An Artists Way

As I walk through this life, I have been many things. I have done many, many things. Some quite poorly while others I have sunk my teeth into and made it into a way to make a living.

As I woke from a deep sleep that, for me, only happens occasionally, I was in the middle of a dream speaking to a room full of folks about what makes an artist an artist.

At the beginning of the talk, no one was much listening to a word I said. The rain was falling outside making the space in which we were in hard to hear. However, as my voice rose with timber as well as intent, the room fell silent. I realized that I had so much to say on this subject that I was slowly turning into a fervent preacher on a hot summers day.

As soon as I woke, I realized that I needed to put these words into some sort of order not only for myself but perhaps for anyone else who might need a little clarity on the subject of what it is to be an artist. Who is an artist, who has the right to be an artist and who has the obligation to live as one.

I am an artist.

I am an artist because I can’t be anything else. This artistry comes from somewhere deep inside of me, above me, surrounds me and overtakes me. It is in every word I say, every gesture I make, every damn thing I create. Is it my skill shining through? I don’t think so. Is it my judgment of others work leading the way? Nope, not that either.

As a gallery owner, I see others come in who work at a craft. They walk through the gallery, silently, or not so silently, judging the work of others. They wear a chip on their shoulder and beat an insecure heart within their chest. They espouse their work and their accomplishments and take no notice of the blood, sweat and tears that others have shed along the way.

Then there are the replicators. Those that can look at some else’s creation and make it. There is no life in it, no authenticity, no real joy coming from it, but yet they can do it.

I have spoken to “book smart” artists who have learned every skill and technique known to humankind. They are technicians and executors of plans, strategies and drawings. They make something so refined as to have no light shining through.

There are crafters and hobbyists. Part-timers and old-timers. Heritage crafts and modern riffs and the list goes on.

What sets all of these apart from a true artists is this.

Authenticity.

Taking a skill and turning it into an art form. Putting away the books and opening up your heart. Realizing that the only reason you create is because you have to create. That all of the accolades and accomplishments; all of the awards and workshops; all of the breakthroughs and breakdowns have gotten you to a place where all that matters is that you create.

You let it flow because if you don’t it will take you down like Volcanic molten lava wiping out a village. It will suffocate you and cause you to deconstruct. The volition of your art has the weight and heft of a Sumo wrestler and you can do nothing else than to submit to its wiles of creativity.

My friend, that’s when you know without a tenuous shadow of a doubt, that you are an artist. At that point, the drive to be in the studio is greater than the need to cut someone else down. You will work tirelessly, without outside influence or direction, just because your need to authenticate your life is greater than being part of a trend or using the Pantone color of the year.

Strip off your considerations, roll up your fucking sleeves and get to work. Without fanfare; without direction and just create.

The Space Between

“Basking”. Lucy Clark/2022

The Space Between

The space between leaving and what is yet to come. The space of becoming, acknowledgement, and knowingness. The space between the inhale where anything can happen and just before the exhale where life is complete.

All of this invites a big, deep, undulating pause.  It’s not so much about the leaving and the arriving as it is about the space between.  The place we can get caught in fear and trepidation, uncertainty and anxiety or deep bull shitting denial.  A place that speaks like no other of the void.  A space that yearns for growth but may be too full of fear to reach for it.  A niche of enlightenment with darkness at the edges.  

I just returned from 5 days in one of my most sacred spaces in this Universe called Santa Fe.  I, at this very moment, am inhabiting the very surreal, ungrounded slightly askew space between.  In years past, I would be concerned for my future.  The trip, so incredibly enchanting and delightful, has stirred up my longing for what’s next.  What will I create, where will I go with it, how I can be more “me” in the process?  All those things that used to scare the light out of me and now, without me even being aware of it has softened into a comfort of unknowing.  

I have ridden this horse enough to know that all will be revealed in its own languid time.  Without force or effort.  Without worry or stress.  I have realized that what is leaving is leaving and what is to come will find its way to my door.  People, places, things, and time have always been and will always be as temporary as a firefly on a warm summer’s night.  

I bow to the space between the word and the world.  The place where magic can happen with a flick of fate and where, in the end, we will always find our way home.

