Silence

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.

 

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Being Brave

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!

Trusting my creative self

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.

Emotive Painting – “I see you”

Letting the colours say what they want to say.

My Art Champion

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.

A painting I did of my dad a year before his death in 2018.

I am not creative enough

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.

Using oils in a new way

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.

The ups and downs of being an artist

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.

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Some paintings I have done lately:

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Lily girl

By the way, I was part of two group exhibitions over the last few weeks.

 

Working with Frida

Over the last few months I have been hard at work on many diverse projects.  Time in the studio has done me good, but everything else seems be lag behind.  Neglecting my blog was not on my list of things to do, but life sometimes just gets in the way.

One of the fun things I have been busy with is working with Frida Kahlo as my inspiration.  I love her style and the way she worked through all the obstacles life threw at her.

Here are some of the paintings I did in her honor.

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I also working on an amazing new project with my art mentor and friend, Ronel Bakker.  Have a look at her amazing work here: Ronal Bakker Ceramics

We are in the beginning stages of working together.

20170726_113442Working with glazes, before going into the kiln.

 

 

Beauty in Art

Beauty in Art is what I have always fought to attain.  I have always said that the world has enough “ugly”, we need beauty in Art to balance the scales – I still believe this.  But, after a visit to a wonderful little gallery in a small town, Tulbugh, near my home town I started looking with new eyes at my art.

The Christo Coetzee art gallery in Tulbugh houses the works of the renowned artist it is named after.  Guiding us through the rooms of his old house, the gallery owner shared some of Christo’s thought processes in his work.  Here are some of Christo’s portraits:

Here is a link to Christo’s bio on wikipedia if you would like to learn more about this artist: Christo Coetzee

Our guide explained that Christo found beauty in all parts of life: the ugly, the ordinary and the alluring.  He felt that we can not know what beauty is if we don’t uphold the other side of the scale.  This really made me think hard about my art and what I want to portray with my work.  My aim was to bring “perfection” into the foreground, but maybe that would not create a complete picture with the “photo shoot” woman I love painting.

If there is beauty in the ordinary, I felt that I needed to present that too.  And so my new journey started with looking at the works of artist I would not normally look at.  Artists like Odd Nerdrum who paints the most wonderful images of ordinary people doing ordinary things (some of his paintings are not for sensitive viewers).  All this sent me on a new road with my paintings, the journey moves forward…

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Old Turkish man – Oil on board

 

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Portuguese Street Performer – Oil on board

There is beauty in the ordinary too!

 

 

The way of Oils

I have jumped into painting with oils with both my feet.  Struggling when working with a new medium is to be expected, so I just pushed through.  So far I love the look and feel of oils.

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Working some of my acrylic girls into Oils.

 

I have started on some oil portraits too and love the way they make the skin feel.

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Lady Like – Oil on board – 20cm by 20cm

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Young Beauty – Oil on board – 20cm by 20cm