Archive for June, 2012

Making Art in Hard Times… Can we keep on creating when the world seems to be falling apart?

June 29, 2012

The Shootings of May Third, 1808, by Francisco Goya, Spanish painter

When the twin towers of the World Trade Center were destroyed, sending America into a time of great loss, many artists could not work. “Making art seems so trivial when questions of life and death are all around us,” was a common sentiment of my colleagues. I felt that way too.

Here in my home state of Colorado. we are experiencing the worst wildfire season in our history. Well over 300 homes have been lost in the Colorado Springs fire alone, and that is only one area of several still burning in the state. While it’s hard to paint in a spirited palette of colors these days, I have been here before. I must say, do not give up working in your art when tragedy strikes. In fact, work harder than ever. I have been through some personal tragedies, and my art work has been one thing that helped me occupy and go on.

Liberty Leading the People, Delacroix, 1830, french

“I have undertaken a modern subject, a barricade, and although I may not have fought for my country, at least I shall have painted for her. It has restored my good spirits.” (Delacroix, in a letter of October 28 to his brother). This painter portrayed idealism alongside the horrific massacre seen in the Goya. Both artists are showing different elements of war, and both exist.

I’m a perpetual student of history and have been re-reading Is Paris Burning, about Hitler’s failed attempt to destroy a great city as his empire was falling. One can get a little overwhelmed by this world and it’s violence.

With all the difficulties past and present, I must say, keep making art, friends, any kind you can muster or even create double time! It keeps us grounded, insists on our full attention. Our creative energy put into action gives us  a needed break from troubled thoughts. It doesn’t cure the world’s evils, but it promotes balance and a good work we need to remind us all we can go on.

Your comments, as always are welcomed, especially if you have found ways of creating when life throws you a curve ball.

Blessings,

Karen

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