Thursday, May 20, 2010

Old friends at Hip Chick

Today my old buddy Tracy Zeiss came to visit, she and I worked at the Monterey Chart House in 1990.  I haven't seen her in at least 10 years so it was quite a surprise when she walked in the door!  She looks great, always gorgeous and stylish, and her Aunt Susan accompanied her for her first visit to Hip Chick's.  I spaztically showed them around clicking photos at every opportunity (you know how I am) and Tracy promised to return tomorrow.  There's SO much catching up to do yet!  I also worked on my portrait and still haven't achieved a likeness I am pleased with, however I am much more patient and calm then I would believe about the whole thing.  Wow, maybe there's some good to this aging after all!  So today was a great day at the store, Bob and I ate lunch outside in the sun (hallelujah) , I made a few sales and I saw an old friend.  I am so blessed to be able to do what I love and share it with others.  I"m not getting rich but I am very wealthy in what's important.  Health, love, creativity, beauty, balance, family, friends, spirituality and fun...there's no putting a price on that.


I am so excited to share my breakthrough which occurred yesterday at the studio. I painted a portrait of a friend and it's turning out really well! Why this is a breakthrough is because I have avoided portraits until now due to their intense ability to stress me out. They are so specific, especially if it's a person close to you. I can't show the piece as it's a surprise for a friend and she might see it but after she has it I will post it. The back story to my breakthrough started when I attempted to paint a portrait of my daughter when she was about 2 yrs. old. I had parts of her that were right and others that weren't. Well, the anal perfectionist couldn't STAND the fact that I didn't nail it so I got so frustrated I painted the whole thing black. Now this saddens me because I wish I had that painting to look back on, if even for an example of where my abilities were then. But it is gone and I have avoided portraits ever since then as a result of my frustration. I just don't do people, or so I thought. This is why for me to dive in and try a portrait is a success, and then to not hate it is a super accomplishment! Hip hip hooray! Today I will develop it further, as it's sort of my subject person but not quite yet. At least I'm not freaking out and painting over it, I guess I have matured? somewhat and I am calmly going to try and work out the areas that will make it 'her'. There is a definite correlation between wanting to paint a piece, being excited even, to making a successful painting. The paintings that I get excited about are good, they almost paint themselves. The ones where I 'think' too much are not as successful, and I struggle to get them right. A telltale sign of a good piece is when I can't wait to get started, as was the case with my last two pieces. I really am learning a lot about myself and the process just by 'doing it'. There's much to be said about suiting up and showing up in every aspect of life and painting is no different. It doesn't require an inherent talent, it doesn't require education, these things are helpful yes, but even more valuable is simply perseverance. The simple act of doing something over and over will always make you better, it just takes the discipline of doing it. I never thought of myself as a disciplined person and yet I suppose I am. I wasn't born an artistic genius, I never even gravitated to art until my late teens. I thought it was fun. I never thought I was an artist, or very good. But I kept doing it anyway, and now I see myself getting better and that motivates me to keep going. I'm no where near where I'd like to be, but I certainly won't get there unless I do the work. Now that I'm older and somewhat wiser I see the value in progress not perfection. Perfection is simply ego. Accepting what I can do is grace. I will take grace any day.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tutus and the joy of giving

This is my friend Megan Sherman from Carmel Valley who came to visit me last Saturday to pick up her painting I made for her birthday.  I was so excited to see her reaction because she hadn't even had a glimpse of it and I knew she'd be surprised with the overall piece.  She screamed and cried, this was exactly the reaction I was hoping for!  What surprised her most was the background, as I placed her twirling in the hills of Carmel Valley.  It was a magical moment for both of us, me for seeing how grateful and happy it made her and her for receiving such a wonderful gift.  I told her it was as wonderful to give her the painting as it was for her to receive it and it's true.  It made me think about art and painting and that giving my art is the best gift I can give.  It is solely my own creation and to make something that brings such joy to others is the best reward I can get.  A few bucks doesn't hurt either but this WAS a birthday present so it doesn't apply!  She and I hiked on Sunday and talked about life and I cherish the time we spend together as it's rare.  When she left on Sunday she carefully put her masterpiece in the car assuring me she'd tell me where she put it once she got home.  It's hanging in the front room of her house and the whole family loves it, I am so pleased to hear this.  I can't wait to visit and see it there.  This is precisely why I love to paint.  I love to capture a moment, a feeling and preserve it forever.  It's like a photograph but even more personal as it's an interpretation of that moment.  My studio mate Bob said, "Carrie these paintings of ours will live long after we're gone" and I love that.  I love that I am leaving my mark and that maybe someday one of my paintings will be at a flea market and someone will buy it , and perhaps they'll even look up my name.  That's something I never even thought of until Bob pointed it out.  In some small way I am leaving an indelible mark through my art and I am honored to call myself an "artist".  It is a title I could not own until recently.  I felt to call myself an artist meant I had to be accomplished, earning money and showing in galleries.  That was my insecurity and as art is so personal it's scary to put oneself out there and say "this is what I can do" for others to judge.  Now I am more comfortable with that as I am more comfortable with myself.  I am me and I won't appeal to everyone just as my art won't appeal to everyone.  Some like me, some don't, some like what I paint, others don't.  I don't like everyone I meet, or all art I see so it makes sense.  What I am finding is there are some who do like me and my art and that's plenty!  If even one person is happy with it that's a success, but my biggest critic is me.  I am not very kind to myself when it comes to my art.  I always want to be better and I can zoom in on the flaws of a piece before I see the successful parts.  But in the same breath I guess I'm maturing too as I see this as just a natural part of being an artist.  I push through it and keep at it, this is how I will improve and this is how I grow.  I love that painting will always be a challenging venue and an ongoing learning process.  For now I will be developing my various series including tutus, trucks and flowers.   Perhaps I need to put these all together.......aha, I love it!