Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Our Struggles, Our Shame?

My Nephew at close of day, (still wet). I may go back
into this, I may not?  It's a head. It's believable.

Just after I published my post yesterday, an artist friend of mine emailed me a comment that I found pretty interesting. It made me think . Perhaps I was jeopardizing  any career I might be planning, by voicing my angst during the creative process.

 She advised me  that I shouldn't point out the bad things about my works-in-progress because nobody sees them but me. I'm guessing she thought I was denigrating my art in public and that wasn't a good idea.  She had a point, IF I WAS SELLING MY ART ON THIS BLOG.  I'm not.

 Mine is a  journalistic blog visited primarily by artists who are encouraging one another, sharing our work processes and exchanging thoughts  about making art as we visit online. (It would be a great thing if our visitors were prospective buyers. Then they would get why we charge so much for our work and sweat and expense and stop belly aching at the prices).The posts are good, the comments are even better. The comments are the meat. Here's one from Dan Kent of Dan's Canvas.  that had me in stitches this morning. I was glad I had just emptied my bladder.
Everything I do goes through a gangly adolescent stage. I tried to do a portrait in acrylics once - it had the zombie stage, the manikin stage, the alien stage, etc. It has been sitting faced against the wall for months now. And that is where it deserves to be. 
I would love for the things I do to be magnificent the first time, every time. Never happens. Deliberate or no. You are much to hard on yourself. I actually like the way you left him when you left in a huff - if it doesn't look like him, it looks like somebody, and has a great expression on the face.
"I just don't know what to make of that. It's
supposed to be a hand; it looks like a gigantic tea pot, "
Hal soaked his rag in turp and rubbed  out the offence for the
third time. "Buck up Bucky, forth time's the best." he shouted at no one.
Making art is breaking a few eggs. Making art is like kissing a few frogs. Making art is piling up rejections in the trash till you're happy with what's on the easel. The important thing with making art is: to do it on a regular basis, don't cry over spilled paint and ruined 140 lb paper, keep ruining them and be objective.Don't kill yourself looking for perfection; it doesn't exist. Don't take errors personally, each piece is a part of the growth process, but definitely be honest with what you see--what's good and what needs redoing, let others be honest too. A third eye can be very enlightening. With each piece, we're heightening our sensibilities. Making art is hard work, a daily struggle, (I do love the title of your blog Mick, The Painting Struggle), that does pay off.

What do you think? Are we jeopardizing sales of our art by honestly critiquing  it in public during the work process? By  showing that indeed, art is a daily struggle that's highly frustrating? Isn't it possible that we are encouraging young artists to welcome the failures, for  they're the stepping stones to where they would like to go ?  I've always wanted to go to my museum and see one of my works on display. I would fall on my knees  crying with joy. I'd be thrown out for making a scene. A fantasy I know, but could happen On The Traveling Road Show.

Post Script. Did you know that people we auto e-mail our blogs to don't get the comments or the side panel.
They really miss a lot--and actually don't really get blogging.


33 comments:

  1. Linda, I most definitely love your posts, and the angst you share with us. We all go through it, but you write about the creation of a work with such brilliant humor. And, with potential buyers, I do not believe reading about the troubles in creating a work at all diminishes its value and beauty; in fact, I am sure it enhances it! So ANGST AWAY, my friend, and I will do the same. :)

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  2. Nah. No we won't. We'll be as anxious as we always are as we stretch to do our best. What makes us good is we keep banging our heads against the wall and stretching.

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  3. I know about the topic, don't say anything negative about your artwork. I understand why, but it is a mixed message. I don't think any artist couldn't improve their work and grow. Sometimes I don't like a painting because of the fact that it isn't what I aimed for, I am not objective or the simple fact that not every painting can be ones favorite. If you ask a person which is their favorite painting of yours, I am sure that their will be a lot of different answers.

    Personal taste is major factor, but it doesn't mean that a painting is crap just because it doesn't do anything for you.

    Well, I hope didn't ramble too much. =)

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    1. Never. You don't ramble Roger; I do. You are absolutely right. What we think about our work is meaningless. It's what others see in it. I forgot that. Thank you.

