Tuesday, May 15, 2007

May 15th - Tuesday - Maidstone England

Ideas about Me and Art
(Written on a plane to London, May 14th)

I have always been fascinated by creative people; artists, performers, singers, , and have been fascinated by people who could bring a drawing to life with a few flicks of a pencil, I have spent my life surrounding myself with artistic friends, married an artist, love to go to see other peoples work but aside from one or two classes in high school and college, have never studied art in any serious manner. Okay – that’s the background. I am/was the scientist surrounded by talented artistic friends.

About a year and some bit ago, something bit into me and the urge to create struck. I like to think that it was the joint effort of two of my dear departed girlfriends, talented artists themselves, poking at me from beyond and deciding that if I wouldn't draw or paint, then they would make me do it somehow. So I started making “memory boxes” for friends, and started learning about color and paper and glue and working with different materials. I gave some boxes to friends, sold some at the church fair. I started making decorated cigar boxes. But the desire to work with other materials began to bubble up and I started reading about other peoples art work, reading instructions on web sites, bought instructional DVD’s. My poor husband is continually bugged about techniques for watercolor, or pastels, and what in heavens name is underpainting? And perspective – what the hell is that all about?? I’ll copy paintings, using whatever I have handy at the time, copy techniques, copy and learn. The more I do, the more I realize that I know nothing – but will keep plugging away learning new things every day. Sometimes it’s collage, sometimes it’s watercolor, sometimes acrylics, sometimes sewing or quilting. In my studio there is no favorite medium yet, no specific technique, nothing dominates. And I like it that way. I like to try new things as I see them, try new mediums. I like not being defined or pigeonholed in any way, and not having my ego bounded up in completing a specific piece in a specific medium. Some of my stuff is good and interesting, and some is trite and cliché – and I don’t give a damn. I have no issue with showing anyone anything that I have made, for some reason I don’t really care at all if anyone likes my stuff or not. It’s such a great feeling.

Right now I am learning to think in layers – which I have realized its one key to an interesting piece. I have to teach myself to slow down, learn to start at the bottom and keep adding layers. I have to learn to SEE and not let my scientist brain tell me that “the sky is blue”. Maybe I need the sky to be pink for this piece? I really struggle with anything aside from primary colors, and it is very hard for me to understand the differences between tone and value. I have to learn composition and not “having the eye wander off the page” (what the heck is that about??). I think that my eyes don’t see the same colors as other people do, it is REALLY hard for me to see subtle differences in color.

Self taught? I am self teaching and can see where this process will take many many years! This is one reason that I realized that I had to pack up my basement studio and redo the space – now is the time to reorganize and set myself up to have fun, yet be efficient and have fun.
I have so much respect for people who make their living from art – they constantly have to market themselves and put themselves out on a limb emotionally. I read the web blogs of artists who are just exhausted from juggling teaching, marketing, taking commissions, advertising…they just seem to put out over and over again.

I will never be able have that flick of the hand talent that I have always admired,but have realized that’s OK. If I can understand how not to make mud color when I mix paints I’ll feel well rewarded.


beki said...

Best of luck on your creative endeavors. You've already conquored by biggest hurdle, which is having the guts to try.

Auntie Mim said...

I can't figure out how to reply to beki by email, but hope she reads this again so that i can thank her for her kind words,