Today I've continued my reading of Virginia Woolf's diaries. She was an incredibly force of frailty and eloquence. To read through a diary filled with so many anxious thoughts, a self effacing approach laying your every word open for posterity, I realize how little bravery there is in filling sketchbook after sketchbook with metaphorical imagery. The metaphors of the artist are nearly never taken for what they actually mean. The reader is even more puzzled by images than by words in this way. Some symbols seem to ring true across the board, but others it is obvious do not. I find this must be the case with the number of people who ask me if I use symbolism in my work and then immediately follow up with "What does this [or that] symbolize?"
I was most taken with a particular line from Woolf's diary today though. And I feel that this line pretty much sums up my career as an artist and creative person trying to pave a way in the arts.
"And with it all how happy I am - if it weren't for my feeling that it's a strip of pavement over an abyss."
I have felt that abyss. I am not sure that it is obvious. Perhaps we all feel that abyss, but I am aware of it every day. I keep working to attempt to stay ahead of it, to avoid plummeting. This weekend a friend of mine and I had a conversation about how one is to put their boat on course. I immediately thought of Nicely Nicely in Guys and Dolls, with his song "Rocking the Boat." I suggested that artists, who see the world slightly differently, are actually the character that is standing in the boat. Perhaps they need to stand as well. Perhaps that is the way that makes the most sense for them.
After my reading I set to work on a couple new pieces, one of which was painted over my demo from Acrylics class this past Saturday and the other which I started to draw out during a phone conversation with my niece last evening.