Well, this week has been a rollercoaster inside this crazy artist mind of mine. I guess that is the curse of the artist - a constant switch between elation over what you are making and then utter despair.
It's weird, this whole artist thing.
I visited a pretty well established artist in his studio on Tuesday. I had completely different expectations on my way there than what the next hour and half actually had in store from me. I had scheduled to meet with him about my work, however, it ended up being a time of inspiration and mentoring by a seasoned artist.
He said a couple things that really stuck with me. First, "You have to be obsessed with your work." He emphasized discipline and drive. Pretty much like the quote above...there are going to be times that you hate your work, there are going to be times that you love it. You are going to look at work you did a year ago and think, "What was I thinking?" and you are going to look at work you did years down the road and think, "Huh, that's pretty good." The key is that you just make things.
That was the first part of what I took away from our meeting together. The other things had to do with technique.
(Now, let me preface this by saying that when you are an art teacher for 6 years and you have gotten used to critiquing others' work, helping students improve, it can be a lot to swallow to suddenly being "the student" again. But this artist I was hanging out with had been a college art professor for about 30 years and represented some of the most successful women artists in Virginia...so I realized quickly that I needed to swallow my pride and soak in every word he was saying...)
He encouraged me to experiement again. To work on paper. To work small. To make collages. To try different materials. And to let the other ways of working influence my painting.
It wasn't until a couple days later (yesterday), as I sat on my studio floor, covered in gel medium, charcoal and scraps of old book pages, that I really figured out what I was supposed to learn from that conversation.
I have been too consumed with the finished product. I have started to rush through paintings, just to finish them and be able to photograph them and say, "Here is another work for all to see." And in the midst of that, I've found myself frustrated with my work.
So, I'm going to go back into a lot of the pieces I have "finished" and rework some areas. I'm going to work smaller. I'm going to work bigger somedays. I'm going to scribble on paper and combine materials that don't seem to fit. I'm going to become a scavenger again, collecting interesting bits and pieces.
And I'm going to ask the Lord each morning to guide what I make that day. He continues to move me more and more in the direction of being a full-time artist, however, I've worried and doubted over whether or not He will provide. So enough of that...I just need to be open to what He has for me each day and trust that as long as He's pushing me to paint, draw, write, doodle, splatter, etc...He will lead me in the direction I need to go.
Happy Friday friends...