Wednesday, October 10, 2012


"Loneliness adds beauty to life. It puts a special burn on sunsets and makes night air smell better." ~Henry Rollins

"Music to My Ears III." Collage, acrylic and oil on board, 8 x 10 inches. ©2012 Karine Swenson
It has been argued that the human condition is one of loneliness. Others may think that loneliness is unique only to them. Still others have told me that they prefer solitude to being with other people, for various reasons. Being alone is not always lonely. I am alone quite often. There are no children to distract me. My husband is gone frequently. (more often now than at other times, but it is the nature of his work that he is away often.) I have a dog, and I love my dog, but a dog is no replacement for the companionship of other humans.

Of course, in our modern era, we have devices to make us feel more "connected." Telephones, internet, and the social connection of all social connections - FACEBOOK. And yet, despite these modern wonders, I am often left feeling lonelier after having used these devices and having visited Facebook than I was beforehand. As far as I am concerned, there is nothing that will replace a face-to-face visit with a friend or loved one. Perhaps our modern devices only prevent us from seeing each other in person more. What do you think?

The reality of an artist's life is one of solitude. Hours are spent alone, in the studio. Hours are also spent alone, reflecting on the work. Good work only comes from that solitude. I don't find the solitude of the studio to be lonely. On the contrary, when I am in the studio working, I am the most at peace. I am the most myself during those times. The struggles and triumphs I experience in the studio are mine and mine alone. Yet, I do have hope that those moments of trial and joy are somehow transferred into my paintings and then on to others. I do hope for that. I also have hopes that somehow the art is another way to be connected. A way to jump start a conversation, or a way to understand another person. I wonder, do you find art to be another door or window into another person's life or outlook on life? Do you think art can be used to connect people?

I'd love to hear your thoughts.


Diana said...

Great post Karine. I, too, am alone quite often - when I'm not working. Many times I do prefer it to other people but, for me, my Monday-Friday is consumed with constant, constant, constant interactions with people - big and little - and the big ones can drain me so of my Life force. Facebook is a mixed bag - I like that I can 'keep up' with friends and family of far away but too much time spent there makes me feel lonely and out of sorts sometimes. I deactivated my account for a whole week and amazingly felt better - and created more. I agree, the benefits of face-to-face interactions far outweigh the one dimension relationships online. Artists need those blocks of undistracted quiet time to let the muses come forward and direct our creative forces. And, we need that all too precious time spent in the company of kindred spirits. Both are refueling times. I'm not so sure the one dimensional version of "social interaction" is all that healthy for any of us.....

ArtPropelled said...

Your mixed media paintings convey the softness of the bunnies. Beautiful!

Solitude is so good for my art. I do need a balance but at the moment I don't seem to be getting enough solitude to create the right atmosphere for good work. My internet connections with artists all over the world have certainly given my creativity a much needed boost.

Anonymous said...

Karine, I love how eloquently you describe the necessary aloneness of the studio experience. Still trying to squeeze in that time for myself! I have found for now work in my sketchbooks is all I can manage, but this is OK; it is all preparation for the bigger blocks of time that I can wrestle out of my busy life!

Thank you, Ann

Anonymous said...

Karine -
Sitting at a desk all day, with phones ringing and constant interruptions by co-workers I wish for solitude when I go home. But there's a dog and a husband who need me.

Then there's Facebook. That's a whole 'nother bag of worms. I think those people are my friends, but their political views or religious ideas make me question their sanity. And I wonder how I put up with their friendship.

I do think an artist's art offers a small sense of that person to the observer. (does that make sense?) And there's an instant where the observer either connects - or not - with the artist. And from there who knows what will happen.

It's early. I need tea.


Karine Swenson said...

Such wonderful comments! Thank you everyone for chiming in.

Diana and Terry - I am with you about Facebook. It's a love/hate thing for me.

Robyn and Ann - It can be hard sometimes to get that coveted solitude. I hope you both find a way to get what you need to make your art.

Patty said...

Karine, absolutely art creates a connection between people,but sometimes in a way that is distant or un-realized. For instance, we connect when you share your lovely paintings. I learn about you and imagine a story line. But if I never reach out to you, you would never know it.
Despite my leanings toward introversion, I still enjoy a quiet involvement with others of like minds between trips to the studio.

Karine Swenson said...

Patty, I think you make a good point about how a connection between people is a two way street. Thanks for stopping by!