The Joy of Collaboration

LoonsTherefore, success is about being original and being collaborative. Success is about connecting with others and finding your team. Even the most original thinkers have backing and support for their visions and ideas. Originality without collaboration is mere abstraction and has little value. – Robert Holden, PhD

I find the above quote especially relevant in the world of fine art, illustration writing and graphic art. For that matter, any pursuit of consequence, where more than you alone are going to enjoy the finished product qualifies.  Artists collaborate with the people who read, view and otherwise enjoy their works. Collaboration also takes place before and during the development process. Artists bounce ideas, show prototypes and rough sketches or models, share sentences or chapters of their writing and other sharing efforts to focus the pieces so they can become what are necessary to create the best possible joy from the completed gift.

I know my first collaborator is my talented wife. She is honest in her assessments and critique and helps me to do my best.

Something in the creativity genes of humans keep driving them relentlessly forward to create things of beauty, pleasure and relevance for others to enjoy. If this was not true, would a composer spend his time and energy to create works as beautiful, as say, Mozart symphonies?

If Mozart or Beethoven or Tchaikovsky wrote only for themselves, what would that music have sounded like?  Would Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 be possible without the many musicians that it takes to complete the orchestration? Vincent Van Gogh painted what he thought would bring joy to a world where he seemed to find none. He put color to work in ways that still amaze me. He inspired Don McLean to write one of the most beautiful songs of the ‘70’s, Vincent (Stary, Stary Nights), that is a gift to the listener.

Bring on collaboration.

Now I think I know what you tried to say to me
And how you suffered for your sanity
And how you tried to set them free
They would not listen, they’re not listening still
Perhaps they never will

–The closing stanza from the song “Vincent” by Don McLean


Labs“If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.” ― Will Rogers

I did the color sketch of labs accompanying this post for some friends in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. I think that I enjoy doing drawings of people’s pets more than any other type of work. People have such an incredible attachment to their pets. Deep love and affection. To be able to bring that to life for people is delightful. I even did a drawing of a beloved pet that was engraved on my Aunt’s tombstone. That is just one example of not only how much she cared for her dog but how very much the family knew that she loved that dog. The drawing was the families request and it was my honor to do it. It was a monument of her love from her loved ones.

“If you don’t own a dog, at least one, there is not necessarily anything wrong with you, but there may be something wrong with your life.” Roger Caras


Fish on the Sand

Brown-Trout2Not so much of a man
More a fish on the sand
–Lyrics from the song“Fish on the Sand” by George Harrison

Aside from feeling like a beached fish these days, I also am struggling with the concept of what I really want to spend my life doing. For almost 15 years my passion was helping dairy farmers express their passion for what they do on the farms. I now am trying to figure out my passion. I do love graphic design. I do love wildlife illustration. And a long list of other loves that need winnowing down at some point. I don’t have anyone but my wife and some books to push me along (though without my wife, I would be a dried up and dead fish on the sand).
Sigh. Who would have thought it was so much work to find your authentic self.

The Beginning

Chickadee1“Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” –Carl Bard

So begins my journey, my new adventure. I have been telling people that although one door has closed I believe another will soon open. This will be my therapy. A website dedicated to the illustrations I love to do and share with people. And perhaps this will help me heal from the latest trauma of job loss, as so many other people these past few years have felt.