Something shocking shook me this week. I took a step back and looked at why I do art. The answer is sad. It seems that my main motivation to paint is for recognition and acceptance. What!
This realization came to me after a very close friend asked me why I feel the need to post my work on social media straight after completing the work. I really had to take a moment to think about that. What was pushing me to feel the need to post every piece of art I make? Here is where the penny dropped. After this discovery, I decided to do my art and not post my work, just do it for me. But, guess what? All my motivation for going to my studio disappeared!
What now? Will I keep painting? Why can I not just paint for myself? Silence. No answers from myself. And so, I think, I need some time to think about all I have learned and give myself time to reconnect.
As a creative I bump up against failure on a daily basis. Without it I don’t think one can grow. But, that does not change just how hard it is. Every time I have to face being brave I have to face failure. Doing the “Artist’s way” challenges has forced me to put myself out there and be brave. The best part is, it makes one feel alive when you do something you never thought you could do.
Doing my visit to Cape Town last week I wrote out a list of things that I love doing, but have not been able to do for a long time. The top three things on my list were swimming for exercise, visiting an art gallery and going to my very first yoga class. The words were hardly out on the page and the opportunities presented themselves before me. Of course this was a scary thing as swimming in the freezing cold sea during Autumn is just madness, isn’t it? Why would I do such a thing? Well, I did it! It was great! So invigorating!
The visit to the gallery was, of course, super exciting and inspiring. I walked away with renewed energy for my art.
Putting myself out there in the yoga class was very scary as I have never done yoga in a group. But the fear of failure did not keep me away! The opportunity was given to me and I grabbed it with both hands. All went well and I did not make a fool of myself as my imagination had told me I would.
And so I would like to challenge each of you on your creative journey. Put yourself out there! What do you need to do today to make you feel alive? Think about it, be brave and do it!
This creative journey I am on can sometimes cause me to look deep into myself. I have come to realize that I don’t listen to or trust my inner voice. All the external pressures of being an artist and what everyone else thinks of my work has drowned out my own voice. But knowing this has given me new power. I have the choice to stop paying attention to the outside and start trusting my creative self.
Some of the creative exercises I have tried over the past few days include emotional painting with watercolours. With this type of painting it is not at all about the end product, but about the process of expression.
As part of my art journey, I have taken to writing poetry. I have never written anything before, but I find myself drawn to this new way of expressing myself. This writing path started with me writing a poem to deal with the emotions of my father’s death last year.
Wind, why do you keep blowing? Do you not know he is gone? Or do you simply not care?
How can my tears start flowing While every day things need to go on and life is being lived everywhere?
If I had to stand still for a hoisted flag at school Why do we not stand still now for a man worth more than a thousand pieces of cloth?
The way you ignore the hole in me is so cruel Or can’t you see it somehow? This is bigger than some small loss
Stop, Wind! Stop, World! Where is your respect? A man of importance is not here anymore. He is gone, my dad is dead.
Please at least take one moment to bow your head!
by Tara-lee Hollander, a grieving daughter.
Later on I started using words to find the humour in what I wanted to say.
My newest poem was inspired by one of the artistic tasks I had to complete for the “Artist’s Way”. I had to write down five other lives I could imagine living.
If I had five other lives to lead what would I be, what would I need? A nun working in a church all day wearing long flowing robes with time to pray
An activist with a strong, worthy cause making everyone around her think and pause Or a ballet dancer that dances in the light for the audience to gasp at my leaps of flight
No, maybe a doctor that works with the dying to save families from going home crying Or rather a great motivational speaker that changes how people think about those that are weaker
Wait, I am a mother to my children all day I’m already all those things I dreamed to become in some way.
by Tara-lee Hollander
Trying other forms of art really grows one as an artist. My artistic freedom feels released and fulfilled.
I really did not have to think very hard to recall who my biggest creative champion was when growing up. My dad always stood behind my art journey. Being an artist himself, I cherished his opinions on my art. He encouraging words always gave me the confidence to try even harder to make the art I wanted to create.
Thank you for being there for me, dad, I miss you like crazy.
While thinking of all the old enemies of my creative self worth, I keep coming back to these damning sentences that play like a broken record in my head. “You are not creative enough. You are just a copy cat without original artistic ideas. You are not creative enough to come up with new, fresh, original art”, the art critic in my head keeps telling me.
A silly, but painful, memory that floods my mind is the time I drew a cartoon I saw in a newspaper or magazine (I must have been about 8 years old). When presenting my drawing to my family they were so excited about the drawing. I was so embarrassed that I couldn’t get myself to say that it was copied from something I saw and not my own idea, that to this day I feel like a fake. The only ideas that could receive praise are all fake, copies.
But all this negative self talk must stop today – every time that old fuddy duddy witch whispers in my ear I will be drowning her out with these words of affirmation:
Creativity is the creator’s will for me.
As I create and listen, I will be led.
As I listen to my creativity I am led to my creator.
As this blog is my art journal, I have decided to write about my experiences following “The Artist’s Way”. This book was brought along my path for a reason as I encountered it a few times over the past weeks. I am super excited about following the creativity plan as I have been looking for a way to grow my inner world.
Today I read the introduction pages as well as the two essential tools to be used in this guide. Firstly, I have to fill three pages of writing down everything that comes to mind just after I wake up. Secondly, I have to schedule an art date with myself once a week.
At this stage I feel ready for this creativity journey. I know I will have to face many tough times in this process, as fundamentally I believe that I lack in the creativity arena. The easier path I have been following the last few years is learning skills and copying what I like in other artist’s work. But the time has come to step out into the scary world of creating my own ideas and putting them onto the canvas.
Still life painting is by far not my favourite subject, but I felt I needed to work more from life. What is easier than placing a few objects on a table and painting them? I learned so much! Lighting with a life object is completely different from the lighting in a photo. I loved the way I could step right up to the objects to look at them closely or step away from them to gain a bigger picture.
Many of the sessions I put into painting the still life paintings taught me life lessons too. I learnt that if you just get on with things, whether you like them or not, you will reach a place of joy and enjoyment.
My latest exercise in still life painting brought me to paint a self portrait using only a mirror. Wow! It was challenging! But I am happy that I pushed myself and tried something new.
And so another year leaps at me! 2018! Welcome new year! This year I plan to make even more art than 2017. My greatest hope for 2018 is to do a solo exhibition. Meanwhile, I have been working hard in my studio, but not a hard at keeping my blog up to date.
Much of my time has been spent on experimenting with using oils in new, refreshing ways. The results have been light and exciting:
I really love the light feeling of these works – they make think of watercolours.
Stay tuned for more of my art journey experiments.
Being an artist has so many complicated facets. The creative side, the business side, the “people skills” side and many more that have to work together to become a recognized name in art. Sometimes I just hate all of that – I want to hide in my studio and ignore the world. But, unfortunitely, I have to make a living with my art.
This brings me to the question: “What am I willing to do to sell my art?” Do I paint things that are more commercially viable, like flowers and landscapes? Or do I stick to what I love and sell less art? A question that I sure do not have an answer for!!
Next big question on my mind: Do I listen to the critics out there? Or do I just do my thing and ignore everyone else?
I think these questions are the reason I haven’t settled on a specific style of painting yet.
This painting I did is a good example of all the forces at work in my art ups and downs. I painted this “self-portrait” to tell a story about myself. What I want to be and who I see myself as. Will it sell? Nope – according to the critics the message is to direct, to personal. Oh well, I loved painting it and it can hang it in my own home as it does tell a story about me.
Some paintings I have done lately:
By the way, I was part of two group exhibitions over the last few weeks.