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  • sharmondavidson

The Life of an Artist

7 NOVEMBER, 2021

mixed media art golden Buddha with apples and dragonfly

Fibonacci Buddha With Sacred Geometry, hand cut collage on multi-media board, 7 x 7 in

"Relax, no one is in control."

This seems to be the lesson life is teaching me right now, and it's a good one. A very Buddhist perspective, and all the harder to learn despite its apparent simplicity. I had hoped to write this post much sooner, but sometimes life intervenes.  I had hoped to do lots of other things as well. Like: apply for exhibits, photograph artwork, and put new work up for sale on my website, among others. Such is the life of an artist, a.k.a. - life.

mixed media art with quote about inner peace

This isn't my first post about the life of an artist. But don't worry, I'll try not to bore you with the trials and tribulations of a small  business owner with a staff of one (me). I have written extensively about this before; you can read about it here and here.  This post is actually more about the work I've been doing lately, with a side dish of philosophy! OK, not so much philosophy, really, but just a word about perspective. OK?

By the way, this post started out to be about why artists make art in series. There would have been some research involoved, as I wanted to share information that would be helpful to other artists and anyone else interested in art. But I just can't do the topic justice right now, so I decided to pivot.

When I think of the word "pivot", it reminds me of this crazy episode of Friends! And because laughter is always good medicine, I shared it below.

Keeping the Right Perspective

It's hard to be cool, calm, and collected, or even one of those things, when life is throwing a bunch of sh#* at you. I type this as I drag the two feral kittens I'm trying to find homes for away from the computer/electrical cords they're playing with, for at least the tenth time this morning. It's just a small frustration in comparison to some pretty big ones I've been dealing with.

If you've ever dealt with Medicare or nursing homes in regard to an aging parent, I'm sure you can relate. It's quite overwhelming. My brain is full, and stuff keeps falling out. I'm not even sure if what I'm writing is coherent, since I'm generally able to type less than two sentences before I'm interrupted. So that's it, the bitching and moaning is now officially over.

gold Buddha with compass rose and plants

“Whether we like it or not, change comes, and the greater the resistance, the greater the pain. Buddhism perceives the beauty of change, for life is like music in this: if any note or phrase is held for longer than its appointed time, the melody is lost.

Thus Buddhism may be summed up in two phrases: “Let go!” and “Walk on!” Drop the craving for self, for permanence, for particular circumstances, and go straight ahead with the movement of life.”

Letting Go

These words by the great philosopher and Buddhist scholar Alan Watts really resonate with me. Still, I have to remind myself of them often. Like most humans, I tend to get caught up in the problems of daily life. But the older I get, the easier it is for me to see that my problem isn't the problem; my reaction is the problem. I need to let it go.

Writing this post has given me a chance to reflect on all of this. Life, like the collage below, is just a big bunch of phenomena. Some parts are obscured, and can seem upside-down or backwards, or dark and mysterious. And yet, in the midst of it all, there is beauty.

handmade collage with tree, stamps, sheet music, flowers

Life 2, mixed media collage on multi-media board, 7 x 7 inches

Walking On: The Life of an Artist

The collage below is based on the major theme of my work, the interconnection of all things.  If everything is truly connected to everything else, just think of what that implies. The universe must be so much more complex than we can ever possibly begin to percieve with our senses.

I attempted to express this by visually connecting one form to another through line and color. Visual similarity of structures and patterns are a non-verbal shorthand that tells our subconscious minds these things are related. It is a language of symbols, which by its nature is imperfect and incomplete.

mixed media collage art with bird,maps, Asian writing, medical diagram,

Connections III, mixed media collage on multi-media board, 8 x 8 inches

It's another example of how we, as finite beings, continually fall short. Yet we don't stop trying just because the art we make isn't a perfect representation of the idea we want to convey. We can't control how others will see it. We let it go, and make more art.

So I am learning to let go, and walk on. I've done what I can do to the best of my ability, but I can't control the outcome, no matter how much I want to. I'm walking on.

abstract paper collage with compass rose and eggs

Left: Enigma, collage/decollage on multi-media board, 6 x 4 inches


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