Thursday, February 14, 2013
I know a local artist who makes her living selling $12,000.00 and up pieces of fabulous art. She once confided in me that she had branched out to other themes in her work, but that it was on the down-lo because she didn't want it to get out. Her collectors would not be happy. In secret and at night, she explores other areas to satisfy that itch we all get. I am not sure I could do that, but then money has never been a great motivator for me when it comes to art. Maybe if I had to make a living with my art I too would be far more selective. Maybe that's the secret.
I consider myself a part-time artist. I have a small home based business and sell my art online. But even if I didn't sell my work I would keep making it. It's not a choice for me. It's just part of who and what I am about. Since I was 10 and painted my first oil painting of my neighbors backyard garden, I was hopelessly hooked on making art. While raising my kids I crafted and sewed them clothes while they slept. I majored in art when I went to college. I even had a career as a package and label designer for the pharmaceutical industry for many years. Most of my personal and professional life has been about art making in some form.
Sometimes I wish I could de-clutter my brain and my studio and FOCUS on one area. Or even related mediums! There is a part of me that wants to give away all of my doll making and polymer clay making supplies. While I do enjoy both, at times I almost resent them as they take up a lot of time and space in my head, wallet and studio. And that old "Jack of all trades and master of none" keeps playing in my head.
If I were to eliminate and get to basics- it would be:
painting/drawing (watercolor, pastel, color pencil), collage and paper arts. Those are the three areas that have been true and long standing. They have survived the test of time.
The others, doll making, polymer clay, beading, etc ...those are the bunny paths that I discovered along the way and then fell down the rabbit hole. I got lost for a time in each of these. Of course I also managed to spend ridiculous amounts of money pursuing these rabbit-hole adventures. I have a packed studio as a result. But you see, the HUNT is so much of the fun of the bunny path adventures! Once I come back up out of the rabbit hole and look around my studio, I am often amazed at just how far I got lost. (In a good way). But then I go back to one of my basic art loves.
I go in a cycle. That, I have learned about my self. I tend to cycle around in a year: painting - collage - paper arts. I don't know what triggers each phase. I just find my brain moving on. Recently I've re-entered my painting phase and left the paper arts phase. I am now getting back into pastel painting. But this is also out of necessity, as I am going to France in May for a pastel painting workshop, and want practice technique before I get there.
As an artist, I am invariably asked, "What kind of art do you do?" My answer is always the same: "I do watercolors and mixed media collage". That seems to satisfy their curiosity and lets me be honest, to a point, as I could take an hour to answer that simple question!
The older I get, the simpler I want it all to be. I think this yearning to simplify comes from my knowledge that my time here is finite. I now understand that. I am tired of wasting my time.
I am now retired. I feel very blessed and lucky that I am able to just BE now. I want to focus on: family, art, cooking, travel and reading. I get frustrated with the online world of Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. There are days that I want to quit them all as they are huge time suckers. I've really pared back in all online presence. I just do the bare basics of checking in on each. But at night, I love to roam YouTube and watch art and cooking videos. That is my prime time activity. I roam with one ear plug while we watch TV. For me, it's like reading about what I am interested in.
It's all about choices. I feel a decision coming soon about lightening the load...