Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Competition Monster

Once upon a time in a land not so far away lived a monster called "Competition". ALL the people in the kingdom feared Competition. Especially, all the King's jewelers, stone masons and artists and lived in daily fear of competition. They were afraid Competition would drive them out of business. They feared having to go to work in the fields and not being able to do their craft. Competition was kept chained up and locked away.

All the artisans were afraid to share their talents and skills with their fellow craftsmen. So they worked in secrecy everyday hiding their techniques and methods of producing their artistic crafts. They were successful in keeping their secrets and everything remained the same.

One day the King asked them, "Why is everything you make the same? Nothing is new, nothing is different."
They looked at one another and scratched their heads. They had no answer for the King. They were using the same methods and techniques that they had always used. They took PRIDE in their work. Their work and how they did it was a secret known only to their particular guild of craftsmen or to them personally.
They didn't know why nothing changed.

The King called on his wise old Sage. "Tell me old wise one, what shall we do to bring about change in the arts?" The Sage rose and approached the King. The old Sage smiled as he whispered in the King's ear. "Release Competition and let it run free."
"But the artisans fear Competition," the King said, as he now scratched his head. The wise one turned as he walked away and said one word. "Exactly."

The King then saw the wisdom in the old man's thinking. The King decreed that the thing that the artisans feared the most, "Competition," shall be released and allowed to roam the kingdom.

All the artisans in the land ran back and forth not knowing what to do, "Competition" had been released. Some put their tools up and prepared to go to work in the fields. Others stood and scratched their heads. (This was a head scratching kingdom) Others gathered together with their crafts to discuss what they should do. This was the first time they had all been together. They walked about and looked at one another's work. Now, there was an enormous amount of head-scratching going on. So much so that it aroused the attention of the wise old Sage. The Sage entered the great hall where all the remaining artisans had gathered. He stood among them smiling (Sages do that alot).

The arrival of the wise old Sage had an effect on the artisans, for they respected his wisdom and knowledge above all else. The Sage raised his hand and the room went quiet. The Sage spoke in an even and low voice, " Growing old is mandatory, Growing wise is an option."
Now the head-scratching began again with more vigor than ever before. They had no idea what the Sage meant by his words. As the head-scratching continued the Sage quietly left the great hall (yes, smiling).

"Help me scratch my head," said the jeweler to the stone mason. "Help me scratch my head," said the stone mason to the painter. Yup, you guessed it. Before long they were scratching one another's heads. They began helping one another scratch their heads. This was something new, helping one another.

As the stone mason scratched the head of the jeweler (looking at the jeweler's beautiful jewelry), he said, " You know if you will split that stone this way you will find a beautiful crystal inside of it." And then the jeweler said to the stone mason (looking at his beautiful statues), "If you will hammer out silver this way, then you can use it on your statues." The painter not wanting to be left out chimed in, "and if you will crush this stone and mix it with oil you will have a beautiful blue color to paint your statues with". They continued scratching their heads and sharing their talents and skills with one another. They no longer feared "Competition." Soon they ALL had new ideas on how to do their crafts differently and make them more beautiful. All of a sudden they stopped scratching their heads (temporarily). They were sharing talents and skills. They realized this was a good thing and they saw their art in a whole different way. New possibilities bloomed in their heads on how they could use these new talents and skills to improve their art.

Soon they noticed a message the old Sage had "scratched" on the floor of the great hall.

"PRIDE, like the magnet, constantly points to one object, SELF, but unlike the magnet, it has no attractive pole, but at all points repells."

ALL the artisans stopped scratching their heads, and somewhere, a Sage smiled.

Scratching your head ..... thinking this story would be about sharing?
Somewhere a Sage chuckles.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Becoming The Creature

I find it amazing that even after thousands of years, we as a people do the same things. We love. We hate. We go to war. We make peace. We live. We die. As artists, we are a bit different (some more different than others). We try to love all things. We hate going to war. We try to live in peace and harmony with the world around us.

We find a beautiful stone or gem and make a necklace or we paint an animal or carve an object. We have moved from painting on the walls of caves to using canvas. We use sterling silver/gold to enhance or hang our stones from rather than a piece of leather. We use power tools to carve. The processes of what we do might have changed and grown (duh) but the human creativity remains the same.

We still try to capture the 'spirit' of the stone, animal or object. As a visual artist (aren't we ALL visual artists?) I try to capture the 'spirit' of the animal by understanding and knowing the animal's habits and life-style. In a sense, 'becoming the creature'. I start by painting the eyes. If the eyes don't show that spirit then I start over. My question is .... what is it that YOU do to capture that 'spirit' in your jewelry, your painting or sculpting? I would be interested in knowing how you as an artist do this. What is your process or is it pure 'feeling' ?. If that is your answer then you are truly gifted. You have "become the creature".

Sunday, September 14, 2008

What am I doing?

I have absolutely no idea what I am doing.
I thought a "blog" was that mess of grass you dug out from under your weed eater.
Or was that a "clog"? They say you learn by doing ..... sure would like to know 'who' they are.
Well, anyway, I am doing, I just don't know WHAT!

From The Studio

Morning Gossip

Morning Gossip
by Van Stewart Bevil
I painted this group of Maccaws after I joined an online internet chatroom (Artists Cafe). There's not much else I can say about the painting, the painting says it all.Rather than artists helping other artists I found nothing but gossip.

It's always nice to do a painting that says what you feel or saw without having to explain alot about the work. With a minimum amount of brush strokes and detail, the birds say it all. Morning Gossip!

This oil painting was done on a 24x36 inch stretched canvas. This painting is hanging in our livingroom and has added greatly to our tropical decor. Joyce says it's time to share it with someone else. LOL


Going Home

Going Home
by Van Stewart Bevil
I spotted this Wood Duck silently flying through the trees in Western Kentucky. The sun had just set and an evening mist was beginning to rise off the dense forest floor. Only his distinctive whistle alerted me to his presence.He was obviously on his way to the nest for the night.Wood Ducks are the only duck native to North America.