Saturday, January 30, 2010

Putting yourself out there is an act of faith

I love the combination of words and images. Years ago, I was profoundly moved by a colleague in the photo department at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts. Judy Gelles combined words with her photographs. They were everyday photographs of her everyday life but the thoughts and questions posed in her neat cursive writing had such power. Underneath a photo of her husband sleeping she wrote "I wonder what my life would be like if I had married someone different" ( the writing went on but I don't remember enough to do it justice ) We all wonder but few of us are brave enough to put ourselves out there like that.
Artists continually put themselves out there; maybe that's the reason people are so in awe of artists. Many people live their lives thinking " I wish I was artistic" yet never act on that wish. Being good at art is like being good at anything. It requires hard work, patience and an unwavering belief in yourself. I believe, deep in my soul, anyone can be an artist. 25 years of teaching art taught me that.
Making art is an act of faith. Faith takes courage. It is natural to be afraid to take a chance and risk rejection. A few weeks ago I entered these two paintings in the Concord Art Association painting show and both were rejected. Well over 500 paintings were submitted and I'm guessing 50-75 were accepted. That's a lot of rejected art. Parents, guidance counselors and society often contribute to the fear of following one's passion with the all too familiar phrase "You can't make any money as an artist." I think of all the people I know who have money but they are not all that happy.
Yet there are plenty of artists who refuse to listen. Instead they put themselves on the wall. It could be the wall of a hospital, a hole in the wall cafe or the local library. Usually they get nothing, at least nothing tangible like a sale. But that is not the intention. Artists continue to put work in crazy venues all over the place. They light up peoples lives in the darkest and most unexpected corners. Maybe no one ever tells them, I hope I told Judy Gelles. Yes, making art is an act of faith; its an act I highly recommend.


  1. thanks robin! this entry is an inspiration. Your voice is really strong in it.
    Now I want to see YOU write captions for your photos.
    Would you please bring a photo to class next week so we can use it as a prompt? IT could be Great Meadows again or something else.
    So glad to have you in the class! See you next week! xo Barbara

  2. Reading the last paragraph again, I love that. Art lights up people's lives in ways you may never know. Just do it. Put yourself out there.