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AggieL
09-28-2000, 07:00 PM
Does anyone else go through cycles where you think you might have some talent and then something changes and you feel that your work is less than impressive? I have been going through this a lot lately. I love to paint. It is the only thing that keeps me sane and stable, however it is a hugh source of stress for me. I worry about whether I can actually make it as an artist.

Just wondering if I was alone on this emotional rollercoaster of the wonderful world of art!!

pixelscapes
09-28-2000, 09:25 PM
I think it would help if you forget about "making it" as an artist for now, and just focus on why you love to paint. Enjoy it. It's therapeutic. Paint and paint and paint, and relish it.

"Making it as an artist" is a totally different concern, and you shouldn't allow yourself to worry about the business end of things _during_ the creating process. Just paint and then when you have some paintings you feel really right about, start to explore your options for showing and selling.

Think of it this way... you NEED to paint. You LOVE to paint. You're going to end up with a whole pile of paintings no matter what, whether you show them or not, whether you sell them or not. So just stay true to yourself and don't obsess over 'is this good enough?'. There's no point in pressuring yourself like that.

The most important thing is that it be good enough for YOU. Keep challenging yourself and developing your skills as you see fit. Everything else is just a combination of your business skills, and the fobiles of collectors and galleries.

Very very very few artists produce their work full time as a sole source of income... and the ones that do, it took them a long time to get that established. So don't beat yourself up just because you want that and haven't got to it yet. Think of it as an ideal goal, not a yardstick to measure yourself. You can still find rewarding fulfillment in the meantime, with the right attitude.

On that note, I think I'll go make a bug. http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif

-=- Jen "Be good to yourself" Pixelscapes
http://www.pixelscapes.com

[This message has been edited by pixelscapes (edited September 28, 2000).]

paintfool
09-29-2000, 03:02 AM
Jen, that is very insightful advice. I couldn't agree more. Aggie, it hasn't been that long ago since i've had the same concerns. I realized that art was my absolute passion when i made my first attempt! I thought 'this is sooo sorry' but i also saw something else in that first painting. I felt a stir in my blood that i've never felt before. It was a revelation of sorts. The thing that moved me the most was the awakening of possibilities. I learned from that very first painting experience that anything is possible with some desire. I've always been rather full of myself,if you will, & thought i'm so damned clever that whatever i wish will be. When i found this to be not so true when it came to art (at least not immediatley) i became a bit depressed & thought 'let's face it Cheryl. you are NOT an artist'. So yes i have had the emotional lows that you speak of. But what keeps me going is knowing that with every triumph must come the humbling thought that i can do better. In effect what results is the drive to make the next one even better! Learn learn learn. Look at your successes, think about what makes them so, look at your 'failures' & think about what makes THEM so. Learn from each painting you do. Don't worry that each one is not a profitable venture but whether or not it has been a valuable learning experience for you. It is not easy. It may never be, but what would you lose by not trying at all? Answer: the experience. Is it worth it?
Cheryl

[This message has been edited by paintfool (edited September 29, 2000).]

4vincent
09-29-2000, 09:27 AM
Good advice, Aggie, for me too. I still get my low points too; so you're not alone. Another artist friend use to tell me "Life's a Journey, not a Destination". I guess that's applicable here too.

arlene
09-29-2000, 09:33 AM
The minute I am done with a piece, I decide I dislike it. It's a letdown.

The solution is to start a new one, and make it better than the last one. As artists, we're destined, to some degree, to always think we can do better. If not, why would we not be content with what is done, and have the need to do better the next time.

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http://www.artdebut.com/arlene0.htm

cagathoc
09-29-2000, 10:39 AM
I agree with Jen's speech - nicely written also!

Try to love each stage in your artistic development because it contains the seeds for what you will become and it holds the knowledge of where you have been.

If you imagine that time doesn't really exist, you can see that you are already all that you are and all that you will be and it is just a matter of embracing that and opening to it.

cindy

AggieL
09-29-2000, 11:47 AM
Great advice everyone. Thank you!
I am not so worried about making it right now. Well, maybe a little. Not to say that it rules over my creative process though. The most frustrating thing to me is knowing in my heart what I can accomplish and not having the time to make it happen.
I love the quote "Life is a journey, not a destination". It can't be more true.