A Night of Lights

A Night of Lights

With the whole world breathing,

Community

Compassion and

Hope

A Season of Color

With community leaning into

Celebration

Kindness and

Generosity

A time of celebration

With others joining in

Gratitude 

Friendship and

Light 

A heart full of gratitude

With a space full of

Presence

Joy and

Reverence 

The moment has arrived

It is time

To celebrate 

To release 

To expand

And be well ❤️

The Germination of All Things

“IN THE BEGINNING” Lucy Clark 2021

While walking within the mist of a mountain morning, I saw this beauty. I know, I know, it isn’t much. It’s just a cracked seed fallen from the mother tree above. But the gift it gave me is priceless.

I have been struggling with the absence of my creative work. With the success and expansion of the gallery has come reduced time to be in my studio. It has laid heavy on my heart and on my shoulders. A feeling of missing an old friend where the dance of our time together had become comfortable. Expected. Routine.

This little gem of a seed gave to me the realization and reminder that all things, even preciously adored things, have a chapter. And those chapters can either repeat in the future or they have an ending. The emotion we put on those chapters that have come before are of our very own choosing. No one else’s.

And, it is so, once again, in my evolution as an artist. Even though I may not be creating as prolifically as I once have in the physical form, I am still, very much a creator and purveyor of beauty. It has just taken on a new expanded perspective.

And, just as the seed needs to crack itself open with water, light and shadows, so must we. To see that what is before us may not be what has come before. But, it could never the less, be beautiful indeed.

Lucy

Photo/Writing Lucy Clark 2021

The Muse and the Moment

I remember reading an interview by Mary Oliver who was talking about her writing Muse. She would be out walking in the woods and the Muse would suddenly strike; the words were floating in her head so quickly that she would have to run back as fast as she could and put them to paper before they flew out into the ethers and be lost forever. The story struck me when I read it because I had experienced the same thing from time to time. I would wonder, having missed chances to pay physical witness to the thoughts escaping my stream of consciousness that those precious baubles were lost forever. And, sometimes, they were. And sometimes, they would come back around because I was the one chosen to deliver that particular message, on that particular speck of time dust in this ever turning world we call our own. It is in the spirit of returning that I offer this.

If breaths make up moments and days make up weeks which eventually are all packaged up into a life, what gift have we made? What gift for ourselves, for our humanity, for our people? Have we left them with a gift of untold care and blessings? Or, have we played the game of “living” so well that people look upon us and mention the phrases, “Bless her heart”, “that’s so sad” or “she could have been something”?

As I sit here at 5:45 am on a chilly late May morning, woken by my Muse who I haven’t recognized in nearly a month, I am struck by this moment, among other seemingly mundane moments. A moment of the mountainscape revealing herself once again; of the seemingly endless bird sounds creating the soundtrack of their morning rapture and of my mind, words and heart coming together in a brief moment of recognition of the present moment. The “now” and the “before” and of futures not needing attention or worry. Just the breath and sounds and state of my heart. Just the warm mug of coffee and the cold glass table top beckoning my senses to step into another day filled with all things just as mundane, and yet, just as temporary, undulating and precious as a rain drop on parched earth.

If you are in a place of pain, I encourage you to turn and stare at it down “between” the eyes. Taking your “unseeing” physical eye and see it for what it is. Temporary. If you are confusion, take a deep cleansing breath and feel the movement produced by a sure, unconscious pattern that your body makes when it inhales and then lets it all go. If you are in a place of love and reverence, BE with it. Roll in it. Get dirty, muddy and blissful with it, allowing every ounce of it to make its mark on your skin.

Sitting with pain can be the easy part. It can be as natural and normal as first light. But, my friends, it is in the luscious, abundant good times that we can question our worthiness to the moment. Stop it. Don’t do it. Let it wash over you like a lover’s touch that has long been absent. Like the soft, caressed breeze of a new morning sky. Like the last gasp of your heart yearning for safety. For if we don’t acknowledge and wrap our arms around the beauty that Life HAS offered, why would it have any interest in returning to us once again?