      I don't like my work until I see it again months after I walk away from it. I never think a painting is finished. I do think it's done because I've gone as far as I care to go. Finish to me is about giving up. I'm starting to think unfinished--the desire to do more--is finished. Unfinished (to a degree) is a painting that's breathing.

      I went as far as I could go with my nephew. If perfection is ever achieved, he would have to sit for me. That's the portraiture proceedure.

      I admire your work very much. You get up in the morning and you start and finish a painting of size in a day or two and put it up for sale. You have your style down pat. I like that. I'm still working on it.

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    2. Thanks Linda. =)

      I could work on a painting for ages before, but now I work faster and spend less time on a painting. Partly because I want it fresh, loose and not perfect, and partly because there is a limit on how much time that can be spent on a painting and feel that you get paid for it. There is no way that a person will pay for the extra time that I spend on fiddling on details that no other than me would see.

      PS! I know it is a secret, but I can ramble... =)

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  4. Dear Linda, I like to keep the blog and visit blog-friends because there is a lot of dialogue, interaction. Language, where you live, age ... there is no division but connection.
    I love the blogs of artists more good and less good, because the ability to communicate not always match the artistic level! I meet real people ,without blog I would never have contact. Talk about artistic difficulties affect sales...
    I do not believe that my work will never something on my table! For years I spend in books, papers colors ... it's like I made ​​some wonderful trips to places of paradise! After several trips, Today I would not have that money in my pockets , only the memory! Instead having health problems and unable to travel, I granted a daily journey into the world of my dreams, my colors, my watercolors.
    Maybe it will end up in the trash .. but I've been busy and happy in them!
    You have many arts, the art of painting and the art of living, the art of communicating and to communicate with people around you!
    I am happy to have met you!
    The portrait is coming out brilliant! I do not think that buyers are influenced by the words of the artist ... and a finished painting after a deep study, could be even more appreciated! There is not a print and not even a photocopy!

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    1. I love the communication between the art blogs too. I don't tend to follow art blogs of people who use them only to sell their work. There are online places for that--Etsy shops, Daily Painters, etc. I don't like the art newsletter blogs either, art blog radio broadcasts, or art society groups where you have to specialize and qualify to see what the members are up to. I'm interested in the humanity behind the art. I want to know where the art came from and a little about how the artist was thinking. Selling has never been a priority, but I don't think I should not consider it. It may not put food on the table or a roof over our heads, but any monies coming in could offset the cost of supplies, make Honey happy and validate my talent and my efforts. That's nice.

      You do beautiful work that's uniquely you. After its finished, you're on to the next, just like me. Why not consider showing your work in an online shop? Whatever sales you make will be extra cash flow and that's never a bad thing. (You do have to paint small though, so you can ship through regular mail).

      What I really wanted to tell you is that I started painting and blogging due to health problems as well. Very quickly: I had cancer, went through the rough treatment, which scared the hell out of me, got a bum knee at the same time, which limited my walking. I decided to go back to painting. I used blogging as a method to do it everyday. That was in 2010. I've been blogging and painting and meeting wonderful people like yourself and seeing a world of beautiful art ever since. I love it. The rest of the ladies I know play cards, MahJong, and attend book clubs where someone tells them what to think about the book they're reading. How non productive is that!

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    2. I met with cancer at age 43 to 55, to 58 in 2010.
      Treatment very harsh, stressful controls ... but I'm here! I have time to become a grandmother twice! Creating something with my hands is the mainstay of my life.
      I think words and color photographs shot in honor of this precious gift that is my life and the freshness into the hell that I could save!

      I tried to put the work in sales DailyPaintwork
      but without expectations, is a ... game. It 's hard for me to think very little.

      I am still looking for something that I believe I have not found ...
      but this causes me no problem.
      I hope for a long life to find what I seek ..
      When I get tired (for health reasons) I sit up ... and my computer opens the world!

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  5. The first thing that catch my eye in my art, is the flaws. I’m not a manager (I used to be for more than a decade and it’s more than enough for me), I’m a person in a great need for the lust of creation. If I ever see a painting of mine on a museum, I’ll probably wear glasses, hat and try to hide behind… well, any surface that could be available. Don’t get me wrong, I love my art, I can’t do without it and I’m longing for the next step, lesson, drawing, etc, and the next and the next.
    The painting of your nephew is beautiful, Linda!
    Warm regards.