Arlene...I do the exact same thing. I love the process of making the painting, but as soon as I am done...I don't like the product a bit. I will just chalk it up to learning. The more you learn the more critical you become. Hopefully this just pushes you to work harder and strive for better work.

I can't tell you how much this site means to me! I have a very supportive husband, but he can't begin to understand all of my "artsy emotions". It is a God send to have people here that understand and care!

llis
09-29-2000, 12:42 PM
AggieL: I have the same feeling that you do. There was a time that I thought unless you had your paintings represented by some really slick gallery and sold a lot of paintings...that you were not a true artist. However, all that thinking has changed! I know now that once you are struck, as Paintfool has pointed out, you are an artist.

Now I make art that feels good to me and I try not to let those other feeling creep back in. I do put my work in art shows and just recently had a show where nothing sold. I got lots of pats on the back, but you know what.... I brought all my paintings home and they are so happy to be here. http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif

Can't truthfully say that I don't still want the validation of the sale...but I am remembering that I am an artist and I think that is who you are too.

Roan
09-29-2000, 11:28 PM
Cycles. Maybe the wise ones here can help me with this, too. To demonstrate the problem, I've added a graph below:

<IMG SRC="http://www.wetcanvas.com/Critiques/User/graph.gif" border=0>

Basically, when I plan a painting and start sketching out he details, I'm happy and excited. Once I get past the initial colors and things "start" to take shape -- but before it starts to look like what I envision -- it's like I just found out someone I love died. I'm depressed, angry, emotionally devastated. IF, and I mean if I get past that stage, all is right with the world and I'm on top of it again. It's like I get manic depressive while I paint.

Help? Suggestions? I've tried different approaches to the painting -- totally doing one section at a time to keep perspective, thumb nails -- it doesn't seem to matter.

bah, I need a shrink.



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"Am fear a ghleidheas a theanga, gleidhidh e a charaid."

Lynda Mortensen
09-30-2000, 01:09 AM
Absolutely - about 50% of my paintings I don't like at all, about 45% are 'OK' and the rare 5% I really love. Sometimes it gets to me so much that I don't actually WANT to paint, because I'm so scared that the results will be yet another 'bin it'. I end up staring at the paper for a couple of hours, then doing a heck of a lot of colour charts because of this http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif. Or, I end up spending all of my painting time poring over books, sketches and photos, telling myself that I'm searching for the perfect inspiration, when really all I'm doing is procrastinating! I started to get a real thing about wasting paper as well, so to try and solve this I bought a load of 'Bockingford' in bulk (100 sheets) and worked out that even if I 'wasted' a sheet of paper every day, it would last me for over 3 months and have cost me only about $15 a month. That sort of put it into perspective because I knew that I wouldn't get around to using even 10 sheets a month, let alone 30 - I don't have that much time to paint! http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif It gave me the encouragement I needed to just get on and paint and not worry too much about the outcome. Funnily enough I seem to paint my best pictures when I haven't much time, or I'm feeling a bit grumpy about something. I think it's because I tend to fiddle too much and put too much detail in if I'm in a normal happy mood with plenty of time!

Sandi
09-30-2000, 01:26 AM
I'm in the same boat. This love/hate relationship is exhausting!
Roan, I start out low, get super high, stay high for a few hours after, then hit bottom and hit it hard. Post-painting depression?
I have to paint/doodle something every day, just to get up off the couch. Vicious circle. Wouldn't trade it for the world though.

Rod
09-30-2000, 04:09 AM
I think we all have artsy moods, main problem is that most of us are the only artist in the family so we are not understood at all. My critical stage is usually about 3/4 of the way through the painting. sometimes panic sets in. I think the worst time is after spending all day at work and your mind is planning your creative session for the evening, you get home gobble your tea down get to your painting and visitors turn up. People wonder why you are in a mood, don't ya hate visitors at times,
Rod

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Rodzart from New Zealand (http://www.artistnation.com/members/paris/rodzart/)

Roan
09-30-2000, 08:24 AM
<U>Sandi, Rod:</U>
Gosh, I'm not alone with this? WHEW! I was starting to think there was something seriously wrong with me and I have to wonder just how therapeutic painting is when I get so depressed sometimes I cry!

