The Laws of Nature

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Value of Time

Eva Hesse

Art Without Compromise by Wendy Richmond
Chapter 8: "Your Excitement Meter"
section 6: "The Value of Time"

We've reached the last section of Richmond's book. "The Value of Time" is a focused essay on the importance of allowing enough time on a daily basis to develop ideas. For the author and her students, this means keeping a journal and reflecting upon it daily in order to identify recurring themes for creative works. It also involves the iterative process of creating drafts, painting, and repainting. As Richmond puts it: Creating a painting or writing drafts of an article or keeping a journal are just a few examples of tangible forms of process. They are activities that convey the value of repetition, careful observation, and the passage of time. They represent the accumulation of experience, the evidence of personal history: built up, painted over, and built up again.

Here, I think the author answers the question often posed by students "What shall I paint?" by urging us to paint what we know, what we think about most. This approach must lead to authentic work because it utilizes one's intimate thoughts, which are genuine reflections of one's world and relationship to it. Most of us, when viewing a painting, can detect the level of sincerity of the artist. We can feel if there is a personal connection between the artist and subject, and if there isn't one we can also feel the emptiness of the work.

So, in one sense, time is the artist's friend. It's one of the most valuable tools we have in our toolbox for creating works of art that are both unique and meaningful.

Now that we've reached the end of Wendy Richmond's book, I'd like to thank her for writing it and also thank all of you for bringing it to life with your insightful comments. Not long ago, I received another email from Richmond:

A quick note here -- just had to tell you before too much time went
by-- I am just beginning to plunge into your deeply thoughtful
reactions to the chapters of my book. I am honored that they are
provoking such a response.
All the best

I, too, am honored by your responses to the postings on this blog. In summary of Richmond's book, I'll say that it is relevant to contemporary artists. She connected to us and made us think, reevaluate, and discuss. You can't ask for more than that.

What next? Tomorrow I'll reflect upon a couple of recent articles I've read in art journals, and after that I'll begin another book!

Your thoughts??


Margaret Ryall said...

I have no problem with taking time to think about my practice, to observe and record my intimate connections with the world I am interested in and then to transmit these feelings through art work. And I do take time to paint but as I elaborated in my last post on my blog, I don't meet my own expectations for how much time from my life I actually spend at it. Enough about that...

Kathy, I enjoyed your forays into the other books to date but I particularly enjoyed this book (which I have). One of the draws was the clear writing style of the author. It was so accessible that it gave you time to contemplate and connect to her content. Some authors put up so many roadblocks with text that you are too exhausted to think about what they have written because your energy is depleted from determining meaning. I would recommend this book to any artist no matter where they are in their career.

I'm looking forward to the next topics. I don't always get to respond lately but I read and re-read and think. I so appreciate this forum you have provided.

Stan Kurth said...

Interesting and appropriate that you would use a photo of Eva Hesse to start this concluding post. I wrote a paper in high school senior english on the life of John Keats and his contribution to English Literature. More than any other aspect of his accomplishments what stuck most in my mind and I have never forgotten is he died at 25 years of age. Life is a vapor, here and gone. I've wasted much time in my life but within the last several years have become much more focused on my purpose.

Thank you Kathy for a meaningful and enlightening series of posts, and thank you Wendy for a meaningful and enlightening read. I'm striving to make art without compromise.

Sheila said...

This post goes hand in hand with yesterday's post on persistence. In order to keep blocking out a chunk of time to continue making our art don't we? Some days are more challenging then others. Even if it is reading one of your posts, enjoying other blogger's works and reading comments, I think it all contributes to my development as an artist.

Mark Sheeky said...

Like Sheila said this is coupled with yesterdays post. Every second is precious. The hard part is cutting out something to make time for art... but then... those things can inspire. Nothing creates energy like a holiday. When every second is spent painting perhaps the ideas will become samey.

hwfarber said...

Like Margaret, I read and re-read and think. This is a great place.

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Kathy said...

Hi Margaret - I'm so glad you enjoyed this book. I did too! I know you're very busy right now and truly appreciate the time you take to read and comment on this blog.

Hi Stan - like you, I think about how short life is and I try not to waste time. There's so much to do, but I also like to take lots of time to think, meditate, and ponder. I'm glad you liked the book.

Hi Sheila - it contributes to mine as well! Thanks

Hi Mark - so true! Vacations, even if they're only mental vacations, are essential. Thanks for reminding us.

Hi Hallie - and, you make it even greater! Thanks.

Kathy said...

Hi Pam - thanks so much, and thank you for being one of the valuable contributors to our discussions. You have a unique and valuable perspective!

Carolina Moon Arts Studio said...

Pam's post says it all Kathy! Your blog is most unique, supportive and loaded with valuable input from the authors you choose to your breakdown of their books to everyone's comments.

I have kept art journals for years. I not only found them valuable to track my thoughts and ideas but the actual art making and "playing" in them have often spurred additional ideas. When i go back to reread them even years later i note this thread of consistency in ideas throughout them. A very worthwhile process even if it doesnt seem like work at the time!

-Don said...

Time is of the essence! I feel there's just too little of it left for me to waste, so I make sure to set some aside every day to create and ponder creating.

A year-and-a-half ago I decided to start keeping a journal of my work which became my blog. Prior to this the only documentation of my work was contained in a little index card file box and I wanted to be able to extrapolate beyond what a single index card will allow. I never imagined how my blog would turn into such an organic two-way art adventure of discovery and discussion. Or, that through it I would come upon such wonderful blogs to take part in like yours and everyone else's who responded to your blog today.

I feel blessed to be a part of this group.


Kathy said...

Hi Carolyn - thank you! Your journals are wonderful, and so valuable to your process. They're a work of art all by themselves!

Hi Don - how neat that a blog can serve as an art journal! It's been fun and rewarding reading yours. And, WE are blessed by your participation as well!

Dan Kent said...

I'm a little late to this discussion because I've been awfully busy. I think the questions you have posed based on this book have been wonderful - thought-provoking and so interesting! I have become addicted to this blog. I've taken to printing out your posts in the morning to read at my lunch break from work, and then - if there is time, commenting at night. I cannot wait the full day to read it anymore!

Kathy said...

Wow, Dan! I'm really honored. It's great that you're taking this journey with me & us!!