Thursday, July 23, 2009

Why Be A Professional Artist? and Summer With a Toddler

What a strange profession I am in! Is there any other carreer or job besides being an artist that one works in because its the only way one has any time to do it? Most artists love their work. I sure love to create things. But I can't help wondering, How the heck did I end up an artist? And why?

Being an artist is almost always a really a lousy career. Few people are very successful at it financially. I know of a few, and amongst those few at least half feel they have sold out, or aren't really doing what they want to do. I suppose if one can make it work it's pretty priceless. And how does one go about becoming a 'sucessful' professional artist? Should I hire my own business manager like Schnabel? Should I tote bad reproductions of my work to all the galleries on the west coast? Should I go back to full time illustration and make someones images in a two week turnaround? Should I get a desk job and paint two nights a week and on the weekend? Should I take on any job that uses any sort of creativity? Should I move to New York? Should I scale down my paintings and and sell prints on Etsy? (actually I plan to open an Etsy shop soon for selling prints, as well as toting my bad reproductions down to LA where I think I'd have more luck matching my art to a welcoming gallery but why why why?).

Why? Why do we do it? Is there nothing else I'm good at? I don't remember being 5 years old and saying "I want to be an artist". I guess we just paint and paint and paint and eventually start to sell the paintings because they are piling up in the garage/bedroom/livingroom/shed, and after all, eating is nice, as is buying more art supplies to support this habit.

Some guy from Freecycle wrote to ask me why my handle (on Freecycle) was ArtWithoutReason. I think I scared him because he never responded to the somewhat lengthy account I gave as a reason. But seriously- there is enough art in this world. California is up to her pretty neck in artists! They are like a poor plauge on this coast. And beauty? There is enough beauty in the world- the world itself is amazingly beautiful. And my 'vision'? Is it so necessary to add another persons ideas or outlook or vision to the world? Has art ever REaaLLy had an impact? Changed peoples way of seeing for the better? Should I do somehing just because I do it well or even better than some other people?

So why the heck be a professional artist? What do you think?

While you are considering this question please enjoy these completely unrelated photographs of summer with a toddler.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

General Quail, Another Miniature Painting

Here you are my revered readers- another miniature painting.
This series is so impractical. So much little detail in such a small piece! But I'm strangely entertained by these odd little animal people of the past. I strayed a bit on General Quail, giving him his clover background instead of the more traditional curtains or what have you. Though, when I taught the history of Elizabethan Miniature painting I loved best the symbolism some artists worked into the background. I recall flames and rose vines. All suggesting burning desire and etc etc. So perhaps this skinny necked General is looking for his lucky clover? Or perhaps just looking to eat the bug that ate the leaf.
This one will hang by a ribbon bow, traditional style, attached to the back.

I've just drawn today a Miniature Squirrel Nobel Lady. Very Ornate. Never will you meet more regal a squirrel ("I want a trained squirrel!"). Coming soon to a blog near you!

Benjamin is in summer school in the mornings and yet somehow I am getting LESS done when he is gone, still trailed by the grasping hands of young Phineas. I hope this is not a foreshadowing of my [lack of] activities during kindergarten. Still I must remind myself daily to spend some time with my older son while I still have him, mostly, to myself. So today with an odd overlap of daycare I was able to play Candyland with Ben for a precious untoddlerated hour.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

New Show Date Change

Just a quick note to let you know that the opening for the show at the Pallete Gallery in Healdsburg that Ill be participating in has been change to August 29th. The show will run for six weeks.

Letting Go of the Original Vision


4'X2' Letting Go

The balloons were tied to my clothes line for a week. I took so many photos of them out in the sun I near on got sun stroke. From sun stroke to brush stroke. Sounds like the title of an article in Weekend Artists magazine. Originally and until a couple days ago the balloons were multi-colored. I just couldn't balance all that brightness. Finally I realized they needed to be all white to blend with the sky and I had to let go of that original vision. But what a fabulous example of how layering can really add dimension and enhance the finished piece. I think if there hadn't been a bright orange, celadon blue, and grass green balloon in the mix it never would have glowed like this final painting.

I've never painted clouds before (or balloons) on such a scale and it was quite challenging and fun. I held Benjamins hand in the air and sketched it directly onto the painting. His little fingers flexed and rolled and straightened alien long but the final, I think, worked out so all is well. Thank goodness the boys don't mind being free models. (okay perhaps there was a promise of ice cream).

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Life Isn't Fair


Well, the tempest of creative energy that hit me finally moved away to more temperate studios. I have nothing to show from the last week save two alllmost finished pieces and a few not so finished ones. Why these waves of energy? I know women who have four children and throw enormous block parties and go dancing on the weekend and sleep six hours or less a night, and don't tire or get sick. I shit you not. How the hell do they do it? Why are they so blessed with energizer bunny like attributes while I come to the end of the roller coaster ride and crash for two weeks? And of course it's these crazy frenatic ladies who bear eighty children and populate the planet with MORE perma-charged children, and I am left in their wake.

I always over-do it. Then I burn out. Then my annoying chronic condition flares up and my body says, "laundry? hell no! Painting? uh-uh. Sit on the couch and stare out the window while small children climb mount Mommy, puncturing your ribs with their pointy apendages? You bet!". So while the desire to paint is making my brain spin I have to still my self. (my more zen like, less gripey self might say something meaningful like- these periods of so called calm are when I imagine up my next series of paintings, when my creative self refreshes, but Im not feeling so pleasent as all that right now).

And people say- ohhh- young children are just so wearing-just wait until they are in school. My mother is one such person who says this. But at my age she raised my brother and I while working on her PhD disertation while taking care of a ranch full of animals while working a part time job while cooking and housekeeping for my rather traditional father. Of course NOW she can't babysit Phineas and Benjamin for more than two hours without collapsing, exhausted, and rushing home. So I guess she just delayed burn out. Maybe the mom of four, who, by the way, is also a part time nurse (yeash) will also burn out someday. And why does frenetic nurse lady get the parents who can't WAIT to take the grandkids for a weekend, hell a whole week!

It's just not fair. I really hate it when life isn't fair. It really gets my goat.