As for visitors -- shoot them all! http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/biggrin.gif

Seriously, I'm a extremely introverted and really don't like visitors at all. I find them exhausting and it's not just the artsy part of me that's like that. I'm seriously hearing impaired. Having any visitors or going anywhere noisey or where I'm expected to interact with people I don't know very well is so mentally exhausting I avoid it as much as possible.

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"Am fear a ghleidheas a theanga, gleidhidh e a charaid."

ReNae
09-30-2000, 10:33 AM
Originally posted by Roan:

Seriously, I'm a extremely introverted and really don't like visitors at all. I find them exhausting and it's not just the artsy part of me that's like that. I'm seriously hearing impaired. Having any visitors or going anywhere noisey or where I'm expected to interact with people I don't know very well is so mentally exhausting I avoid it as much as possible.

[/B]

'Tis so true, unfortunately they all blame the artsy side for your 'mood'!

If I don't do one thing creative all week, I begin to get that nagging feeling. I'll create new recipes at dinnertime if need be until I can pick up that brush or pencil! Just gotta do 'something'!

Warmth,
ReNae

Roan
09-30-2000, 02:32 PM
Originally posted by ReNae:
'Tis so true, unfortunately they all blame the artsy side for your 'mood'!

It's either the poor artsy side or, pardon me, if you are female it's automatically "PMS". Geez!

If I don't do one thing creative all week, I begin to get that nagging feeling. I'll create new recipes at dinnertime if need be until I can pick up that brush or pencil! Just gotta do 'something'!

Oh, I just had an idea! I know how to give your family the hint you need more time to create -- start serving "themed" dinners. Cut up different types of veggies and arranged them so they resemble Monet's Waterlilies, or you could serve baked potatoes that have vegetable faces stuck in them but only ONE cauliflower ear! The possiblities are endless . . . http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/biggrin.gif

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"Am fear a ghleidheas a theanga, gleidhidh e a charaid."

JaneS
09-30-2000, 07:46 PM
AggieL, you are not alone AT ALL! Everytime I paint I have to remind myself, that even if today's picture turns out dull and lifeless and flawed in every way possible, the truth is... I actually have a small body of paintings that turned out just fine and whatever "talent" produced them is still inside me! Now, I would LOVE for every painting to be a success. But, I am beginning to understand why they just aren't all of em that spectacular. In between my painting frenzies, I seem to go into hibernation, and go a long time without picking up a paintbrush; various reasons why. But in that time, I continue to study, read books, look at art, think.... And so, when I finally go to pick up a paintbrush, I have unknowingly absorbed some new understanding of what does and does not make a good painting. And I bring that new skill in my head to a painting, where my HAND does not yet quite know how to pull it off yet! (Is this making any sense?) And then I will find myself painting in a way that is just so unfamiliar to me (like today), and I think to myself, "what am I doing?" This is growth, and I've been there enough times I recognize the pattern! Eventually, by some miracle, a piece will turn out really nicely. Think of a pianist who has to practice a passage over and over til it just "sings" with perfection. As artists, it is hard to accept we have to have "practice" paintings in between the ones that really sing... Unlike the musician, our "practices" are laying around our house, while THEIR "practice" tunes have drifted out the window long ago! But, I have decided that I DO want to grow as an artist, and that just means... not every picture is going to turn out better than the one before it! And if discouragement just will not leave you, quit for a while...get ahold of some good books with ideas you are not maybe familiar with, read them thoroughly, and see if you don't bring a new understanding and enlightenment to your work! Good luck!

