This piece was created with 2 pieces of float glass from single paned windows that were removed from my house and replaced with double paned windows. Why throw out the glass when you can make something out of it? It was enameled in between the layers of glass and on the surface to create dimension. 4" X 4"
I went to a gallery gala tonight at prominent gallery downtown. It was the first time I have gone to an art scene event since I have moved back to Ventura. I forgot how much I need to talk to other artists and talk to those who understand the creative mind.
I think most of the artists out there would agree at the very least to some extent that it is not easy to be an artist. A great many people I talk to say when they find out that I am of the creative minded, that they wish they had artistic talents. I want to tell them, “NO you don’t.”
Most people think art comes easy or natural, it does for me for the most part, but mostly because I am consistently working on it. But it is work! Being an artist is a very lonesome task and often alienating, because I find it hard for others to understand exactly what or why I do the things I do, or why I am fascinated by the most mundane things, such as the pattern on wings of dead moth that I must put in a jar to keep. I also get very antisocial because for me to create I have to be alone and quiet with my thoughts and ideas. I do spend countless hours lying somewhere with my eyes closed in state which to others looks like I am asleep. But, I am not. I am lying there “de-cluttering” my mind of the hundreds of images and ideas in my head. If I don’t do this “de-cluttering” and sorting I can’t function in reality. To explain in a geeky way, it is like my brain becomes a computer processor with several programs going on at the same time. One program handles my bodily functions, another handles my social skills, and the rest are several different programs going on at the same time in the background constantly solving design problems and formulas for ideas. The “de-cluttering” is the defrag program sorting through the “idea and imagery” files and trying to organize them in logical, more organized, and meaningful manner. The Virus scanning program is filtering out all of the doubt, the questioning, and self-criticism. The good idea files are kept to run in “programs” in the background all throughout my waking time and the ideas that don’t make it are thrown into the mental trash can. Then the sketching or research and reading of books to confirm the “idea” are looked at. Then it is time to make the actual idea a reality.
I often feel like being an artistic type is like having a mental illness of some sorts. I can’t function if the ideas are not gotten out of my head and “dealt” with in reality by actually making them. I really am constantly working on something. There are times and most of my close friends and family members will tell you that I become completely engrossed and anti-social, which to most seems unfriendly and at times selfish. I find myself saying I have to sacrifice my social time, my general well being, my fun time, and my funds that should for personal needs like buying some desperately needed new underwear for time and money to create whatever idea it is that I have stuck in my head. If I don’t do it, I break down, get depressed, even more agitated, more antisocial, more anxious, and I can’t focus on reality and I’m stuck obsessing over whatever it is that needs to get out of my head. Then I spend hours at night awake trying to get sleep so that I can actually go to a job to make enough money to pay for the necessities.
In honesty, and most people cringe if I say this…. I probably should have never had a child, (even though I love her and don’t know what I do without her my life.) But she takes up so much of my time and energy that the selfish creative creature in me gets resentful of having to “waste” time spent with her. I should also probably live an alone and unmarried life as well. I look at all of those (normal) things that (normal) un-artistic types do and I do get jealous, because I wish I could be happy being a Mom and being married and having the family life. But, that in reality doesn’t make me sane or happy.
Creating is an addiction I guess I would have to say, of some sorts. It consumes me. I am mentally and physically ill if I don’t do it. I can’t force myself not to do it. I can’t function without doing it, but at the same time I have a hard time functioning when I do it. Just like a meth addict. I can’t stop doing it, but I don’t behave socially normal when I am. Creating is also a relationship, it makes me happy, sad, anxious, frustrated, euphoric, excited, angry and everything in between. It is time consuming, habitual, and unavoidable. I lose sleep over my creations and then experience relief when I am finished or satisfied with the outcome. It most certainly never stops. If it is not successful then I am depressed and angry and even more antisocial.
And to top it all there is the consistent self judging that never stops. Am I good enough? Will someone else buy it? Will it make me money? Is it worth my time and effort and use of resources to make it? Why am I really making this crap? Is for my fulfillment or for someone else’s? It totally sucks? I like this, but I don’t think anyone else would? Why the hell am I doing it anyway? Why am I really compelled to make this? Am I really as crazy as I think I am? Did I make this for me? Or did I make it for someone else in mind? Am I really making art for a quick sale to make money? Should I make stuff that I know others will like? Should I go all out and make the really crazy stuff in my head and scare the crap out of people and make them think I should be committed? Oye, it is a battle that rages on in ego.
For now I have condemned myself to making stuff that is separated from me personally. I am making what I think the general public would purchase. The little jewelry items, the small unemotional paintings of subject matter that others would enjoy to have in there homes. Nothing too deep. Nothing to revealing. Nothing to hard to absorb or shocking. Just safe, couch art. However it fills a the creative void. Plus, that self conscience side of me is fighting with the vulnerabilty of pouring your soul out in materials and then to be judged by it. I long to create the more meaningful, but for lack of funding, supplies, time, and a lack of personal angst or trauma in my life at the moment, I create the mundane. It is not as fulfilling, but it does fill the need or it is the “fix” or small dose that the addict will take just fill their void high. But the high is just not as great.
