So, it’s January 7th and a whole lot of art shows I want to enter are right around the corner. I set aside time in the studio and I’m all revved up to start working on my winning entry. I walk in and every great idea I thought I had seems somehow not the right one. So I do a little cleaning and putting away, then I have a snack and put on a load of laundry. Before I know it, it’s afternoon and I’ve not done a single thing to get ready for these shows. Sound familiar? Artists frequently have this dilemma and many of us write about it, offering our suggestions on how to break through that block. This problem is not exactly the same as searching for inspiration, it’s more like searching for that feeling of confidence that says –“ I’m an artist, and I know what I’m doing, I can paint anything I want.” NOT! Instead that little worm inside your brain starts niggling away – telling you that there are lots of others who are much better artists than you are, what makes you think you can compete with them? Telling you that you shouldn’t even bother to try because you don’t have a chance. And so it goes. You look at the works you’ve started that somehow didn’t make the grade and you slink away and find something else to do. STOP RIGHT THERE! You’ve allowed your ego to get in the way of the joy of making art. Self, you say – walk in that studio and look at the pieces that you love the most. Ask yourself – why do I like this one so much? What did I do right? If the answer is that you just loved painting it and that you didn’t paint it with any show in mind, you’ve found a place to start. Take a photo of your favorite piece and enlarge it or zoom in on a section that’s particularly good and eureka—that’s your starting point for a new piece. If we could get inside the heads of the most famous and beloved artists in the world, we would no doubt find times when they were in this same situation and their way out was SELF-REFERENCING – using one of their previous works to start/inspire a new one. It has absolutely nothing to do with competing with others. It’s just about the joy. So that’s exactly what I’m going to do right now!
Monday, January 2, 2017
A new year comes screaming in with cheers and singing and fireworks and we’re all revved up to get in our studios and start some new projects. We’ve made all kinds of great resolutions: we’re going to paint everyday, we’re going to try some new techniques, we’re going to visit our favorite art supply store and get some new materials. Then we walk into our studio, face that blank canvas or piece of paper and all of a sudden, it’s the same old fear – where do I start? What do I do first? Maybe I’ll just clean my work space.
|My Studio just waiting for me to get to work.|
This year, I’ve taken a slightly different approach. Instead of making vague and general resolutions, I’ve taken some time to think about how I see myself as an artist in the next month, the next six months and this next year. I’ve asked myself “is there anything specific that I would really like to do?” “Can I measure whether I’ve achieved that?” I’ve made a list of goals and assigned a completion date to each one. This may seem like putting unnecessary pressure on myself, but I’m a goal-oriented person and knowing I have deadlines helps get me focused. I love experimenting with all kinds of art and that’s great, but to produce a “body of work” requires discipline and concentration. I intend to read over these goals each week and revisit them on July 1st to see what I’ve accomplished, perhaps add some additional goals and revise the ones that haven’t worked.
Here are three of my goals for this year:
· Complete a series of 10 or more abstract paintings by June 30th
· Blog at least two times each month
· Enter one National show by June 30th
PLEASE COMMENT ON THIS POST and let me know if you have resolutions or goals for 2017 or if not, what motivates you. HAPPY NEW YEAR.