Some Nude Studies

I’m in a transition period with my art. The goal is to set aside the self-portraits and move on to something else, but for the moment, that “something else” is only half-formed in my mind.

In the meantime, I did these figure studies because getting back to the basics is always helpful.

2022: Year in Review

First, some numbers…

Number of posts this year: 21

Number of completed artworks: 19

Number of digital pieces: 17

Number of traditional pieces: 2

Number of incomplete artworks and/or tests: 5 (and no, I’m not sharing them)

Number of exhibits (virtual): 2

Number of exhibits (IRL): 0

Number of publications: 4

And now for some highlights…

Biggest, happiest Art Win this year: Being featured in the inaugural issue of “Women United Art Magazine”! To be honest, I am still pinching myself.

Most popular piece on Instagram: This fanart for “The English”. It doesn’t matter how old I am – I cannot get the urge to make fanart wholly out of my system, it seems.

Most popular piece on Instagram that ISN’T Fanart: This wip reel for “Stripes”. And for the record, I HATE reels, but it’s the only way to get eyeballs on Instagram these days.

My favourite piece: This digital portrait of my daughter…

©2022, Emma Pittson “Screentime”. Rebelle 5.

The most difficult piece to complete: This other portrait of my daughter…

©2022, Emma Pittson, “Backlit”. Rebelle 5.

My most successful piece (well, successful to me, anyways): My “Self-Portrait With Kerchief”. In my opinion, it’s one of the only pieces that looks like actual “art”, and not just a well-developed study.

©2022, Emma Pittson, “Self-Portrait with Kerchief”. Photoshop.

Piece that made more of a splash than I anticipated: My “Vintage Cleveland” piece – my second attempt at painting a colour portrait from a black & white vintage photograph. In fact, it was picked up and shared by “Photo Trouvee” magazine, which was kinda nice.

©2022, Emma Pittson, “Vintage Cleveland”. Photoshop.

Piece that went nowhere and, frankly, that fact disappoints me: To be honest, I wish that everything that I’d published this year had met with greater enthusiasm, but clearly, I don’t know how to play Instagram’s game.

Putting it all in perspective…

Ok, so… some highs, but also some lows.

My goal for 2022 was to produce a large volume of work so that I could finally break out of my eternal “studies syndrome” and make actual ART. And for a while, it was working. I think I cranked out about 5 pieces in January alone – 4 that I completed, and one that I abandoned (which was fine as it was more of a stylistic exercise anyways).

I also took the plunge and applied to have my work included in art publications and online exhibitions. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? Still, no one was more shocked than I was that the very first publication I applied to actually accepted my digital painting.

After that, there was no stopping me! Sure, I had my fair share of rejections, but overall, it was a pretty successful year in terms of having my art selected for magazines and exhibits. In particular, the team at “Women United” art magazine really believed in me – more than I believed in myself, to be honest – and to see not just one, but several, of my artworks in print is the most incredible feeling.

But here’s the thing: for someone who was supposed to spend the year in creative experimentation and risk-taking, it feels like I missed that mark by a pretty wide margin. There’s no denying it: my portfolio is very safe and very tame. Even more disappointing is the fact that I had really hoped to be able to detect some connecting threads between the pieces and to be able to say “A-ha! I can see that I should drop so-and-so and concentrate on such-and-such instead…!”. But… I haven’t hit that eureka! moment yet.

Still, considering where I was at the end of 2021, I can acknowledge that I have made enormous progress, not least because I committed to increasing my output. I also took risks by putting my work out there even though I didn’t feel like it – or I – was ready. If anything, that is what I want to take with me into 2023: “Jump, and the net will appear”.

On that self-congratulatory note, I wish everyone a fabulous Holiday Season, and I’ll see you again in 2023! 🙂

Screentime

©2022, Emma Pittson, “Screentime”. Rebelle 5.

I’m just as guilty as the next person of spending too much of my time staring at a device, and also allowing my kids to do the same. I would also admit that I may have let things get out of hand over the last two years, but I can’t blame everything on the pandemic, can I? Long gone are the days when I would purchase a few Saturday newspapers and then spend the rest of the week-end reading them at a leisurely pace. Nowadays, all of my news comes out of a little glowing box that fits neatly in my purse. The upside is that I also get all kinds of art instruction out of said glowing box, and if it hadn’t been for that, I might never have learned about the “Rebelle” digital painting software. I used it to paint this piece of my daughter indulging in one of her favourite pastimes, which is “screentime” (naturally).

With a little help from my friends

©2022, Emma Pittson “Summer Study” Photoshop

The first few months of 2022 were spent pushing myself to produce as much art as possible, and then the summer came… and I needed to take a break. And well-deserved, I thought!

But I admit that I’ve also been feeling the pressure from my empty easel a lot more lately, and I knew it was time to get back in the saddle. Summer was long-gone, after all! And if I don’t keep up the art-making on a daily basis, I’m prone to letting self-doubt creep in and knock me right off my stride.

Don’t get me wrong: I was over-the-moon happy to have my work featured in a magazine (#artgoals!!), but as a result, I was also hit with a MASSIVE case of Imposter Syndrome, too. Even now, I still can’t believe that my paintings are sitting alongside the work of REAL ARTISTS – women who have a body of work, gallery representation, a full bio of exhibitions, etc, etc. All I can think of is: “I’ll betcha that being an artist is their full-time job! How can I possibly think of myself as being worthy to stand amongst them??”

Well, if “working takes away anxiety”, then I knew what I had to do: get back to work!

AND it was around that time that an old high-school friend generously offered me some recent pictures of her so that I could paint someone other than myself. Talk about excellent timing! Of course, this is still digital, so in a sense, it’s a bit of a “cheat”, but I didn’t think I could handle the pressure of paints and mediums after such a lengthy absence. All in good time, all in good time…

spotlight feature: women unIted art mAgazine, issue #1

Women United Art Magazine, Issue #1

Well, if this isn’t proof that hard work, risk-taking, and a bit of luck can bring about some amazing results, I don’t know what is! Not only did my work get included in the inaugural issue of “Women United Art Magazine”, but I was also rewarded with a spotlight feature! That’s right: 4 whole pages devoted to my self-portraits, as well as my (hopefully not awful-sounding) answers to the magazine’s questions about women in the art world.

At the end of the day, I make art for myself, but I cannot lie: outside validation feels pretty darn good!