Tuesday, October 7, 2008

When in Angst, turn to Bob


Phew! Okay here it is, I hope I deleted the partially written post before it made it into any readers or picked up by any bots, because not only is THIS post supposed to be about how I decided not to publish THAT post, but THAT post wouldn't have made any sense being partially written, got it? No? Lets just say if you use blogger and accidentally hit the enter button while writing the title... your post goes online. I've done that WAY too many times.

So what was THAT post about? politics, ideology, religion, the Middle East, the Iraq war, Christian and Islamic fundamentalism, propaganda, and a general end to humanity if we all don't start friggin' getting along. Finally, I would have ended THAT post with something about bringing cloth bags to the supermarket. Aren't you glad you don't have to read it? But it engaged my mind for half the day. And since I feel free to rant now I wanted to make the first ranting a doozey, with a video clip from Al Jazeera even! Yep, you heard right...al Jazeera.

I'm also suffering from pretentious artist angst lately. I'm attempting to create art everyday that doesn't suck and failing so far. Combining that with wanting to get on with a series of larger works that will take the better part of a year to complete for a gallery (somewhere) is stressing me out. Having no guarantee any of it will sell, means I'll need to store those big paintings. And what with the economy and all that worry? To further degrade my self-esteem, when helping my daughter with her homework, I discovered Grade 4 math may be beyond me. Ouch, and I thought I was smart.

But then...a truly miraculous thing happened, I turned on the TV to escape and there he was....Bob Ross, the happy painter from the Joy of Painting. How can anyone stay blue watching Bob Ross, he rocked! That wonderful, formulaic painting of smudges of colour that miraculously turned into trees and rocks. The homey feel of that genre of painting graced every basement rec-room in every suburban home from 1965-1985. And you can tell he LOVED every minute of painting. Bob Ross made it all better. Who cares about outcome, it's all about process, or in broader terms, the journey. Thanks Bob, I know you're residing in happy tree, happy rock, happy waterfall heaven right now. Paint on!

11 comments:

andrea said...

You can tell when people love their work. Just like Bob, the shrink I saw today exuded that "I LOVE what I do" vibe. Whoa. I've never met a mental health professional like that. I had no idea they even existed. Bob may be no van Gogh but knowing ol' Vincent's mental health issues, van Gogh was certainly no Bob Ross. RIP the both o' ya. (Did I just admit in cyberspace that I talked to a psychiatrist today?)

Ellen said...

Regarding Van Gogh and Ross, wonderfully put Andrea! and the other thing, didn't we have a conversation about inhibitions yesterday? how very ironic:) Hey, but a mental health professional who seems happy and balanced? How often do you see that?

my croft said...

I was very heartened to hear that Jeanne Williamson
http://www.jeannewilliamson.com/weekly_quilts.html
who has some renown in the art quilting world for her daily-weekly-monthly projects said that she never threw out the less successful pieces. She kept everything because she learned from everything--even if the lesson was never do THAT again.

I've been struggling to keep up a daily practice and boy-o-boy that "don't worry, inevitably some things will suck, keep working, be happy" advice has been a godsend.

Ellen said...

Melanie: Sage advice. I agree, every unsuccessful creative pursuit has it's learning purpose, maybe more than many of the successes, and having a zen-like acceptance of that is the key to staying happy and productive. Although, today I had trouble getting there (until Bob Ross, if he wasn't a painter, he would have EXCELLED at leading guided meditation classes, that soothing voice...)

self taught artist said...

the minute i saw this post i just felt like laughing. how can you not love looking at that guy? I don't even like what he did but by god he made you feel like YOU COULD DO IT!!! we can all fly!!! we can all float with large fluffy heads of hair into a world that isn't mean! (although after learning about the circumstances of his death everything is tainted now)

anyhow, ART. You keep doing your work, who are you to judge if it sucks? maybe it needs to suck. maybe it has to suck, get the suck out of you so the good stuff can steamroll out of you. it's no fun but dare i say to us both, remember, unfortunately it is the crap and the ick and the whatever that usually expedites change and growth. if you were compelled to make art everyday that doesn't suck there was a reason for it. when ya get what that was then you can stop (or it will change?)

Melody said...

Happy guy that Bob Ross. Lessons to be learned there for sure.

Ellen said...

Paula: I had to go look up more about his death, hoping there wasn't anything seedy associated with it. But no, died of lymphoma at 52. Which is sad, far too young. And thanks, all you're saying is bang on. I know it. I think I'm feeling like you were a few week ago, just gotta plow through it and something better will come.

Melody: Someone mentioned having such good memories of watching Bob Ross as a kid home from school and said "He was better than children's tylenol" I love that one for some reason.

Caroline said...

Don't worry about not understanding school maths - I've got a maths degree and I don't think I understand it any more either.... I'm just "lucky" in that I've no children to show me up in this respect...

(And yes your a portion of rant was available on Google Reader... )

self taught artist said...

no nothing seedy. i think i heard somewhere that he chose to ignore it and didn't get treatment (which I can't blaim him). true or not...i think about his good nature and how he painted and wondered why would someone like that get such a horrible disease? was there rage and all kinds of crap lurking under that curly head? his soft voice and la la land aura...was it real or masking monsters? who knows. just what I think about when I see him now.

katie jane said...

So, paint yourself some "happy little trees" and destress. You are so right about Bob's lessons. They were wonderful and I sat absorbed in fron of the TV every Saturday for just one more lesson. Bob, where are you now, when I really need you? I think I'll run to Michael's and buy a video!

And doesn't this economic s**t just depress you?? I hope SOMEBODY is our saviour in November. But who could that be? Is is bad in Canada too?

Ellen said...

Caroline: Ugh, really? that portion showed up? that was no more than 12 seconds before I deleted it. Thanks for letting me know. One of these days I will understand computers better.

Paula:Bad things happen to good people. Cancer isn't all that selective. About half the paint I work with has a big warning label "...contains chemicals known by the state of California to cause cancer". I wear latex gloves. Not that the cause of his illness could be known, but with the amount of painting he did he was definitely exposed to lead, probably cadmium, cobalt too that's in oil paint (especially in the 70's, before there were any alternatives to leaded oil paint). Regardless, it's sad, 52 is young.

Katie: We have an election coming up next week that isn't half as intriguing as yours. Saturday Night Live's Thursday primetime US election/news related show has become my favourite tv these days. Sometimes you have to laugh at all the craziness or you'll go insane.