Tuesday, November 23, 2021

The Road To Nowhere

This is from a newspaper article I was asked to write back in 2014:

"Creative people are often asked about their inspiration or their muse or whatever it is that kicks their imagination and motivation into high gear. Some have really complicated rituals while others turn to music to put them into their prolific state of mind. There are even a few people that recommend sticking to a routine which I do not get at all since I see routine as the antithesis to creativity.

As an artist who uses photographs as the basis of my artwork, when I need to get my blood flowing I get in the car with my cameras and sometimes a person or two that I love and my dogs and I hit the road. Drives to nowhere are always the goal, and always on country back roads. Nothing soothes my soul and clears my head more than indulging the wanderlust and need for simplicity that is imbedded in my personal genetic makeup. Farms and barns, cows and horses, corn fields, roadside stands, and a sky full of puffy white clouds.  There is not much that can be better than all of that. My artwork revolves mostly around these kinds of bucolic scenes although I do add a whimsical twist to them in order to really get people’s attention. We are all so inundated visually and otherwise nowadays that sometimes you have to go left of center to make people see.

When I am out on one of my drives I have to pull over countless times to let someone pass so that they no longer tailgate me.  They ride up on me not because I am going too slow but because they are going too fast.  Although I am maintaining the speed limit, I am in the way of them racing at breakneck speed to get to where they are going in record time.
I am in the way of them racing to speed through their life, seemingly oblivious to the risks they are taking, the most important being the risk of missing out on the very quality of their own lives. 

I want people to slow down. That is one of the reasons why I enhance my landscape artwork so that it has a manipulated, wonky element to it.  It makes people pause; they linger long enough to really see what they are looking at.

I want them to pay attention to the beauty that is everywhere that they are not seeing as they lose their senses of wonder and awe to the myriad of distractions that everyone is consumed with and buried under nowadays.

I cannot imagine that it is worth any of these risks, particularly the risk of not seeing all there is to see every single day of our lives.  Remember staring at clouds until they turned into recognizable shapes?  When is the last time you did that?

These days everyone is preoccupied as they rush from one place to another. They are talking, texting, checking in, status updating, tweeting, Instagramming, picking up, dropping off, shopping, etc. 

All of that distraction is coming at a very high cost and that cost has nothing to do with the ridiculous amounts of money spent on gadgetry.  

When is the last time you got in the car to go for a drive to nowhere?  How about taking a walk in the countryside just to listen to how quiet it is there?  Do your kids know how great it is to dip their toes into a stream or to laugh while watching the antics of a bunch of farm animals?

Le petit bonheur is a French term that translates to the small happiness.  It means to take pleasure in and appreciate the little things. It means that if you see a lady with a camera pulled off to the side of the road, instead of speeding past her, think about slowing down to see what she is taking pictures of. 

You might wind up being very pleasantly surprised."  SOH, 6/14

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