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The Crossroads

by Keith Bond on 4/25/2011 9:29:07 AM

This article is by Keith Bond, Regular contributing writer for FineArtViews.  You should submit an article and share your views as a guest author by clicking here.

 

It was a point of decision.  Should I turn right or continue straight ahead?  I had reached a crossroads.  En route to a remote area in Southeastern Arizona, I was travelling through Silver City, New Mexico.  Just outside Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, I was faced with the decision to stay on the more travelled major roads or take a less travelled road. 

 

The main roads – the well travelled roads – have a total mileage of 136 miles with about a 2 ½ hour drive time.  The smaller, less travelled road has a total mileage of about 88 miles with a 2 ½ hour drive time.  I chose the latter.

 

This drive was narrow, winding over mountains and canyons.  The hairpin turns were many and frequent.  On such a road, my average speed was about 25 miles an hour with several curves as slow as 10 mph.  This country is open range, so there were also several areas with cattle on the road.

 

But for me, the decision was well worth it.  The scenery was spectacular and breathtaking.  The drive was much more interesting.  And I only saw one other vehicle the entire time.

 

Your art career has a similar parallel. 

 

Let’s define the destination as whatever success means to you.  There comes a time in your career where you reach the crossroads.  You must make the decision of which road to take.  Either way, the amount of time to reach the destination will be about the same.  Do you take the road that everyone else is taking?  Do you take the easy, less adventurous road?  Do you travel the interstate?

 

Or do you set off on your own, taking the back roads?  Do you take the road less travelled?  On this road there will be fewer artists.  But there will be obstacles.  The travel may seem slow with many turns.  But on this road there is excitement.  There is exploration.  There is adventure.  And the view is spectacular.

 

Either way, you will likely reach your destination at about the same time – give or take a bit.  But the experience along the way will be vastly different.

 

Don’t Wander Off Too Soon

 

My journey began just north of Fort Collins, Colorado – several hundred miles to the north.  I took the interstate the entire way. It was only when I reached Truth or Consequences, did I set out off the beaten path. Had I taken the back roads from the beginning, my arrival time would have been delayed by several hours or even days.

 

Your career is similar.  If you set out too soon, you may delay reaching your goal of success.  If, however, you have no destination in mind and you wish to explore, then by all means, set off on your journey wandering to and fro.  But if you do have a goal in mind, if there is a destination you wish to reach, if you want to find success in art, then you must travel a well charted course until the Truth or Consequences crossroads.

 

What is That Course? 

 

It is learning your craft.  Developing your skills up to a certain level of proficiency.  It means study and practice.  Learn the fundamentals.  Learn the rules.  Intimately learn your medium and subject of choice.  Once you do, you will be at the crossroads where either route will get you to success in relatively the same amount of time.

 

I began my trip in Northern Colorado.  Some may begin their trip even further away, say Billings, Montana.  Others will begin their trip much closer to their destination, maybe Colorado Springs or Santa Fe.  A few might even begin their journey near the crossroads.

 

Very few are so fortunate in their artistic journey to begin so close to the crossroads.  Most of us start further away.  Wherever you begin, you will know when you reach the crossroads.  You will have confidence in your abilities, but you will have a strong urge to set off and not follow the road that everyone else is taking.

 

Many Fear the Less Travelled Road

 

To some, the winding and turning and slow speeds with many drop-offs are too scary.  Too worried about getting into a crash, they don’t even see the beautiful scenery.  This road is anything but enjoyable to these folk.  Some artists likewise will only feel secure on the main roads.

 

Many Find Boredom with the Interstate

 

For others, only the excitement of discovery and solitude bring fulfillment and satisfaction.  The well travelled road with hundreds of other travelers brings no excitement.  Everything is predictable and mundane.  These artists must get off the interstate.

 

Which type of artist are you?  Have you reached your crossroads yet? 

 

Best Wishes,

Keith Bond

 

 



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Topics: FineArtViews | inspiration | Keith Bond 

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 15 Comments

Lori Woodward
via faso.com
Lots of good questions here Keith. I'll need to give this some thought. I've been taking the Interstate for most of my career but wanting to get out of the traffic.

Thanks - love your articles!
Lori


Monica Jones
via faso.com
Thanks so much for this perspective Mr. Bondi, A great article - just the one that I needed to read today as encouragement and a roadmap to clear some of the confusion as I move forward with my career.

Thanks again - I know I am definitely on the route of the road less travelled, but perhaps just about to turn, but the reminder about my technical skills is perfect.

