Thursday, April 22, 2010

The critic

Here's my latest painting, "Exuberance".  I'm happy with it for many reasons.
1. it has meaning to me 2. it's vibrant and different 3. it's working
But just as this was a success my other painting was not.  I started a cupcake painting
from this photo taken on my birthday at Claude's flea market with Sharon.  I loved the colors of the cupcakes on the old rusty paint cans and it started out looking like a good painting. Then it was frustrating me and like all crazy artists I let it really upset me to the point where I painted it all out.  Now that's ok actually, there's a lot of freedom in starting fresh.  But my biggest obstacle in art isn't making it, it's getting past my critic, ME.  Julia Cameron talks about the critic in her book (my bible) The Artist Way.  All artists (and most people) have a critic that tells us we aren't good enough.  I loved reading this because if I let my critic play she will rip my whole business to shreds.  Today I got so
upset I was close to tears.  Here I had done well with a painting and yet I was
punishing myself for what I didn't do.  I was mad that my cupcake painting didn't go as well, and I
then started questioning everything I was doing to the point where I thought I was a total failure.  It doens't even make sense and yet it felt so real.  It was my critic sreaming at me and it was nasty.  Why I'm sharing this is to acknowledge the gift of perservering.  I won't let my critic win, I will keep at it and I will move forward. 
Last year at this time I had just moved into my studio and I was overwhelmed at the talent around me.  The artists in the arsenal are all amazing, most of them are full time artists with shows in galleries, selling their work.  I felt
like I was in kindergarten and not even worthy of
being in the same playground.  But I didn't let it scare me off.  Now here it is almost a year later and I have a store and studio, I am trying to paint as much as possible to show for open studios.  It's been a big step and I'm already further than I would have believed possible last april.  So all this tells me is all I need to do is show up, do what I can and eventually it's going to keep leading me where I need to go.  If I think of a year from now I can't imagine where I'll be.  I want to be selling my art, making the store beautiful and making enough money to pay for it all and to be paid a 'salary' too.  It's a tall order I know but as a customer today told me "first you have to conceive it then you can achieve it."  I won't let my critic tell me my art isn't good enough to sell (it does), my shop is silly (it does this too) and I am just a wannabe (yep it even says this).  I will prove it wrong and keep perservering.  I mean what the heck else am I gonna do, quit?   No way.  I have quit so many jobs because they didn't challenge me (this always does), the boss sucks (I can't say she's always great but hey, I'm stuck with her) and the pay isn't worth it (I'm paid in many ways not always with $).  So I know I have found the right venue.  Tomorrow is a new day and a fresh start on a clean canvas.  I can hardly wait..............

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


This picture captures a wonderful moment.  I am going to paint it and call it "Exuberance".  Here's the funny part....why?  Because I like it.  Plain and simple.  Will it sell? Don't know.  Will it be liked?  Don't know.  Will anyone get it?  Don't know.  I don't know what people want when it comes to art, there is such a huge range of tastes.  Some people like modern, some like impressionism, some like realism, some like nature, some like geometric.  Who knows what it's all about when it comes down to it.  I keep it simple.  I paint what I like.  Just like I have a shop that I like.  Maybe someone else will like it too.  That's my business plan.  Not very glamorous, or very impressive but it works for me.  Will it work for the long haul remains to be seen.  But I don't want to over complicate things and get so bogged down with worrying about what's popular, or what sells that I loose track of the point.  What is the point you ask?  To create.  To create and put out my mark, my own expression of beauty, interest and joy.

This photo captures a joyous moment shared by my daughter and me last weekend.  We took off to our family cabin at Bass Lake just a mother daughter trip.  I am so grateful my 14 year old likes to go on these trips with me.  I have never been on a mother daughter trip with my own mother so it's sacred to me that Abby and I are so close.  On our way to the cabin we stopped at the thrift shops along the way (naturally) and this red tutu called our name.  I purchased the tutu and a sweet ole pitchfork for the studio and boy was I glad I did.  That night just as dawn was arriving we grabbed the camera and headed out for a photo shoot.  Tutu in hand we went to the beach and took amazing pictures.  The light was perfect and the tutu was a great prop.  The shot "exuberance" was our last picture of the joyous photo shoot and it captures the carefree essence that we felt perfectly.  I'm hopeful it will be a great painting.  This is how I get my art, from life, from single moments that can be frozen in time.  I love photography for the quick fix "mini painting' quality it offers.  Just 'click' and it's frozen, while painting the image is much more laborious.  That labor is a labor of love.  It's so exciting to put paint on a brush and watch it take shape on canvas.  It comes alive right before your very eyes.  I am not able to paint from my mind, I require an image and a scene to paint from.  I admire those who can freely paint from their imagination, it's a skill I don't possess at this juncture.  But perhaps it will develop in time, for now I'm content to snap images, take them to my studio and then transpose them onto canvas.  It's just so fun when it all comes together as I'm hoping it will on the red tutu.  If it does I shall post the finished piece.  If it's just something I love and it doesn't sell or interest anyone else I will put on my wall at home and smile.  It will always remind me of that magic day when we played merrily on the beach.  That is what art is for me.