Friday, March 29, 2013

Letter to a Young Poet

 I know this is long, but if you are an artist of any kind it is a must read, I came across this again after many years and it has helped me just when I needed it, I have been looking outside myself for approval, for a sign that I am a good artist and really it does not matter, what matters is that I have to paint, I have painted since I was 8 years old and I would go insane if I could not create. Read this letter by Rainer Maria Rilke and be inspired. XOXO

February 17, 1903

Dear Sir,
     Your letter arrived just a few days ago. I want to thank you for the great confidence you have placed in me. That is all I can do. I cannot discuss your verses; for any attempt at criticism would be foreign to me. Nothing touches a work of art so little as words of criticism: they always result in more or less fortunate misunderstandings. Things aren't all so tangible and sayable as people would usually have us believe; most experiences are unsayable, they happen in a space that no word has ever entered, and more unsay able than all other things are works of art, those mysterious existences, whose life endures beside our own small, transitory life.
     With this note as a preface, may I just tell you that your verses have no style of their own, although they do have silent and hidden beginnings of something personal. I feel this most clearly in the last poem, "My Soul." There, some thing of your own is trying to become word and melody. And in the lovely poem "To Leopardi" a kind of kinship with that great, solitary figure does perhaps appear. Nevertheless, the poems are not yet anything in themselves, not yet any thing independent, even the last one and the one to Leopardi. Your kind letter, which accompanied them managed to make clear to me various faults that I felt in reading your verses, though I am not able to name them specifically.
     You ask whether your verses are any good. You ask me. You have asked others before this. You send them to magazines. You compare them with other poems, and you are upset when certain editors reject your work. Now (since you have said you want my advice) I beg you to stop doing that sort of thing. You are looking outside, and that is what you should most avoid right now. No one can advise or help you - no one. There is only one thing you should do. Go into yourself. Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depths of your heart; confess to yourself whether you would have to die if you were forbidden to write. This most of all: ask yourself in the most silent hour of your night: must I write? Dig into yourself for a deep answer. And if this answer rings out in assent, if you meet this solemn question with a strong, simple "I must", then build your life in accordance with this necessity; your whole life, even into its humblest and most indifferent hour, must become a sign and witness to this impulse. Then come close to Nature. Then, as if no one had ever tried before, try to say what you see and feel and love and lose. Don't write love poems; avoid those forms that are too facile and ordinary: they are the hardest to work with, and it takes a great, fully ripened power to create something individual where good, even glorious, traditions exist in abundance. So rescue yourself from these general themes and write about what your everyday life offers you; describe your sorrows and desires, the thoughts that pass through your mind and your belief in some kind of beauty Describe all these with heartfelt, silent, humble sincerity and, when you express yourself, use the Things around you, the images from your dreams, and the objects that you remember. If your everyday life seems poor, don't blame it; blame yourself; admit to yourself that you are not enough of a poet to call forth its riches; because for the creator there is no poverty and no poor, indifferent place. And even if you found yourself in some prison, whose walls let in none of the world's sound - wouldn't you still have your childhood, that jewel beyond all price, that treasure house of memories? Turn your attention to it. Try to raise up the sunken feelings of this enormous past; your personality will grow stronger, your solitude will expand and become a place where you can live in the twilight, where the noise of other people passes by, far in the distance. And if out of , this turning within, out of this immersion in your own world, poems come, then you will not think of asking anyone whether they are good or not. Nor will you try to interest magazines in these works: for you will see them as your dear natural possession, a piece of your life, a voice from it. A work of art is good if it has arisen out of necessity. That is the only way one can judge it. So, dear Sir, I can't give you any advice but this: to go into yourself and see how deep the place is from which your life flows; at its source you will find the answer to, the question of whether you must create. Accept that answer, just as it is given to you, without trying to interpret it. Perhaps you will discover that you are called to be an artist. Then take that destiny upon yourself, and bear it, its burden and its greatness, without ever asking what reward might come from outside. For the creator must be a world for himself and must find everything in himself and in Nature, to whom his whole life is devoted.
     But after this descent into yourself and into your solitude, perhaps you will have to renounce becoming a poet (if, as I have said, one feels one could live without writing, then one shouldn't write at all). Nevertheless, even then, this self searching that I ask of you will not have been for nothing. Your life will still find its own paths from there, and that they may be good, rich, and wide is what I wish for you, more than I can say.
     What else can I tell you? It seems to me that everything has its proper emphasis; and finally I want to add just one more bit of advice: to keep growing, silently and earnestly, through your whole development; you couldn't disturb it any more violently than by looking outside and waiting for outside answers to questions that only your innermost feeling, in your quietest hour, can perhaps answer.
     It was a pleasure for me to find in your letter the name of Professor Horacek; I have great reverence for that kind, learned man, and a gratitude that has lasted through the years. Will you please tell him how I feel; it is very good of him to still think of me, and I appreciate it.
     The poem that you entrusted me with, I am sending back to you. And I thank you once more for your questions and sincere trust, of which, by answering as honestly as I can, I have tried to make myself a little worthier than I, as a stranger, really am.
Yours very truly,
Rainer Maria Rilke

