Thursday, February 9, 2012

My heart breathes...

"Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart." ~William Wordsworth

I like the sentiment, and it helps explain why I write...  My heart needs to breathe.  As for the sharing with the wide world part, hmm...  I'll have to ponder the 'why' of that a little longer.

There's a bit of tension in my outlook just now.  The winter months are not a busy time for the henna artist in Minnesota (at least not this one), and so we turn to crafts to keep our skills sharp.  I am involved in the online community of henna artists, and we commonly  share photos of our work with one another.  Within the community, the work of some very talented and experienced artists are hailed as perfection itself. And of course, their work is beautiful!

Though I admire artistry and expertise, I find I don't appreciate this show and tell/adulation response dynamic.  I don't aspire to be like any artist other than myself, and don't think anyone should.  I'm not keen on comparison, or favoring one style over another.  And, even stickier, as I examine myself to see if I would feel differently if folks were fawning over me and my work, the answer is, yes I probably would not need to write a blog entry in this case.  So it appears I'm tasting sour grapes, not usual for me and not something I wish to perpetuate.

Isn't it interesting how art, which is sooo personal, and an expression of what is within, once shared, can make the artist vulnerable to the perception of others?  Art is to be shared.  And of course once shared, there will be an impression or opinion, favorable or not.  But should the artist let the perception of someone else impact how/if/why they express what is within, or how they feel about their own work?  Should the breathings of my heart be affected by outside perception/comments/or lack of them?

At the same time, constructive criticism or even just shining less brightly than another is a good growth catalyst.  If a person is met with only stroking and positive reaction, perhaps they do not push for excellence.  We all are soo different, what makes us tick or work harder or achieve our best is so vastly different from one person to the next.  My artwork is not about competition, I refuse to let that spirit enter my space.  And yet I feel it breathing on my neck.

I think the upshot is, what I have to give has value, pleases me, and brings pleasure to others along the way.  It doesn't have to please every one, or be the most pleasing overall to be worthy. Where I stand in rankings in the community or in the mind of another does not matter.  Nor should I rank myself.  

What I should do, what we all should do, is let our hearts breathe.

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