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    1. Thank you Konstantina. That museum dream was when I was a child soaking up all the works of the masters through books and trips to the museum. I wanted to be like them, which meant I wanted to have my work valued as theirs were, and that seemed to mean hanging in a museum. Not any more. Now, I'd just like to finish a painting without going through the hysterical phase. As for selling the stuff, I've always thought you needed a manager, an agent, for I really don't know if any painting I've ever did was good enough to sell. It's only now that I've come back to painting that I am keeping them. For years, I'd finish them, didn't think they were good enough, so I'd throw them away. That's why I've said, I suspect some garbage collectors have l.w.roths hanging in their house. Maybe there was something they liked in my trash?

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  6. I seems you are an artist and so much critical with yourself. Only Relax and enjoy Because your hands are able to do things so beautiful like these. Best regards

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    1. You're right. I'm very self conscious when it comes to my art. I let it go so long, the flaws get to me and make me wonder why I insist upon doing this to myself. But I do and I will. Relax? You're kidding aren't you? Whose got time to relax. Paint. Paint. Paint:-))

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  7. Linda: I respectfully disagree with your friend. Your comments demonstrate the creative process to me. I appreciate them, and if I were to buy a painting, my greater understanding of the mindset of the artist would be a plus.

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    1. Thank you, JJ. My friend is a successful artist who is very interested in sales. She teaches classes at her home studio, as well as a popular, local supply store. She shows at a lot of juried art fairs around the state and neighboring states. She works very hard at the job of art.I just started sending her my blog via auto e-mail (she sends me a lot of jokes).She would naturally think that critiquing your own work publicly, world-wide, in your blog would be unwise with regards to selling it. Truthfully, I have thought that blogging could have ramifications with regards to sales should I finally get to that point. I just wondered what other artists thought--or if they had ever thought about that? As for your interest in the creative process, your're an artist and blogger yourself, so your positive opinion doesn't count:-)) I might have asked a silly question?

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  8. There is great value in showing that a work of art does not just happen without a struggle; that for every masterpiece there are many, many failures. If someone wants to buy my work I am proud to show the struggle, to give some insight into the process; so allow them to see the evolution of a painting.

    So - keep up the good work.

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    1. That's exactly how I feel and it seems everybody else but my friend feels that way too. Interesting. we could conclude that there are artists who make art geared to sell? I do hope that in between painting the subjects that sell well, that they would take the time to follow the muse and paint their hearts content.

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  9. Frankly, I find it to be constructive criticism on your part... Even tho 'we' may not see what you see, it still is good to read a critique.. and it shows that you can see improvement that you feel needs to be addressed.... YOU GO GIRL! :-)

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    1. Well you just knocked it all down to the nitty gritty just like that! You know I will continue to poke at my work to make the next one better. I can't help it. I do strive.

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  10. Linda, i love the honesty about your posts. The path of creating art is full of highes and lows and i think its important to study and self-evaluate, especially the not so good ones. How else are you going to grow?....
    All you are doing is speaking the truth, the truch about where your thoughts are, and i find that refreshing.
    Afterall, i feel you can only find perfection in imperfection.
    Thanks for the post!

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    1. Imperfection is perfection. I like that. I believe it Michael. If you think about it, perfection would be quite boring--like the garden of Eden till Eve took that bite--like the movie The Stepford Wives and a date who kept saying 'Oh really' to everything I said. So I said 'Take me home, really.' He didn't have a thought in your head. Then there wouldn't be make up sex if there hadn't have been a clash of opinions. It's the highs and lows that keep things interesting and us on our toes.

      After each renovation, I would sit down and note the imperfections. They pointed out what to watch out for on the next job. This has been a great discourse.

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  11. I see both sides of this issue. There are art buyers who don't know you and who would feel better spending their money with a pro over anyone who they may perceive as "struggling". That is absolutely true and that is what your friend subscribes to. However, in the case of your blog, you are being you and there are many buyers (I believe) also appreciate personality in addition to painting skills.

    I know that you aren't aiming to sell off of your blog, and that is a big consideration. Should the time come when you want to sell from your blog, perhaps you may want to reassess. I put up practically everything I do...but there have been times when the work was so bad I couldn't bring myself to attach my name to it. I do sell on occasion from my blog. I put up what I did each day...but if something sucks really really bad, I find something else to post or re-post.