If we are unwilling to acknowledge and bow to the unbidden gifts from our lives, we will be unable to encourage more of them. We will be numb to lightness and always look for the dark to return. Honestly, almost willing it to so that we can sit in our self righteous stupor and ask for more of the same.

Feel the enraptured spirit of Joy unbound, if only for the briefest of time. Now, after you have, think about this. What if we could transfer that moment into a day? What if we could recognize the light just a touch more than the dark? What if we finally decided to receive the gifts that we have longed for as long as we have been alive? Imagine what that would bring to the door. Recognition, acknowledgement, reverence, love and limitless light. And though we know it’s temporary, I can assure you it will return.

Integrity in a Suspicious World

Beauty in the Contrast; Lucy Clark

If the past year has proven anything, I’m pretty sure we can all agree that trust has been put on probation. So many divergent stories have been told, so many promises have been made and so many disappointed by it all. There is a deep, voluptuous longing for the truth without agenda. A spiritual calling for our higher self to surface within the turmoil of the outside world. A need, more fervent than ever before, to believe that this will all transform into the bright of day.

With all of the tired wishes and moments of hope, some have taken the path from a collective suspicion aimed at our governing bodies to one of shooting arrows toward anyone who is within our direct line of sight. It’s as if our quivers are full of poisoned tipped arrows and we are lying in wait for the next person who disappoints us to get it through the heart.

And then……….what?

Will we feel justified in taking another down when all they simply did was be present? Are we in need of making another wrong for the momentous time we live in that anyone, anywhere, minding their own business can be converted into a “bad” person with an ulterior motive? Has a reaction to a situation become a habit which in turn become an addiction?

If I could encourage each one of you to do something it would be this.

When you feel yourself reacting rather than responding, simply stop. Back up and take a breath. Take a five minute walk. Look outside yourself in the natural world and put the arrow back in the quiver where it belongs.

The greatest power we have within us all is to create tolerance for our fellow traveler.

Now, more than ever, we have been led to a collective state of being. Think the best of the person beside you. They are, just like you, paddling as fast as they can to reach the safety of the shore.

Replicating Authenticity

Sunrise in Winter; Lucy Clark

My Mom was a full blooded, multi-generational Italian Seamstress. She had an enormous studio in the basement of our home filled with cloth, thread, needles and go ‘ol Italian verve. I would sit and marvel at the things she made; her hands working magic on anything from clothes to curtains; uniforms to wedding dresses and everything in between.

Once and only once, I sat down at the sewing machine deciding that I too, could replicate what she was doing. It only took running one long seam and my Mom telling me to tear it out that I realized that her craft wasn’t meant for me. It was her place, her sacred space to speak a truth she couldn’t verbalize any other way.

When I finally found clay I knew I had found an avenue for my authentic voice to emerge. Yes, as I started, there were a few pieces that resembled others work, but clearly from the beginning, I realized I had something unique to contribute to the craft. I persevered to see, that without anyone’s influence of design, I could emerge with a voice distinctly all of my own. And, if I am proud of nothing else in this world, I am honored that clay let me find that.

Since taking the photo above, something truly dawned on me just like the sun rising on a clear, cold, winter’s day. The Sun rises every day and yet, every day it’s different. It’s truly always one of a kind but also has the same qualities absorbed within.

As a creator, each and everyone one of us has the chance to see something unique and authentic in our work. By attempting to replicate another’s work, idea or gifts it’s sort of like the Sunrise trying to replicate a Sunset. To be inspired by another’s work is sheer magic. To take their work, manipulating it and attempting to “own” the creation means only one thing. It will never be yours. You will always see the other person within the creation and you, and only you, will have to speak to that falsehood.

I encourage you, implore you and downright get down on my knees and beg of you this. Step away from imitation and replication and just quietly create. It may be shitty at first but I promise you, if you continue to clear your throat and sing with your own voice, you will eventually spread your gold flecked wings and fly. Once you do, the Universe awaits.

And with that, I leave you with a scale of creating from a very dear friend. Think about it; Talk about it; Do it; Do it Right and then my lovelies, Do it Your Own Way ❤️

When the Raven Calls

When the Raven Calls; Lucy Clark

This vintage, yet timeless song by Buffalo Springfield keeps playing in my head…… “Something strange is happening here; what it is ain’t exactly clear; there’s a man with a gun over there; telling me I got to beware…….”

