Returning to The River

Winter's Remains
Winter’s Remains

The time finally came to return to the river after a brutal Midwestern Winter.  The first day on the water for the year is always special, no matter the outcome.  As I drove east on highway 94, I suspected that many people in the colder regions of the US would experience the same ritual over the first few weeks of March.

My return to river brought the first fish of 2014 to hand, and buoyed my body and mind with fresh air, cold hands and familiar smells.

The lasting affect of this return was clarity of thought, or perhaps rather, questions on matters that until I set foot in the water, had been lying hidden from view. Frozen in too much time watching the internet.  Too much time thinking about what they are doing.

river23As a result of my return, two things have started to become clear to me pertaining to my creative output:

1. The river and land are my places of all things mind/body/soul/vibe/high frequency/etc, and I don’t attend their services as often as I should.  Without this time getting wet, slimey, dirty, sweaty, freezing my hands and taking part in Nature’s cycles, my creative output is grossly misinformed and misdirected.

2. Time in these places always reveals how messy and “imperfect” the balance of life is.  In my absence in the last 5 months or so, I lost my way.  I strove to define, contain, and push my illustrative chops.  What I have forgotten is that this pursuit is not me.  I’m messy.  I’m happy, productive and moving forward when I see, create and appreciate the harmony within the mess.  Too rigid, not enough distortion.

It tells me to keep it loose.  Keep it a bit more on the edge.  It’s ok to falter, ok to not be the best, ok to not be good at something; let the work fail, and let the work sing.  Return to a mode of creating, an aesthetic long followed but temporarily lost, and the work will progress.

Return to The River | 2014 | 6" x 12" | Mixed media | Collaboration with Arlo Keeler
Return to The River | 2014 | 6″ x 12″ | Mixed media | Collaboration with Arlo Keeler

Tight lines and horns high amigos.

3 thoughts on “Returning to The River

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  1. Nicely put. I feel a bit the same man. It’s mostly due I think to the internet a but primarily Instagram. Being a visual person I like Instagram much more than Facebook or Twitter. It’s far more interesting to ‘see’ people lives, experiences and their art. And it’s fucking amazing to share your own art with others who share a similar aesthetic and to receive feedback and praise from peers and artists you admire.
    And its a good thing to push your own work because you’ve been inspired. Personally, I’ve never been as productive. Something that has been a hobby for since I was a kid is slowly becoming a second job. But its not hard to fall into the trap of comparing yourself with those peers and drawing/making for an audience rather than yourself. I know my work has changed slightly over the past year – for good and for bad. Most of my favorite pieces, stuff I’ve hung around my house, are older hacky, scribbled drawings that might lack some neatness, but possess maybe a little more soul?
    You’ve got to take a step back from time to time and see if what you’re making, what you’re giving hours of your time to, is actually YOU. There’s no point doing it if not.
    Keep it up man.

    Cheers,
    Matt,
    Melbourne

  2. Nicely put. I feel a bit the same man. It’s mostly due I think to the internet a but primarily Instagram. Being a visual person I like Instagram much more than Facebook or Twitter. It’s far more interesting to ‘see’ people lives, experiences and their art. And it’s fucking amazing to share your own art with others who share a similar aesthetic and to receive feedback and praise from peers and artists you admire.
    And its a good thing to push your own work because you’ve been inspired. Personally, I’ve never been as productive. Something that has been a hobby for since I was a kid is slowly becoming a second job. But its not hard to fall into the trap of comparing yourself with those peers and drawing/making for an audience rather than yourself. I know my work has changed slightly over the past year – for good and for bad. Most of my favorite pieces, stuff I’ve hung around my house, are older hacky, scribbled drawings that might lack some neatness, but possess maybe a little more soul?
    You’ve got to take a step back from time to time and see if what you’re making, what you’re giving hours of your time to, is actually YOU. There’s no point doing it if not.
    Keep it up man.

    Cheers,
    Matt (montelbulge),
    Melbourne

    1. Word Matt! I too have become more active on Instagram, much less so on Twitter – mostly because I think Twitter is for socializing, where as Instagram, and Facebook allow for artists to share our work to receptive audiences. I gain a ton on inspiration and motivation from seeing what like-minded people are up to, and what catches their eyes. It’s like a virtual seminar class where we get to share ideas, images, sources, and our work.

      And you hit it on the head – that sharing and watching can become a game of comparison and jockeying…right down to the the metrics of “likes” and followers. In that I guess it’s important to remember these channels are merely ways to share what we are doing, and occasionally connect with people in a more fulsome way. We have to disregard the noise of these channels, and keep things a bit messy, a bit loose, and a bit on the edge. The internet forces us to tighten things up; for better, and for worse.

      Love you work Matt and thanks for the exchange!

      Cheers

      Jake

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