Technology is an amazing thing. I sit at my computer in Colorado typing this article as I listen to my mp3 player. When done, I will email the article to Carrie (the editor of Fine Art Views) who spends a few days doing what she does so well. Then, the article is sent out to thousands of people around the world. Some of you are reading this on your phone, some on your iPad, and others of you are reading this on a laptop or even a regular old pc. With a click of a button, this message is sent to every quarter of the globe.
But that isn’t the half of it. There are games, digital books, music, and movies at the touch of a button. There are satellite phones, instant messaging, conference callings, text messages, photo messages, chats, social media, apps, and the list goes on and on.
Many of my teenage daughter’s friends receive several thousand texts a month. That is mind boggling to me. Look around you, virtually everywhere there are people connected. We live in a time of instant gratification. We live in a time of constant entertainment at your fingertips. Gone are the days of driving several miles to a store to rent a video. Now you can watch instantly.
Call me old fashioned, but this drives me nuts.
Don’t get me wrong. Yes, I like my music, I like movies. I have my cell phone on me constantly. I use email, social media (a bit), etc. I even text some (not much). I like the benefits of technology. But I don’t like it all the time. I need down time. I need time to think. I need time to act, not be acted upon. I need to explore my own thoughts, not the thoughts fed to me by the media.
Especially when I am searching for ways to add meaning to my art, I disconnect from technology. I need the time to look deeper into myself without distraction. When I do, I am more likely to find deeper meaning to inspire in my artwork.
Though it has some drawbacks, I do not keep a computer in my studio. My computer is at home. I find that the benefits far outweigh the inconvenience. If my computer was more accessible during my painting time, I would paint less.
When I am plein air painting, I never have my mp3 player with me. Yes, I listen to music in the studio – that is important to me. But when I am in nature, I listen to the sounds of nature. I seek the whisperings of my muse who is there in the babble of a brook or in the quaking of the aspen leaves.
There are a bazillion ways to find deeper meaning – that which inspires your art. But I would suggest that turning off technology from time to time is one of the critical ways. Some of you may argue that music or other media is your muse and that you imbue energy into your work by listening to it. Don’t get me wrong, I do too. But, sometimes you need time to meditate or ponder deeper things. At least I do.
Don’t neglect the power of the quiet. Don’t neglect the power of reflection. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to find those deeper thoughts, feelings, and emotions which are too often suppressed by the bombardment of outside noise. Just as the batteries to all of your gadgets need to be recharged from time to time, so, too, does your spirit need recharging.
But your spirit recharges by disconnecting. As you recharge, you will hear your muse speak more clearly. You will find more meaning for your work.
Keith currently lives north of Ft. Collins in rural Wellington, Colorado with his wife and six children.