Element No. 2, 2013, oil on canvas, 72″ x 234″ ©Ran Ortner
My husband shared Ran Ortner’s work with me recently as we were discussing how best to get my ocean images out in the world. I read the interview on Ran’s website and as I read his responses tears rolled down my face and I got a lump in my throat. I can relate to just about every meaningful and well founded thing he says and my faith is renewed again in my passion for what I do. I don’t feel alone and can continue to enjoy my more solitary way of working.
“Art is not a skill contest nor an innovation contest. Art is an honesty contest. If we can be precisely who we are, in the most intimate and candid and courageous way, we will start to connect to the universal. Our job as artists is to be powerfully personal in our work, and if we touch the source, the most central wound, the deepest of wells, then we actually touch the universal.”
I have been doing what I do for a long time-a very long time-and I have met many wonderful people and recently, many presumptuous and immodest neophytes. My passion wavers slightly and I step aside for a moment as I watch them climb to the top of who knows what by stepping on others. Then my vision and my soul grows in leaps and bounds and I know in my heart that I am here to do what I do in my own Cinderella way.
I want to learn more and more to see as beautiful what is necessary in things; then I shall be one of those who make things beautiful. Amor fati: let that be my love henceforth! I do not want to wage war against what is ugly. I do not want to accuse; I do not even want to accuse those who accuse. Looking away shall be my only negation. And all in all and on the whole: some day I wish to be only a Yes-sayer.
I already spent too many years holding it all inside, waiting until just the right time to express what I have to say about life, our world and the way I connect with it. I am finding that I have been laying the groundwork all this time by living life to the fullest on my own and with my family. I have no regrets.
“It’s already a given that life’s a failure, by which I mean that we come with an expiration date. We already know we are going to break down and crash. There’s something liberating about that. This is our moment in the sun. Let’s dance.”
Don’t ever let anyone put your work down or tell you your work isn’t worthy of being made. Don’t rely on contests or your followers to tell you what work to make or not to make. No matter what you have to share, it’s important and valid. But you have to dig deep-maybe for years-to discover what you truly want to say before it actually comes clear. And never, ever give up.
“Talent is just the inner need. There is the Christian saying, ‘Seek and ye shall find,’ but this does not convey the intensity. I think of the Zen passage that says you should seek as if your hair is on fire and you’re looking for water. Intensity plays a huge role in the creative process.”
I truly believe that I am here to make the work I have been making to share the way ‘I’ see the world. To focus on the things that are important for me to focus on. I don’t make this work for you, to make you jealous, to make you see differently, I make it for me to understand the world better. But, it’s a gift when someone else can connect with it in their own way.