Yep, I could say that creating is like a drug, an addiction, and a curse. I often wish I didn’t have it, so that I could fit in more to the societal norm. At the same time how boring and normal would my life be? I would probably have to be addicted to something else that would do me more harm, like drugs or alcohol. Who knows?
As an artist, I constantly find myself criticising myself all of the time. What might be perfect in someone elses eyes, is not perfect by any means in my own when it comes to my own work. So I rework, rework, and rework again. Sometimes I just don't know when to say when and then I end up reworking an idea to its death. I have found that when it comes to making something that ends up being successful, it has to do more with intuition and being spontaneous, than planning every step and every detail. Perhaps, the best work isn't perfect at all.
I don't know how many people are actually reading my meandering blogs...But I think I am writing them partly because I am lonely and partly because I really am trying to get back into my creative side. Especially since I have pretty much let it go for last 4 years or so. Having a child and real job made me so tired there was little room in my energy level for it. I think the best thing for my artsy side was to quit my real job. So here I am again relying on my art again to be my saving grace, both finacially and mentally.
Hairy heart cat toy was developed and finished and posted on my esty store in about a week. Posted him today actually. Once again he was a creation of a sketch in a sketchbook. Made my twitter account, chatted with some fellow melal clay artists online. Took some awesome close up pics of Kungi's face randomly when I was taking photos of Hairy Heart. All in all a pretty busy weekend.
Now I am working on an idea for a painting for a Valentine's Day Call for entries. I've been rolling the imagery through my head like slide pictures of what I am thinking of doing for it. I've been thinking randomly since I saw the posting on Thursday. My mind works on it in the background constantly. Kind of like a virus check program on the computer. I'm getting to the point now where the imagery in my mind is starting to come together and make sense. In the next day or two I will start sketching like a mad woman and collecting reference images. So, far I have got to find a really good anatomical illustration of a heart.
I haven't done a personal piece in a long time and I think this unaviodably going to be one.
By the end of the week it will be time to dust of the easel again and start slapping the paint on.
I am actually intimidated because I haven't painted in so long.
I guess we'll see what happens?
Last night as went through my sketchbook journals of old drawings, some ideas good, some very terrible, at any rate I was searching for a new idea for a cat toy that would use up the small piece of red plushy felt I had. I wanted a limited edition run of something to do with valentine's day. I just recently also found out that the manufacturer of the felt is no longer making that color, so this would be my last chance to use it. It had better be good. I found a skribble of a heart drawing I did eons ago about a boyfriend gone bad relationship of a barfing heart doodled in the margin of some sorrowful "woe is me" journal entry. Then it hit me a dead heart with a tongue sticking out, and some sort of extras. 15 minutes of sketching later Hairy Heart Feline Fuzzy Friend was born. A pattern was made 10 minutes later and then before bed I had cut them all out. Tonight I sewed some half way and finished one to full completion just to make sure it is a good idea. All of the parts put together, and a judgement of interest from Rocky and the rest of the cat gang. Looks like its a winner without catnip even. Daughter Jade thought it looked funny too. As soon as the snaps I ordered arrive Hairy Heart will hit the market. Who'd a thought that a break up would lead to the creation of a cat toy?
As the clock ticks down to beginning of the year... I am madly sewing up some old friends. I decided after 8 years of putting them on the back shelf. (Just couldn't bring myself to make another one after making over 10,000, I needed a long break.) The Feline Fuzzy Friend Freny is back. I am dusting off the design sketchbook and redesigning some old faves and bringing out some of the ideas that never hit the market. After some begging from some friends who have unhappy felines. Because the 4 year old Feline Fuzzy Friend really did finally succumb to playing claws, I guess I have to bring them back. For cats everywhere they will be on the market Jan. 1st on my Etsy store.
With my return to art I started putting my art on an online store at etsy.com to supplement my income as a preschool art teacher. You can see my items for sale by going to my web page links.
As many of you know.....
having a child changes how much time you have for yourself, let alone to make art. I had to drop off the art world for awhile. But, a change in job, (got cut teaching another a period of art, to point that I couldn't even afford daycare expenses on my meager salary) to a take a preschool art teaching job with no take home work, frees up a larger amount of time to spend on myself. Which in my case always includes fiddling around with materials, trying something new, and sketching in the ole idea book. Filling page after page of jibberish and scribbles for ideas. 1 out of 14 maybe might actually come to life in some tangable material. So I am back in the art world again and more eager than ever to make those ideas more real. Whether they are a success or not, or a failure that leads to a lesson learned for some other creative experiment is yet to be known.......