The Artist's Path – A Spring Cleaning of Sorts

GreenBenchInAlley, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

It’s almost spring and that means…time for spring cleaning! Are you thinking about cleaning out your closets and drawers about this time of year? Maybe, instead of doing that (or, perhaps, *besides* doing that) you should think about cleaning out your vision.

What do I mean by that? Allow me to explain.

At the workshop this weekend, and at other workshops I’ve attended in the past, perhaps the single most important “common thread” is the takeaway that you can just become who you want to be. You can change yourself. You (and only you!) define who you are.

It seems to me like all of the successful photographers out there simply designed themselves to *be* photographers. They made themselves. They didn’t wait for the world to validate what they were doing, they didn’t sit and wait around for somebody to say, “oh! That’s good. You really have an eye for…” No, instead, they *made* that eye. They crafted that vision. They just did it. It’s that sense of purpose, that inner drive really, that defines how a photographer is and maybe even who that photographer is.

Joyce Tenneson said it one way, Craig Tanner another but, basically, they are saying the same thing. Joyce used to say, “The best thing about being middle age [or getting older] is that nobody is watching so you can constantly re-define yourself.” The notion of re-birth, re-definition, defining who you are, who you want to be, it’s very powerful. Craig said it a different way but it’s basically the same thing. “Being now who we want to become instead of waiting for the world to change.” You don’t need validation, you just need the guts to do it.

So, this spring, I beg you, make that change. Instead of tidying up the closet, change your life. Go out and face the world, look at it the way you want to see it. Live on your own terms, under your own rules and guidance. Don’t let others tell you, “no.” Accept there are things you cannot change, yes, but change those things that you can and stop settling for “half changes” or “minor tweaks” because you’re afraid of what somebody else might think. In the end, you’ll be a better artist, a better person, and, frankly, you won’t give a crap if the closet is clean.

I’ve spoken my peace. Now, about that closet….

Until next time…



  1. mythopolis
    March 9, 2010 / 5:18 pm

    Yes. I have ben there and am doing that. However, there still is the issue of the closet. It is more than a mess, it is actually quite creepy. I hope when I start cleaning it, I don't come across a body, or something!

  2. Carol
    March 9, 2010 / 7:28 pm

    Mythopolis, at least you have it tucked away in the closet! My studio is so bad, I'm going to have to start dropping breadcrumbs just so I can find my way out again. And things have started completely disappearing.

    (If you come across my metal palette knives, please let me know! I've got a whole entire set of really nice ones somewhere, and now I can't seem to find where they've run off to.)

  3. Kala
    March 10, 2010 / 12:50 am

    Well I have pretty much always done things on my own terms with no one to answer to. This year may be somewhat different as I am more interested in sharing my life with someone than doing it all "my way".

  4. mythopolis
    March 10, 2010 / 6:40 pm

    My rationalization for my big messes all over the place is a quote from Nietzsche. "If you are to make lightning, you must remain in a cloud a long time." (!!)

  5. Janice / Dancing with Sunflowers
    March 11, 2010 / 12:39 pm

    For me personally, creativity is all about defining who I am. And spring cleaning is part of that too, because when things are a mess I know my head is in a mess too. Clearing stuff out always frees me up to think more clearly.

  6. Carol
    March 11, 2010 / 10:41 pm

    Kala, oooh, that sounds interesting. A "special someone" mystery person. How fun!

    Mythopolis, I'm always in a cloud. I swear, I was like born there or something. At least, you'd get that impression from looking at my house. :~)

    Postcards, I know what you mean too. It's good to start with a clean palette and that means doing that in our lives as well as with our brushes and paint. Sort of like the "empty cup" philosophy from Asia-finish one cup (empty it) before starting anew.

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