This week, a few of my artist friends in our ‘Fantasy Artist Support’ group were exploring our artistic journey. Some have been feeling a little stagnant, depressed and ‘stuck’ in a creative rut. Suddenly, a thread emerged (posting progression pictures of our artwork spanning a few years, decade, or even more), which made me think of my own artistic journey.
As artists, we are our own worst critic and tend to paint ourselves into a dark little corner, so to speak. Our ‘image’ is only as good as we project. The subjectivity of art in general tends to put some of us in a precarious emotional place, as we do not know where we fit in, how we are perceived and if we are even ‘good.’ What IS good? The paintings we create when we are first graders are considered ‘masterpieces’ and proudly showcased on our family refrigerator. As a child, our art is our own perception of our real (and imagined) world(s) and pure imagination. There is no expectation. There are no ‘rules’, wrong color, self-imposed emotional barriers, or ego to get in the way. There is an innocent element of wonder….of magic!
What many artists, including myself, tend to forget over the years is we are ALWAYS improving. With each painting, sketch, composition and illustration we are growing as artists and expanding our abilities. I’ve been pretty ashamed of some of my earlier works and would most likely fake my own death than post them, but here it goes…this is a little series of illustrations I have put together to visually chronicle my own personal journey. Be kind to yourself and embrace that inner child…she is begging to create and share her world!
One of my first fairy tale illustrations. 1982/3 First Grade (7 yrs. old)
The personification of my inner art critic, inspired by friend and fellow artist, Ann Gates Fiser.
“Smudge” is that annoying little inner voice that backseat art directs your artwork. He makes you second-guess your technique, over paint, criticizes and is just plain messy!
He hovers over my shoulder when I paint and dips his long, frog-like fingertips in my paint, shuffles his feet across my completed work, sticks his nose and paint brush where it doesn’t belong and is the “darkside” to my muse.
Smudge needs to clean-up his act and leave me alone.
As an artist, sometimes it takes time to really “see” what a painting was lacking to bring it to life. For example, my “Little Poppy Sprite” painting from a few years ago sat in my portfolio…waiting. She was longing for ‘something’, but I just wasn’t sure what she needed. As many of my creations; they sit in the dark solitude of my portfolio…waiting for a fresh perspective. Time. I needed time to to really “see” the energy and distance to realize I wasn’t really understanding the critical element(s) it was lacking.
Just as our lives, time can give us new perspective on a situation, relationship, or paradigm. How do you see the world? Is it the same from when you were a child? Most likely not. Our experiences, relationships, surroundings and time are elements which influence our personal realities. The gift of time has enlightened me in so many ways. Lack of time. The management of time. Time alone. Time to reflect….etc.
For example, I have learned there is no need to ‘rush’ through a painting just to say I am ‘finished’. It has taken me nearly my entire life to honor who I really am and what I was put on this Earth to do. The element of fear has held me back and it took many years to embrace this realization. It wasn’t my “time” per se, until I worked through my doubts, fears and anxieties of putting my soul onto paper for the world to see. Art and life are ever-changing and evolving with each moment in time. Each day brings change whether we realize it, or not. As I continue onward in my journey in life and my art career; I am humbled, awakened and reminded by the concept and fragile gift of time.
I am back in the studio after a few weeks off, visiting with my family and taking-in the beauty of Hawaii. As I resume painting my private commissioned piece, I am reminded of the blessings of children and family. My time away enforced my gratitude and love for my family…as well as the journey I am experiencing each day as a pictorial “storyteller.”.