Saturday, April 10, 2010
Sunday, February 21, 2010
from the book Creativity / The Seekers Journey
More information at www.lavogel.com/book
Saturday, December 12, 2009
This quote appears at the beginning of the documentary film, Amargosa, Story of Marta Becket. The film is written and directed by Todd Robinson. From the moment I heard these words I immediately felt a resonance with its sentiment. I have included this quote in my book Creativity/The Seeker's Journey. It is presented in the book to stand as a testament for everyone who chooses to begin the journey into a creative life.
For me, I love the final line, "....and such a life will never be uninteresting." I have long stated, "If in the end, I have gained nothing more from my life than to have seen the world through the eyes of an artist, then what a beautiful journey it has been." Most days I can't wait to awaken and begin the day to get to work. I usually have many projects going at the same time. I was once asked by my mother what I was planning to do for my retirement. My response was, "Retire from what?" I have no plans to be one day sitting in a chair daydreaming about what to do next. My brother worries about not being able to finish all of his work in a life-time. I have relaxed my expectations and settled on not be able to.
So my friends.....begin today to live a life of self-exploration and do your willful acts of creation, and your life will never be uninteresting.
Monday, October 12, 2009
Southern California artist, Larry Vogel, has developed a clear exposition of how to accept the challenge of a life of self-exploration through willful acts of creation. Going on the assumption that we are innately creative but in need of some encouragement and guidance, Vogel draws upon psychologists G. Wallis and Jacob Getzel’s “Five Stages of Creativity” — First Insight, Saturation, Incubation, Illumination, and Verification — which provide the reader with mind exercises and examples of each stage drawn from his own creative experiences.
Vogel takes us chapter by chapter through these stages. First Insight is a passionate connection to our initial subject or problem; Saturation involves information gathering from diverse sources; Incubation pertains to pondering (both conscious and unconscious) the problem; this inward journey often leads to a sudden moment of enlightenment or Illumination in which the solution is envisioned; and, finally, Verification, the most difficult stage: acting, a doing in which one makes the unseen, seen. Ideation is realized in artifact.
Although Vogel’s book targets the fledgling artist, giving him or her tools with which to unblock creative insights, collateral damage is done to every person’s tendency toward mental inertia and fear of exercising one’s imagination.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Song writers can no longer write lyrics like:
“Love, Love Me Do” (The Beatles)
“I Got You Babe” (Sonny & Cher)
The Bar Has Been Raised
“It feels like lightning running through my veins every time I look at you.”
With lyrics like that from David Gray…
The Bar Has Been Raised
As photographers, we can no longer stand in front of an object, click the shutter and present a simple image:
The Bar Has Been Raised!
With the advent of digital photography we have a whole new set of tools. These new digital tools gives us the ability to participate in the creation of photographic imagery like no other tools previously available to photographers. To not use them would be to deny yourself the ability to take control of your creative potential.
For many years photography has struggled to become more than a mechanical medium. And now, more than ever, we have to show that digital photography is more than just a button pushing medium. Ansel Adams said,
“I have often thought that if photography were difficult in the true sense of the term -- meaning that the creation of a simple photograph would entail as much time and effort as the production of a good watercolor or etching -- there would be a vast improvement in total output. The sheer ease with which we can produce a superficial image often leads to creative disaster.”
Well guess what, it has become infinitely easier to make a photograph! Now the potential to “produce a superficial image” is more likely than before.
With digital technology, we have the ability to do so much more; a chance to show the expression of the artist. However, if we are to call ourselves Fine Art Photographers we must first understand what that means. John Ruskin says, “Fine Art is that in which the hands, heart and mind all come together.”
It is easy to do the hands part, just pick up your camera and get to work. The mind part is perhaps a little more difficult. This requires some training and education, know your medium, know its potential. The heart part; Ruskin was very wise to add this to the list. This is what separates the arts from the crafts, kitsch from the masterpiece and makes the ordinary extraordinary. However, this heart part can be the most elusive part of Ruskin’s formula. It is something that must be actively pursued.
Betty Edwards, author of Drawing From The Right Side of The Brain, says, “Perhaps we can take a step in the direction of gaining access to that part which knows...more than it knows it knows - the same part of the brain that asks the beautiful question, ponders the unsolved problem, takes the initial step in the creative process: First Insight” Betty Edwards is identifying the first of five steps known as The Five Stages of Creativity.
As Artists, we spend so much of our lives trying to tap into that place deep inside. This is the secret to making a deeper connection with your art and a deeper connection to the viewer.
Think about being able to unlock that viewer response……the one that goes beyond Ooh and Ah, and making the AHA moment happen!
The bar has been raised.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
The news came to me yesterday, long time Orange County, California resident, artist, friend, teacher and activist Jerry Burchfield had died on September 11, 2009.
In the last twenty five years, I have had several opportunities to work with Jerry. Our artistic lives have crossed paths many times. I have felt privileged to be included in some of his many projects and exhibitions. Throughout his life Jerry was generous with his time and connections in the art community. He invited many friends and fellow artists to participate in his publishing's, projects, and exhibitions. He opened doors for students and photographers to exhibit at the college where he taught.
Jerry Burchfield has long been a presence in the Orange County art scene. I have aways had a certain respect for him as an artist. I admired his ability to evolve as an artist. He was not afraid of taking creative chances. Photography was his vehicle, but was not a photographer. He was an artist. In my book Jerry qualifies as a New Renaissance Man.
As a teacher, Jerry was continually provoking his students towards a more creative expression. He was a mentor to many and will surely be missed in that capacity.
I wrote a piece of poetry years ago and love to share it in moments such as this. I present it here for a friend, artist, and fellow Renaissance Man - Jerry Burchfield.
In life we touch
and many lives have we embraced
some for years and others only briefly
but the touch is everlasting
In life we touch
and encounter those that will fall away
but it is the way in which we touch
that makes our soul wiser
In life we touch
and like the finger of God to Adam's reach
it beckons us to connect from afar
and leaves us yearning for more
In life we touch
and when there is no more and all feels lost
can we find it within ourselves to reveal the blessedness
because we have touched