Artist, Musician, Human Being
the many years I have spent allowing the artistic muse to have its way, my path
has taken many twists and turns leading me one way and another. Developing skill
and reaching new and higher thresholds has been, not only rewarding but at times
Having been asked numerous times why I have chosen to work in the challenging medium I do has provoked some thought and consideration on my part. "Why?" indeed.
There are factions of my personality that have led towards choosing the way most challenging.
Sometimes that choice is deliberate. Other times an unconscious thing; something in my make up that insists on plowing through a dense underbrush rather than taking the easier and more obvious path.
One thing is clear, the exploration can lead to some very interesting destinations, 'interesting' not always being pleasant. It is said, 'Pain is the cornerstone of growth', hmmmm, maybe so.
I am not sure that I subscribe to the notion that one must suffer for one's art though the way to profound creativity can certainly be a taxing one. I believe it is true that from a trek through the dark night of the soul can come wondrous and amazing results.
This past year I faced something that many people face these days; Cancer. For some, it is dealing with it in one's own body. For others of us it is walking along side of someone close who has been challenged with this dreaded disease. Cancer does not distinguish between gender, geography or economic circumstance. We are all affected in some way or another with it. However, what was once an automatic life shortening sentence, is no longer. Medical advances have changed all that. In spite of that encouraging news, the experience can still be life altering to be sure.
Earlier this year my husband was diagnosed with an aggressive type of cancer which required some very
Aggressive treatment. The news was stunning and affected us both profoundly. For him, he did what he usually does when faced with something daunting; he stepped up to the plate with courage and resolve and began the journey. To date, he is nearly through with it all and the outcome is everything we could have hoped for. The cancer is gone and he continues to meet life head on with a positive attitude and a great deal of gratitude. To be sure we are both very grateful.
It's a very different experience for the person along for the ride however; no easy thing to watch this all happening to someone you love and respect. So, for a time, I stalled and floundered, not knowing quite what I should do. This was, after all, his disease, not mine. I struggled with how much care is too much and how much is too little. Not sure what to do or how to do it. I could be supportive but what did that look like exactly?
During that time my creative muse seemed to be in hiding. I suspect that I was not paying any attention to it so there resulted in little or no activity in that arena.
One night, feeling quite despairing, I sought through prayer and some sort of meditation, for some possible guidance. The answer was forthcoming and simple; 'Go into your studio and begin to draw'.
The effort it took to do just that was huge, but I did it.
We'd had the good fortune to take a trip to Maui in July of this year; one that was timely and extraordinarily relaxing. I spent a good deal of it taking pictures of the beauty of the place.
Those very photographs were to inspire me to draw and then began the process for some new and exciting work that I am very proud of. As with many intervals in my life, the most difficult challenges have resulted in providing great inspiration for yet another level of creative exploration.
I am profoundly grateful for this, sometimes bewildering, process. Once again the muses are alive and well. This turn in the road has provided opportunity for growth and a deep sense of awe for the connection to a life force greater than myself but that instills a great satisfaction for the human experience. Life is good.
Diane Burns 11-18-14
Giclees by Barry Levin
DIANE BURNS BATIK DESIGNS