Some artists choose a word or phrase to help guide them through the year. So sure, they have a goals list but they also have a way they want to look at the big picture. I came upon this idea a few years ago and it never quite resonated until this year.
This year: Focused Abandon
One of my goals for this spring and summer is to build up a catalog of flower reference photos. Since I’ve started painting flowers, I’ve found some good free resources (both in copyright and monetary terms) for references but I learn so much when I spend time with the flowers themselves.
Photos lie or at least can play some serous tricks. Spending time in the same room as the flowers helps me understand how everything is put together so that when I do go back to my references, I can translate what I’m seeing.
In January and February, I painted every day. Seven days a week. Evenings and weekends. I worked ahead very little and at some point each day, I went into my studio and sat down to paint.
And it burned me out. Wait, that’s now what I‘m suppose to say. I’m suppose to say I discovered myself and grew as an artist. And yes, these past few months have also been powerful on the growth front.
But daily painting: When do you do the dishes?
Now without too much trepidation, I call myself an artist. Not big A not small a, just artist. It’s a good realization because it hasn’t always been that way. For most it isn’t. Not many people open their eyes to this world and proclaim, “I am an artist!” It’s a journey each of us takes, often slowly, quietly and internally.
For the first time in my art life, I feel comfortable in the eddy of Getting Better. Not working toward anything but just spending my days drifting through subject matter and slowly improving my skills. For the first time in my art life, I’m starting to see cause and effect. Spend a month focused on flowers. Start really frustrated and then get better. Weird, right?