Art and Comparison

The exquisite beauty of Lauren Gray’s art makes me ache. A while back, I wrote about how It would hurt to look at beautiful things I didn’t create in the days before I had found my way back to art making. I’m pretty sure if I had’ve lain eyes on the artwork of Lauren Gray during this time I would have torn asunder. I want to touch them, and smell them and hang them somewhere I will see every single day. I have a dear little list of artists whose original work I look forward to collecting when I have a house again and Lauren Gray shot to the top of that list as soon as I set eyes on her figurative work.Lauren Gray_Art.jpg

Lauren Gray_Mixed Media.jpg

Lauren Gray_Mixed Media Art.jpg

Lauren Gray_Sanctuary.jpg

Lauren Gray’s artwork falls into the bitter-sweet category of artwork by others that makes me despair of ever creating something myself that I love as much. I once read of an artist who couldn’t visit certain artists’ blogs, whilst she was learning to paint. I understand this with every fibre of my being but I cringe away from trying to hide or fade this particular ache — I think there’s something in there to be examined.

Lauren Gray_Houses.jpg

Still, It does seem a shade masochistic to not only subscribe to the artists’ blog feed but to also display their work on my own blog, placing it in direct contrast to my own artwork! That’s just mean, me. Although, I think it might also be a little bit brave… “stupid” and “reckless” are often synonyms for “brave”, aren’t they?

Lauren Gray_Balloon.jpg

The more I think about it, the more I believe there is an important lesson in this for me. I originally turned my back on art because of comparison. At some point, I decided I wasn’t good enough.

Lauren Gray_Tree.jpg

It’s an impossible comparison. I’m reminded of a Martha Graham quote, which explains why more eloquently than I ever could:

“There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique, and if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium; and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is, not how it compares with other expression. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. No artist is pleased. There is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.”

I’m also aware of the disservice such a comparison does to the other artist. I know from her blog, Lauren’s dedication to mastering her craft has been unwavering. She deserves to be exceptional. I imagine it would be galling to have those who haven’t put in the hours compare their work to your own.

Well, just like my paintings, this blog post turned out to be about something other than I what I first had in mind! Some people say they have to talk to think, I have to write. If you’re still here, thank you for joining me on my thought process! I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic as I’m always thrilled to find how differently other people think to myself!

3 Comments Art and Comparison

  1. Angela DiGiovanni | Living Out Loud

    Wow Katherine, I can really relate to that aching when you see someone else’s work that you wished you had done, or that feels like it could have come straight from your soul. I feel that way about a lot Misty Mawn’s work.

    This top painting is really beautiful and inspiring.

    Reply
  2. Cecilia Simonyi

    Hi Katherine, or actually in my mind you are ‘Nellie’, it is just the way it attached to your face when I first saw your blog.

    Anyways, I love your posts, keep writing them. I don’t know how masochistic it is but I enjoy meeting another artist through your eyes. And that quote has talked to me as well.

    If once you are going home to AU and want to sell that van, let me know… Just in case…

    Cecilia

    Reply
    1. Katherine

      Thank you Cecillia. It’s always nice to be reminded that I’m not just talking to myself :)

      We will indeed be looking for a good home for Nettle (our van) once we go back to Aus so stay tuned ;)

      Reply

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