Wednesday, August 27, 2014

At What Point Greatness?

As I was busy working on my next project today I decided to watch one of my favorite movies. "Amadeus" is one of those tales told by one person who thinks he is great in sight of one who truly is.

Over the years I have enjoyed the movie, though the play has a very different immediacy. It is far more intimate much like creating something, paint brush in hand. Its glorious music caused me to ponder how such glory could come from what at best was a boor. Or was he? Today, for the first time while I was painting, listening to the movie's music mostly I did pause and began to wonder, what are the elements that determine greatness? There seems to be no easy answer. Sometimes you have to step away from where you are, what you are and listen "to the music."

Mozart was never really popular in his own time. He had his success to be sure. He was known to be gifted but it came at a price...his pride. He never suffered fools and musically was way ahead of his time. The melodies and music he created had never been heard before and it took a real musician to realize what he was doing. We have to remember after his death in the 1700's he was pretty much forgotten. It wasn't until the beginning of the 20th century the New York Philharmonic resurrected both him and his music. In Mozart's lifetime composers, much like the painters in various salons, composers like Salieri, were the approved court masters and their music and demands nor their patrons were not to be denied. The tension here, if there ever was, is between Salieri who dedicated his life to music and God with average music abilities and Mozart, the profane, who was God's musical mouthpiece.

I suddenly realized that same thing happens all the time in the world of art. Greatness is often smothered by mediocrity. What makes an artist go on? Why did Van Gogh continue to paint hundreds of paintings he would never sell? Gauguin leave Europe, what was the motivating force behind Michelangelo? So many others too worked so hard for a vision yet often didn't receive the greatness they deserved in life.

Tabletop Birdhouse Decoration
I believe the creative force in us is the key. As I worked on a new type of item for me, a small tabletop decoration incorporating small birdhouses, I couldn't help but look around our den and see many of the creations I've done and are for sale on my Etsy store. Here they sit. Some are more popular than others in "favorites" but nevertheless created by me lovingly and well, still here. True, some are definitely more adventureous than others but all are unique and different reflecting my continuing search for a kind of crafting perfection.

Will that object ever exit? I doubt it but as artists we all never stop trying and many working until their dying day. I believe that to stop creating is death and so we create in an attempt to put death far away from us giving ourselves the time to achieve what only God can achieve, perfection.

Please visit my craft store at and my fine art store at Thank you for stopping by and reading!

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