    I do not seek to learn anything from other painters via my blog. I don't mind emails about something someone feels compelled to tell me about. There are art discussion forums about painting that seem like a good place to "discuss" and I also have artists "in real life" who will give me opinions (whether or not I request them...haha). Long story short, I like to put up the best possible work, won't put up anything that makes me want to gag, but I have no real rules. This is more than you asked!

    I guess if you were running a sales laden blog you really would not want a lot of posts about doubts or problems. Just common sense.


    Good looking portrait..love it.

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    1. I agree with my friend's opinion and my own also.

      If I was to go into business (and I am thinking about it), I would start a web site, not a blog. It would be for advertising purposes only and not sales. I'm not totally convinced that selling online is the way to go. I think gallery representation or planning and managing my own shows (self-promotion) would be my first preference. I like dealing with people face to face in person. I think art is a very personal thing. I think art is a decorative item and, as such is also a very personal thing. Hands on is what most of my design clients wanted. They wanted to see and touch and make certain that the merchandise they were getting was what they wanted. The photography of artwork online isn't always the best. The buyer really isn't sure exactly what's coming in the mail.

      Blogs are, in my opinion, for conversing with my peers and the maestros. Mine is a journalistic art blog--like Studio Notes. It does address the struggles and the successes of making art. That is not a bad thing to pass on to the young who may want to keep their art away from the commercial world and for themselves. That's what I did. I was never sorry that I chose a day job for income and kept my art private--except for my hand drawn interior perspectives and plans. Those sold for quite a bit and were very exciting to do, but not expressive.

      I think all of this is more than I asked, but it was exciting conversation. Being an artist is very difficult. We're a highly sensitive lot. We're highly intelligent and speak a language few people comprehend. Economics screws us up, for we all do it for the love it. If I didn't need some more Cadmium Yellow Light, you could have the damn painting. And putting a price on it, well it's just never enough, the process is priceless.

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  12. Hola! encuentro tu post muy interesante.. mi blog es una ventana por la que muestro mi arte, sin esa ventana mi arte lo vería yo y poca más gente.. gracias al blog he conocido a gente que son grandes artistas, ya bien por su arte o sus palabras.. si tuviera que elegir entre vender o mostrar me quedaría con lo último aunque por supuesto quien no sueña con dedicarse a lo que realmente es su pasión!.. :) creo que un blog espontaneo y con sentimientos siempre es muy bien recibido! Un abrazo

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    1. Gracias Mari por su aportación. El arte es un lenguaje de todo el mundo. No necesitamos traductores cuando nos fijamos en cada uno de las obras de otros. Ellos hablan en silencio, universal y que es la alegría de mostrar que en nuestros blogs que muchos de mis amigos no entienden, por que estoy definitivamente salir con la gente equivocada). Estoy sorprendido de la enorme cantidad de talento en todo el mundo. En los últimos dos años, he estado tanto humillado e inspirado y he crecido en mi trabajo por ello. Hoy en día, me enteré de que es como yo esperaba. El arte, el proceso es lo que nos une, no la búsqueda de las ventas y que en realidad no importa si nuestras inseguridades reveladas afecta la forma en que hacemos en el mercado.

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  14. I love to read your blog about your painting process, and I love your humour! I have health problems of a different kind (fatigue), and blogging has opened up the world for me! I get so inspired by all of you! xx Judy

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    1. You are an inspiration to me Judy. Your muddy boots are just right. They are a delightful image of a not so delightful summer season for many of us. Here it is 100F and sunny on one day. The next is severe thunderstorms and 76F. I've missed trips down to the lake, but the weather has been excellent for painting, which has made cabin fever non existent and taken a costly plein air easel off my immediate shopping list. Who wants to paint outdoors in these extremes? I'm dedicated, but not obsessed. Actually, I do love your boots. They are those rubber kind I've just looked at and haven't bought. I like the leopard ones or firemen yellow with red trim around the top. Excellent subject for fashion and art.

