IntrepidWoman's Journey

Creating Art is Your Job . . .

Posted on: October 3, 2010

I learned this today – creating art is an artist’s job. You go to work and you do it. You share your life experiences through your work and you do not critique it during the process. If you paint a picture of a pear and it is ‘nice’, paint a second and third picture of the pear. Decide what you want to say – is it only that the pear is ‘nice’?

Your process is to share how you feel about the pear and how you want people to react to the pear. Every image that you create is an expression and extension of your life. None of it is ‘bad’. None of it should be thrown away. It is a part of you. If it does not relate what you are trying to say, then keep going. Do it again. Do it from a different point of view. Climb up high and look down on it. Get down low and look up. Move in close. Move in so close that it is intrusive. The pear might not like it but the art that results will be worth it.

Finish your process before you share with others. Do not show your work when you have only done one. Wait until you have explored your theme for some time and then share. You can then receive the opinion of others which is necessary, even if you don’t agree with it. At least you will find out if the viewer is feeling what you were trying to express. If they are not, then go back to the process and begin again. It is your job to create. It is your job to communicate how you feel.

What is the goal of the artist? To create a “pretty” landscape?  To make the same image over and over because it sells? Every piece of art – painting, sculpture, ceramic pot, stained glass window, piece of jewelry – is a product of the artist’s life experience. Each artist has something different to say because their life experience is unique. But are they saying it or just going through the motions to produce a product, following a technique? Are they trying to produce what they think will sell?

If it is hard to start, you must ask yourself some questions. What do I want to draw? What do I want to say? Why? If the sun’s glow reflected on the apple in the bowl on the butcher block moves me, how do I express and share this?  The journey begins in the how. How do I express what is in me and what I want to share with others?

Find the time, make the time to do your job. Have a place to work. Go there at a scheduled time and do your job.

Keep a sketch journal. Draw with pencils, charcoal, watercolors, but keep drawing in your journal. Sketch when you are waiting in a doctor’s reception room. Draw when you are riding the bus to work. Draw while watching your son at hockey practice. Keep the flow going. Even if you have a busy life, and everyone does, honor your commitments to family and job, but honor your artistic expression as well.

Once shared, it is okay if others do not agree or can not see what you expected them to see, but the journey has begun. If others are not seeing the emotion in the work, then find new ways to express the emotion. Keep the journey going. Keep drawing and keep your sketches because they are the story of your daily journey. They become your journal of your life. Those quick sketches can lead into a series of paintings or sculptures as you push the edges up and out. Create for you. (Everyone might not see what you intended, but if one person reacts to your work, you have succeeded. My opinion – not learned today, but earlier in life.)

Our speaker today, a working artist who has been at her job of doing art for over 40 years has done so successfully because her busy life full of people and events, changes and growing and expressing all this.  She shared this at a workshop with a room full of artists and I think her passion and honesty struck a chord in most everyone there.

For me, it was an ‘aha moment’.  Today I learned that every time I express myself with paint, pen, pastels, paper, etc. it does not have to be perfect. It is a process and my perfection is in the process and keeping it going. The teacher in me does not have to stop along the way and critique what I do. The rules do not have to be adhered to religiously. The rules are there. They should be learned and then they should be challenged. Today I feel like someone opened the door and said, “Jan, it is okay to come out and play with your art materials!”

There is an artist that I know whose work I have watched over a period of years. I have seen her go from painting purely what her eye sees to expressing what she feels about her subject. Her work is beautiful and has grown, and I react to it with emotion. This artist’s journey is exactly what the speaker was talking about today. She was there, listening to the speaker. I wonder what she was feeling. I wonder if inside she was vigorously nodding her head in agreement.

Lovely afternoon with wonderful people today. A room full of artists, an expression of honesty and excitement over creating art, and a sunny fall day – perfection! Many of us took notes. Now we must do our job. Creating art is our job!

Yours might be through music or acting, weaving or quilting, painting or metal work. Whatever it is, it needs to be done and shared because it is who you are.

Thank you Sharon!


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