Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Workman's Compensation

In twenty-four years of making art, I’ve worked out of five studios in this little gulf side town, Dunedin. In two of my favorites, bull-dozers moved in after I moved out, while a third studio burned to the ground one December night. Developer’s progress doomed the first two and the third never had a chance against a determined arsonist.

What became most important in all cases was finding a way to continue working. This sweet agony of creation is a condition well understood by painters, musicians and writers. I’ll stop short of calling it an obsession, but many artists I know become seriously unpleasant after a few days away from the easel.

The affliction is poorly understood by producers of products or services in high demand. They wonder how so much labor can lead to so little. Where is the reward? And how many parents have argued late at night after learning their son wants to be a potter.

Making a living as an artist may not be the best career choice, but most legitimate artists work hard to make a life. New York is full of cab drivers who are actors and Nashville has its share of bartending musicians - their unspoken mantra, “Whatever it takes!”

Today, settling in at my kitchen-table studio, I’m thankful for the opportunity to create a series of small paintings.