I have been thinking about my art making and why I do it lately.
I have entered an exciting art competition and in the process of putting my application together, begun new lines of thought.
Making art started with a short course and ran from there a decade ago. Once I smelt paint, I was off! I painted anything that came to my mind as it did. I didn’t have any plan or path to stay on. It was all exploration and the delight of discovery. There was no wrong. There still is no wrong but there is now, a slight anxiety.
It is an expensive hobby, especially working in oils. At some point I thought in order to afford the luxury of this process, I had to learn commercial. How do you market? If you sell work, you can keep on working. It made sense and I gathered information about having an exhibition. (The two major shows are listed on this site. “Messages from the Soul” and “Wavelengths”.) I entered competitions and joined group shows, enjoying the purpose and connection to an ‘outside’ art world. For the most part, art is my in my shed/studio!
It is a wonderful feeling when paintings are selling and people are buzzing and you feel inspired to do more. It is harder afterwards when an exhibition is over and you have to then think ‘what next?’ Having goals help, but what are they? Thinking the process of making art through can somewhat stiffle the excitement of learning and taking risks that may fail. I have reached a point in my personal journey where I would really like to have a relationship with someone who appreciates and sells my work. Who wouldn’t? I have bought canvas and stretchers and assembled 12 beautiful canvas’s ready to dream.
I used to paint canvas by canvas, random sizes according to the day and what was on hand. In order to help myself flow from one to the next in a series, I have pre-prepared them for the first time. It made me laugh, because as beautiful and as uniform as they are, they have already begun to dictate somewhat of what I do on them. When working on multiples in a series you do think the commitment through before applying paint. I like the idea of showing a number of paintings with a similar vibration and palette. The past two exhibitions have been a sharing of the journey so far. The paintings have spanned a couple of series.
My next show will consist of paintings with more of a uniformity. In size and style. This is an interesting and a new place to be.
I have had a few moments struggling with the concept of moving forward with them, a fear that I need to ‘get it right’ as there is now a plan of sorts in place, but ultimately, one needs to be allowed the freedom to play as well as embrace the discipline of the thought process of showing. I am currently trying to balance myself somewhere in the middle. I have given myself some play time and materials and have my professional canvas’ ready for when I am loose enough from the play to begin!
I have enjoyed, for the most part, the process of gathering images of my work and application details for this competition. I have already experienced a shift in my thinking about my art practice and it enabled me to get in touch once again with the heart of my art making. I feel discipline is a big part of being able to produce art full time but I shall remember to stay in touch with my inner self along the way. It is the reason I make my art in the first place and it just wouldn’t work any other way! So, all in all whether I get chosen for selection for this fabulous opportunity or not, it has helped me take the next step forward and given me some great internal dialogue that inspires what comes next!