17 September, 2008


Photo Credit: Lorie Klahn

Finger Crack,
Leavenworth, Washington

Commitment, in the world of mountain climbing...

Commitment, in the world of mountain climbing, is a word used to represent the point in a climbing route where turning back is a worse option than continuing. In other words, going back down the way you came up is either more dangerous, or more arduous than continuing to the summit and then down the originally planned way. The finding of oneself at the point of commitment in a difficult climb, and with just enough energy, food, and (worse yet) protection equipment to go on is a test of one's will that is truly challenging. Rubber meets road. Do or die. That kind of commitment.

Commitment: interaction characterized by obligation.

Parents know all about commitment, too. Getting up at night to feed the little squawker. Putting on those boy scout trousers and heading to the meeting. Commitment is defined as an interaction characterized by obligation.

What are an artist's obligations to himself? Does he have any obligations to society?

Rothko. Let's Talk Inimitable.

Rothko was obliged to his art

Mark Rothko seemed to feel an obligation to his art to the degree that he backed out of his commitment to hang his paintings at the Seagram Building. He didn't wish his art to be the decoration for a restaurant. Rothko became so invested in the "life" of his paintings that he created demands upon the methods for hanging his paintings. The lighting, the position, and so on. Rothko was obliged to his art.

I suppose, in the light of this kind of story, one may ask the question: does society have any obligations to art?

But, enough about "society". This is supposed to be my goal setting task. Stay tuned for the next character trait that an artist wants: Courage.


Deborah Paris said...

I think commitment and courage are both necessary to continue working. No one cares if you make art, except you. No one knows what will be missed if your vision of the world is not made, except you. Continuing to work is your commitment to your work and in a way to the world. The morning of 9/11 my first response was to say "I can't paint today" but then I realized that painting was the most important, life affirming thing I could do.

Casey Klahn said...

Well said, Deborah.

You are nearly giving away my second post on Courage.

Abstract Expressionism, Art Criticism, Artists, Colorist Art, Drawing, History, Impressionism, Modern Art, Painting, Pastel, Post Impressionism