Thanks again.


mimi torchia boothby watercolors
via faso.com
main road? WHAT main road? Around here, it's all gravel with pot holes.
For me, copying has never been an option. When i was 10 years old, I attended a public art school in Newark, NJ for a few short weeks. I carried away just one thing, that it was better to be original and primitive (at 10, that's what you are) than it is to copy.. Burdened with that notion, I found it rather disturbing when my art teacher in college told me to copy some Durer works for assignments. I "got" it. Exercises are good, but that's what they are.

You're right, the whole thing is a journey. And unlike you, I have no idea where I am going....

Sharon Weaver
via faso.com
How many ways are there to reach a destination? An infinite amount. Every artist approaches their goals from a different perspective with different experiences to draw on(no pun intended). Every story has struggle and triumphs but all are unique. I have branched off several times in my career but I have been fortunate to have some wonderful guides and teachers along the way. Finding my voice has been the most interesting journey, one I am still on.

jack white
via faso.com
Well said. I've found my 40 plus years as a full time painter there have been many crossroads. Some are easy to choose and others I labor with. Like it or not all artists have to deal with crossroads. As you so well stated some come early and other way down the road. Nevertheless they do come.
jack

Misty Beauchamp
via faso.com
Reminds me of this poem of Robert Frost that I am sure everyone knows:

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
and sorry I could not travel both and be one traveler, long I stood,
and looked down one as far as I could
to where it bent in the undergrowth.
Then took the other as just as fair
and having perhaps the better claim,
for it was grassy and wanted wear,
though as for that the passing there
had worn them really about the same.
Both that morning equally lay
in leaves no step had trodden black.
I saved the first for another day,
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence.
Two roads diverged in a wood and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

As someone fighting stage 3/4 cervical cancer- I can appreciate the idea of different roads and how seeming inconsequential decisions can indeed make all the difference. We need to pursue life and truth with zest, never wasting our allotted time. All we really have is now- right now, because tomorrow is a dream and yesterday is a ghost. Don't be shackled to yesterday by things like bitterness or unforgiveness, and don't sacrifice today on the altar of tomorrow by living in dreamland about the future. Do your best today to attend to all aspects of yourself to be the best you can be, and good things will happen tomorrow. That thing people call Luck happens when the crossroad named Opportunity intersects with your path called Preparation!

Teresa Tromp
via faso.com
Misty,

You beat me to it. Couldn't read this post without thinking about Robert Frost's poem, The Road Not Taken.
I just sent you an e-mail through your website, Misty.

The funny thing about choosing a path is that you'll never know where the other path would have taken you. It's best to not look back once you choose a path, and never regret your decision, or you may end up depressed.

Carol Schmauder
via faso.com
Interesting article, Keith, with and all important question: "Which type of artist are you?". I am still working on that.

Nicole Hyde
via faso.com
My essential nature is a "road less travelled" being, so my art and art business inclinations reflect that. It's not always the easiest path and there are those moments when I doubt and want to just hop on the interstate. It's not long though, before I start looking for exit back to the scenic route.

Donald Fox
via faso.com
I love a good metaphor and this one is greatly enhanced by Truth or Consequences, NM. That could suggest an article in its own right. What a great place to make a choice.

I also love the line in "Buckaroo Bonzai's Adventures in the Fourth Dimension" where Buckaroo says, "Wherever you go, there you are."

Marian Fortunati
via faso.com
As I read your article, I kept thinking that a good part of MY art adventure is the journey itself. I kept thinking that no matter which choice we make at which time in our journey there will be another crossroads up ahead about which to make yet another decision. Isn't it wonderful???

Joanne Benson
via faso.com
Hi Keith, I think I'm still on the highway but the crossroads keep passing by. Nice analogy though.

Misty, Prayers for you and your loved ones. You are traveling a difficult road right now.

Arthur Morehead
via faso.com
A great article indeed. Although the crossroads is in fact a reality to every artist no matter what art form you are practicing there is another side to it. Those who take the road that promises fame and fortune and those who take the road that does not. Listening to your instinct and better judgment will surely keep you on the right road but the promise to fame and fortune is always the hardest temptation to resist. Some choose the instant gratification of fame and fortune only to be used and abused. Some make it, most don't. The other is no promises and most make it and some don't.

Barb Stachow
via faso.com
i too am still finding my crossroads, thanks for a great article

Meltemi aka Phil Kendall
via faso.com
A career as an artist is more of a series of Y junctions as you can only make one choice at a time. You can retrace the pathway taken as it is littered with those artworks made along the way. There are many would-be guides [all with their own agenda in acquiring that artists' money]. the lucky few soon make it to the golden zone, some where over the rainbow.










 

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