This morning I dreamed that a friend of mine was struggling to breathe. Somehow he changed form – into a combination of a white butterfly and sakura (cherry blossom). As I tried to follow his fluttering path with my eyes, his singular form became lost in the assembly of blossoming trees. I figured he had died though I wasn’t quite sure. But what a poetic way to go.
Which leads me to ask, what motivates an artist to start his or her next piece? Is it a commission, an experimental work, a piece with which one hopes to meet market demand, maybe an entry for a competition? Is it a protest, a comment on society or perhaps something very personal. In my case, when I am wondering what to embark on next, I ask myself, “If I could only draw one more piece before I die, what would it be?” In other words, I am asking my gut, “What matters most to me right now?”
I might not choose a subject which is pushing the boundaries (or I might). Is it familiar subject matter? Quite probably. The most essential thing is that I feel a strong emotional connection – enough to want to commit hours and hours working on it.
The bliss I achieve from drawing something I love is so powerful that words can hardly express it. I can only experience this holy state if I am drawing that ‘last’ picture, the one I want to do most of all. It certainly doesn’t mean every one works out, but it keeps me honest. So I will keep asking myself that question until it is time for me to transfigure into a piece of sakura, whenever that may be.
Recent ‘last’ drawings….from the present back to August 2014.
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