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Re: Criticism/ Rejection: Some Thoughts


I'm really glad to see Susan's posting, because it details clearly and
succinctly many things that I have come to understand about the creative
process during 40 years or so of watching (and sometimes participating).  A
lot of the comment up till now has been pretty cerebral, and therefore
rather less than enlightening to me, however interested I am.

There is, it seems to me, something ineffable about the creative process
and about its results.  As partner in an art/craft gallery for several
years, I came to understand that practicing artists are just like most
other people with one important difference--they are very focussed on
something that most people admire but are NOT focussed on.  That something
is a NEED to express from within.  Serious writers, poets, painters,
sculptors, weavers, potters, jewelers, or any other all share this
particular characteristic,  nurtured by actually doing the work as well as
possible in whatever way is open to them.  By doing and doing and doing.
Some never rise above artisanry, while others succeed in achieving some
work with a quality beyond "artisanship".

I have long felt that artists are viewed as somehow very different from
ordinary people--there is a kind of mystique that obscures their
ordinaryness.  Maybe they ARE really very different, but I don't think
so...except in the nature of their passion and their willingness (or need)
to participate in it.  I personally find the artistic mind a very
stimulating place to be and to be with.  I have many artist friends whose
company leaves me feeling braced and uplifted, excited about what they are
doing and charged with possibilities for myself.  It is a blessing.  It is
not something that relates to canons or rules, however, at least I don't
think it does.

For my part I view all creative and imaginative effort as art, and I
applaud it.  I may not "like" it, and whether it is "good" art or "bad" art
is of less interest to me and more a matter for the marketplace and for
history.  What matters to me most after settling the matter of technical
quality is whether it "speaks to me" or not...  I have also done some jury
duty, and one does have to evaluate the quality of the work, it's
appropriate-ness to the venue, and the design.  However, I think the
quality we are trying to define in this thread is something extra,
something that strikes deeper, is more soul-connected and  less material,
something that you feel everytime you look at or read or touch such a
work.  It is an intensely personal and at the same time a universal
experience.  What speaks to one person may be silent for another.  Perhaps
this is what Susan was getting at when she says that she "self-selects"
those pieces that will survive...those pieces that "speak to her"...

As I read this over, it's beginning to seem muddled, and I'm thinking that
nobody is going to understand what I'm trying to say.  Oh well.

Carol P
Eugene, OR

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