life !

As artists ( or not) we see our share of ups and downs. Life throws curves at us all. Sometimes as human beings we go through hell on earth as they say. Add to this the fact that art is about bearing our souls to an often critical and unsympathetic public can produce its share of emotional scars as well.

The one thing we do know for sure is that we will get character lines. We can be proud of those lines and know that we earned them, in a sense. I didn’t say we deserve or do not deserve some of the judgments that befall us !

 Character lines go deep below the skin. They mark upon our very souls I think. They create the character or person we play in this life. They become the hammock of smiles and the gutters for tears on our faces .Whether we are female or male I think there comes a time, regardless of what is in vogue or fashion, regardless of  what we think of beauty or brawn we realize it’s best to own them.  To say with a quiet confidence, “this is me, I am unique and these are my character lines.”

Hey if you want to add to my crazy thoughts then feel free to comment! Thanks for visiting!

Let Me tell you a Story…

Sketch and Illustration by Kevin Cameron for a book called Stuck ( by another author)

Artists are story-tellers.  I’ve thought about it for quite a bit and can’t seem to disprove it. Can you?

Artists aren’t  natural default liars. That’s another kind of story-teller; like the punchy uncle at the family get-together that spews out strings of mistruths and half-truths and no truth about wild adventures of former times…when things were simpler…and less true apparently.

Artists tell a story every time they paint, sculpt, photograph or make music, et al. Even if they do not sit and draft up a plan but seem to act impulsively they are in fact telling a story. Sometimes the story is obvious. Take for example Banksy’s starving huddled boy  encircled by flies , behind an empty bowl, wearing a contrasting colourful Burger King hat (crown).

The story is one of poverty ironically juxtaposed with abundance. The boy likely found the hat and like any child pretends a different life. He feels he may be worth royalty but is contrastingly treated as a pauper.

Sometimes the story is not so much the content but in the mode of transmission.  Bright , bold and cheery colours might be expressing joy and lightheartedness and in fact they may be a result of something quite the opposite. A happy person can paint a dark portrait while at the same time one we would expect to be forlorn from a heavy life might find peace and respite in a world of painting happier contexts. I’m thinking of Maud Lewis , for one, who had a hard life yet surrounded herself with brilliant works of art painted from basic oil paints.

Maud Lewis – Two Deer in Snow

So what is your story? As an artist what are you saying to your world? These two are questions I ponder as art for me seems to be about expressing whatever it is I feel connected to in the moment or in some phase of life.

Art , for me, is like some twin joined at the hip or maybe more like I am the shadow of it; the art being the reality.

What does art mean to you as story telling ? Have I missed anything? Feel free to comment below. Thanks for visiting!

It’s Never Too Late ( to do what you love)

Over the Moon

Timing is a funny thing. In fact where I live the time just went ahead 1 hour (Daylight Saving Time) . Not sure if that’s relevant but just more coincidental to this post.

Do you find ( like me ) that you think a lot about whether it is best to do a thing when you feel like it or to just discipline yourself to grind it even when the feeling is not there?

Honestly I think it is a bit of both. Moderation is a word that I often feel is limiting. I mean, don’t you feel that a Yes or No or either this or either that is the answer you really want?

When it comes do doing something you love, like creating art, etc. it seems  we want it both ways. I’ve often heard other artists say ( myself included wholeheartedly) that ” Today I’m just not feeling it!” That is to say that if I don’t feel like creating something right now I should walk away from the  easel. Ever notice how this occurs usually on your day off or time set aside to actually do your art!!?

 Here’s the thing… I think both approaches are okay. I think that there are times in the scheme of things we need to go for a walk, split some firewood or take a trip. Other times ( maybe more often so) we need to just pick up the brush ( both metaphorically and actually) and lay down some paint with no idea where this will take us.

The best thing is to avoid guilt. Guilt is not a good motivator. Habit can be a good motivator ( GM), Feeling Euphoric can be a good GM, a Kick-in-the-Backside ( both metaphorically and  actually) can be a good GM. maybe a good BM could be a good GM..no, scratch that 

Guilt never works. When we say we were guilted into it then it never ends well. There are other ways to force ourselves to do what we love. It is ironic one would have to say that :”Force” ourselves.  I mean by concentrating on the small picture or doing that first small step. The idea that I can pour a drop of paint on the palette and play around with it and then draw it on the canvas…squiggling a line from left to right, top to bottom. That sometimes does the priming right there and the creative spark begins to work. Other times a grand vision  of mural proportions energizes us to create all things great and small, all things bright and beautiful…

Sometimes for my own pleasure I like to play my drums/bongos. There are times I’m not feelin it but when I  sit and tap out a rhythm to a tune  I like and in that weighted moment my spirit seems to rise with the music and often ends after an hour of enjoyable percussion.

Whatever occurs remember it is never too late to start again to do something you love. Never. You may have to scale back for health reasons or the demands of life put upon you but say to yourself that the promise of the rising sun is that you have this one more moment which is clean and bright like an empty canvas waiting for it’s next conscription.

