There’s an expression in Stand-up, timing is everything. That’s true for a lot of stuff, like art for instance.
Timing, doing the right thing at the right time is what makes the difference between getting the laugh and playing to a cold house. Now you probably have never had to stand in front of a group of people who are not listening, not paying attention or not giving a rat’s rear about what you are doing, but it is one of those special times when if you die at that, moment you would live happily ever after.
Fortunately in visual art that rarely happens. We create our “kids” send them out into the cold, cruel world and wait while they do or die and we, the smug, secure artists never have to watch what happens.
That’s like seeing “Old Yeller” and never getting to the part about the damned bear, like “Bambi” with mom coming home from the grocery store or “Marley and Me” with Marley getting his own show on HBO, it ain’t never gonna happen but wouldn’t it be nice?
No we just don’t have to worry about the timing of our art; we can do pretty much whatever we want.
Unless we want a wider audience and then we have to man up and get with the program and try to find that niche market where what we do will be just what the doctor ordered.
Yes, I’m talking about taking into consideration where our art will eventually be hung. Now maybe you are a show painter, creating all of your art for the juried shows and living on the income you get from bringing home the winnings. You don’t have to think about anything but what that still, secret little voice whispers in your ear.
You know if you weren’t a painter hearing Voices in your head would get you a first-class ticket to Bellevue. So maybe trusting to your inner muse isn’t always a good thing. At least keep the part about Voices to yourself.
If you don’t count on winning the show Lotto, then you have to be aware that someone else will ultimately decide what your art is good for, that bare place over the couch, the spare room where the folks sleep when they come in for the holidays, the office where you make people sit and sweat it out while you play Angry Birds.
All of those uses for art require a thought or two about timing.
But let’s say that you have been such a great painter and have been working at your trade for so long you have a following and don’t need to think. Whatever you choose to do will get bought and hung and that’s an end to that.
So maybe you paint only flowers.
They don’t move, they don’t fidget, and they don’t need bathroom breaks, but how many times can you make a meal on something which everyone has seen? An artist can take what Nature offers and make it something new and different but how different can you make a flower before it stops being a flower and becomes something else?
This is where timing comes in; every so often Nature comes along and says, “That poor painter has been doing Iris so long that if he does just one more I am going to Ralph. I’ll just give him a dusting of snow, or maybe ice and that’ll let him have a different look for his Iris.”
And that’s just what happened the last two days here in Coos Bay.
Now I don’t do Iris, although I don’t have anything against Iris they just don’t speak to me, but I do like a lot of things, things like an abandoned bird feeder with a cob still there even though the little pigs picked it clean months ago.
Oh yes, timing, well yesterday I was out, camera in hand, what you thought after the spectacular sunsets I caught the other day I’d forget my camera, and the ice storm hit while I was shopping at Safeway.
Not a good thing at all, even someone as crafty, clever and devious as am I couldn’t figure a single way to make an ice coated parking lot look like anything but a parking lot. It was a very nice ice coated parking lot but just a parking lot after all and I managed to get pretty cold trying to see something new and fascinating in it. Bad timing. I was in the wrong place at the right time with my equipment ready and a weather eye out and nothing happened.
And that is life. Sometimes no matter how prepared you are things just won co-operate.
But I got another chance. This morning the weather Gods came back with more icy stuff and it fell on my place where I happened to be with my cameras ready and my boots on, Okay, okay, I had on my bunny slippers and had to swap them out before I could go out and get the pictures I spotted from inside my nice warm kitchen.
And I did just that, I whipped on my heavy weather gear, hey I’m from Texas cold and wet means hats and gloves and goulashes and maybe a Union suit just for good measure, and I went out and got my picture.
That’s timing. Two days back to back, both times I had a camera and the desire but on one occasion I had nothing I could make into a picture. And timing is everything.
So, make sure you have all of your tools where you can get your hands on them. These events, little weather hiccups don’t come along every day and if you want to take advantage of what Nature serves up you have to be ready. Don’t get caught with old jokes and a hostile house, you won’t enjoy what comes next.