Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Will Work For Peanuts or Not? A Self Portrait


My Goodness it's been ages (ten years?) since I made a self portrait. I think I drew a mustache on the last one and called it Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. ha ha. At any rate. I like this one better. It falls into both my miniature series and my box series (you see I'm forcing myself to limit the series I'm working on- to focus in on two directions. But not prone to leave anything out I sneakily combined some existing directions- don't tell anyone, okay?). Actually it is bigger as well- paint box sized, you know, not exactly miniature.

Its my grandmothers old painting box. And myself as steady Elephant- working for peanuts and wondering which direction to pursue. Should I paint Chinese clouds-cartoon elements in the realistic world- just as we often act like cartoon characters/2D animations in the everyday? Will this bring me my prosperity, my peanut rain? Or? And yes, I do often feel I'm painting with my nose for how clumsy my art can be.

If a fortune teller who was known for truthful telling read our cards and told you would would not succeed as an artist (or whatever it is you, my open minded reader, are working so hard on in life), would you continue to do it? What if she said you would eventually get by financially and emotionally on this path but never be entirely content and stuck with the choice for life? What if the alternative would mean you would have to change a lot and still would not guarantee you happiness and/or success? What would you choose?
Would you continue on your path even if you would never rise past average?
Seriously, I want to know. so please comment.

And in case you were saying to yourself, 'Hey! I thought this blog was about painting while parenting!' I'll have you know I typed this blog all one handed while my other hand has slowly fallen asleep cradling a deeply sleeping almost 3 year old boy. We steal our moments. Or we just get really good at multi-tasking.


  1. I came to taking hammer to steel so late in my career-life that I can easily imagine a fortune teller saying just that. It would not stop me, though. Any blacksmith will tell you that they don't do it for "success," they do it because they have to.

    As for happiness... anyone who guarantees me happiness must be selling something. If I truly believed that tragedy would befall me and mine if I continued smithing, I would have to seriously consider retiring. But happiness is made inside each of us, so knowing the uncertainties of our respective lives, I would have to continue taking up the hammer. And the pen.

    Lastly I'll say change is good. Change is valuable. Fear, loss, struggle... all valuable. As an artist, it's all fodder for passion. I've always been in flux. A little more stability would be nice, but comfort dulls creativity.

  2. Anonymous1/09/2010

    I must say you are very talented. I am not an artist, but like to dabble in crafts. Stumbled on your site.

    I believe there are many things (and beings) that contribute to who we are and where we are in life. Thus, it is hard for me to say what path I would've chosen if a fortune teller had told me these truths. Especially, when I realize in fact, that people close to me were probably telling me these fortunes and I still chose to continue on another path at times.

    One of the nice thing about being over hmm, a half century in years, is learning and rediscovering that average is ok, even though I have to remind myself this about once a week. Above average can be great, but that person has some far different to offer the world than, my "humble" average self does.

    Many wishes for your continued enjoyment in life.

  3. May I suggest that you claim "misdeal" and ask for another Tarot throw down? Maybe you need a new reader!

    You growing collection of works may not be currently bringing in "the peanuts", but whoa to the dough that is sure to come in the future when you get a full show. To borrow a real estate term, you are building equity in your art right now. It's an asset. It will pay off one day!

    It's kind of nice that you can focus on the fun end of art (producing) while mothering. Later, when it works for your family, you can focus again on the sales lady and networking end. By then, you'll have quite a lot to show. I know I'll be there when you do!

  4. I think my answers to your questions are always predictable but I still rise to the bait every single time. I have had a few tarot readings by my mom and my close friend Riana, both of whom I consider to be very good at reading the cards. I don't believe in actual fortune telling but every tarot reading I've had has clearly indicated that I will never make much money, period. It is almost as though the universe is trying to scream the message to me through the cards: FORGET ABOUT MONEY BECAUSE YOU WILL NEVER HAVE A LOT OF IT. YOU WILL NEVER GET RICH.

    I have come to accept that the chances of me making lots of money with my writing is not my lot- do I still do it? As wise Mark said above, I write because I absolutely have to. There is no other path. I may choose to do many things in my life and try many different activities but they all funnel right back to the writing. If I stopped writing every day I would slowly wither and I am not actually kidding when I say that I would die.

    I hope to get my novel published. I hope to continue to reach people through my blog who need what I have to say. I am content that I have sometimes made people laugh out loud and other times I have been the lifeline to people in tremendous pain and helped them hang on because of the integrity of my writing. That is the value in my work.

    I have told you many times that I don't believe you can ever stop the flow of art. I believe you have to paint. I think your work is beautiful and unique and I think you should let go of the idea that it isn't a valuable path unless it makes money. I know you've been going through tight financial times for a long time so you do have to think about making money but don't let the need to make money change your work.

    If you have to make money, get a part time job just as long as you need it. But always paint what comes to you, don't paint what you think might make money. I think you torture yourself constantly with this.

    Your friend Holly has also spoken wisely in saying that you are building up equity in your art.