And if you work at night then let the moon and stars inspire you.

The Encouraging Voice

theencouragingvoice

Caricatures I did of the cast of Casablanca

If you listen you can hear it (them).

It’s no surprise that we have voices in our head.

After all the brain is a huge memory bank as well a processor of ideas and actions. Some of them become voluntary and some involuntary- which makes sense. Who wants to tell their stomach to churn the food you ate and to add all the necessary acids and hormones to do their job. The brain assigns jobs that we are not consciously aware of.

thebrain

I remember seeing a TV show or movie years back that opened with the scene of a man being thrown into the water after being wounded in a car chase. At least that is what my memory bank tells me.

The screen showed a man being plunged deep in the dark waters and you could hear his thoughts.

They went something like this as he told his brain and body to prepare for survival:

“Heart- Slow to 40 beats per. min. Lungs- maintain oxygen levels and exhale slowly, etc”

You get the picture.

The hero of the show was controlling his thoughts to improve his chances of survival.

Maybe it’s fiction..but…hold on. Do you hear the voice(s) in your head?

What are they saying as you attempt to go about reaching your goals?

Often times we pick up the negative, critical voices that surrounded us from our youth. I know I have. We too , may be saying words that hurt others and we’re not aware of it. 

We use those harsh words, backed up by our respect for authority figures ( teachers, parents, that aunt or uncle, etc) to twist together a long whip with barbs and bone. We then get in the habit of whipping our own selves with it mentally.

 

Those harsh words we have owned and put our own personal stamp on them. They become our words, our thoughts. ‘Not going all Spock on you here but you hear what I’m saying, right?

We chose to believe them.

Sure criticism is good. It helps us survive and helps us learn. However we can dwell too much on words that do not carry us forward to our goals.

Once we realize that the thoughts we think are our own choice we can begin to bring correction to our direction!

This is the starting point. We can try all kinds of external influencers but when it comes right down to it we have to change, sometimes slowly and with practise, our habit of thinking and self-talk.

Image from blog "What Shih Said"

Image from blog “What Shih Said”

Be mindful of what you are telling yourself. Is it wise? Or is it harming your ability to take action and embrace change and succeed at your goals?

“Brain- You can do this! Heart- You’re large enough for this task. Lungs- take a deep breath and Go For It!!”

Thanks for visiting. Drop a line if you like 🙂

 

The Road to Greatness

Old Halls Harbour NS

Old Halls Harbour NS

The Road to Greatness. That’s what this post is not about.

‘Achievement’ is a word familiar to the realm of art and creativity. Achievement is painted to be the ultimate goal. Achievement really never answers the question “Why?”

Why do you paint? Why do you write? Why do you sing? Is it for achievement sake?

Strangely enough I came across three separate interviews today that were all linked thematically in an unusual way. One was about a young child actress who confessed to feeling so isolated and alone while others looked on her success with envy. The next one dealt with the stress and pressure we humans feel and have always felt relative to our culture  due to being overworked, strung out and burnt out to the point of melancholy and depression. These latter ill effects are often praised in our achievement driven societies.

Finally I caught some radio discussion on the joy of being content with being average. Many called in to confirm their increase in satisfaction with life when they finally decided to let go of some unrealistic  targets they had aimed for in earlier years. I never heard any of these articles in their entirety but just enough to piece together an overall lesson for myself.

I think , as an artist and yes, also as a person, I have longed for a time when life becomes an easier coast to success.

For instance this summer (2016) I sold  several prints of my work however I did not sell out. I think in the bottom of my heart or in the back of my brain there was this longing for the euphoric success that would mean all of my prints would have sold out. It didn’t happen, of course.

That does not mean that success was not achieved but it does mean that my vision and view of how life itself should have unraveled was different. I know for a fact that purchasers were delighted with my work and it will be impacting their lives  in a positive way for years to come. Art, by the way, has the power to do that.

What I’m trying to describe is that feeling we all have that someday if we try hard enough we will reach a peak or plateau for which we will achieve greatness and thereby happiness.

But the summit does not bestow upon us joy.

For many it will only egg us on ( sometimes miserably) to yet another higher, loftier goal.

For most of us, in time, we realize that those *achievements lie as ruins like some ancient Babylonian ziggurat; a tower of Babel that has eroded into the sand from whence it came.

The Road of Greatness, I think, is the one we want to be on. It is that road that at all points finds us comfortable with who we are and being authentically defined as just who we are at any year, month decade or day.

Do we give up striving for greatness? Yes. Perhaps the road of greatness is more of self improvement rather than being reliant on the praise and accolades of strangers. That road seems to leave us as strangers to our own selves.

At 52 and closing in on 53 years of age I still feel that I have learned so little of what life is really about. I know, though, that with each year material possessions for the most part weigh us down as we trek this road. Perhaps the  death of vain wishes brings about the beginning of a release toward true wisdom.

I know now that seeking true greatness is not something to be attained but rather, realized…right now in the moment.