Thursday, August 12, 2010

painting clouds

Illinois happens to be a wonderful place to study clouds. Thunder heads collect in stacks and crowd around each other for miles towards the heavens. Great cotton ball puffs, with such wondrous dimensions, shadows in the crevices of so many shades of blue and a curiousness of childlike fantasy that never escapes me.

I recently met a man who is at some grand level of chess master. He told me that to become an expert master at anything, one must log 10,000 hours of practicing this thing before a master level can be reached. Now considering all factors involved that night....beers on his part and exhaustion on mine, I thought about this idea for awhile and it followed me home, took up residence in my mind and has yet to move out. What I keep wondering is how many hours of art/drawing/painting/sketchy doodling/projects of creation/etc. have I logged throughout my life time? Will I ever reach an expert level of artistic talent? Does this same idea apply to talent? Maybe this is what Herb meant when he said after 30 years I would get there. The thing about this idea that captures me is that is makes me want to strive to reach this 10,000 hour mark of effort put into my art. I want to have 30 years of experience to look back on and say that I, Me! I did that. It is the process that I am always in love with. The feeling while creating that is ever so addictive. If it is the process that I love and not so much the result that I focus on, then I should not be detoured from myself ... I am what holds me back 90% of the time. It is a strange form of masochism that I put myself through, denying myself the pleasure of artistic productivity and the enjoyment of fulfilling my own creative needs. I wonder if this is another common affliction of the creative beings world wide. I feel I have been doing this with holding of happy creativeness from myself my whole life. It starts as procrastination... then slowly convincing me that I have a type of writer's block for any ideas on what to make, and then a sort of guilt is followed. Usually the guilt is something about what "needs" to be done versus my free time allowed to create is not as important. I seem to prioritize my way out of the studio and into boring adult tasks of mundane responsibility. Then there are things like convincing yourself you need a break from already extended break and the couch shows, movies, shows...they all compete for my attention and I gladly submit. Naps are a big problem for in I take to many for too long and feel too sleepy after waking up to really do anything. ALL of these reasons and I have not even mentioned the self doubt factor of "am I wasting my money on materials?" ..."will this ever sell?"..."am I even good? or original at all... who likes this, HONESTLY????"
Now I can't complain anymore. I just need to talk my self down from the ledge of artistic suicide, which is giving up. Even if I am terribly awful and talent has left me...I must keep trying. I feel that every medium of talent and every person in a creative pursuit has this moment of doubt. I am not alone here... supreme confidence seems ungraspable in this profession....right?

*Inspire me world, I dare you*

So in a diligent effort to learn more and stay with the art world I have been reading up on my favorite movement - Surrealism. The book "The Surrealists" written by Laura Thomson, an art history professor at the University of Sussex is what I am studying at the moment. It is a look at the specific works from well-known and not so well-know surrealist artists. A breakdown of each piece is given to explain surrealism as a whole. After reading "A Moveable Feast," "Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass," and then "A farewell to Arms" all with the last two months, I feel that I am perpetually stuck in the early nineteen hundreds. I have discovered time travel...
Now with Surrealism and I seeing art in that time. Of course I already covered some material from this time in college (Art History BA, after all). But since it is my favorite, I am rather enjoying covering old and new material. Sounds cliche I am sure, but I have to say that Dali is my favorite. I also love Miro and Ernst. And I feel their last names should be their first names instead...they fit better.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

not so into updates

Been a rather neglectful blogger... not there are many of you who would notice. Out of commission in June and some of July. Recovering has been a drawn out process that I am still dealing with. I have almost finished a painting that will be sent home to Oregon this month. It is about a message in the clouds (pics to be posted when ready).
Note to self: when bored online avoid shopping and blog instead. Saves money and clears head.

A new purchase I recently made for the betterment of my career ... 8 little brushes and 4 tubes of oil paint and varied sizes of canvas...the thin kind without wooden frames. Not sure how these canvases should affect the price of the piece of art or what it will say about the integrity/quality of my work. Anyone who knows better, please fill me in.

Now that I live in Bloomington Illinois I have been trying to involve myself in the local art scene. I have stumbled upon some small galleries that I find interesting and hopeful. I met a local artist, Herb Eaton...who has given me some advice that I really took to heart. Paraphrasing to the best of my memory...

