I know, this isn’t it, but this is proof that I’ve been doing something creative while on holidays. I got this tired looking portrait of my DH last night while he was watching TV. I haven’t had the light to paint at night since I’ve been here, and that is usually the only time that I have to paint…AFTER THE KIDS ARE IN BED!! That’s my time, when my muse can come out and work uninterrupted. It’s amazing how much one can accomplish in those few hours before sleep comes knocking. So, I bought a clip-on light today with a full-spectrum bulb, so I’ll be able to paint in the evenings. BUT…My painting’s almost finished! I have been working, really. A few more days, I hope, and it should be done. It is a big one, 18″x 24″, no more of these 6 x 8’s for me, I’m going big! I felt the need to breathe, stretch out that painting arm. That said, this one is sure presenting me with some problems…Have you ever started out, and the underpainting turns out amazing, and the first layer looks amazing, then one part looks really amazing, and then all of a sudden, the whole thing looks like crap!?!!???!@#$%^&*()_!!! I can’t believe it, the first few days I’m like “Wow honey, this is going to be the best painting I’ve ever done,” and now I can’t even stand to look at it!
Well, I bought “a BOOK” today, and it’s going to get me out of my rut, I know it!(fingers crossed behind my back) Is it that I put too much pressure on myself? Did it become all TOO Important?
All of the above… and, I met Jia Lu the other day, maybe that is what it was. She is an absolutely incredible, internationally acclaimed artist whose paintings sell for like, $120,000. She is so sweet, and unassuming, but I almost cried when I met her, I felt so inadequate. It made me question my abilities, my art, my purpose as an artist…all of those things. I was depressed for about four days after, and my husband said I should stop trying to put pressure on myself to paint while we were on holidays. It was affecting him and the kids, and well, me. But it was good, because last night I had an epiphany, an AH HAH moment. I realized what it was that was bugging me about the whole thing. I hadn’t been totally sure before what my purpose as an artist was. Being a mom of two small children, with very little time to paint, I spend my few hours before I drop off from exhaustion, doggedly painting from whatever good photographs my crappy little digital puts out that half-ass inspire me, or, I ask photographers who are much better than me for permission to use their work. I realized last night, that the problem with this, is even though for the most part, I paint from my own photography, that these photographs lack intention. I mean, I take the picture because I see something that is paintable, but there is no conscious thought, no planning, no intention other than to create a pretty picture. So, that the painting produced from such a photograph, is just a reproduction of something pretty, with no thought behind it, even if I tweak it and omit busy things, etc…
What touches me about Jia Lu’s work is the creativity, the thought process behind the painting, etc…I hope I don’t sound like an insane lunatic, it’s just that I think I’ve finally GOT IT! I need something more.
So I decided that I will get models, and set up scenes, and if I have to “photograph” them because of the time restrictions of being a parent, I will, after doing some value and color sketches. Or if I see a scene that screams out to be painted, I will ask people for permission to take their pictures. (Oh yeah, that’s another thing. I am a people painter. That is my passion. That is what touches me.) I’ve tried to paint for ebay, or what the market demands, or on commission, but the artist inside of me rebels, and I end up getting stuck and blocked.
So to all of you artists out there, IF YOU WANT TO BE A HAPPY ARTIST, BE AUTHENTIC!!
( Not that I would pass up a thousand dollar commission if it came my way! LOL!
Three of a Kind ~ 6″ x 8″ original oil on canvas panel $60.00 CAN
I finally got some photos taken of the paintings I’ve been working on this week. I did a series of three tomato paintings and this is the first.
It’s called “Three of a Kind”. If you want to see the rest, you’ll have to come back tomorrow.
~Whatever you dream you can do or dream you can, begin it;
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.~
~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Whew, finally, the kids are asleep. Blissful silence. I long for this part of the day. The quiet hours. I don’t get enough of them. In fact, I think I get less sleep because I try to cram so much into these few hours before exhaustion forces me to my bed. For many of us, it’s the only time to create. Do you ever have creative blocks though, those days (or nights) when nothing will come, no matter how much you want it to? Personally, I have few. My creative stumbling blocks come from an over-stimulated mind, too many things to paint…so little time…which one first…
Well, here are a few ideas to get you kick-started.
1. CONNECT WITH YOUR “INNER ARTIST” – That part of you that’s naturally exuberant and joyful. Approach your art as child’s play. Make mistakes…on purpose. Laugh.
Make a picture with your kids’ crayons, or markers or lipstick. Dive at the page…scribble…make a mess. Then start. Defile the blank page, or canvas, don’t let it intimidate you.
2. START LOOKING: No, really looking. How often do we actually notice the details?
What color was the “Starbuck’s” lady’s shirt, or even better, her eyes? Walk into a room and look at the details. Actually see the flowers on the table, the way the lilies curl, how the shadows are kind of blue. Then, close your eyes and try to remember. Do this several times a day, and it’s guaranteed that you will start to remember the details more and more often. This really helps when you’re trying to paint from photos and you just can’t quite see what’s in that shadow, or in that blurry background. You can think back to what it was like when you took the picture and the details will come back to you.
3. CHALLENGE YOUR INNER CRITIC: Ignore the nagging voices that tell you you’re no good at this, you can’t paint. Who do you think you are, trying to play guitar. Musicians, artists, never make it…and so on and so on. They might be our mother, our father, our University college professor, or just our own insecure doubter. Don’t give them any credit, or they’ll steal your power. Instead, say, “Oh yeah, I’ll show you what I can do! And do it…CREATE! Because that is what we are meant to do.
4. IDENTIFY FEARS – There can be fears just under the surface of every choice we make. Fear of being rejected keeps us from asking someone to join us for coffee. Fear of failure keeps us from starting or finishing a new project. Name one fear that’s guiding your actions today. Write a poem about it, or a song, or draw a picture. Now, identify one small step towards the action you’ve been afraid to do and commit to when you’ll do it. If the action is small enough to be done in two minutes or less – do it today!
5. PLAY WITH YOUR CHILDREN: Look at the world through their eyes, as something to be discovered and explored. Experience things as if it were the very first time. Wail on that guitar, even if you don’t know a song. Do some finger paintings, just to remember what it feels like. Sing at the top of your lungs, just to feel the joy of singing. Walk in a puddle without your shoes and socks, just to feel the mud squishing between your toes. It helps you get in touch with your senses, and your kids will think you’re great, too.
Well, I hope these help.