Wednesday, November 5, 2014

do we really have a choice? Yes Virginia... we do have a choice.

An artist must never be a prisoner.
Prisoner? An artist should never be a prisoner
of himself, prisoner of style, prisoner of reputation,
prisoner of success, etc.
- Henri Matisse

Every once in a while,
I struggle with the art I make
so this quote by the fabulous Henri Matisse
puts me back in my place
as an artist.
I jump from one style to the next,
one subject to the next,
one medium to the next, 
and when writing makes more sense than art,
I write.
While I'm making art,
I never think of why I'm doing it.
I just do it.

But every once in a while
usually when I start comparing myself to others -
I look at my messy art room
and all the paper everywhere
and different notebooks and journals
and all those paintings lying around -
I think to myself:
what am I doing with all this?
why am I doing all of this?

why don't i just give all this stuff away
and start at zero again?

why haven't I been able to sell this stuff?
Is it not good enough?
Am I asking too much?
Am I selling in the wrong place?
Is the work just too varied?

And then I hear Matisse's whisper in my ears...
An artist should never be a prisoner
of himself...
of style
of reputation
of success.

And it reminds me gently
that I do it for no one
but myself
because art is my way
of making sense of the world...
even when there is sometimes
very little sense to be found.
The world can feel like a huge mess sometimes
but I don't believe it's any different
than what it's always been.
The difference today is this:
we see & hear about everything
as it happens.
If we choose to tune in,
we get live coverage,
24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
There were diseases all throughout history.
Killer diseases.
The great influenza of 1918
killed between 50 and 100 million people
in 6 months!
The black death killed 
a 3rd of the population in Europe
in the 1400s, and again in the 1700s.
Wars have existed 
since the dawn of time.
Those who live in war torn nations
have little choice but to try & manage the madness.
But most of us do have a choice.
We can look at all the crap around us
and see nothing but negativity
and become a paranoid society...
or we can shut off the damn news
and start to notice the GOOD in the world.
There are lots of good people out there
doing wonderful things.
Let's not lose sight of this.
Just this week, a young, brave woman
by the name of Brittany Maynard
chose to end her life at the tender age of 28
after being diagnosed with terminal brain cancer.
You can see her story here.
We are so long overdue this discussion
on dying with dignity.
After having been dealt
such a shitty hand in life,
this young woman
chose this message as her last to the world:
The world is a beautiful place.
Travel has been my greatest teacher,
my close friends and folks are the greatest givers.
I even have a ring of support around my bed as I type.
Goodbye world.
Spread good energy.
Pay it forward!

Let's remember this, ok?

And on a lighter note,
this video of Henri Matisse
just makes me happy.
I hope you like it too.
Thank you all for being here with me.


  1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and questions, i think all artists feel the same way very often! And yes, you are right, it is important, so important "to notice the good"!!
    Warmly, Jeanne-Sylvie

  2. You could be speaking for SO MANY of us! I often have a similar conversation with myself. Thanks for sharing and for your lovely colors!

  3. Great post! And I love the video. So interesting. Thanks for sharing.

  4. LOVE the essays that accompany your art! You ALWAYS make me think!

  5. I have so missed your posts whilst I've been wandering aimlessly in the wilderness.
    This one resonates sooo much. There's so much negativity in the world, but there's so much to be grateful for - just stop listening to the harbingers of doom. Thankfully I don't have a TV, and Team Rock don't do news-slots; so if I want doom and gloom I'd have to go and find it for myself - and that's too much like hard work :)
    As for the worry about art - I've been there, done that and got the splattered T-shirt. AEDM has managed to get me back on track again, and I didn't realised how much I'd missed it!

  6. Wow, Pauline. Your post gave me chills. I could have written each word. On the days I compare myself to others, there is not coming out on top...until I remember that's not the point of creating and I resume at my own pace, in my own way. I could use a little more grounding and taking care of day to day business but I am working on it. That's how I see myself...a work in progress :) Thanks for visiting me. I so appreciate your comments.

  7. Hi Pauline. Thank you for sharing those very wise words of Matisse. Even when I'm writing this comment, I'm conscious of how it will be received and perceived...Gosh, there is so much work that needs to be done to be rid of this imprisonment of self. Comparison is the killer of contentment- they say, but it's easier said than done. Your art and your words are you and I for one am happy I've access to both:) LOVE your posts. xx

  8. Oh Pauline, thanks for this post, I so needed to hear / read this .... ♥

  9. I suppose I have a similar conversation with myself sometimes but I also have a problem that when I sell something I really feel sad, like I'm losing a pet and I would rather keep it than give it away. So that is a bit weird. That's why I mainly sell prints. I love that painting you have done with collage of the bunches of leaves. So original and colorful. Happy PPF

  10. LIke everyone before me, I loved the words you shared about the feelings you have about what you do. Also the last words from that courageous girl are words I will keep. So brave.