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.

Field of Rest

“Field of Rest” Lucy Clark 2021

Field of Rest

A moment of utter silence

With reverence along side

To bring us to the moment

This moment of our lives.

To reflect upon our harvest

And those that came before

To realize our accomplishments

Before opening another door.

The depth of this moment

More precious than the last

To bow in acknowledgement

To every storied past.

Each breath like a prayer

Each sigh a whispered psalm

That what we had put forth

Is with clarity and with calm.

Another bountiful crop tilled under

After having done our best

That we made it to the land

The land and season of rest.

Lucy Clark, 2021

Owl Medicine

Morning Harvest; Lucy Clark 2021

To truly transform, one must, each and every day, scrub off the layers of thoughts and considerations from others and be laid vulnerable and naked under a blanket of our own standards. A daunting task to say the least. One that truly requires our authentic self to shine past what others think of us, of our work or our intentions.

We have all been there. Willing, oh so willing to judge another for their reach in this world. Or their lack of ability for self examination. We roll around, thinking unkind thoughts; beating our way through the brush of our own chaos and lighting a candle on someone else’s fire.

And yet, our vulnerability awaits. To be laid quivering and cold, without our protective blanket of what our ego is telling us to believe is mandatory for our growth as an individual riding around the Universe in this human form.

If we are to believe, I mean truly and effortlessly believe, that we are worthy, we must first slog through the bits of bobs of unworthiness and selfishness. Such strange bedfellows but I have seen so many times the two go holding hands while walking down the street of my own delusions.

The ego is a wonderful survival mechanism – one that in my darkest of times has saved me from utter internal destruction. But a great gift can also be one’s most pointed liability. For if we feed our egos more than our authentic personage, we are doomed to being asleep at the wheel. But, if we pay our true selves just a bit more than our blubbering, boastful hobbit of an ego, we begin to see who we are starting to become peep through. And, I gotta tell you, it’s a whole lot easier living with the love of oneself than the condemnation brought on by believing we are unworthy of prosperity, love, adoration and forgiveness.

I am in the middle of transformation and, truthfully, it always comes with a side of fear, uncertainty and doubt. But, if I am to release from the Chrysalis of my own making I just gotta trust the process. And, my friend, I hope you do, too.

See you on the other side……

When the Mirror Falls Away

A Single Bud; Lucy Clark

When The Mirror Falls Away

Our hand losing its fierce grip

Begging a different version of ourselves

That we reflect outward to the skies

But internally find deep dis-ease.

The mirror that tells us to be somebody else

Anybody else

Because who we are now

Lacks the shine of a story

We can never own.

What will we do with the empty hand of our own judgment?

Will we pick up the fractured glass and pray we can piece it together?

Or will we simply stretch our tendons,

Knowing that the time has come

To shine as ourselves.

Without reflection

Without Distortion

Without Blame

Alone, knowing

We are ready to face

Unencumbered

Forward.

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

Sleeping Around

In Communion; Lucy Clark

A few days ago, I was asked in jest whether I had been sleeping around because I sure was getting a lot of press and recognition for the gallery and myself. I rolled my shoulders back and responded with clarity and kindness and moved on with my day; but the comment struck deep and I finally realized that it was partly true.

Like many small business owners, for the past year I have had my hands all over mine. In early April of last year, as I stood alone in the gallery that encompassed my heart, I had to make a decision whether I was all done or all in. I worked, worried, loved and ensconced myself with the act of coming through this surreal time with a beautiful space that could welcome the weary eyed and bring light to their life; and for the most part I’ve been pretty successful.

As the jest drove me deeper toward introspection I decided to come up with a list of items that I have slinked around with, both day and night and I am finally ready to confess.

Here goes………..

I slept with my Integrity; waking up each morning and checking to make sure I was standing deep within it. My own integrity, answering to my own standards and acting from a place of clarity.

I slept with my intentions to consider the angles and undercurrents; those misguided and needing reflection and repair.

I slept with my big dreams of a prosperous art business where the work that I created and those I represented were loved and supported.

I slept with my concerns and hopefully woke to discernment and direction for exactly how to work them to a place of calm decisiveness.

I slept with my husband and my dogs knowing when morning came I would feel comforted and blessed.

I slept with a clear conscious that I did my damn level best at every given opportunity and if I didn’t, I awoke with the full intent to be a better person than I was the day before.

I went to bed with the beautiful mantra that I am thankful for what I’ve been given but also for what I could give.

You see, I’ve been sleeping around like crazy and I do not feel one ounce of guilt or shame. I am imperfect, crookedly self critical and committed to taking responsibility to the life I am incredibly blessed to call my own.

So, dear one, I have been sleeping around the Universe and back again and the best part is, I’m still faithful and slap full of wild abandoned joy to my Life and my calling.

And so it is……….❤️

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.

From a Sprout

From the Beginning; Lucy Clark 2020

The very beginning. The beginning, from a seed to a sprout to a mountain forest and all that grows in the in between.

To me, the definition of Life.

It is the verdant, unreasonable, furtive hope that we will grow into ourselves and encompass that whole of who we are. All of our aspirations laid within the cellular structure of this beautifully designed, almost imperceptible, breath of a wish called a seed.

The netting laid down with the mastery of sacred geometry, holding upon the earth our shared missives and dreams of what’s to come next. Of what could be. Of what we so longingly yearn for. Life abundant, prosperity unparalleled and love unbound.

The resilient trees and masterful mountains in the background to remind us of what could be, ever changing; of the possibilities that might be, of what we are destined to be if we only allow it.

Within each of us is the greatness of our true selves just waiting to be uncovered but playing small will never do. For we have the strength of the seed within us and the glory of the mountains to become. Everything in between is the journey of 1,000 roads to be adored.

Writing and Photo; Lucy Clark 2020

When You Believe

The Signature; Lucy Clark, 2020

When You Believe

I was told over 6 years ago, when contemplating a move to North Carolina with my husband, that I shouldn’t.

I should keep my “day” job and stay put. Continue to work full time in a profession that, though, was incredibly good to me, felt as though I was a stripper on a double shift.

I was told that, at the age of 52, I was too old to start over, hunker down, do without, and build something new that was sure to be a failure.

These words, spoken by someone who I loved and adored, stopped my breath AND my heart.

I did it anyways.

Right, wrong or indifference from external voices, at the end of the day, just might keep you from being you. I have made so many mistakes that have led me to this moment. So many crooked, creaky, crazy ass boners that have led me right here to the pen in my hand.

And Here is where I choose to be.

Signing a new lease for a bigger space to showcase the work I create as well as some incredibly talented people that I am cherished to know. Well, for me, and Lord knows, I can only speak for myself, it doesn’t feel right, wrong or indifferent.

It feels just fine 🙂