May. 23rd, 2013

starrymite: (WarthS)
Today has been very good for me. I've been whining a good deal on this journal about how I feel about my art, but I feel like I've gotten a bit of perspective today that I was really needing.

David has become friends with the owner/manager/chef of a local restaurant across the street from the campus where he works and he showed her some pics of my paintings on his iPad. She loved my work so much that she asked him to ask me if I would display them in her restaurant. And her place *did* need some art, those blank walls were overwhelmingly dull to look at. And it's possible that I might sell something, so of course, I said yes. I hung them up today and this lady was just overjoyed. She was going on and on about how much charm my paintings added to the place and the other workers were also gushing over my art with compliments that I felt were far more generous than my work deserves. And I was actually rather taken aback by such enthusiastic reactions. I mean, it's like I wasn't seeing the same paintings that they were seeing.

But then I got to thinking, maybe I've gotten into the comparison game with artists on the Internet without realizing it. I'm constantly seeing phenomenal art by artists almost half my age who will post a picture that I could never do in my wildest dreams and they'll comment on it and be like, "Yeah, I'm feeling uninspired today with this one. Total crap piece." And it makes me feel totally worthless as an artist. But the truth is that Internet Land isn't the same as the smaller world around me. On the Internet, I'm seeing a constant influx of art from artist from around the entire world. And the entire world is a pretty big ocean for a small fish like myself. But in my own little pond where I live, I can do things that others around me feel is truly special. There isn't tons of amazing art everywhere you look around here. There are quite a lot of bare walls actually, and where you do see art, it's usually generic looking prints. So it really means something to people to be surrounded by original art works that an artist really put their heart into. And it felt wonderful to bring in some joy with my creations.:)

I think also that I've just gotten very critical of myself because I feel like at this point, I shouldn't still be trying to find myself as an artist. I feel like I should already have both a recognizable style and specific niche. But as it is, I go all over the place with watercolors, oils, acrylics, and every other media under the sun with just my "fine art" paintings that range in style and subject matter so much that several different artists could have painted them. Then there's my illustrative art, which to me looks pretty generic (although, it seems to be the most salable stuff that I do). And the comic work which I really haven't developed very much (I think the best comic work I've done so far is that seven page deal with Aya. But I got a shot of inspiration for that one that I just can't seem to duplicate again.) So I'm all over the place with my art and I feel like I'm doomed to be a "jack of all trades and master of none", so to speak. Since my children's book has been more successful than anything else I've done, I've tried to focus on creating children's books. But my amateurish self can't seem to focus on what I've decided to focus on that might possibly lead to some financial success.

But then when I really think about it, I have only very recently decided that I want to make a career out of my hobby. My art has pretty much been just something that I do to keep myself sane, and it's gotten me through some hard times, let me tell you. And also, my situation with my kids has been such that until very recently, it would have been absolutely insane to consider making a career as an artist. My kids may have a lot of needs now, but this is a picnic compared to what I had to deal with when they were younger. And when I was trying to homeschool them? Forget about it. I accomplished staying relatively sane through that experience, and that was the most I could accomplish... I'm curious to see what I will be able to do with with my summers being free now. Today is my kid's last day of school at their old school, and in three weeks they start at the new place. Usually I just have to write off my summer months and do whatever art I can manage, but never an involved project. But now that I will be able to work year round, maybe I'll be able to find a new rhythm and build up momentum with my work that won't suffer a three month long interruption.

But anyway, I haven't found myself as an artist, but I'm still producing art that matters to some people. I'm still trying to figure out how to accomplish the bigger goal of going professional, but I'm accomplishing some smaller things on my way to that goal. And I made some folks happy today. So I'm gonna be happy too.

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