Opting to Matter


Deciding to matter is something that most creative people need to decide to have in their lives. It isn’t a cosmic expectation but it really is a conscious decision. If you are brooding about meaning, you need to change your perspective.

 

We must accept that as artists we have egos, drives, desires, dreams, talents, a brain, a heart, and a complete human interior that makes potent demands on us. This humanness should be respected and accepted.

 

Life gives us information and it is up to us how we will process the information. Come to your own conclusions about what life means to you and how you should act. We are the only arbiter of meaning.

 

We can only understand ourselves and other humans can not because the can’t be objective. We need to consider our biology and psychology. We can figure ourselves out by observing ourselves objectively. This can be a huge endeavor.

 

We need to live a righteous life, according to the sense of ethics we have developed. We are our own moral compass.

 

We need to find a  way to tap the energy needed to accomplish these goals.We must generate our own energy. We need to activate  our passion, our enthusiasm, and tap into our creativity.

 

We must not live in the present moment. Let go of the past as it is gone and we can not effect it anymore. Do not spend all of your time focusing on the future. The future will never arrive and if it did, it would be the present. Your inspirations for your art are available in the present.

 

If we decide to opt to matter, we may have to tap into our courage and bravery. Accept that you may have to show heroism. Virtually no creative person reaches these high ideals. Most get mired in the first steps of opting to matter. We may have been born creative, but we have to choose to be good. Don’t fall into the pit of lording it over other creative souls. The gift of creativity does not mean that we can do whatever we please. This is where responsibility comes in. The creative person is subject to the same moral directives as the rest of humankind is. We may need to heal ourselves before we can use our talents to the highest level.

 

Creative people need to have a mantra and I suggest this one. Healing and transformation will make us into a person who can manage meaning effectively. ” This is who we are and this is what I choose to become.”  Follow this and you will develop a true passion for life. This passion will fuel your passion for creativity and enhance your art no matter what medium you choose to work in.

 

 

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Allow yourself to shine.

Allow yourself to shine.

 

 

Sepia wine and cheese photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

Sepia wine and cheese photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

Who Wants War?


Many People have wanted peace for millenniums. Artists of every different types of media have to ability to see and feel the importance of peace. Many have written affirmations. Composed song lyrics, written poems.  Artists paint for peace and sketch for peace. Artists need to rise up and make your voices heard. Not in a violent way, but loud enough to shake the rafters.

 

 

 

 

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                                 Vincent Van Gogh

 

 

 This quote is from Vincent Van Gogh

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Feminism and Art


photo 1

Judy Chicago The Dinner Party 1979.
Mixed media 48’x42’X3′.
Triangular table on white tile floor.
Photograph by Donald Woodman (2010)
From Prebles’ Artforms , Tenth Edition
Patrick Frank
published by Prentice Hall

In the late 1960’s, many women artists began to speak out against the misogyny that always blocked them in their careers. It has always been difficult for women to be taken seriously. Our patriarchal society has always looked at what was produced by women as less than. For women artists it has been difficult to have their work shown in galleries, in artists’ groups. Galleries have been and continue to be more willing to accept the art made by men than by women. This has long been a problem for women artists and women in general. If a woman is entering a  jar of preserves or a pie in the county fair, fine. But real creation has been considered the product of men. Women in the 60’s were afraid to allow their art to reflect their problems producing artwork in the male dominated world.

In the early 70’s, feminist artists, in New York and California began to take action. They wanted the art world to be a more balanced world where their work wouldn’t languish in obscurity. Lucy Lippard, an art critic and feminist wrote, “The overwhelming fact remains that a woman’s experience in this society—social and biological—is simply not like that of a man. If art comes from the inside, as it must, then the art of men and women must be different, too.”

The work of some women artists is definitely influenced by their gender and their interests in feminist issues. The two groups worked differently. California feminists tended to work together in collaborations. They tended to make use of media that had  been used traditionally in “craft work” and with women: ceramics and textiles. The upper photograph, The Dinner Party, was a collaboration of many women and a few feminist men. Judy Chicago organized this work over a period of five years.

