Where Do You Get Your Ideas?
Inspiration comes from a whole host of sources. Great art comes from great risk coupled with great celebration. Some people may ask, “How risky is it to pick up a brush and slap paint to canvas?” If you’re not an artist, the answer may surprise you. Artists who tap into their deepest most connective and personal parts of their creativity will often lay bare their biggest fears, hopes and challenges – all of which are then subject to outside judgement. Not all such judges are kind. Not all are ready to meet the artist halfway with their vision. So, yes, making art can be pretty risky business. Selling art is riskier still!
Don’t Go Breaking My Heart
Now the critical eye is applied from a money point of view, and this opens the artist up to having our work weighed against factors over which we have no control. Often these have to do with the experiences of the viewer as she filters your work against items that you would never compare together. So we put our heart out there and it gets judged all over the place. It can cause us to get stressed. So we take on hobbies to alleviate this stress.
Art = Horsemanship – HOW?
I addressed a lifelong dream of getting a horse and raising it start to finish; turning a yearling colt into a fine riding buddy. Wow, what a journey it has been. I had no idea how much I had to learn! This was a most excellent choice for me! For the past eight years I have immersed myself into the wonderful world of horsemanship from every angle I could think of. I learned how to work with the power of this young feisty individual I named Muon McHippus and call Mumu and keep him from hurting us both. I will tell you, when you have a 1000lb+ creature horking his fine self around you at the end of a rope testing your mettle you do not worry what people think of your art! You are focused on keeping his ass from running you down flat in his exuberant horsey joie d’vivre.
Here’s where working and learning with a horse like Mumu is exactly like making art:
- You need to hone your patience
- You have to develop a stick-to-it-tiveness
- You need to find excellent coaches
- You must learn to leverage your presence positively
- You will want to keep adding to your knowledge
- You must achieve balance – literally and figuratively
- You must believe in the process
- You have to create a clear vision
- You must find answers that will work with your strengths
- You must acknowledge your weaknesses
- You have to celebrate accomplishments as they unfold
It takes time to put it all together and you can’t give up on yourself.
This past week I brought Mumu to a friend’s gorgeous farm in the rolling hills of horse country in Kentucky and we rode through fields of grass up to the horses’ bellies and celebrated every step of the way.
Risk Taking and Gambling Pay Off
I heard a professional poker player talking about how top level card players figure the odds and increase their chances of winning. It was pretty straight forward stuff; pretty much entirely based on simple applied statistics. Basically what they do is carefully weigh the projected odds on a specific sort of card turning up on the next reveal in addition to how those odds bounce up against the odds related to the specific amounts of each individual pot. It’s a bit beyond my ken but if you can study up by listening to the original podcast from the geniuses at RadioLab:
Annie developed her wagering methods directly from Pascal’s “God or No God” philosophy which goes:
- “God is, or He is not”
- A Game is being played… where heads or tails will turn up.
- According to reason, you can defend neither of the propositions.
- You must wager. (It’s not optional.)
- Let us weigh the gain and the loss in wagering that God is. Let us estimate these two chances. If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing.
- Wager, then, without hesitation that He is. (…) There is here an infinity of an infinitely happy life to gain, a chance of gain against a finite number of chances of loss, and what you stake is finite. And so our proposition is of infinite force, when there is the finite to stake in a game where there are equal risks of gain and of loss, and the infinite to gain.
Which in a nutshell says:
If you’ve got nothing to lose – do it! In other words what is “gain” and what is “loss” is in the eye of the beholder. If all we’re dealing with are 52 cards then we can apply some logic, if we’re working with larger concepts – go with the “You Can’t Lose” theory.
For making art, like playing the lottery (though your odds are insanely better) You have to be in it to win it.
Same too with horsemanship. By applying the principles outlined above coupled with some calculated risk taking you can create for yourself some pretty darn awesome joyful moments.
Lindy Huber, Mary Thoreson and I rode our wonderful horses that we each appreciate so much over the acres of Lindy’s place, Seldom Scene Farm. Lindy and I are both artists and Mary is a gallerist. She runs Damselfly Gallery in Midway. When you put yourself out there – you bump into beautiful likeminded people, and as you gently influence the world at large with your efforts, you celebrate progress with friends like these!