Many years ago, I think around 2003?? I had an experience I have not forgotten while I was exhibiting as an art vendor at a local horse show back in Ontario. An older man came to my booth, he perused my artwork then stated quite bluntly ‘Where is the YOU in this work?’ He muttered a few more words then left, obviously not impressed. Back then, I remember being quite offended, I just wanted him to leave my booth, my feathers were quite ruffled over the nerve to offer his unsolicited criticism that my artwork lacked my personal authenticity. (If you are unfamiliar with the artwork I produced back then, HERE is a link.)
Perhaps it is time that passes, experience and maturity that the day finally comes along where you can actually start to ‘get’ what someone was trying to say to you. I certainly don’t regret the days where my ultimate goal was photo realism of my equine subjects nor do I criticize other artists for choosing to stick with any one style. This is my personal evolution as an artist and the foundation I have myself alone. However now, I am just beginning to look for more within. Skills that I have been taught along the way, life experiences both good and bad, combined with the many, (many!!) hours experimenting in the studio with new ideas, that I can begin to understand, ‘what is me?’
I think perhaps finding oneself through artwork is a moving target. Or if I want to think even more complex, perhaps the moving target is Me? (whoa, deep I know!) I know this, I am quick to bore. I jump around between many different projects the studio. And a newish habit, I like putting a random colour somewhere on my canvas, just to see how it changes the entire picture. As I watch Lesley Humphrey’s online tutorials, she often states, “Same is BOR-ING”. I giggle to myself, because I completely understand this. The same IS boring! But no matter what project I’m working on, I am also starting to recognize some correlation in my artistic approach to line and composition and embracing that as my own process.
Then, there is that moving target again, one day I am sure to look back, read this and see I have evolved beyond what I thought was my own, onto something else yet again. However, I know this, regardless of what lies ahead, I will still be an artist.
Final notes and goals for 2019; I’m taking a break from commission work to explore ideas. Work solely for me and anyone whoever decides they love it enough to buy it. I’m taking a few workshops in different mediums, Oil & Cold Wax is next week! I hope to find a mentor, or have them find me? I envision someone like a good personal trainer who intuitively knows when they can push and when offer words of encouragement when I’m burning out or feeling low about art. Someone without their own ego to manage. I’m still struggling/searching/looking to find my art tribe here in Portland, so maybe I will make some new artist friends this year. I plan to work larger, I’m ready for canvases bigger than 8×10, and I’m not as scared to (sometimes) waste the paint trying. Lastly, finally have enough inventory to ship some paintings out. Equis Art gallery has a few good ones so check them out. Happy New Year friends 🙂