Artists as Discoverers, by Wendy DeRaud



Mark beginning the portrait of Carole





"The artist learns that he must die to a myriad of other voices in order to faithfully "listen to the work" and thereby uncover it for others to see. ....The artist, then, is not the creator. He is merely discoverer and servant to the work that is already there. The work says: "Release me from chaos; give me my form, my shape, my being." And listening to the work, the artist frees it to become, to be."  Leanne Payne


How do I do this? And how do you?

I go after beauty: beautiful words, fashioning formidable shapes, luscious and scrumptious sounds. All of these collide together and become a new voice and vocabulary of expression forged out of nothing.

And so I write, paint, or draw, looking for something that is there, though unseen, in space, time, and darkness, needing to be illuminated.


Artists are the seers, translating what the creator has made that hasn't yet been seen.


Each word that becomes a paragraph or a stanza of poetry is grasped from the chaos of nothingness and void, given a voice out of the silence, hanging on the wind.

I have to listen very carefully to discern its meaning. I have to let it speak from its black hole of loneliness. It has something important to say. Yet I don't want to interfere, I stand back and let the work emerge.


A world of faces need to be seen and explained.






Flowers, too, whose colors will bloom only once, then fade away, need to be remembered, brought into a bouquet or better yet, a still life painting, before they return to dust.





And if you echo your heart and make a melody or a harmony from it, filling the room with the emotion you've derived from your soul and how it meets that moment, that is an auditory hug, a symphony of touch.






Determined to find the authentic beauty of a thing, or to gather together just the right words that say it succinctly, that which I have to explain in a distinct way, in the rawest way I see it, or to translate my emotional energy through notes on a keyboard or vibrating strings, or to sculpt air through an instrument - there is a strength in this focus, and disregard for anything else that stands in the way of the strong communication of the moment. That is the dying to the myriad of voices out there that are competing for attention, that need a firm NO.

Dust collects as I paint, food disappears like mirages from my memory, and in slow motion all the other lesser treasures and desires retreat to the back of the room and out the back door as I grow in my commitment to this work that is becoming real right before my eyes.

I grow desperate and Time stands still for me, because I insist on carrying myself and this work over the finish line. No matter how long it takes. I will be patient with myself and if I grow weary or it becomes a boring, thoughtless exercise, I stop and take a break. Breathe.

I put on my spelunker hat with the strong light that can see into caves and dark wardrobes to retrieve what is missing, pulling it all together so it can become an integrated force of mystery, drawing onlookers in.

Those that may someday appreciate my work will wonder and say, "How did you do this?"

They can feel the sacrificial dying, the commitment it took to reach to the ends of logic and the tension of clarity. They can sense the real me in it, the naked and tenuous me, the part that gave and gave of my vulnerability to this work, stopped eating or drinking for the sake of being honest to the end.

Someday soon I plan to give a large chunk of myself and my time to contribute to this solemn and bright task, but until then, I will do what I can to form bits of beauty together in sentences for you, building layers and layers that I've pulled out of the depths of the earth, becoming a stairway upward to the higher ground of being.