Everyone’s an Artist


Art needn’t be about special people doing special things. All you need to be an artist is awareness.  No media are required.  No lessons are needed.  No venue is mandatory.  All you need to do is… LIVE.

Life is your art.
An open, aware heart is your camera.
A oneness with your world is your film.
Your bright eyes,  your easy smile is your museum.
–Ansel Adams

Sure, there have been times when I spoke disparagingly about other photographers. Not about their work but about their “professionalism.”  It seems that every Christmas a million new “professional” photographers are born when someone in their family gives them a digital camera and they decide to go out and earn beer money — with no overhead, little experience, and a lot of chutzpah — and anyone can call themselves anything and who’s to say “No!”

%22Oak Tree, Snowstorm%22 Yosemite National Park, California 1948 by Ansel Adams
“Oak Tree Snowstorm” Yosemite National Park, California 1948 / Ansel Adams

But today we want to open our lens wider and encompass something far broader. Part of the reason I find inspiration in Ansel Adams is not only the beauty of his photographs (I’m a sucker for most anything B&W) but the expanse of his intellect.  His approach to photography and to life makes a person think.

And thinking is good.  At least I’ve always found it to be so.

We needn’t be anyone special to make a work of art.  Our lives are works of art if we allow them to be.  Which, I suppose, is partly why I am thoroughly bewildered by the unending attention given to depression and poor self image. People seem to spend so much time feeling sorry for themselves that they have no time left to let their light shine and their soul soar.

One Shy Silo

An Open, Aware Heart

Our eyes, ears, nose, — those physical senses aren’t really the way we “take in” the world. We absorb the world through our heart.  Whether it’s open and aware is entirely up to us. Whether life has been easy or difficult doesnt’ matter. There are plenty of examples of identical twins who turned out extremely differently because of how they allowed life’s experiences to mold them.  It’s up to us to decide how we will react to any experience.

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People “oooh,” and “ahhhh” over Adam’s images but few realize that even though he spend hours and hours at the site waiting for just the right light and just the right clouds — that the power of his images was in understanding how his media — silver coated paper — reacted to light and then spending even more time in the darkroom dodging and burning to get the absolute black and absolute white into his images that form the full spectrum of color that is his hallmark.

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Tarpon Spring, FL — 3/16

Just because something happens to us, an RV tire blowing, or a dreadful diagnosis, doesn’t mean that the image we capture on the film of our life is the image we show to the public.  We all have our “darkroom” moments when we shine a little more light on one area of life or hold back some light from another — where we augment the lights and darks in our life and when we decide what it is that we want other people to see in us.

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A Oneness with Your World

One might easily ask oneself “Am I at one with my world, or am I fighting it?”  Discontent is an ugly thing — because it disfigures what other people see about us.  I can be determined to make my life better than what it is at any one time, but I don’t have to be discontented.  I can accept that this is where I am, and start plotting out ways to fix that.

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Newport Harbor, OR, 2009

And sometimes we can’t change where we are, or what’s happening to us — all the campsites are filled and we’re stuck next to the railroad tracks, or the noisy camper — and what we do about our predicament says a lot to everyone tho sees our “canvas.”

171153225_idcou-LWhat people “see” about our life, our exhibit, our art, our gallery, are our smile, our shining eyes.

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They remember far more how we despose ourselves than what the circumstances might have been that brought our beauty or ugliness.  They remember how you treated them.

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One of my favorite images is this trawler heading out of the Newport Oregon Marina.  It’s a small boat going out into a “rather large” ocean. 😀  Who knows what joys or sorrows they may encounter on this voyage, all that lies ahead of them is opportunity.

I think Adams is right.  We can all be works of art.  We can all be artists.  The only thing that matters is what we do with the life we are given.  Whether we’re still working, or going to school, or retired, or lying motionless in a hospital bed it’s all about how we react to whatever happens to us.  We can be shining examples, or miserable creatures.  The choice is up to us.

Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll be here again tomorrow, if you want to stop and chat.

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7 Comments

    1. Ya know, the thing is that we live in a time of such great abundance and relative wealth and so many people seem to live for the sole purpose of whining and whinging their lives away and making everyone around them miserable.
      Time was I heard people talk about mentoring — I don’t hear much about such things anymore because 1.) people seem to think that they already know everything & 2.) because there rarely seems to be any person of character & wisdom that anyone would think to be worth while attaching themselves to in order to learn something.
      And yet, so much of what is to be seen around us described as “character” is tawdry and tarnished.
      I don’t think most of us try hard enough to be what we can be. We seem easily satisfied to be what we have already attained and naught more.
      I know this is going off the rails from the original post, but I’m not sure my generation every woke up and realized one day that we grew up looking up to people we admired and who made the world a better place; but that the time had come in our lives when OTHERS were growing up and were looking to us as someone to show them how to make the world a better place. Somehow I think MANY of my generation never got the email. We’ve torn down all the sacred cows until there is no one and nothing to look up to. We have smashed all the wives tales and broken all the traditions so there’s naught to hold as an anchor to the soul — however you describe it.
      But we all have the power as long as we draw breath to make today different than yesterday. We can dodge and burn our lives until the bring out the full range of human emotion; of human experience; of compassion; of passion.
      The thing about life, about religion, about character is that most people don’t think ideals can be lived up to — until they see someone doing it. Until they see someone actually WALK by faith instead of talking about it, the act sounds foolish, impossible, ridiculous. Until they see someone actually insist on justice — or whatever a person’s passion might be — instead of just talking about it no one will believe it’s possible. You know that MY life is faith centric. But everyone’s life need not be. Whatever their, whatever your passion — just live it. Quit talking, just live it. As Scripture would say, be a city set on a hill so that others may see where you are. There’s too much talking these days. Too many soundbites. Not enough living. Not enough art.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve read this comment several times tonight – digesting how to articulate a response.No closer to clarity than a few hours ago, I’m wisely picking bedtime over possibility of a disjointed ramble. Stay tuned 🙂

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  1. You are very lucky to have grown up in a time and place that let’s you see life through your lens. I’m surprised at how harsh you are for those not as lucky–those who were given flawed lenses through which to see life. Have you ever looked through a cracked lens and tried to get a clear view? If that was the only view you ever saw, would you realize your lens was cracked? They say that children who need corrective lenses then finally get them are astonished at what the world looks like. Please, have mercy on those who cannot see as clearly as you do.

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    1. Linda, I ‘suffer’ (if that’s the right word) from an INTP personality and I know I often sound harsher than I think I am. It’s a good thing that personality type is among the more rare ones — I don’t think the world wants many of us. We’re a pain to deal with. I sometimes think that is why I love hyperbole so much — it frequently seems to suit my way of communicating more than others and sarcasm is a bit extreme. At the same time it’s not, and never has been my job to ‘judge’ the people no matter who they are. I’m glad to accept people for who they are without efforts to change them. And to deal with them, and be friends, as much as I am able. I have always, and I suspect I will always discuss things from a very removed point if view. People who live with me know well enough how I live my life among other humans — whether I behave towards people harshly or not; whether I treat them kindly, or compassionately, or generously. I am known by them. Those who only read me… well, it’s been said that “if you want to be understood you have to make yourself understandable”, and I do the best job I can given the tools I possess. I don’t succeed often. I know that. As for how I think about things… I am who I am. The spectacles I have are the only ones I can see the world through.

      >

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    2. I should say, though, that I agree with you. I am lucky. To have been born where I was, indeed where we were — because you are part of that gang if you’re still alive now, and obviously you are — it was an extraordinary time. And birthed some extraordinary minds as well. We haven’t done so well by Momma Earth, but we changed the planet more in the last century or century and a half than it’s seen changes in many millennia. — perhaps since the Ice Age.

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