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  15. Linda!
    I think there are many reasons to make art. For me selling art it is not nearly as important as the creative process in making art. For me the creative process, the "agony and the ecstasy", is by far more important than the "finished" art product. If in fact there ever is a "finished" product in art. I love art. I love the integrity of art. For me making art is one of the very few opportunities in life where one can tap into the wonderful, joyful, often frustrating journeys into one's soul. If there is no passion, joy, frustration, anger, happiness, or any other emotion involved then art has very little meaning for meI. Sharing challenges with fellow artists is certainly an example of an artist baring her or his soul and there is nothing more sacred thing a human being can do than that. For me your blog exemplifies what this thing called art is all about. Linda you are a great example of being at peace with others and at the same time being true to yourself. Bravo!
    Take care Linda and thank you for your wonderful, honest, and very important fun filled blog.
    Your Art Buddy,
    Michael

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    1. You're right Michael. As soon as I finish a painting--or walk away from it for that's as good as it's going to get--I never look at it again. I'm on to the next. It is the making of it that gives me the kick. When I begin a piece, I'm so full of hope and high expectations-- and then doubt sets in with one stroke: The nose isn't quite right and doesn't the mouth curl up a bit more on the left and what am I doing this for?

      What brings me back in a day, a week, a month is an inner drive that I can do better. And with my head cleared, I usually can. Walking away is as important a part of the creative process as the construction phases. Starting a new painting is a good way to clear your head and open your eyes for the troublesome one. I'll be working on something like my pastries and glance over to an unfinished painting leaning against the wall and think,"You know, a little touch of alzarin in that orange section will make it pop." and I mix up some on a saucer and run over and do it. That leads to a dash here and a darker glaze there and magic happens. Everything falls into place like there was nothing to it. I love that part.

      You're very kind Michael. I appreciate your accolades. I appreciate your art too. You know how to use watercolors, a total mystery to me who only plays in the water.

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  16. Glad you enjoyed my comment so much!! Maybe I'm naive, but I'd like to think that the potential buyer looks first to the picture and likes that or not. I would hope so. Once he or she likes the picture, then all of your commentary provides back story, conversation, which only enhances the work - the artist's process. "Yeah, she struggled with this one and look how wonderful it turned out!" If they didn't like the picture in the first place, they weren't going to buy anyway. But, as I said, maybe I'm just naive.

    In my early years in my day job, I had to look at a book to answer a client's question and the client left saying, "if you have to look at a book, I'm not going to hire you." There are all kinds out there. And some will like all this, some won't. And that's just the way it is. (Nowadays I look at a computer, and looking at a computer makes me look intelligent no matter whether I am looking it up - hah! The grey hairs don't hurt either.)

    That is not to say that any of us should undertake actions that ultimately drives most customers away. The only way to find out if innocuous rantings like these does so (once you begin selling), is to observe (if possible) and if indeed it hurts business, modify our behavior. In the meantime, rant - it leads to wonderful online conversation among the artists and I love it.

    You picture came out quite well, I think. There is a lot of character there. Pursue your goal and grow!!

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    1. You do make me laugh. I've chased away a few customers in my day. I am bluntly honest and a tell all. I like people to know exactly what to expect when they are going to renovate their homes, their castles. The process is going to be uncomfortable and they will not like me in a couple of weeks, but we will be out of their hair as quickly as possible. For many, that straight forward tell all was appreciated. For others, my boss, not so. Gradually, clients weren't allowed to meet me in person alone. My honesty had a way of swaying clients away from the fast talking designer who owned the business. I did get to present my original, hand drawn concept drawings in person, which I did with passion. I loved shaping space people friendly; it excited me. The jobs we didn't get usually weren't jobs for us, or they were jobs that would have been filled with people problems and we really didn't want them, or the clients were just shopping around not seriously.

      My bottom line is the same as yours. We are who we are and that's it. We hit it off, or we don't. I imagine in the art business its the same. All businesses are.

      Thanks. I think so too. And bottom line here is: hysteria is a natural step in the creative process.

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  17. Short but sweet, Linda!!! I enjoy your posts every time I go to visit. You make me laugh so much and I truly enjoy your paintings. We all paint differently which is a good thing ..I think we all should just "enjoy" painting!! If we sell a piece, well, that would be wonderful!!!

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    1. I agree Hilda. Selling is a bonus. The creative process is the joy.

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