ReNae
10-01-2000, 12:40 PM
Originally posted by Roan:
Oh, I just had an idea! I know how to give your family the hint you need more time to create -- start serving "themed" dinners. Cut up different types of veggies and arranged them so they resemble Monet's Waterlilies, or you could serve baked potatoes that have vegetable faces stuck in them but only ONE cauliflower ear! The possiblities are endless . . . http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/biggrin.gif



You are too funny! Love the idea though!

As far as the PMS thing goes, yes I am female and when PMS hits darn it I am moody! Actually, that's when I am my most productive! http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/biggrin.gif:

Warmth,
ReNae

PS: I too am hearing impaired and people sometimes think you are in one of your moods when you don't answer them. Problem is they were speaking to my back!

paintfool
10-02-2000, 02:06 AM
My husband thinks i'm crazy 'cause i DO play with my food! I cannot make pot pies without using the extra dough to create grape vines & leaves & little tiny grapes to put on the top of them. Must be the artist in me? http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/biggrin.gif:
Cheryl

AggieL
10-02-2000, 10:57 AM
Words of wisdom Jane!!!!! I have never really thought about it that way. It is true that as an artist you are constantly looking and learning...but I guess I expect that to improve my work. Who would have thought that you would have to PRACTICE?!!!
It is hard to accept that everything you pour you soul into won't 'sing!' Maybe one of these days I will be able to accept it. The reason that this is hard for me is that I have limited time to paint and I want that time to be well spent. Practice is a hard thing for me to do.
By the way.... great ideas for dinner!!! Unfortunatly, my husband knows when I need to paint, but he calls it PMS also!!!! Will they ever learn?????? http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/wink.gif

arlene
10-02-2000, 12:05 PM
Originally posted by AggieL:
Unfortunatly, my husband knows when I need to paint, but he calls it PMS also!!!! Will they ever learn?????? http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/wink.gif
<FONT size="4">Probably Not!</FONT s> http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/rolleyes.gif

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http://www.artdebut.com/arlene0.htm



[This message has been edited by arlene (edited October 02, 2000).]

tammy
10-02-2000, 03:17 PM
I feel the same way Aggie and the reason I wanna sell now is probably because of my financial situation more than anything.
But... I too started out years ago painting ONLY because it was neat, I like doing it, and creating is fun! I still do it for those reasons. I've recently sold only 2 paintings and those were to friends. I still do it for those reasons.
Oh yeah, the admiration of my non painting friends is kind of gratifing too. So, keep on doing what you love to do and one day, someone says "Hey, I love that painting Sell it to me" and you're on your way. Just don't worry about it. http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif

[This message has been edited by tammy (edited October 02, 2000).]

Sandi
10-02-2000, 04:38 PM
I'm printing out this entire thread!!! You guys have such wonderful insights!!

Cheryl, I'm still a mashed potater sculptor. http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif

paintfool
10-02-2000, 07:11 PM
Originally posted by arlene:
The minute I am done with a piece, I decide I dislike it. It's a letdown.


I don't remember who said this but i'm pretty sure it was one of our WC members:
"Art is devine dissatisfaction" http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif

Sandi, i'm not surprised! http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/wink.gif
Cheryl



[This message has been edited by paintfool (edited October 02, 2000).]

Lynda Mortensen
10-03-2000, 01:04 AM
"I have a small body of paintings that turned out just fine and whatever 'talent' produced them is still inside me"

WOW - I keep forgetting that! This little phrase is getting printed out, framed and stuck on the wall, Thanks!!!

waterwings
10-03-2000, 09:34 PM
I also have noticed a pattern in my mood while I am working on a painting. How validating to see something very similar actually graphed out--thanks Roan. About 1/3 of the way into a painting, I absolutely hate it, start feeling like I really do not know what I am doing, and want to quit--that picture, all pictures! Well, it has happened so often, that now when it does, I just tell myself, okay, here is that stage, it always feels like this at this point, just keep going. Sometimes the problem is that I genuinely do not know what I am doing, and need some technical help (have been watercoloring for 10 months). If that is the case, I hit the books, and get what info I need to proceed. I also prop up the picture where I can see it from the kitchen and just sort of look over at it for a day or so while I am doing other things, until I feel I know what it needs next to make me feel better about it. Once a painting is finished I am generally satisfied, and if not, I know I am still learning, and make a mental list of what I actually did learn doing that picture.

