Day 3:
Art Comes from
Learning and Working


I received this email after yesterday's post on making choices. It was  helpful for me to read, and I think might be helpful for some of you, too.  I'll share my thoughts after you read it. 

I have reached the same fork in the road that you have - I am 52 and starting to realize all those things I wanted to make and all the wonderful things I have bought to make them are still sitting here.  I have a sewing room with fabric and everything else you could think of and I have a mixed media, collage room, with everything you can imagine.  I am very lucky (or I used to be  this economy is tightening our budget quite a bit), but I have enough stuff that I could make things the rest of my life and never have to buy another thing.  But all I continue to do is, buy more stuff, look at all the great things that other artists have made (I can spend hours doing that) and also reading their blogs and thinking I wish I could be like they are.  I am reaching a point where I am going to have to force my self to get started and when I say force, I don't mean it in a bad way, but I always sabatoge myself by thinking of a household chore or an errand to run and then I can get back home and make things, which never happens because by the time I get it done is when everyone starts getting home and I am busy with helping them and spending time with them and before I know it, it is time for bed and I still have not made one thing.  I am really mad at myself and have decided that I am following you, I am going to make different choices, I am going to take the time to nourish myself and put art in my routine - I have plenty of time to do it if I just start doing it.  I am asking myself what do I want to accomplish in the next 5 years and another big stop sign for me is not being good enough, but as you say I have to be fearless, that sounds so good to me - now if I can pull it off.  Making art has been my dream and I am going to start making that dream come true, with your encouragement of course.


I am here with you because I need to clean my slate too!!  Thanks for being brave and putting it out there because I totally understand where you are because I am in the same place my friend.

What you see online 
is someone's best foot forward.   

They are not showing you their disaster works or their failed experiments. Or their messy workrooms.  Usually they are showing you their best works and their workrooms on a day after major cleaning.  Here's a better side of my sewing room.  There, don't you feel better? 

  


Our Art Is Not In the Other Artist

When we look at other people's work we see them using wonderful things and we think, I want to do that, too.  And that's okay.  But what we are seeing them do is work after becoming very experienced with a medium.  We are not seeing their first work ever in that medium.   And you cannot expect that your first work with a particular medium is going to be wonderful.   

The magic is not what the other artist is doing.  The magic is when we take our unique point of view and we express it somehow. We don't want to make work that is a copy of someone else's.  We want to make work that gives us joy and hopefully interests other people, too.   


If I tried embossing copper my first try would look wildly different than Maureen White's work, who has been working with the medium for several years now and makes some stunning embossed metal pieces

 

Our Art Is Not in the Art Supplies

We think when we look at other people's work that it's the supplies that bring the magic.  If I buy the exact paint/glue/crackle/clay Artist X uses then I will be able to make great work, too.  But the magic is in the experience of using those supplies, and the way the artists have honed their use of the supplies to express their vision.   We are not seeing their first attempt! 

 Inktense pencils I bought  because  
Sandy Mastroni's work makes me smile.  
My first attempt was somewhat sad. 

Our Art Comes From Learning

Tools are tools, whether they cost $3 or $3,000.  It's what we do with them that makes magic.  It's US.  But we have to let ourselves be learners.That doesn't mean throw all your art supplies out.   But maybe it does mean limiting yourself to one medium for a while.   Pick the one that makes you feel most at home while working on it.   And let yourself really get to know that particular paint, clay, pencil, whatever you're using. Or even if it's really hard, the one that makes you feel best when you break from the day.  

Our Art Comes from Starting

Here's what I do sometimes (something I learned from Flylady) to get myself going.   I set a timer to get myself OFF the darn computer.   I let myself have x amount of time to check sites.  Then I set a timer to work for so many minutes.    When I go down to the creativity zone, I say, "Today I will make imperfect art."  There, I've let myself off the hook from the get-go.   Then I work for that amount of time.  Usually by that amount of time I'm engrossed and don't want to stop. 

There's a lot in your email - those of us who are parents have a lot on our plate keeping a home running.  And we are surrounded with our to-do list when we work at home.   Sometimes we hop on the computer to connect with the outside world.  It's wonderful.  But sometimes real life friends are just the ticket.  I would suggest finding some art buddies locally to "work out with" artistically.   ;-)  

Guess, what?
I still have to sort my supplies!  

Any thoughts from other artists?

"Do not let what you cannot do
keep you from doing what you can do."

John Wooden




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