One Step at a Time / by Jeannine Cook

I have just been sent a beautiful video, The Daffodil Principle, with glorious photos of fields of daffodils blooming and a message that not only pertains to everyday living, but to artists in particular (http://www.slideshare.net/azharabbas/the-daffodil-principle-1076680). The story tells of five acres of these daffodils and other spring bulbs which surround a modest home. On the porch of this home is a sign giving the answers to the obvious questions: how many thousands of bulbs have been planted, one lady planted them all, bulb by bulb, year by year, etc. The nub of the question is: when did the lady start planting her wonderful display? The answer: 1958.... in other words, fifty years previously, this good lady already had a plan, a vision, of what she wanted to create and achieve in terms of a magnificent glory of spring flowers. She did not put it off until another day, another week, another year: she just got on with planting bulbs, systematically, deliberately.

Artists are advised to have a long-term business plan, for instance, but not often do I hear a long term plan advocated in terms of artistic growth. I don't mean for what type of art one should create x number of years ahead or how many pieces of art one should create, year by year. Just like the daffodils, one never knows what will sprout from any seeds - or bulbs - that one might plant in terms of artistic endeavour. But I think that if one is a passionately committed artist, determined to grow and flourish as an artist, there has to be that deliberate, step-by-step feel to everything one tries to do. Like the good lady planting her bulbs, you can work a little here, work a little there, incrementally, all the time mindful of the longer term goals you aim to achieve. Drifting too much helps neither artists nor gardeners. Procrastination, waiting for inspiration, the right moon, whatever - it does not achieve much. You have to be driven to accomplish something. Day by day.

Perhaps the key is the overarching desire to create works of beauty - yes, that troublesome word, with so many shades of meaning, in the art world! - that will touch other people in the future. Like the lady planting her bulbs for posterity, we need to be mindful of the wider world, all those people out there who could potentially see and be enriched by what is created, even if briefly, like the fleeting days of spring.