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.

LITTLE TREASURES

FALL FLUIDITY; Lucy Clark 2021

Little Treasures
 
There is nothing like
Finding joy 
In one solitary leaf
Of a fall sky
 
Each tree shedding her coat
Laying bare
Her deepest foundation
Beneath the glory of fading treasures
 
Moving through time
Leaf by precious leaf
Revealing each glorious bit
That call us to attend
 
Just one deep breath
One reverent moment
This wispy crisp of a day
 
Realizing everything we have
Everything we are
All that we will be
Are quite simply
 
Tiny treasures.

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

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 ❤️

Twilight Dancing

Twilight Dancing; Lucy Clark 2020

Twilight Dancing

Even when we can’t, even when we won’t, even when we don’t think we can take one more step, twilight still dances.

Each evening brings another opportunity to immerse ourselves into the galaxy of stars and wear them like fairy lights while swishing our coats around us in the deep umber of night.

Be the Twilight Dancing.
Dance Among the Stars
And bathe yourself in the wellspring of night.

Photo/Writing LC 2020

Still Life in an Artists Studio

Art Studio Still Life; Lucy Clark 2020

I never tire of visiting other artists studios. There is something so damn magical about the energy of each and every one. Each has their own line up of tools, placements, easels, wheels, paints and glazes. Each has every inch of their space imbued with their own, almost tactile, essence. Each their own way of creating.

Whether it’s neat and tidy or the remnants of a bomb going off makes no difference to me. To be invited into their lair of quietude is a great honor and one that I feel is truly exposing the artists underbelly of vulnerability. I see it as their very own church; communing and humming along with their secret Choir of Angels. Voices that are melding, dancing and rising up like the mist on the mountains into celestial, beautiful creation and song. And, all at once, I realize that I am humbled to be there.

And I bow in grace to be included, if only for a moment, within the melody.

Writing and Photo: Lucy Clark 2020

A Love Letter to my Past

“When the Soul Speaks” Lucy Clark 2020

For me, the work of the Soul is to softly and gently speak to the bearer about what is true and whole. Just for this one person, in this moment, at this time and without construct of another’s considerations.

I know when my soul speaks to me simply by all of the times that I didn’t listen. When I failed to pay homage to the “tickly” sensation deep inside of me that was beckoning recognition. And in those moments of failure, I learned. I learned that avoiding my very own “soul talk” didn’t make me the brightest bulb in the box. I learned to sense the feeling that I experienced when my soul and my intuition sat down for a cup of tea and I forgot to join the party. I learned that there is always another opportunity to be quiet and to lean into that moment when something profound is about to be imparted. And in each of those moments, those many magical moments, I can look back and see the choices I have made constitute the Life that I have lived.

To take ownership of one’s life is not for sissy’s. It takes courage, honesty, integrity, dirt grinding, soul purifying persistence that can take you to your knees and perhaps all the way to Grace. If I have one goal, any goal, that I could lift up my arms to and move forward with, it is this. To show up and be the person that makes no excuses. A person who takes the reins of their own life, their own choices and Yes, dear ones, their own consequences. Good, bad or indifferent, I am the lead Artist in my very own masterpiece.

And I wouldn’t want it any other way ❤️

Photo and Writing: Lucy Clark 2020