Where Is Your Inspiration?
0 comment Sunday, April 27, 2014 |
Smaug - by Alan Lee
I've got an artist and traveller soul. I must admit that, while I need roots, a home, someplace of my own, I am never completely tied to anywhere. I am not motivated by the usual things like retirement plans and what's on telly tonight. I lived for years without them; five years, maybe six, where I literally had nothing but the clothes on my back, and lived under bridges, in old buses on blocks, in camper trailers, in tents.
Oh, how horrible!
Well...actually, no, it wasn't.
I read a blog now and again about an artist who lives in a gorgeous vehicle - her blog is called Into the Hermitage and her work, her whole life, is one I'm very familiar with. And, truthfully speaking, it's a life I miss very, very much, even with all the hardships and issues. Hardships and issues which, to be truthful, are more about dealing with society people who are jealous of the life one is living in which one has "escaped" all the false trappings you're supposed to hanker for.
But not just her lifestyle speaks to me - I adore her artwork, her paintings have more than a little touch of the Eastern Europe style of medieval works in colours and slightly contorted bodies. It captivates me and speaks of an era which the internet, mobile phones, PIN numbers and recessions has nearly banished from our minds. It brings to mind Brian Froud, Alan Lee - my favourite artists.....
And it reminds me that when I allow myself to be, I'm an artist as well.
See, the thing is everyone in my family is an artist of some kind; my aunt is a renowned architect in the US, my uncle was a photographer of some fame, as was my grandfather, who was also a poet, my great grandmother a writer, my grandmother a singer who with her own sisters regularly appeared on the Ed Sullivan show. My father sang at the Apollo from the age of 10.
My mother however....my mother crushed her creativity and squashed it down, denied it, killed it; and she was determined to do the same to her daughters. No, I don't know why, but she did. I wanted to be an artist when I was a child, more than anything. And I just had a gift for art: perfect pitch which I've always had since I was four; the ability to play just about any instrument even though I never learned to read a note; pick up a pen, or a brush or my favourite oil pastels, and I would keep myself occupied blending and experimenting for hours. I'm intuitive with clay and love working with it, and metal, and gemstones. But I had to hide my work, or my mother would find it, and rip it up, both figuratively, and on more than one occasion, literally. I even stopped trying to write whilst I lived at home, though I have a gift for it, and have since published as well.
Even so, I put it all away and never touched any of it again. I haven't drawn in years; I haven't painted in decades. It's a sad state of affairs when you realise, only once you're approaching 40, that you're still living the way other people want you to, rather than how you wish to be.
And so, sitting her, seeing this woman work with oil by candlelight in a small, cosy vehicle which will move in a week's time to somewhere else, I can't help but think I'd like to be in such a space; broken valves, cold boots-whilst-hunting-for-wood, getting-shuffled-on-by-bourgeois, and all.
Maybe not yet - my son is still my first priority over all. I have no funds, I don't even have a driving license. I can't remember how to paint - I never learned to even prep a canvas or whatever it is I would use to paint in, who knows? - and I know even less about doing exhibitions or prices or even what makes good work. Because art is great if you're creating it, but you still need bread to eat, and I'd still have to delve into that world and earn the proverbial crust.
But then, at the same time, it isn't about the trappings, but doing what you can where you are. After all Terri Windling offered to read my work and even to try and get it published...and I never followed it up. Why? For gods sake, why not? Why is my house not filled with art and wonder and weirdness and beauty and puppets and everything that is me where I'm sitting? Whose failing is that, exactly?
And now, the artist of the Hermitage isn't on the road anymore, either. Gone the idyllic highway, gone the frustrations and the beauty and the travel - but the thing is, she's still an artist. That hasn't changed; she just has more walls to put her work on.
In other words...
When will I give myself permission to live on my own terms?