Friday, August 26, 2005

one more time

The last three weeks have been some of the most challenging of my life. Craig and I have always lived our lives conscious of the paths of our forebears and determined not to follow in those steps. Running away when its hard, choosing the easy way out or ignoring things….settling for less. Fighting these paths is a grand ideology but it can be quite difficult and painful when that ideology meets the asphalt. When God gives you a gift it not only means it will be a working out of that gift but that He will use that gift to uncover, expose and do major surgery on other things as well. Yeah, right, following Christ is a cop out….that one always cracks me up.
The journey of seeking to become a full time professional artist that began several months ago really came to a halt about three weeks ago. I hit the wall. All of my beliefs and convictions that have made me as an artist were suddenly called to the table as I researched galleries and seriously began working on the brochure with the printers. Somewhere on gallery number two hundred and somewhere on the fourth time we returned there with a new file and found it once again not up to par I began to crumble. All of the negative voices and words I have heard about being an artist flooded in and I began to listen to them. You know the ones, "No one will buy your work, you will be a failure, they will find out you are a fake, this is all a silly dream, be practical, be realistic!" and on and on I could go. Listening to those words put me in bed for several days and seriously made me consider returning to vet medicine. I began to walk in the steps of thousands…..I decided to give up. The fear and doubt were so overwhelming and the path before me was so unsavory to me that I wanted to go the easy way. And then the apathy set in and apathy in the worst. Apathy says "You aren’t afraid, you just don’t want to be part of the whole gallery thing….you never wanted to do it for anything but the art. You don’t want to violate your principles and prostitute yourself and your work! Why do you need the input of other artists? You know exactly what you want to do! Look at all the oney and time you are wasting when you could be painting! That’s what you really love." (Part of me still believes this, by the way.) Apathy is very convincing. After listening to all my repeatative arguments about not pursuing this stuff my dear friend and supporter Pam said, "Everything you say makes perfect sense and sounds real and I believe you…….but its a cop out."

I was feeling quite exhausted by this battle around last thursday. We were off to Norfolk and the whole trip Craig and I replayed it all again and again. Over the next few days I began to see stripped of skin all the major control issues I have especially with my artwork. I also have a really hard time trusting the leading and judgment of others. For all of us there are things that we cannot see without the insight of others. I learned that I am completely untrustworthy with determining the purpose of my work because I lie to myself and believe it so that I can have it my way and stay in control. This is hard to admit, by the way and I still feel the last vestiges of apathy like after one has a really greasy meal……I could go back for another one of those meals if I am not dilligent.

So the choice is laid before me. All my creeds about life choices I have believed over my whole life are now put to trial. So, one more time to the printers today……..wish me luck.
Asalin keeping me company on my bed of decision…

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Craig and I celebrated our sixth anniversary sunday. Our wonderful friends Paul and Nic gave us full use of their home, pool and hot tub over the weekend while they were off to Boston. Really nice. They are probably the most generous folks I have ever met always having us over for dinner and letting us drink their alcohol. It was a nice break from being so focused on wanting to start a new painting and feeling the discomfort of that waiting.

But it’s time once again for the between paintings slump…… I can tell when I sleep more, but get less quality sleep. Lots of push and pull within the realm of the business and the potential new painting. I do feel like I am in the third trimester of a pregnancy. Huge. Miserable. Uncomfortable. ‘Phobetor’ is still forming in the dark…….but he will come forth. It’s inevitable.
I am working on the gallery database today in lieu of any birth pangs. I am not sure whether to smile or cry (see?!). Most of the work is so uncompelling yet is represented in a gallery…..uugghh. Makes me feel pretty good about my work, but not so good about my prospects. I have a real negative bent today, so maybe the gallery surfing is a bad idea.
After many false starts with the brochure (more than is natural, if you ask me) hopefully they will got o press this week. This is a really important project to get on the road. So, I continue to work on the database………(sigh).

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

birth pangs

Now that ‘Morpheus’ is completed, I think I have some idea now of what my next painting will be……I think. I am very fascinated with mythology, so I am going to continue on with ‘Phobetor’ who is second of the gods who created images in dreams. He took the form of animals in dreams. This is a bottomless pit of possibilities…..

The research and brainstorming process is such a huge part of how I work. Over the last several weeks while in the city, visiting friends or away visiting my family I am always thinking about this idea. I will mull and chew on an idea for weeks never even putting anything on paper until I am sure I am ready to procede. Very anti-art school. At ACA I remember we had to have several pages of sketches to accompany any piece of work we turned in for a grade. I don’t need no stinking sketches!…..

I have thrown out my old faithful drafting table of fifteen years and bought an easel. After much advice and research this my first attempt at using oil pastels on large canvas…….I am moving closer and closer to that huge white canvas on the easel every day. The first mark is always the hardest to make….. This is when the barrage of doubts and fears come knocking.
Can I do it? Will it be what I hoped? Will I be able to put on canvas what is in my mind?..Or will I find that I am a fake?……

I remind myself each new beginning of the words of my favorite art book ‘Art and Fear’:

"What separates artists from ex-artists is that those who challenge their fears continue; those who don’t, quit. Uncertainty is the essential , inevitable and all-pervasive companion to making art. And the tolerance for uncertainty is the prerequisite to succeeding."

Right on.