I painted all day yesterday, final touchups on a couple of paintings and then sketching ideas for new paintings. Don’t know why I’m thinking about new ones when I have so many to finish…
I’m trying to get myself back to enjoying painting instead of anticipating a buyer or show. That takes away from the joy of just painting for the sake of creating for me. While I’m actually painting, I’m in total bliss. But before and after? Not so much. Not like it was before I started selling. Sometime ago I figured out that pressure that I put on myself – insecurity about my paintings – needing others to like my paintings – sellable? gallery-able? was a big part of the reason that I stopped painting for so many years.
Some of my paintings were used in Portland Street of Dreams in the 80’s which precipitated a pretty unexpected success in selling my art and hundreds of prints. I had been selling regularly at a hospital where I worked but the Street of Dreams experience raised pressure to paint to a whole new level. Ultimately, it became such a drain that I quit painting. For 20 some years! I dabbled once in a rare while but don’t think I ever finished a painting during those years. I do know that I got side tracked with my sales years ago – felt stuck in doing the kind of art that sold in the same way as always so that it would sell. After the initial excitement of being in such demand lost it’s glow and became pressure, I felt trapped and bored – in a way.
I realized this morning that I’m still in that mind set – insecurity and pressure. I have myself so confused and pressured about what I want to paint to add to a collection for a gallery – children series, southwest series, seascapes, landscapes…. I’m like a fart in a frying pan!!!
A couple of years ago I started painting again. A little. About a year ago, I started painting more and now I’m obsessed with it again. But I find I’m struggling with me. I want to have a distinctive style – whatever it turns out to be. Some others say they see it but I don’t. Right now when I look at my different sets of paintings, they look like they’re done by different artists – my children series is one style, southwest another, seascapes are different yet and way more realistic than I like although I really get high on some aspects of realism in all my paintings, especially seascapes.
If I’m truly painting from in my artistic “center” will I see my style as consistent? No matter what I paint? I don’t know. And then again, maybe I just need to accept that right now I enjoy doing different styles and have different series to express those styles. I need to explore that. Acceptance?
I do know that this artist thing is kind of a torment for me. Pressure – to paint, to sell, to hang, to be part of, is my art good enough? For pity sake – Am I good enough? Do I want to be alone today and paint? My internal battle begins. Most days it takes a lot of self-discipline to get started. Once I do, I’m glad. It clears my mind – no stress. It’s my meditation and prayer time. Fortunately I’m more a loner than not – so art suits me. But I find myself feeling very separated from life and feel like I’m coming up gasping for air. I need family, a friend, laughter, fun. I have an intensely deep need to for both.
Today I’m going to paint for the fun of it and to express my creativity and consciously put all of “those” pressures out of my mind. I am going to practice not caring what anyone thinks about my art. It’s mine and if I like it, that’s all that matters. It’s my baby and I’m gonna love it. If it turns out to be something, then great. If it doesn’t, it was my expression for the moment. I had fun doing it. If not, I can always paint over…
Hmmm. Am I really that brave?
Of course I am!
It gives me joy and freedom just thinking about it!