Saturday, March 23, 2013

New Collage

This is a new 12" x 12", as I was saying in my last post a friend sent me a package of micro sepia pens and I love them, so I did some drawings on tea stained paper, usually I do a venetian plaster background, but when I got this board out I loved it's golden tones which of course you can't see at all no matter what I did, but trust me it is a sweet light honey color. The rest is very close to the real thing, but the camera washed out the golden and made it a boring light off white.Blah. I will have to try again on another day for a better photo.
This piece is all torn, stained tea and rust and the sepia pen with cold wax, that is all not a lick of paint.
I always love to here your thoughts and I have a question: I am thinking of giving an on line class using venetian plaster and collage, would any of you be interested? It would be very affordable. Not sure what it would look like yet, but first want to know if any artists out there are interested at all. If you are please let me know in your comment. Have a wonderful weekend! XOXO

Friday, March 22, 2013

What I have been Doing

What could be more interesting, or in the end, more ecstatic, than in those rare moments when you see another person look at something you’ve made, and realize that they got it exactly, that your heart jumped to their heart with nothing in between.

—Robert Motherwell
This is what all artists want I think, to see that their work speaks to others, but in the end it has to speak first to the artist. I have been busy, drawing mostly and having received two packs of micro pens from my good friend M for a recent birthday I am obsessed with sepia pens! I am nearly finished with a new piece and will be posting it soon. My work is changing at such a fast rate and has been for the last year. I feel with these collages I am combining all that I love and it is exciting and so very fun. Color seems to have vanished from my work for the time being, but I know it will resurface. I just know I have to go where the work takes me and I always do. What have you been doing? XOXO

Sunday, March 10, 2013

"Raven's Dream" Revised

If you look at the last post you will see the difference, all the white was bothering me, so I did a wash of tea over it and I think it tones it down just right. XOXO

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Raven's Dream

This is a new collage called Raven's Dream, I have started a new series and it will be ravens and wildlife, not sure what all I will be drawing, but probably rabbits and deer and all manner of bird. The back grounds satisfy my love of abstraction and the animals satisfy my love of animals and drawing. This piece is a 12" x 12", venetian plaster, oil, rust, tea, ink, graphite, paper  and cold wax on cradle board. This painting will be making it's way to my ETSY site in a day or so. If you click on a photo and then click on it again after it opens you get a great detailed view.
I always love to hear your thoughts.
This piece will be tumbled.
Happy weekend.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

New Collage

Again I had trouble getting a great image, but I did my best, the tones are a bit warmer than you see here.
I included many closeups and if you double click on each image you get a clearer view. This one is a 12"x 12", Venetian plaster, teabag, paper, oil, acrylic, graphite, ink, cold wax, bone, feather and thread on cradle board. I left the sides raw as I liked it with this piece. Sometime I plaster and paint the sides and sometimes not. This one is called "The Gift" because that feather was a gift with other feathers from my bloggy friend Lori (Thanks dear Lori!). I am working on more collages and I am really having fun with these. Many more to follow.
*I decided to change the title, realizing what was really going on for me in this piece, I have retitled it "The Sacrifice".
I always love to hear your thoughts.
This image will be tumbled for all those tumblers out there who like it.
Have a great day. XOXO