Nostalgia Bites.(Can be interpreted either way).

I’ve never been one to be overly nostalgic about anything. It’s always been my nature to push through, onward and upward. At least since I was twelve and my father died. We had been very close. After spending a year of non stop crying and grieving, my personality changed somewhat, except in as far as art goes. I was always an artist, and always will be. It’s not really something that I chose, so much as it being an intrinsic part of who I am. It has saved me in many ways on countless occasions. Compelling me to push through the good and the bad. That’s why it’s weird for me to be getting nostalgic. I have a sneaky suspicion that the plague may have something to do with it. I find myself listening more often to music that I connected to in my youth. Which is, unusual to say the least.

Tick Tock

It started with me looking for upbeat music to listen to in the morning because I was feeling a little blue, which is also something that I tend to push down into the depths. Unlike a lot of people who feel the need to bond with others over their angst, problems, or if they stubbed their toe, that’s just not something I ever liked doing. ( Except for with my ex, because that’s a given, and even then not nearly as often as most people.) And I can say this with some acumen, simply from observation in life and social media. In any case this reticence on my part, is mostly because to rehash things that have happened, or how I’m feeling, just seems to make it worse for me. So there you go. Yet, now here I am, listening to music that meant something to me when I was young and wading through the struggles of being a kid, growing up, having kids, raising kids, etc..

I put Pandora on, starting with the upbeat… I chose early Beatles, and it’s algorithm or whatever, starts scrolling through a universe of songs I haven’t heard or thought about in decades from groups I loved and felt I belonged to at different ages of my life. And other than scents, music is one of those rare things that can instantly transport you to that second, that hour, that day, that decade that you lived, grew, regressed, loved and hated, in.

From Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, to Led Zeppelin, to Sgt. Pepper, Pink Floyd, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Foundations, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, and a host of other memories. Some better than others. And this was just the ones that came up from that first group I picked that Pandora was scraping my heartstrings with.

In reality, it doesn’t make me feel sad. Picture one of those movies where the wise older person is reminiscing, narrating about times past, with love. This is not to say that my past was rosy. It was actually very difficult. But I am also not one to look for sympathy when things happen. Other than when I was very young and had lost both my parents. But even with that, I eventually came to realize that that was not how I wanted to see myself, or for others to see me; a Dickens-esk orphan. I had to be strong and make a lot of tough decisions. The only difference from many other people, is that I was doing it at a much younger age. For example. I didn’t have much family left, and those I did, well, I just couldn’t imagine having to live with them. At fifteen I became an emancipated minor, and got a little apartment. How this played out, is a story for another time, heheh. Don’t want to overwhelm you all. If it were to be made into a TV show, it could either be portrayed as a drama, with love, loss, and intrigue, or a dramedy, with the aforementioned, and a comedy of errors, and maybe some slapstick thrown in. (Not much though as slapstick is basically the lowest form of humor, other than puns. Except of course through the genius of Chaplin. Chaplin, who despite some really bad personal choices, was the epitome of slapstick.)

I continue to grow with my painting. I do, (rarely) have nostalgia for my earlier paintings and scribblings, but always with a very critical eye. Ask any artist, and for the most part they don’t like their past works. That’s because art is one of those things where by it’s very nature, is ever changing. Most of us artists feel that we have improved over time. I can only speak for myself when I say that I prefer people to see my most recent work. Maybe it’s a bit of an ego thing, where we want people to see what we are capable of now, as opposed to then, Like, “oh god, my work now is so much better! Heheheh. Musicians too, are artists, and if they are dedicated and good, they evolve, as well. I think for them sometimes, it’s harder because so many fans will love a certain piece of music so much that any changes are abhorrent to them. They have my sympathies.

Nostalgia, a wistfulness for the past, can be a funny thing. It can become a rabbit hole that folks fall down, and find hard to climb out of. Or it can be something that we look at with wonder of how we survived it all, and pride that we did. We can take a look back for a little while, and then move forward.

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Moving Forward

As I continue with my plan to basically see where my art takes me, I am finding that it is slowly coalescing into a “thing”. Even though I’m not really admitting it to myself consciously, or at least as loudly in my own mind speak as other topics. I know that, for me to stick with one idea, form, or subject for my art, is nearly impossible. I’m too easily swayed by the bright lights and excitement of a new idea. I tell myself, that’s because I’m an Aries, heheh. Whether true or not, this fact of my nature is absolutely true. It’s a wonder that I’ve actually finished as much work as I have.

So to have given myself permission to simply see where it goes, following each whim, seems to be having the opposite effect. Yes, I am enjoying the process in a more relaxed way than normal. As I usually have a goal, or a deadline. But it does seem to be heading toward something. I do tend to be slightly superstitious so won’t say much more about that lest I stop it in it’s tracks. Just saying that much gives me a feeling like; ‘oh no, will this cause me to falter?’. Is this how other creative types, artists, or craftspeople feel?

Unless you are an artist, or writer, etc., you may not know the hellish amount of pressure we put upon ourselves. Pressure to produce, create, invent. To come up with a new version of something. Then to bring it to life, to be satisfied, no excited about the finished work. It’s exhausting. And the competition to find a following is astronomical. To some who don’t live this lifestyle, and make no mistake that’s what it is, it may seem like it must be all joy and colors. And it can be. But it’s also tedious, frustrating, sometimes disappointing, and often maddening. Why do it then? You may ask. For me, it has been more than an obsession, it has been part of who I am my entire life. And it’s not always easy, not for me, or those I love. At times it could be stressful for everyone if it’s not going well. And there are those who feel you should always be making money with it. Which of course we’d all like, but when not, I will still be painting, or sketching. And those same people do not get it. And at the end of the day, what they get or don’t get, doesn’t matter.

Some may say, “well, do it for yourself, that’s what matters”. And as much as I do agree with this, it is important for me to sell my art. Art needs to be seen, to be loved and shared. It’s not meant for the dark. And there’s nothing more heartening than knowing that someone likes your work enough to buy it. I try very hard not to compare myself to others, but I do remind myself that there were many many (now referred to) as “great artists” who during their lifetime, were never able to sell any of their work. Not that I consider myself at their level in any way, but it is heartening that I have sold many pieces, and for a while had a following of repeat customers. Although recently this has not been the case, due to many factors. I am not exactly at ground zero, yet it does sometimes feel like starting over.

This brings me to what my next post might be, maybe something about my feelings about pieces that I have not sold. Well something to that effect or other. I guess I’ll have to see how it goes. 😉

Thank you for following my blog, I hope you and yours are safe and well. See you next time!