Monday, June 3, 2013

Ruby Owl & Why I am an Artist

Ruby Owl by megan_n_smith_99
Ruby Owl, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.

This is another recent painting. I was pleased with how it came out. It's watercolor and white ink. I was happy with the balance of detail and I tend to want to go overboard with detail. It's a bit compulsive, but space has a lot of value as well.

I was just digging around in some things and found something I wrote for a zine in 2003 which I thought I would share. I am resisting a REALLY strong urge to edit, I am apparently a better writer now than I was 10 years ago...

Why I am an Artist
by Megan Noel

I was writing a letter yesterday, and I was thinking about why I am an artist and what that means to me. I think of myself as an artist first, then as a human, and finally as a woman. Why is that so important and what does it signify?

I create because it might be the one thing I do that really means something, and that reminds me of what really matters. It takes me outside of the state of the union, traffic, the rising cost of healthcare, and the long lines at the post office. It reminds me what is really important -- maybe not the art itself. Probably my paintings will never be best in show or end up at the Guggenheim . My dolls may never be more than oddities, and I'm not likely to write the Great American Novel. What matters is where they come from inside of me, the space I go to in search of these things, and the place they are reaching towards inside other people.

What matters is that I sit for a while every day and quiet the world all around me, voices mumbling about the deficit, the email I forgot to answer, the mildew on the shower curtain, and weapons of mass destruction. Every day I slow down enough to listen to the things curled up inside me just waiting for me to give them words, pictures, and sounds to be born into. When people see or hear or touch these creations, whether or not they think of them as works of fine art, I hope for one moment they stop, connect, feel something inside themselves. I hope they will leave behind their thoughts of getting to the dry cleaner before it closes, that meeting they have tomorrow, and what they should have for dinner. I hope they might even feel inspired to slow down a bit and create something out of the calm still voices, or the fierce ones, or whatever neglected voices they have, inside of themselves.

So I guess I am not really a visual artist, a poet, an author, a musician, to end up with art, or poems or stories, or songs. It's not about the end result, other than perhaps a state of mind, or the sense of having finished another leg on a long journey. I am an artist, poet, an author, a musician to be in the state of mind where I can give voice to the things I've carried, the things I've saved, the things I've found, the things I have seen. I create art to give form to, to honor, the things I have carried, saved, found, and seen. I am carried, saved, found, and I see by and through the things I create.


Liz E said...

Tapping into these voices, feelings and ideas is a wonderful thing. I get so sad when people say "I'm not artistic". The creative ember is within us all, it just sometimes gets buried. We need to fan those flames! My son graduated from high school a few days ago. He is an artist. He managed to persist and come out the other end of our public education system still honoring those voices inside. I'm so proud of him.

Megan Noel said...

Liz -- I agree! And I think everyone is creative - or can be if they chose to live their life that way. Some of the most creative people in the last century were physicist and mathematicians. I hope your son keeps creating as he gets out into the "real" world. even on busy days a few minutes of art can make a huge difference.

Beth Martin@Professional Doctorate said...

The thing that I love about space, and not just in paintings but all art, is that it showcases well. I would be less concerned with the quality of your writing ten years ago and focus more on the inspiration which you could get from it, in this case why you became an artist in the first place.