It is MidSummer or Litha and the warmth of Summer dreams at Tea at Tympani Lane
Records. Bede writes that Litha means 'gentle' or 'navigable' "and they were wont
to sail upon the smooth sea." Writing of poetry and songs has slowed.
I am working on converting 30 years of poetry into html and EBooks to be
offered on Poet’s Corner. The Valentine Rain video is almost complete and
waiting to be launched on YouTube. The Summer Concert series continues in the cool
of the stoneworks of the Montreal Metro . . .
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”
- Lao Tzu (Philosopher)
“Art, in itself, is an attempt to bring order out of chaos.”
- Stephen Sondheim (Composer, Lyricist)
“Artists don’t make objects. Artists make mythologies.”
- Anish Kapoor (Sculptor)
“Because of art, even when everything is wrong, everything is right.”
- Rebecca Anne Banks (Poet, Songwriter, Artist, Writer, Philosopher)
The following are some thoughts on developing the artistic process and on becoming an artist . . . If you have an interest in the arts, wish to develop yourself as an artist, exploring an artistic calling, it is best to study the history of art to have a general understanding and grounding. This can be done by studying over the Internet, or reading books on art history and exploring traditional culture by visiting Museums. Local or modern culture can be experienced by visiting art galleries, book talks, poetry readings, musician and songwriter performances, steeping oneself in the cultural milieu. You may develop definite tastes in music and literature, as you get an idea of which cultural effect you wish to pursue, explore all avenues. If you have an interest in a type of literature, read a sample of everything in that genre, if it is a type of music, listen to all of that type of music. With an overview of art and its history, plus extensive study of your favourite art, literature and music you are ready to begin exploring producing your own art.
It is probably a good idea to take a basic course in technique, taking a beginner’s introduction or learning from the Internet. There are certain “secrets” or special applications that may only be known by a teacher. Sometimes you can only get so far in your study and you get stuck, not certain how to proceed. This may need some divine intervention or feedback, you may be able to get this from a forum on the Internet or you may need to attend a workshop or see a teacher for some hands on help. Once you have some basic skill instruction you may continue by copying your favourite artists. Just practicing the skill set, if playing guitar learning the notes and chords and playing other people’s songs from songsheets, if painting, copying other people’s paintings, so by practicing and honing the skill set you are laying the groundwork for producing original art.
Staring at a blank page can be intimidating, don’t let it scare you. Breathe deep and start your project. After filling the blank page over a period of time it stops being a hard space and becomes warm, a familiar endeavour. As you start to produce original works, it is important to critique your work, what you didn’t like, what you did like and elaborate on the positive in future works. If you like your work, it is very positive, it is important to keep enthusiasm and not be too disheartened. As your skill ripens your artwork may go through different phases or stages. For exampled Pablo Picasso had the Pink Period, the Blue Period, a Cubist Period etc. This is a reflection of skill set, influences on the artist and the presence of the Muse.
As well as developing skill, inspiration is the other part of producing great art. Often artists have a love interest (the Muse) or look to the Spirit in the landscape, in emotions, in the seasons, other people’s art, the daily news, conversations, celebrations. Any part of daily living can inspire the artistic process and often there will be more than one inspiration creating a certain synchronicity and synergy, as if creating a postcard of that particular day at that particular time. If one is truly a seminal artist the art work will exist on different levels and there may even be an element of prophesy.
The Muse has been interpreted throughout history in different ways. In ancient Greece the Muse was thought to be the daughters of Mnemosyne and Zeus, each one being called upon by the artist to aid in their writing/art creation. In the Renaissance the emphasis became centered on the artist as the crucible of the creative process and the channeling of the Muse. In modern times the Muse is thought of as being a love interest who inspires. I think of the Muse as a love interest as well as the channeling of the Spirit World, through the longing and love of the Muse, the Spirit World (writers/artists who have passed, Saints, Angels) intercedes and helps with the artistic process.
My own artistic process started when very young with a ferocious appetite for reading Fairy Tales, reading every Fairy Tale book at the local public library by the time I was 7 years old. At 12 years old, as well as reading the Anne of Green Gables series and Little Women amongst others, I was also reading Victor Hugo and “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”, eventually reading a very large sampling of classical literature. I was always taken to cultural events as a child, folk festivals, dance programs, the Museum etc. and was lucky enough to take 2 years of music instruction on the piano. I developed an interest in Folk and Classical music, classical literature and later poetry.
I have been writing poetry since 1981, off and on for the first 10 years and then steadily after about 1990. The writings that really kept me company late at night were Greek Tragedy – The Illiad and The Odyssey by Homer, Euripedes, William Shakespeare, Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote, St. Agnes Eve by John Keats, The Wasteland by T.S. Eliot, Kurt Vonnegut, Margaret Atwood and Leonard Cohen. For music anything classical, Lute and harpsichord music, Don McLean, Blue Peter, Tragically Hip, Chrissie Hynde, Simon and Garfunkel, the Beatles, David Bowie, the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan amongst others. I also studied art in high school, English and Philosophy in university and college.
I usually don’t have writer’s block, the longest dry spell is about 2 weeks, something is always bubbling. Writing is not something I do consciously, it just happens and it is a lifeway, something I do all the time. I find as I relax when going to sleep is the most prolific time for new words to happen, so I sometimes take my writing pad to bed with me. Writing songs began as my therapy progressed. One Saturday afternoon, I became stuck after hours of release work and journaling until I finally started singing my poetry, and with the intervention of the Holy Spirit I found peace. And so I started to study the meter of my favourite songs and any poetry that I wrote that had cadence or rhyme I began to knit into lyrics. After the lyric was written I would parce the music on the guitar or by singing the lyric into a tape machine and then adding guitar chords.
I suspect everyone’s artistic process is different, people learn in different ways and the artistic process becomes an endeavour in original thinking. When one has a calling for creating art, the artist weaves the day, the events, the intellectual thinking of the time into a whole, often creating a postcard snapshot of a particular time in both the artist’s life and the life of the society. Art is also a reflection of the artist’s soul, worship of God’s creation, a love inspiration. Often by telling the stories of the people of the village, becoming the conscience of the society as well as an historical record. This was also true in the time of the Bards, songs were an oral history of their peoples as well as providing entertainment and as the minstrels traveled they carried the news of where they had been. The presentation of art is a celebration of where we have been, where we are going, and entertainment as Festivals lift peoples spirits. The act of creating art, frees and heals the Spirit and is a way of finding karmic redemption after having too many lovers.
The Way of Peace,