With the electric ride that we called 2020, most of us breathed a deep, purifying sense of relief when it came to a close. With eyes bleary, weary and wild, we were able to crawl through the tattered passage way of that shared experience into a new year with the hope of a 5 year old on Christmas morning that the package we were about to unwrap was destined to fulfill all of our wishes and dreams.

But, Life doesn’t have a way of working out like our fantasies and, taken with an occasional glass of Prosecco, that’s ok. There will always be events outside of our control, that being the one truth that we can always hang our hat on. We are temporary beings of stardust and water; attached indelibly to the deep sky, the ocean and the earth.

But, what about those things that we can control? With a year stock full of electric slides, roller coasters, dark tunnels and disease, our reactive “buttons” are on ALL of the time. Collectively and individually we are dancing around the next drama, the next disappointment, the next wildfire. And so it seems many of us have taken this blistering and turned it outward. From holding tight through a pandemic we have gotten used to the drama. Waiting for the next stupid quote to flame about, the next riot for justice or another cause that needs “causing”, we have collectively gotten “juiced” by it all. And, my friends, we are close to being broken.

Our hearts, minds, bodies and spirits look like a prize fighter after the 15th round of shared brutality.

And what are we doing with all of this pain? Some of us are lashing out within our sphere of family and friends; making others wrong to deflect the intense pain, loneliness and dysfunction they feel within. Others are inflicting the pain inward, always wondering what they could have done better to be better. And some of the magical folk are simply holding the Light, quietly and sometimes secretly, breathing through the impulse to react and instead giving space and time between so as to respond with kindness and compassion.

I am not here to tell you what to do, all I am here to say is this; Kindness is a religion I can support. If we are truly, as a community, to get through to the light we need to occasionally drop the butter knife we hold to each others heart and just be kind. For a breath, for a moment, for an hour or a day. Each step along the way will help with the transition away from our new shared habit of sparks and flares of fire toward a resting state of love, thoughtfulness and caring for each other.

Just for a moment……….❤️

Moon Angel

Moon Angel; Lucy Clark 2020

In the shape of night, we can see what our deepest desires implore.
The brightness of a half-full moon shining into the shape of an Angel.
An Angel of lightness and hope
Of loving and forgiveness
Of moments and lives cherished
Of lifetimes honored and embraced

In this light there is a delicious ease in laying down the sharpness of our fears.
The battles we fought
The words we flung
The hate we have embellished
The bruises we inflicted
And the causes we have forged.

For, if we are to be IN the light and OF the light
We must relieve the darkness for which we hold
And reflect the stellar sky within our hearts
Shining fiercely toward a brand new day.

LC Photo and Writing

The Setting of the Sun and The Rise of the Moon

When the Sun and the Moon Meet; Lucy Clark 2020

The Setting of the Sun and the Rise of the Moon

As I look back on this year with the eyes of a weary traveler, it feels like I have lived in a world created by Salvador Dali. At any moment I’m pretty sure the clock in front of me will start melting on a piano floating in the sky and I will simply think……..Hmmm, I wonder what I’ll cook for dinner. Like the ability to make this shit anymore surreal was just about impossible.

And then, I saw this.

I saw, with my very own eyes, the rise of a blessed Full Moon and the setting of a divine, fiery Sun. In that precious moment, it felt like a portend of the future and a putting to bed of the past.
Like the heat of this year was slowly fading and the cool, wispy beams of the Moon were set to take center stage, calming our fears and comforting our souls.

Yes, I’m hopeful. Yes, I’m tired. Yes, oh Yes, my fellow soul exhausted lovelies, I am still here. And hopefully, so are you. Battered, but awake. Soul shot, but healing. Loved but with the aching sense of loss and renewal.

I choose to believe that the best; mine, yours and ours, is yet to come. For in the moment of destruction comes creation. In the moment of death comes Life. And in this very moment, of all moments, comes another breath of a chance to capture the joy that has been waiting there all along.

I bow to the New Year with just a little more humility than I had before and knowing more than ever, all we have is Now.