PJJorgensen
10-04-2000, 11:10 AM
I was told once that "When the pupil is ready, the teacher will appear." I've been in a blue funk for the past two weeks since finishing my last painting. I couldn't even look at a paint brush much less find inspiration for another painting. I just had paintings in two juried shows. Although I had no illusions of any awards, in both cases I was shocked at the Best of Show paintings selected. They looked like they were done with the technical abilities of 10 year olds. I thought "if that's what's good, what the heck am I doing?" I've been bludgeoning myself with self-doubt. But signing onto WC to find this discussion has lightened my spirits to no end! I hadn't thought about why I paint. I did gain some good insights while contemplating those Best of Shows, and with the wise words from the teachers you all are, I am ready to pick up a brush. It is reassuring to know that my journey of life is really not so unique. Thank you all!

AggieL
10-04-2000, 06:05 PM
Thank you...everyone for sharing your experiences and insites! It is so comforting to know that I am not the only one that goes through these emotional phases while painting. I have come to a decision though. I love to paint, draw, create...I simply can't live or breathe without it. I get frustrated when I am not working up to the potential I have developed in my mind. I have finally decided, after many hours and I guess years of torment that I am still a student. Just so you all know. I am 23. I graduated with a graphic design and painting degree only one year ago. I am a perfectionist and have a hard time accepting less than perfect from myself (exactly why I end up hating my work). I just came to the realisation that if I want to reach the potential in my head...I have to work for it. It is so easy to forget the steps you have already taken to get where you are. If I learn in the next four years at least as much as I did in college, I should be close to where I want to be. I don't know if this is neccesarily correct thinking, but it is a goal and something for me to strive for. And much more productive than beating myself up over a painting that isn't what I want it to be. Now, the tough part is going to be the practice and accepting each painting as just that, practice. I think with the support of this wonderful group I can do it. Maybe I need someone to email me every once in a while to remind me of my goal. Kind of a WC wake-up call!!!
April

paintfool
10-05-2000, 04:03 AM
Originally posted by AggieL:
Maybe I need someone to email me every once in a while to remind me of my goal. Kind of a WC wake-up call!!!
April
April, what a good idea! maybe we should all e-mail one person per day & say "hey! did you paint today?hmmmmmmmmm?" http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/biggrin.gif: well, ok, maybe not all people would appreciate that, but if anyone wants to e-mail me & say that it's perfectly ok! http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif
Cheryl

arlene
10-05-2000, 09:17 AM
April, what a good idea! maybe we should all e-mail one person per day & say "hey! did you paint today?hmmmmmmmmm?" http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/biggrin.gif:
SOME OF US DON'T PAINT!!! http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/tongue.gif http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif

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http://www.artdebut.com/arlene0.htm (http://www.artdebut.com/arlene.htm)



[This message has been edited by arlene (edited October 05, 2000).]

AggieL
10-05-2000, 11:26 AM
How about if we say "Did you create today"? That way we can include you Arlene, and those of us that sculpt potatoes!! http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif

[This message has been edited by AggieL (edited October 05, 2000).]

paintfool
10-05-2000, 12:35 PM
Originally posted by arlene:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/biggrin.gif:
SOME OF US DON'T PAINT!!! http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/tongue.gif http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif
My apologies Arlene, of course. http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif but Hey! did you create today?hmmmmmmmmm?, well... did ya?"

arlene
10-05-2000, 02:18 PM
My apologies Arlene, of course. but Hey! did you create today?hmmmmmmmmm?, well... did ya?"


<FONT size="4">Well.............
ummmmmmmmmmmm.....................
uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh</FONT s> http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/frown.gif

Anyway, how do you think I got to be immortalized...anyway I'm paying bills http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/crying.gif

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http://www.artdebut.com/arlene0.htm (http://www.artdebut.com/arlene.htm)



[This message has been edited by arlene (edited October 05, 2000).]