I have decided to give away two paintings this month. The first drawing was for the SFST participants only and went to number 27 on my register, Weylin and Rhonda Rupe! They selected Aspen Stream First Light which was featured in my last post. Congratulations!
I will "draw" another name for a painting of your choice valued at $350 or less from a similar list of those who could not attend but signed up online in JUNE for my monthly ONLY email news update. Really. Only one email a month is my goal. Today is the last day to sign up for that drawing using a list and random number generator as shown below.
Thanks to all for helping me through my first show and first event from my new studio. If you live in Santa Fe or travel here, stop in and chat at George R.R. Martin's Dragon Stone Studio, 318 Camino Alire, Santa Fe NM Studio 308. Please!
As an artist, it has become convention to write out an "artist statement" as a way of helping others understand what you are doing, kind of like the "mission statement" in modern corporations. That is fine and it does help people see the thought you put into your work and the hoped for impact. It also helps galleries to sell your work when you are not around to explain it.
But part of me thinks one's work is "the statement" and leaving it for unguided exploration enables others to enter the art journey with a spirit of curiosity and adventure. What is God's artist statement? I like the dawn as one example. Every morning I see and explore the mystery of creation in new ways as things come to light and we creatures wake up. On my website (www.tommcgeeart.com), where the artist statement usually resides, I posted this poem for some reflection.
An Artist Statement
warm, cool, the dawn glows
over the Sangres this morning
-a lone raven flies
no photographs taken
just the stillness of peace
in myself and creation
-the artist spirit
my friends, the birds, are
already looking for food
-I take in the dawn
hello brother sun
the saint would say to you
-as the winter fades
mister flicker plays drums
on the fireplace vent hood
-what is he saying?
perhaps the same thing
perhaps his art is banging on a vent,
glad to be alive
Historically, most of the arts were inseparable from spiritual expression. Dance, costume, stories and music were and are still part of tribal expression of their spiritual worldview. Visual expressions and architecture have long guided the construction of religious temples and shrines. The role of spiritual leaders was to guide the community in understanding the unseen mysteries of life and most of the arts were used in some form in worship.
Today artist may seem secular in the work but most still express their views of life's mysteries in their work. This abstract painting started with nothing in mind but an intersection of lines in the middle began to take on more of a human form. I think of this now as a visual expression of prayer. The reaching out towards light in the darkness and mystery. My experience is that when I reach out to touch the light, I find God was there first, reaching towards me. www.tommcgeeart.com
Why art? In the last post I recounted all artistic contributions of the inhabitants of New Mexico for the last thousand years or so. Until the last century, they were almost all artworks related to the spiritual world of the various people groups. I would suggest the same is true for modern inhabitants as well. While many are not exploring the formal faith of their fathers, most are exploring the mystery and wonder of the world in which we live. Georgia O'Keeffe had little use for the Presbyterians who would one day own her beloved Ghost Ranch, but claimed she talked to God (even securing a "deed" for her beloved Pedernal from the almighty in exchange for her many paintings of it). Black Cross, New Mexico was a commentary on the Spanish influence that dominates the horizon here. One reason, perhaps the major reason, the art is such a integral part of life and culture is that people have always been intrigued by many mysteries of life. What could it all mean? We all may have different answers, but we all share a wonder and awe when we look deep into the night sky or sit on a hillside to take in the dawn glow. Art is a way to take it all in and explore it on a sensory level in a way that can be shared with others. Why art? On reason is exploring and expressing the spirit of life, both human and/or divine.
Why art? A good question that goes back to the dawn of time. Lisa and I hiked around south of town and saw petroglyphs on the lava rock cliffs left by the original inhabitants of this beautiful land. Their descendants still make the most exquisite art that still captures some magical spirit of this "land of enchantment." The Spanish added their own spiritual interpretation to the mix. These all followed by the representationalist and mordernist interpretations of the last two centuries.
When it comes to art, we humans just can't seem to help ourselves. We have to express, to create, to memorialize, to dance, to sing, to entertain, to tell stories.
One of my favorite artists, Makoto Fujimura, asked this question of a professor in a creative writing class. The answer:
"Your questions are valuable and I encourage you to push that question further, as many writers and artists have done in the past:
The Santa Fe Studio Tour is an excellent way to find quality artwork at affordable prices from some of the most creative artists in Santa Fe. Affordability is a key component of my vision to help people enjoy the beauty and mystery of life through art. Good art is a window that people can see through into their own sources of joy in the midst of a busy life. I see giving away original artwork as a fun way to share the joy and spread the blessings I have been given. I will also be giving away free painting worth $350 to someone who signs up for my monthly giveaways and updates at tommcgeeart.com! If it sounds like fun click here:
Sign me up now!
It will be fun, I hope to see you here in my art studio/ gallery, number 17 on the tour!
Tom C. McGee, Jr.
Musings about mystery, art and spirituality.