Tuesday, October 10, 2017

My Way is Finding MY Way

"Fog Receding" ready to go to the framer.
The Muse strikes and it’s hard not to fall into it. I so want to, but I have InterTown work, interviews to do, stories to write, and other ongoing projects along with household chores. These days I’m just feeling overwhelmed between everything I need to do and everything I want to do. I haven’t even updated my accounting in months!

But The Muse has me in her grasp. She comes barreling in for writing projects (poetry or articles), charcoal drawing, or pastel painting. Right now, I’m being driven to talk about my experiences in my work; to share thoughts as I live the life of an artist. 

I have questions in my quest to find my way, and one of my ways of figuring things out is by talking about them. Talking, writing, and getting a little feedback helps me figure out my way. It’s not about having someone tell me what to do or how to do it. Conversation helps me figure things out for myself. (And yes, I love talking art and hearing from others. I love their stories!)

I am certainly not a traditionalist nor do I see myself as radical. It’s all about finding my way in creating. That statement really became clear to me this week as I contemplated finding a class to take. My problem is finding the time and taking the time to actually go to a class. Heck, I even hate to stop working to eat; let alone taking time in preparing and cleaning up a meal.

Then there’s attitude or stubbornness within me in following someone else’s “rules.” That’s because I don’t want to do what everyone else is doing. I don’t want to do it like anyone else or follow any one school. And yet, I do appreciate tips and feedback. Yes, I definitely want to get better.

In sorting through all the thoughts currently running rampant through my brain, this burning desire to talk about what I’m experiencing is in the forefront. I posed the question to some of my artist friends: Should an artist talk about her experiences, the trials and errors, the successes? Should an artist show his vulnerability to the public?

Some believe an artist always has to put on the professional face to potential buyers, that buyers are only interested in what the painting looks like, and don’t want to hear any particulars about the process. Some artists fear any mention of a struggle to complete the painting makes it flawed in the buyer’s eyes. Other artists push to promote being a successful artist to the public by expounding on the shows they’ve done and the sales they’ve made. They believe talking about artistic struggles and real life is only a subject to discuss with other artists.

Do non-artists believe artists are naturally talented or that they’ve studied with “masters” for their entire life? Do they believe that painting flows easily and the artists never struggle? Are they afraid that hearing the artist talk about his life that it will affect how they view his work? Do they believe that artists are in another realm and is something they could never be? (Yes, I’ve often heard, “I could never do that!”) (Personally, I believe everyone can be an artist in one form or another.)

So, what is it like to be an artist? Do we assume it’s the same for everyone? I don’t think so. There may be lots of similarities and we may have similar experiences, but all the other aspects of our lives factor in, too. That gives a uniqueness to all of us. Time, space, money, family, and more all factor in. Do you work a fulltime job to support your art? And what are you (and I) willing to admit about your work?

My art evolves, as it does for all artists, no matter the genre or medium. Some may stick for years in one medium. They are still evolving because they are striving to be the best they can be in their style. Others expand into other realms of art trying different techniques and mediums. 

"Breaking Dawn" ready to go to the framer
I went from oils to acrylics to charcoal. I’d been doing charcoal landscape drawing for years and loved it, but it evolved. I began adding more and more “hints of color” with pastel, and when I moved to Hillsborough, it became all about the color. I switched almost entirely over to pastel. I love color, which made it odd that I enjoyed working in charcoal all those years.

The funny thing, if I am admitting to honesty, is that I never worked with pastel before adding the hints of color to the charcoal. I can’t even remember where I got the first pastels. I thought pastels, being soft like charcoal, would blend like charcoal. They don’t. Nor do they mix well like paint.

Oh, do I have a lot to learn! A good part of the lessoning is: It’s all about the journey. And the journey itself can be as exciting as the finished piece, which, for the most part, has been amazing. I heard an artist on TV last night (a recorded show) and, unfortunately, I can’t recall his name, but in talking about being an artist, he said, “You have to be willing to fail.” He also said something along the line of: Not every failure is something wrong. 

Yes, some need to be thrown out or painted over, but other pieces can be turned into a different work of art which can be beautiful. It’s about changing direction and letting the piece go where it needs to. It’s turning a moment of disappointment into a success by allowing something else to be created.

 I love this work! 

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