Tuesday, June 2, 2009
ON INSPIRATION, INTIMIDATION, AND DETERMINATION
My husband and I returned a couple of days ago from a two-week road trip to New Mexico. Along the way we realized our 3500 mile drive would become our own personal American Icon trip. South Dakota’s Wall Drug, Corn Palace, and Mt. Rushmore saw us checking off three “gotta see” stops that, as kids, our respective parents didn’t have the money, patience, or air-conditioned cars that would have allowed them to tolerate even a Minneapolis to Mitchell drive. With a nod to those good folks, we motored on. Carson National Forest shared its buffalo, wild turkeys, and wild burros; we saw more wild life in one hour’s drive than we’d seen in the past 40 years. Following the mountain road into Taos on a gray, drizzly day was breathtaking. I apologize for that cliche, but there’s really no other word that best describes the glitter of lime-green aspens against rain-darkened firs and deep sienna rock faces. But as much as I enjoyed those icons, it was the art and the artists in Taos and Santa Fe that captured my imagination. Weavers, potters, sculptors, oil painters, water colorists...inspiration and excitement and eagerness to wet my brush dominated my thoughts. Now I’m home. The washer and dryer are finally quiet. My camera has finished regurgitating 150+ photos into the computer. The Oaxacan hand-woven rug is hung on the wall. And I’m ready to paint. But I can’t. All that inspiration and excitement that captured my imagination only a few days ago have turned on me; all I feel now is intimidation. Even on my very best days, could I hope to come close to the quality of the work I saw? Do doctors and lawyers feel this way, too? Do politicians and clergymen look in awe over their colleagues’ abilities to solve problems judiciously and elegantly? When I’m not feeling sorry for myself, my guess is yes; they probably do. This sense of diffidence is part of the human condition and, since I’m human, I guess the only way to conquer it is to get off the computer, go to my studio, and wet that damned brush.