Monday, May 22, 2017

The Struggles of an Artist Part 2

A few years ago I had the opportunity to join some friends for a Continuing Education Ceramic course.  I jumped at it since I missed working with clay a lot.  It ended up being an eye opener for me.  What I learned through out the course was that I really didn't enjoy working with clay that much and I really don't enjoy working in 3-D.  It's difficult for me to take something and mold it into a decent and recognizable shape and it's rather crude looking.  Thus, I finally admitted to myself that ceramics isn't for me and is something I needed to let go of.

Also in about that same time frame a friend approached me about the possibility of commissioning an oil painting from me.  The biggest issue was where to do it and then I stumbled upon water based oil paints.  I looked into them and the general consensus was that they don't smell all that bad.  I thought about it some and then decided to give them a go.  They worked well and I was able to get the painting done.

I didn't do a lot of oil paintings over the few years I delved back into to it but I did do a few and with each one it slowly got less and less fun.  Also, some how the smell seemed to get worse and worse.  Then last year I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and even before that I was noticing how fatiguing the painting was for me. Netflix also got some Bob Ross to watch and him mentioning that if painting isn't fun, don't do it really resonated with me. So, after some thinking on it I decided I would do a few more and then call it quits with oils. It's a good thing since while I was working on them I noticed a pattern of our cat Odin puking a lot on the days I painted.

That decision to quit a medium that I thought I loved (and I know I did at one time) was one of the best I ever made.  I finished my last painting in February of this year and once I was done it's like this huge weight was gone. And suddenly the creative side broke out of whatever was holding it captive.

One of my new outlets ended up being this blog.  I mostly started it to get back into writing but another reason was to do monthly drawing diaries.  This idea was and is inspired by Ravanel because she does drawing diaries every month and I just love the thought.  Plus I've had a lot of fun looking at what she makes! She's also the one who led me to My Open Sketchbook and Tara Leaver.  I have found them to be inspiring as well.  My Open Sketchbook started streaming on Twitch which got me into watching streams.  I now have a few art streamers that I enjoy watching and I've been learning a lot too.  I continue with watching Mark Crilley on his YouTube channel as well.

Surrounding myself with other people who enjoy making art has helped incredibly with my wanting to make it myself.  Now almost every day I work on something art related.  If I have a day that I don't feel up to it, I take a break. It's almost a bit strange how I suddenly decided that I really wanted to make room for art in my life again.  I feel happier doing so and even if it never amounts to more than just making stuff that I don't sell, that's ok! It's enough to be enjoying it again.

I think I am better for having the struggles with art that I have though because it's helped me realize that there are times you just have to say no to something.  This is especially if you want to continue to enjoy making the pieces.  I still have my good days and not so good days but it doesn't bother me like it used to.  I just shrug it off, call it good for the day and come back tomorrow with a fresh perspective.

My biggest issue now is feeling overwhelmed by all the choices I have of what medium I could play with and what to make an image of.  I find these to be much happier problems though and I will welcome them unless it gets to a point where it's hurting me, i.e. I can't focus on anything.  If I find a particular medium to not be so fun, then I'll just not use it anymore.

Really it's all about asking myself questions every so often.  Ones like: is it fun? do I truly like how this medium acts?   And I'm sure I'll think of more the longer I go about this way of working.  All I know is that I want to be through with lying to myself and listening to what other people think I should use as a medium or what I should concentrate on. Well, that sounds harsher than I mean it to because I am most definitely open to hearing what others have to say if it's constructive and helps me grow.

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