The winter of 2021 has been hard. Day after day in the teens or twenties, gray and a foot or more of snow lingering. Massive numbers getting Covid and too many dying. Relentless. Add in a scare I had a couple of weeks ago where I thought I had it, no travel, a sameness day after day. In December we understood this was a winter to get through, to keep our heads up and power through, and we have. As have you, I sincerely hope.
But here we are towards the end of February and we are in a day from heaven: clear skies, little wind and in the mid forties. What a treat!
So I went out to shoot this morning, nothing specific, just to see if I could see. It felt like life out there, the sun on my face, the air clear and bright.
Bright white, deep blue, shadows, highlights, always good.
An old pro, out in the field, bringing the camera to his eye, thinking settings, moving around, looking up, looking down, going through motions for the umpteenth time. Has been too much nothing, too little to see, too long, too cold. I know it is still February and it will all close in again, for March pretty well sucks in New England, but to have the one day, sitting on the back deck in the sun, eating my lunch with a dog basking next to me hoping for a crumb from my sandwich. I ask for no more.
An artist, a real artist, shouldn't separate his/her life, categorize and specify interests and activities into categories. It should all mix together, the mundane the exceptional, the daily and the once in a lifetime, the good ones and the not so good. This mix, this amalgam is what spurs us and what makes up a genuinely creative person, I believe.
I've just been learning of "habituation" and"individuation", liking the analogy of first learning to drive a car and then it becoming second nature. That is habituation. For in that mode we don't notice much, or we subsume things in order to pay attention to what's on the radio or to carry on the conversation with a colleague at work. Individuation is singling out, having an acute awareness of all that you see, all that surrounds you. I was always telling my students to notice stuff, to be aware of everything around you, to be a "trained observer". As visual artists that is our stock in trade. For if we don't notice and pay attention we will miss things and we cannot afford to do that. Some people go through their lives missing a great deal.
I hope you have enjoyed this one good day, for I am confident that there will be many more in the days ahead.
Get something from this blog? Let me know, your email can spur me on, encourage me to keep this many-year effort going.