Monday, January 29, 2018

Sunday Review: Photographer fingers and artist's aprons

Puerto Escondido Sunset
It has happened before, but it’s always a surprise.

This morning I woke up feeling like I was in a new world, as if something had shifted during the long night’s sleep. This time, it relates to my confidence in my life as an artist. It took many years, but I’ve grown comfortable introducing myself as a digital artist. I’m not sure how a night’s sleep changed things, but this morning I feel the need to drop the “digital” and merely state that I am an artist.

I am an artist working primarily in a digital medium, living an artist’s life, and being so very grateful to be doing so. Period. No apologies, no caveats, just acceptance that this is the path I’ve chosen. In my 72 years, I’ve experienced a wide range of art. Some took my breath away, some made me shake my head, and some made no impression whatsoever.

I want to make an impression, pull images out of my interaction with the world and give them life. I’m grateful that I’m not constrained by the world of art galleries, critics, judged art shows, or the opinions of friends and strangers. The Universe has been generous in granting me a life free of financial need for sales. I get to make art and let it flow freely into the world as part of my own exploration process.

What is art?

We noodle and quibble about the definition of art. For me though, it seems suddenly clear. Being an artist is not about fame, fortune or even identity. It’s a path of observing and interacting with the world, finding ways to synthesize the truths which emerge from that interaction, whether it be through image, word, sound, dance, story, supporting the growth of children, nurturing plants and animals, or feeding our bodies, minds and spirits. There are a thousand variations of artists' paths.

Regardless of the medium, an artist’s path is a quest for truth and the expression of it. Saying I am an artist is more of a statement about my commitment to the future than my accomplishments of the past.

So, how does this apply to photographer fingers and artist’s aprons?

This whole line of thinking was stimulated by the picture I took of a young woman taking a picture of a sunset with her camera phone. I’ll never see her face or the picture she took. I have no idea of what her intent was in taking that photo or the quality of that photo. Is she an artist? Perhaps she is, or maybe she was just taking a picture to put on Facebook. However, in that moment of observing a beautiful sunset and capturing it in pixels, she was making an artistic action. It will be her choice as to whether or not she continues on the artist’s path.

MY artist apron
And, the apron? One of the things I wanted when I came down here was one of the wonderful, embroidered aprons I’ve seen … not to cook in, of course! I wanted one as an artist’s apron. Once I bought it though, I thought, “This is ridiculous … it’s not like I’m painting and need to wear an apron.” 

That line of self-talk was very close to … I’m not a real artist, one who can draw and use paint brushes.

This morning’s eureka moment washed away that self-talk and said: wear the apron, claim your life as an artist.
And, so I do! 


  1. sounds to me like putting on the apron would be a terrific ceremonial action/affirmation to begin working on yr art....I used to have a wonderful suitcoat with leather elbow patches that did it for me.

  2. Susa ... I think you're right ... I look forward to putting on my apron when I'm ready to make art ... then just let it get messy!!

  3. Love your post. Looking forward to seeing you and your apron and hearing about all of your adventures.