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The Days In Between

December 27, 2016
"Silence" - Triptych, acrylics on canvas, 48"h x 84"w - permanent collection, The Kennedy-Douglass Center for the Arts, Florence, AL USA

“Silence” – Triptych, acrylics on canvas, 48″h x 84″w – permanent collection, The Kennedy-Douglass Center for the Arts, Florence, AL USA

The days between winter celebrations are a welcome time for reflection as an artist. While everyone else is still distracted with the aftermath of decorations, and gifting, and family time, many artists I know need some time off to retreat into the silence for a little while.

And so, as I sit here in the quiet, thinking about the cobwebs in the studio, and the array of paints and brushes strewn around, waiting, I reflect on what I might want my art to say for the future — a future that, at my age, feels no different from the present moment. I don’t seriously expect an answer, but I keep repeating a few familiar questions. Is there a new message I want to convey, or do I just want to bring a little beauty to my small corner of the world? Do I want to protest against recent events that have assaulted our sense of right and wrong, or has that already been done much better by others? Or the one that sometimes paralyzes me — is there really anything new under the sun? If not, why even try? Maybe there’s nothing new to be said or conveyed, but there is the distinct possibility that it hasn’t yet been said in my own unique voice. There is also the distinct possibility that I’m over-thinking, which is its own paralysis.

I just need to be busy creating.

20 Comments leave one →
  1. December 27, 2016 11:16 am


  2. Good Golly Miss Molly permalink
    December 27, 2016 12:33 pm

    Martha, you have gone straight to the heart of it…thanks so much for this post. I’m taking the entire month of January off from any big engagements…I need the time to re-gather my artist’s life. Those who like a lot of socializing find it hard to understand, but my artist friends never do. Enjoy your time…Your beautiful triptych says so much…

    • December 27, 2016 8:10 pm

      Thanks for that feedback, jazzcookie4665/Miss Molly! Have a wonderful new creative year.

  3. December 27, 2016 12:54 pm

    Martha. I think your best work has come from your quiet times. Maybe right now you need busy space.

    • December 27, 2016 8:11 pm

      Annette, I just posted a picture on Facebook of my studio after today’s shenanigans. Five tables, all covered with stuff I’ve been working on!!!

  4. Sandra Kennedy permalink
    December 27, 2016 1:54 pm

    These days especially, bringing beauty into people’s lives has great value, and you bring beauty to a wider “audience” than your small corner of the world. And I so agree that whatever you convey in your own unique voice is “new”. I wish you a successful and creative 2017 and look forward to more of your unique and beautiful works.

  5. December 27, 2016 4:44 pm

    Your thoughts are so familiar to me. They form the backdrop of my creative practice too. There is so much going on in the world these days and there is so much unrest. The job of the artist seems more crucial than ever but – what to say and how to say it? Maybe the new year will bring new insights.

    • December 27, 2016 8:12 pm

      I hope so, Suzanne. I have never been a “protest” artist, but sometimes wish I could be. I hope an answer reveals itself soon.

  6. December 27, 2016 8:24 pm

    Overthinking stifles the creative process. We, as artists, overthink everything. This is what we do. So…..stop thinking and get to work! It’s surprising what eventually happens during these overthinking and questioning times.

    • December 28, 2016 8:04 am

      I absolutely know this is true, David! That’s exactly what I did yesterday after writing this post. Thanks for the kick in the butt, my friend.

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