Changing Course

The start of a beautiful friendship? or imminent disaster?

I won’t lie: I have really enjoyed the “30 Paintings in 30 Days” challenge (even if I’ve only done about half of it.  I was a late beginner, after all).  It was a fantastic opportunity to force myself to get comfortable with paint, as quickly as possible.

And it worked!  Already, I can see a huge improvement in my painting over the last few weeks, and most of that can be attributed to the fact that the more confident I felt, the more I was willing to push myself.  Heck, I even tried my hand at oil painting (shocker!), and not only did my studio NOT spontaneously combust, but I also managed to churn out some pretty decent work.  High-fives all around!

BUT… there is one problem: all of the work I’ve done so far has been reproductions of images I’ve found on the internet.  To be fair, I never claimed that they were original images, and have always been careful to title them as “studies”, but still my conscience is not clear.  Someone else took the time to hire the model, the hairdresser and makeup artist, set up the lighting, rent the studio, develop the art direction, etc, etc.  I didn’t have anything to do with any of that.  All I did was say “Wow, I’d love to try painting that”, and then proceeded to do so.  Most of the artistic decisions were made by someone else.  In a way, this is just another variant of Fan Art, and I’ve already gone on at length about my problematic relationship with it.

Which means we’re right back at Square One: if I want to make completely original work, I need to photograph my own models.  I don’t have the monetary funds for that, so the next best thing is to cobble together a few choice images and hope that the result is harmonious (or at least, a mostly harmless Franken-picture, if you will).  Behold my first try (see above)!

And here’s where the fears and doubts come crashing in because now I’m the one making the artistic decisions.  My mind is constantly second-guessing, oh, just about everything, and I’m having a lot less fun.  I’m even dredging up some serious existential garbage from my subconscious, wondering “Is this what it means to be an artist?  Because, quite frankly, I don’t know if I have the strength of character to pull off a lifetime of these insecurities!”  Honestly, how does Rose Miller of Wolfgang and Rose make it look so easy? 

Just so we’re clear, I may have a few more meltdowns before this picture is done, but I promise to give it my best shot!

My Art Practice: A Wishlist

Image via Pinterest

Dear Universe,

I’m too old to believe in Santa Claus, but I’m also practically-minded enough that I’ll try just about anything if I’m desperate.

So in the spirit of The Secret, or the Law of Attraction, or even “If you build it, he will come”, I’ve put together this handy-dandy Advance Christmas Wish List for myself that the Universe can peruse at its leisure.  Please note that every item has been carefully chosen to help me build, and solidify, my art practice.

More time during the day to get more work done.  Failing that, an extra 10 months or so of winter would be an acceptable substitute as long as I can get more paintings out the door before my daughter finishes the school year and I have to spend the subsequent 9 weeks keeping her entertained until the beginning of the next school year.  I understand that this might not be agreeable to everyone, but if they are so inclined, they can write their own wish lists.

In order to avoid discovering NEW ships to fangirl over, do NOT let me see any movies for the next few years.  (No, I am STILL not over Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and NO, I still haven’t forgiven you)

Have all of my current favourite television programs turn to complete crap for an indefinite amount of time so that I am no longer driven to distraction by the latest episode of Game of Thrones, etc. and my “fave, problematic ships” and “otps” contained therein.

A way to remove my fears and doubts about my art (and my life!) from the sewage treatment center of my brain and convert them into something slightly less odious, such as scented bath crystals, or flavoured marshmallows.  (Think about it, Universe!  We could make a real killing, you and me…!)

Have a whole whack of young, cool, pretty people suddenly become my friend and be like “Oh yeah, sure, I’ll TOTALLY pose for your next painting.  Thank you for asking me!”.  If that’s too creepy (and yes, it sounds awfully creepy), then please forward me the money to pay said young, cool, pretty people to pose for me.  I would use myself as a model, but alas, I am no longer young, and while I used to be pretty, I have never, ever been cool…

Ditto for makeup artists, hairstylists, and vintage clothing collectors.

Disabuse me of the notion that I can make do with less.  If the work I want to create requires x, y, and z, then by golly, grant me the hutzpah to go out there and get it (or at least start asking around for help…very nicely).

That about sums it up, Universe.  I await your Order Confirmation e-mail with baited breath.