It’s been a long time since my last post, but I’m finally ready to start posting and sharing this year. Since this is my first entry of 2013 and it’s been so long since I last wrote, I thought I’d make this a more personal entry and take the time to get you caught up to speed with what’s going on with me. It’s ’bout to get real.
I still miss my little friend. “Puddin” 05/1997-10/2012
The reason it’s been so long since my last entry was that I made a sudden decision back in November to move from the east coast to the west coast. With my cat passing away in October 2012, the hustle and bustle of the holidays, back to back trips around the country including a stop at Art Basel 2012 in December, and the exhausting tasks of preparing for a long-distance move, blogging was the last thing on my mind for the last few months. I had been wanting to make a move out west for a while and finally started saving up last year, but even when circumstances had cleared up for me to move I was still reluctant to pull the trigger for many reasons. Too many to get into in this post so you’ll have to ask me yourself! The increasing feelings of stagnancy, disappointment, and being uninspired became the main catalysts to making this move. So in mid-January I finally jumped that sinking ship and moved from the DC/MD/VA area to Reno, Nevada. Definitely wasn’t my first choice, I must admit! But basically I was able to make a job transfer so Reno was a compromise I had to make just to get the hell outta there at that point. Probably the most impulsive decision I made in a long time, but I was steadily feeling out of place where I was so this needed to happen. When it came down to it, I was more than ready to go. The move was low-risk but high-change and even though that plan wasn’t really what I envisioned, ultimately it was the right balance for me.
Here’s a chunk of my life, didn’t seem like a lot once it all arrived to the new place.
The first month or so was difficult! This is a new kind of isolation that I’m feeling. Continue reading
I had to miss my painting class last week, so that why I didn’t have any follow-up pictures lately. I’m getting ready to go to class this morning, and I have to admit, I’m dragging! Not because I don’t want to go, but because I’m just tired in general from working a lot of longer hours at my 9 to 5 for the last month and a half (and counting). Right about here is where I usually give myself an excuse to punk out, and not do anything at all. But I’m going to push through it, get up, put on some scrappy clothes to paint in, and continue on.
How do I do that when clearly I would rather spend more blissful hours in my bed? I defer back to my main motivation for doing this: to do good work and get better, so I can then do good work for others. That desire has to be the priority for me, at least stronger than staying in bed for 3 or 4 more hours on a Saturday morning (which probably would’ve been followed by more excuses to not do anything art related).
I share this string of thought, in hopes that you may think about what your motivations are at your core – it doesn’t even have to be art-related, sometimes we have to check in with what motivates us in life! Are you driven by something that you hold near and dear to yourself, or do you mostly make up excuses and let others influence you? What will you sacrifice for that personal creed? Do you even know what’s truly important to you? Either way, I’m in the struggle with you. This post is as much for myself as it is for the person who’s been meaning to start that project they’ve been wanting to get around to for so long. The bed will still be there when you’re done!
Since I started having to be held accountable for homework assignments for my portrait painting class with The Art League, I’ve found that I really have no excuse for not painting more often. In my mind, I couldn’t paint more because I didn’t have enough space or the right lighting, or enough time, blah blah [Insert procrastination reason here]. So many of us make up excuses to put off a lot of things we keep “meaning to do”. Why is that? For me, I’m now starting to believe that the root of my excuses about not painting is the fear of actually starting the task. Once I get going though, it’s all over.
This string of thoughts, and the fact that I want to take my class seriously and DO the homework assigned, inspired me to do a post about making art with limited space and/or resources. Because let’s face it, so many of us out there that want to work on creating masterpieces probably don’t have the funds to rent studio space or build such a space at home. I live with my mom in a 2 bedroom condo, so I damn sure thought I wasn’t going to have the space to be creating much of anything. Boy was I wrong. Turns out, just like in life, when you want to do something, you just find a way to do it. Period. It may not happen right way, or it may not be the most pleasant experience, but you somehow get yourself down that path you want to take. Wanting it just isn’t enough after a while.
There isn’t a whole lot of room, but I have been able to to turn the dining space into a makeshift studio of sorts. Now I really have no excuse not to be more productive in some way. Here are some pictures of me completing my first homework assignment for class, which also happened to be the first time I set up the dining room space as my “studio”:
That’s my “Welp, I guess I’m painting” face.
My wimpy still life setup…but hey, it worked!
Another view of my painting space
This was truly a humbling experience. It only makes me wonder about all the other things we tell ourselves we can’t do, when we actually really WANT to do it! The only thing in your way, is you.
From the Cartoon Motivators blog
Lately I’ve been feeling a bit overwhelmed by all of the things that I want to do. I’m always in my head, sticking and moving from one thought or idea to another. The last few weeks have been an intense period of introspection for me, as I’ve been trying to figure out my goals and intentions as an artist. Honestly I think I have been pondering and planning for years, I need to do more action. How long have I been saying that? How long have YOU been saying that to yourself about something you’ve been wanting to do? I think we can agree that we aren’t getting any younger, and we’re probably already at the point to do SOMEthing, even if that means focusing on developing our skills.
So what stops us? Fear, doubt? An external source? Personally, I do suffer from a lack of confidence and fear sometimes. But I’m not exactly scared of failing, I’m scared of doing well. Sounds pretty dumb, I know, but it’s true. At the same time though, there is a certain fear of NOT living up to my potential too so you can imagine the internal struggles that may go on. However, I found a little nugget of encouragement that I thought was worth sharing. Thanks to a wonderful and informative blog called Artsy Shark, we are given a few reminders to help get over the doubt that we sometimes face as artists.
Keep these five things in mind the next time you suffer a lack of confidence in your art career:
- You are your own best advocate. Even if you hire people to do your promotion and marketing, you alone are the most passionate about your success. Use this drive to speak about yourself and your work proudly. If you have trouble putting your thoughts into words, work on a written summary of your business which is a sentence or two long. Practice this until you are clear that you can quickly recall it. This is called an “elevator speech” because it is short enough to be spoken during an elevator ride. Use it during conversations with people you meet – you never know who could be your next great contact!
- Success breeds success. Once you get a few sales or shows under your belt, things come more easily. Getting out of the starting gate can be tough and take a toll on the ego, especially when you are faced with rejection. Don’t give up on pursuing the ice-breaker which will help you get a foothold and build your confidence and your business.
- Attitude is everything. Think and act successfully. This doesn’t mean that you aren’t being honest; it means that you believe you are an artist with talent who is working on a career in your field. Give yourself credit for all your efforts. Be kind to yourself and cultivate friends who also believe in you.
- There is support for you. I speak with experts all the time who are decision-makers and have the power to advance the careers of artists. Despite seeming heartless to those who are rejected, many of these people have gone out of their way to express how they wish to support and encourage artists. Quite a few of them have been in your shoes. Even though they may not choose your work because it doesn’t fit their needs at the time, don’t take it personally.
- Don’t give up. I firmly believe the most important characteristic for an artist to have is Persistence. Learn from your mistakes, raise the bar on your quality, improve your efforts. And continue to pursue opportunities. They will come.
Today this post was for me just as much as I intended it for you readers out there. Reread these tips or print them out if you have to! I plan to use them to help me turn my energy towards being more productive and encouraged.
I pulled this picture from my friend’s creative blog. It spoke volumes to me because I think as artists we have to keep ourselves motivated and encouraged. Number 33 was written for me! haha