The Worry Bird
Growing up, my mom wore a charm of a funny little gold bird with an extra-large head. She told me it was her “Worry Bird.” She explained that when she worried too much, she would touch her Worry Bird. This was to ease her mind because, she told me, the Worry Bird would take on her worries for her. (With four children, she did have her share of worry). I loved this idea. That a little charm could help with worry and anxiety. At the time I bought this idea.
Artists, by the nature of what we do, are worriers. I am no exception. We worry about our ideas; are they good enough? We worry about how others will see our art. We worry about our talent-are we good enough? How is so and so doing in their art? Will we be successful in the next show aka; selling our art? The ego takes over. I am sure there are artists out there who are ultra-confident and cannot relate to what I am saying. But for the other 99% of us, I am laying it out there.
There is some degree of worth in worry. It keeps us on our toes. It keeps us humble. But also, it is draining and interferes with creativity. By letting worry rule what we are doing and will it be accepted, then we are essentially “playing to the gallery.”
I first heard the phrase, “playing to the gallery”, in a David Bowie interview on YOUTUBE. David was speaking to young artists - giving advice on what and what not to do in their early careers. The whole interview is great IMO. Here is the link if you would like to watch it: David Bowie
When I heard David say, “don’t play to the gallery” I took special note. For as long as I can remember, I have had in the back of my mind, a running monologue of, “will people like what I am creating?” Of course, having people like what you do is somewhat important. Especially if you want to sell your art. (But really, that is defeating the creative process). The flip side is, if you are constantly conducting an imaginary “viewer poll” during your process then you need to ask yourself, is this really my creation? Or are you creating what you think others will like and accept?
One of the basic principles of art is to challenge the status quo. If you are constantly trying to please others, then you really are not offering anything fresh and you certainly are not challenging your viewers/audience. Disclaimer here-Commissioned work is the exception.🙂
The bottom line is this, trying to please others can be a drag. I would prefer to do my own thing and put it out there. If you like it, then great! If you do not, that is valid too.
Getting a reaction is also something an artist should look for with their art. Positive or negative reactions are welcome. It is a tough pill to swallow but this is my goal moving forward. Aim for confidence in who you are and what you have to offer others. And do not worry so much! But that is easier said than done. Wish me luck!
Happy Holidays to you and yours. 💜 💚 ❤️
We Need Beauty
It’s not too far-fetched to say that we need beauty in our lives. There is a certain need for humans to have beautiful things to gaze at. Consider if there were no sculptures or paintings or even a lovely flower to look at. There are so many ways to obtain objects d’art in our lives now. The market is flooded with ready-made art one can buy. There are wonderful artists in every corner of our world. Just looking at Instagram will tell you this. Beauty is essential to our well-being like food, water and a place to live. Obviously, beauty is not necessarily essential to live but consider going each day without something nice to rest your eyes on? It would be a very dismal experience indeed.
So, what is beautiful to you? It differs dramatically depending on who you are and what you consider to be beautiful right? I would say there are certain basic elements that constitute beauty. These are: form, shape, color or lack of color and aesthetic value. For instance, a flower is considered beautiful by most people. A physically beautiful person can be another example. A lovely day outside near a lake or stream can be a beautiful experience like the scenery. Generally, art is created to add beauty or at least be interesting to look at if nothing else.
But you don’t have to go too far out of your way to see beauty. It takes looking around and finding things that make you feel happy or relaxed. As a painter, I’m always looking at my surroundings for inspiration for making my artwork. On any given day, I may see multiple things I think would make good subjects to paint or sketch. It can be overwhelming because there's only so much time. I must be careful about what I will choose as my subjects. They must pass the test first. Then I store the winner photos away in an "art photographs" folder on my laptop. It's fun to go back and search through these at a later time.
Last week at my work office, I found a little striped ceramic coffee mug in a cabinet. Probably left by someone long ago. In it I placed an orphaned spider plant cutting in water to root. (I accidentally cut it off when I closed the above-mentioned cabinet door on the plant - kismet?) I placed the mug with the spider plant on my windowsill. I liked it so much that I took a picture of it. I kept looking at it for the rest of the day. I am thinking this may used for a future painting.
There is beauty all around us. Keep an eye out and look for yourself. Nothing is too “out there”. It’s what your sense of beauty tells you. You'll just know, kind of like love - Aww.
Here are some super quotes I found about art and beauty. Enjoy and go find your own beauty! Thanks for reading.💚💜🧡
“Art is unquestionably one of the purest and highest elements in human happiness. It trains the mind through the eye, and the eye through the mind. As the sun colors flowers, so does art color life.” -John Lubbock
“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” – Pablo Picasso
“Without art, the crudeness of reality would make the world unbearable.” – George Bernard Shaw
“Art is the highest form of hope.” – Gerhard Richter
1985 Was The Year
When I was much younger, I took an oil painting class at a community center in Edmonds, WA. (where I grew up) I'd only worked with watercolors up to this point and I desperately wanted to try oils. This was back when the only way to clean your brushes was with turpentine. Way before OMS were invented. It was a smelly and probably not very safe place to be with multiple oil painters in one room. But anyway... I can't recall the instructor, where they a man or a woman? Who knows? That part is all forgotten.
We were all given the same basic scene to paint. The scene was a forest trail leading to a couple low structures with red roofs. I cannot recall how long it took me to finish this painting but when I brought it home, my mom was so happy that she went out and had it professionally framed.
This painting hung in her home for years until she passed away and then it returned to me. At first, I just stored it away in a stack of other paintings.
Now, I look at this painting and see all the things I could have done differently/better but what is the point in doing that? I like it overall and I especially love the sky with the white, fluffy clouds. It's peaceful and makes me happy just to have it to look back upon.
I know I painted other scenes, but this was the only one that made it to a framer. It's lasted over the years and I love it!
Everyone has that one artwork or whatever you made (a piece of furniture or a knitted sweater) when they were younger that takes them back to a time and place. For me this was my beginning as an oil painter. I just wish I had kept at it instead of letting other interests take over my attention. The important thing is I did return to painting again. That was a wise decision.💚💜🧡
Is Blogging Dead?
Blogging came to be around 1998. I always liked reading what other people wrote and thought was worthy of publishing out into the world. But then Social Media took over and now we are more consumed on that end of things. But I do think blogging is a great way to work out one's thoughts and convey what's going on in people's heads in a way Instagram and other Socials can't quite achieve.
And so, for my first art blog ever and because this is my site, I will confess that I have not painted or even sketched in 4 days now. Why? Because I have been laid flat by a stomach flu of some sort.
All I can do is lay here and think of all the things I should be doing in my studio. Like oiling out a painting I'm currently working on. Getting back to another paining I am also working on. And oh yes, there is one other painting that just needs a little finishing touch to it to call it good.
So instead, I am writing about it which makes me feel just a little better about my present self. What worries me though is that I will be the only one who reads this...
One of the paintings in progress waiting for me.
Space for me to write what's on my mind regarding art and life and how the two meet up.