* stay local, with your roots and community - they will help your career as an artist

* as a young artist everything is fresh, you are still thinking the way professors want/taught you to don't know any better. You have to live and experience for your art to grow.

*people need us (artists). The economy may be horrible and maybe nobody will buy your work, but they need to see it.

* Humans have been creating art since always... we have never evolved away from creation therefore it must be essential to our survival.

* After 30 years ... you will get there.

A note to the economy and those who would rather spend money on fleeting enjoyment a piece of art will stay with you and those who look upon it for as long as you want. Art hanging in your home is a gift for you and anyone who enters. It does not spoil, end or become just a memory.

And to say the least art will make its come back.... a little proof
A childhood friend recently bought my painting, Dreaming and I commend him for spending his hard earned cash on my efforts rather than spend it on the usual purchase that the average 23 year old male would make.

...UPS guy must be here...
And I was right. New books have arrived. Yes folks, I have traded in the remote for bound paper strewn with text. I have become my very own book club. It is going quite well I might add. Since the middle of July I became ravenous for books. Now, my whole life I have always loved to read, but it was not until this summer (a year after graduating from Oregon State University) that I realized I am free to read anything and not feel guilty that I was not studying for some class. Text books are a thing of my past now. I am not sure when I was in need of a year long break from books... though I read Jack London's The Call of the Wild last summer when I got my puppy (Lucia my husky). It seemed to be an appropriate choice and was much more interesting than any puppy training book I had bought.
I would like to have a list of every book I have ever read. It may be possible to recall most of them over time, but I am sure to forget some. Perhaps I should just start with what I have read recently and put whatever comes to mind on the list...May it be long and respectable.
I must call myself a book "snob" because I am biased. I know this. I prefer to read literature that falls into the "classics" category or buzz worthy newer novels that are probably going to be or are already movies. Except Twilight... and the average reader of that series that happens to be over 18 has told me that I am not missing anything.
I picked up the Modern Library's 100 Best Novels of the 20th Century list at my favorite book store, Powell's, which is located in the ever so lovely (and dearly missed) downtown Portland.
From this list I have read so far...
The Catcher in the Rye
A Clockwork Orange
A Farewell to Arms
The Call of the Wild
The Grapes of Wrath
Animal Farm
The Sun Also Rises

Not a lot considering there are a 100, but I am making my way through it. I might not read all the books due to a lack of interest in the novel itself but I may read another title by the authors from the list.
I love Hemingway and I have declared this to be my summer of Hemingway. I started with A Moveable Feast, (took a break to read Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland and Through the looking glass) and then read The Sun Also Rises, and A Farewell to Arms. I plan to read For Whom the Bell Tolls and Old Man and the Sea after a little break from Ernest to read Eat, Pray, Love. Before the movie comes out this Friday. 4 days... I should be fine.
My other reading choices for this year are -

Vonnegut: armageddon in retrospect, slaughterhouse-five (top 100)

Dickens: oliver twist, a christmas carol, a tale of two cities, great expectations and the personal history of david copperfield

C.S. Lewis: chronicles of narnia

Gregory Maguire: wicked, son of a witch, and a lion among men

Ken Kesey: one flew over the cuckoo's nest

William Golding: lord of the flies (top 100)

Aldous Huxley: brave new world (top 100)

Fitzgerald: the great gatsby (top 100)

Joseph Heller: catch-22 (top 100)
and all of those books should keep me busy for some time. Anyone want to join my little book club...?

New Loves after my near death experience... (more on that some other promises).
Peanut butter on graham crackers (use to hate peanut butter - texture issue).
Dark chocolate
Old country: Dottie West especially
Taken a mournful yet respected interest in my Native American heritage (I am a certified member of the Choctaw tribe. I even have and ID card).
Reading (which we already discussed).
Eggs... more or less.
A renewed love for my faith and those who help me to appreciate God in the everyday.

So this is what happens when you have months of backed-up blogging to get out. (this is the end note...I swear).
A special thanks to my sweet, loving mother...who has always been there for me and will always do so for the rest of time. I cannot describe my endless need for her compassion, intelligence and power. I pray that I never forget her lessons.
And to the most wonderful man in my life. You stand by me through it all and stay strong for me. Without you I would be so lost. You are my everything and I love you more than I can ever explain. I am forever grateful for fate, for love and for patience. We are so lucky.