The Laws of Nature

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Adversity and great art

Sincere thanks to all of you who wished us well during our recent move from NY to Maine! We arrived at our new home a little over a week ago and are settling-in. Although there’s still a great deal left to do, we’re comfortable. A new buyer for our NY home appeared within one week of relisting the house, so now we’re awaiting a new closing date. That’s a relief!


We had hoped to persuade the cable company to run wires here so we can access high speed internet. Being unsuccessful, we’re subjected to the glacial pace of modem and dial-up, which explains my absence from the blogosphere. Wifi access is available at the library about a half-hour away, so I’ll take advantage of that every now and then.


I’ve begun a new painting in my series “The Laws of Nature.” It’s entitled “Occam’s Razor” and should be completed within a week. There’s more pressure to produce now, since I’ve been offered a solo show in May. Somehow, between now and then, I need to complete ten more paintings!


This leads me to the theme for today’s blog: the importance of adversity.
Since we have no access to TV yet (another long story that involves Direct TV and its inability to provide us with someone to install the satellite dish that still sits in its box in our garage) we watch old DVD’s. I have the complete set of all six seasons of “Northern Exposure.” Near the beginning of season three is an episode about Ed’s discouragement with his film-making. General store-owner, Marianne, advises Ed that adversity is important for the development of great art. Without it, artists cannot significantly improve their work. That’s been my experience about everything, but that’s probably because I’m one of those people who seem to mostly learn from trial and error.


How about you?

15 comments:

Susan Roux said...

I guess this is why they call Maine "life in the slow lane". lol Getting connected is easier inland, though I do have a friend living in the same town as I, on a main drag, and they cannot get wires run to their house either... Go figure! Congrats on the new exhibit. Where will it be? All this non-connected will help you find more time to produce what you love to do. It's how it was on the artists retreat I recently returned from. Eventually your body will slow down to the pace and you'll come to embrace it. Again, welcome!

Peggy Stermer-Cox said...

Hi Kathy, "Occam's Razor" seems to be everywhere recently, TV shows and movies. I am most eager to see how you interpret the principle.

One thing I like about adversity is that I have to think a little harder about what really matters to me. If things were always easy, they probably would mean less. Odd I think.

Happy adjusting to your new home!

Studio at the Farm said...

if adversity is "good" for an artist, I should be booming. I must say, that my technique has sharpened up. And I love northern Exposure!!!

Margaret Ryall said...

I feel your dial up pain and I too have to go to the next community in the summer to access anything that moves beyond snail pace. As for adversity, it sharpens our focus, helps us to put things in perspective, and encourages deeper thinking which always leads to better art.

Casey Klahn said...

My adversity is missing your blog. But, I also half envy you the great isolation you will be having.

Paint well!

hw (hallie) farber said...

I've always felt adversity is necessary to make art--great or not. Easy is not where it's at.

Northern Exposure was one of my favorite tv shows.

My thoughts were with you during the move but, for a while, I couldn't post comments. It's great to have you back and I know you'll be ready for the May show.

Karen Martin Sampson said...

We also live in a semi remote area but somehow we got hi speed access a couple of years ago which was a wonderful break from the unreliable dial up service we had previously. It did make for more time in the studio and less time online though:-) Hope you enjoy your new digs!

Dan Kent said...

Glad all this adversity has been good for you!! ;)

If I hadn't felt so constrained by everything else in my life, and so short of time, I doubt that I would have acquired the discipline that enables me to produce and that I hope will serve me well in the long run. Free time did not serve me well when I was younger. I had fun, I relaxed a lot doing things I enjoyed, but I did not create as much. I am not totally sure why. Now I want more time, because I know I will use it well.
Adversity has also made me more empathetic, which I hope is/will be an important quality in my art.

I hope you get wifi soon!! (he says, desperately, in the throes of art philosophy withdrawal..)

Celeste Bergin said...

I wonder if I weren't on the internet as often as I am...if I would create more..(logically....I would). So, I bet you will have those 10 paintings done in no time. (Congratulations!)
I guess the big gap that sometimes exists between what one wants to create and what actually happens is "adversity". It's all good, because we have to have a downside in order to have an upside. Fact.

Elizabeth said...

Congrats on the move to such a beautiful area. I suggest you call your cell phone provider and see if they can tether your wireless service through your cell phone. I don't understand the process but know people who use it. It will be faster than dial up and as long as you have cell service your would have wireless internet.
Love your work and your blog. Good luck with the show and getting faster internet service!

-Don said...

Kathy, I'm glad you're getting settled in. I've missed your presence tremendously, but I can't say that I've been very 'present' myself of late...

Adversity... that ugly beast. I don't know that it makes my art better, but I know that art makes me better during adversity. Art is my asylum, my refuge, my port in every storm. Adversity can kiss my hind end.

Now, short deadlines is another beast. I find that they inspire me. The fear of missing a deadline has always been a driving force to me. I'm in the middle of a ginormous (PAMO's word) project with a short turnaround and find the rush of trepidation very exhilarating. Good luck meeting yours. I have every confidence that you will.

-Don

William Cook said...

Hi Kathy--Still here too. Good luck cranking out all that art. I'm sure it will be great.

Mark Sheeky said...

I suppose you can't learn by succeeding. When I like one of my paintings I make sure to find as many flaws as I can possibly imagine! Three cheers to adversity, so often all in the mind, and -usually- a positive thing.

Robin said...

Enjoy the Maine air, and freedom that comes with it, even if that means no high speed internet! (although I do miss your regular posts). Lately I have been feeling angry at all the technology and constant accessible networking available and I don't think it's good for stimulating the creative muses.

L.W.Roth, said...

In time, all electronic adversities will be righted. Never so in the studio where adversity lives in our heads. Our aim for perfection is the adversity we face everyday. Give that up, we'd have more fun.