“A large triangular table contains place settings for thirty-nine women who made important contributions to world history. They run a wide gamut, from Egyptian Queen Hatshepsut to Georgia O’Keefe. The names of 999 additional women of achievement are inscribed on ceramic tiles below the tables. Each place setting includes a hand-embroidered fabric runner and a porcelain plate designed in honor of that woman. Some of the plates are painted with flat designs, others have modeled and painted relief motifs, many are explicitly sexual, embellished with flower-like female genitalia.” (Description from Prebles’ Artforms)

New York feminists were more pointed in their protests. Some of them formed the group Women Artists in Revolution (WAR), which picketed museums. In response to dealers who were reluctant to exhibiting female artists, they formed their own collaborative gallery, Artists in Residence (AIR). Nancy Spero, a leader in feminist circles on the East Coast participated in both groups. Her work used uncommon media such as paper scrolls, stencils and printing to document subjects such as the torture and abuse of women.

The bottom photograph is of a work by Nancy Spero. It is called the Rebirth of Venus. Venus is the ancient goddess of love. And in this art piece the goddess is split open to reveal a woman sprinter who runs directly towards the viewer. The contrast is strong, women as love object releases a woman who is strong and a achiever.

Women still have to fight for recognition in the art world. Women still have to fight for everything including equality. But women will never give up and go back to being subjected quietly by society. We will never be quiet again.

 
RebirthOfVenus
 
 
Nancy Spero Rebirth of Venus detail 1984
Handprinting on paper.  12″ x 62′
Photograph David Reynalds
From Prebles’ Artforms , Tenth Edition
Patrick Frank
Published by Prentice Hall

The Art of Bonsai


There is much beauty in the miniature of life. Not everything has to be bigger to be better. I hope you enjoy these miniatures and the art of shaping them and encouraging them to grow in the shape you with them to grow.

Tiny beauty

Tiny beauty

small forest

small forest

It takes a lot of time for a huge tree to learn to be this small

It takes a lot of time for a huge tree to learn to be this small

The skill in the fingers who work with Bonsai is awesome

The skill in the fingers who work with Bonsai is awesome

Such perfection!

Such perfection!

The tiniest plant I sawAll photography by Barbara Mattio. Copyrighted 2013

World Wide Commonalities


The art of music

The art of music

It has been a really painful week for many people in the world. Boston and Texas really have suffered great pain and loss.Our prayers continue for the victims and the families and friends, not to mention the survivors. After surviving any traumatic event, from the events of this last week to the unseen wounds of war, healing can take a lot of time, perseverance and gutsHorrors seen and experienced can leave terribly deep wounds.

I found my husband dead of a heart attack, sitting in the study with his feet propped up on the desk and a cup of coffee next to him. He had been there all day while I had been at work at the American Red Cross and had gone grocery shopping. It was dark and I turned on the desk lamp and found him. The diagnosis was a massive heart attack that I could not have stopped.

I had a diagnosis of PTSD and don’t like the dark to this day. The point is that no matter what your lifestyle is, pain and tragedy can find you. There is a wonderful book called, “When Bad Things Happen to Good People.” It was written by Rabbi Kuschner..

From my experience running a psych unit,  through my husband’s death and after being battered as a child, I have found a prescription of sorts for healing.

Beauty and our love for it is an inborn need and many artistic tastes are universal across the countries of the world. People in most countries prefer water and trees in the distance.From writing music to words, from singing your favorite songs to painting your first tulipwe have a need to express the art that resides in our souls. From looking at Degas sculptures to writing your first book, you are working from the instinct to produce what you relate to as Art.
Miriam, the Jewish Prophetess danced, sang and played the tambourine. KISS wears make-up and stick out their tongues and millions rocks to their music and its message for the soul.

Close your eyes and try to imagine a world where everything is utilitarian, political or for business. No music, dance, no sketching, painting, writing for pleasure, no moments of the day savored because of their beauty.Across the world people find many different things they consider art but it all performs to express the basic instinct. So today, work on healing with the creativity in your heart and soul.

The beauty of music

The beauty of music

Art evolution

Art evolution

A profile in color

A profile in color

Horse made from drift wood

Horse made from drift wood