I've been thinking a lot about my process with my art. I think we all do, every time we sit down to paint. This blog is about my daily process, mostly it has been the actual process of applying brush or glue to the surface, but today I want to talk about the process that goes on in our minds and hearts that produce the art we love to do. I love so many things about art. Mostly it is the creative process, that excitement that something intrinsic or visual brings me to that point where I MUST create something.
I have always loved art, the process of it. When I was about 8 years old I knew I was an artist. I remember those magazine ads that were trying to get someone to sign up for some art class or school...you know the ones (if you are anywhere near my age), draw Bambi and send it to us and we will critique it. What they wanted was money, they wanted people to sign up for their mail course (yes it was before computers)...So, I drew every Bambi and whatever else the picture was of and I sent them off. I remember the day I got a letter back. Here these people wanted money, but they suggested I might find another career. I was devistated for about a day...and then that thing in me that still lives that NEEDS to create, LOVES to create kicked in and I said I was going to do what I felt inside no matter what anyone else thought. WHEW...the first hurdle...the first survival of the first critic, and I wasn't destroyed!
I never stopped trying to learn how to master what I wanted to do, what I knew I already was. Many years of trying this or that, 10 years in oil, 15 years in watercolor, some 8 or 9 years in acrylic...something like that...being so right brained, numbers mean so little to me...(I know, I know I need to pay more attention to the left brained side of myself)
So, here I am so many years later...studying from books, going to workshops, getting a degree in art education, painting with some incredible artists for years,teaching middle school, high school, senior centers for over 10 years...still loving my creative side, still living inside that place that sees everything as a composition...looking, really LOOKING at things, constantly...still an artist, no matter what else has gone away from me.
I love it all, so much of it. I love collage, I love painting; sometimes impasto, sometimes not...flowers, trees (of course), still life, stuffed animals, my children, whatever catches my spirit that day, whatever makes my heart sing and my fingers itch until I do it...still. I always promised myself I would create as long as it gave my heart that feeling that I am alive, and I would stop if it became pedantic or a chore. So far, I've only felt it for a few hours here and there...STILL it lives in me.
I've read so many books, gone to seminars, listened to the wisdom of so many who have "made it"...and I just can't choose just ONE way, just one thing, just one, when there is so much in the world that calls to me in so many ways...I wonder if I am a failure in the world, as the world sees things, and I'm a little sad about that, but if I can sit inside myself and still FEEL what it is to be an artist (by the way, no one can take that title from any of us) then have I failed? I am just one sitting here right now, but in myself I don't feel a failure. I suppose, if I feel I can bring a smile, or a bit of inspiration to someone I can't be a failure.
Teaching came naturally to me because it is all about doing a million different things to try to find that thing that each student can feel important about, can feel good about themselves doing. I feel like I have sold a HUGELY expensive painting each time a student says "I understand now", or "I feel so happy about this"...no matter what else they put a teacher through, they are precious humans who are just trying to find their way and if I can help them feel good about themselves, then I can never be a failure.
Well, thank you for letting me get through this! If you've read all the way through this I thank you and I applaud you! So, with that off my chest, I now present this little contest piece. Again, on a 4x4 basswood panel with its own easel...I don't know what to call it. It started out being about these two perfect pine trunks that sit just above my house, but it really is about the rocks. The paper I made for this has a little bit of writing in it and I was happy it showed up...so, let's just let it be what it is, and if it makes you smile even a little, then I have not failed on this day.