Tuesday, August 16, 2011
It's a life, not a job
Yesterday I was sorting through a few things in the studio and came across a couple of things that had been pinned to a bulletin board in my studio in New Mexico. When I was packing for our move to Texas over four years ago, I carefully put them in a folder so I wouldn't lose them, and then, of course, didn't find them until yesterday. There is a favorite quote from Emerson and another from Emily Dickinson. And, this one from my friend and mentor, Hollis Williford (1940-2007). Hollis was many things- a prolific and passionate sculptor, painter, printmaker and draughtsman, an authority on the history, peoples and lore of the American West, and student of art history. He was also a generous and unstinting mentor. I am grateful every day for the things I learned from him and the support he gave me.
"Don't wait for inspiration. Attack your work with a club and let your perspiration speak instead of revelation. Learn to be a perpetual student with an open mind. Think of your work as a journey without a destination. It's a life, not a job. During your first thirty years as an artist you notice you begin to work smarter instead of harder. The mistakes and shortcomings don't happen as often, and the success ratio goes up. The depth of understanding that is such a part of the evolution of ability intensifies with time and you find simplicity in beauty. Emerging artists - develop a strong, consistent work ethic. Educate yourself by studying and discovering all the giants on whose shoulders you wish to stand. Make life as much of a first hand experience as possible, because it is the source of your inspiration and subjects. Your individuality will develop as a natural part of hard work and application; hang on to it for dear life, for it is all you have that is truly yours."