Screen Sirens Call

It is an exciting time to be a creative person. So many online venues to see work, show work, gain exposure and inspiration, learn about materials and techniques – build connections and interact with others and (gasp) possibly generate sales.

There are a few artists friends who won’t engage online (the negative Zuckerberg Effect- I get it). But most of us including myself, use this newish media so easily offered up in the glowing windows in our hands -  and might just as easily let our attentions be diverted. (cats being mean to dog videos, anyone?).

 As interesting as it is to view the plethora of inspiring interpretations in art seen online, it can innocently tempt one to be influenced by another’s voice and go down roads inspired by a notion, technique or trend divergent from our own.

It reminded me of a little cartoon I saw of a number of balloons floating around the characters head. On each balloon was the word “IDEA” – leading the artist/character wanting to chase one or the other -  a natural human tendency to adventure into as many possibilities for picture making because they are exciting to try. But not the best use of time or beneficial toward the goal of personal or artistic growth.

Actually, I have removed printout and images of others work from my studio. I want to follow my own vision, and not be too influenced by others.

Now, let’s talk about the siren call of the Call and Response. Personally, I really get real kick when five seconds after uploading an image, I see a ❤ ❤❤. LIKES = Validation. Validation can motivate – especially when the response if from other artists whose vision and work ethics I admire. But I would say that the more we let ourselves be influenced in an artificial way the less likely we are as artists to progress.

I might pull the earplugs out for a bit for those irresistible calls, I have made a conscious decision to monitor my viewing on line. The virtual world is just that – cool as it is, it cannot be replaced by the tangible and personal.

Life is a balance, wouldn’t you agree?

To Art!

Who says??

As much as I have heard that blog posting is becoming less useful or viable for artists and their audience, I might try just one if only for me to express what is going on in this head.

So, I have noticed my work change through the years and I wondered what affected the changes. Many reasons, for sure. Lately, my practice has changed because it needed to. And it’s inevitable and necessary.

Why this change? Well, I was a bit tired feeling like I was struggling to make work - not that it is easy but does it have feel to hard?? Challenging, yes! But, I think I was stuck in the tracks thinking of how my work “should be”. Who says? Did I take certain cues from others as to how I painted? Maybe. Seems obvious now to think more about intentional use color, but I am a late bloomer. Or just stubborn. Realizing that for the number of years I have been painting, I didn’t think I had much to show for it. Which if probably not a good way to think but I did.

By that I don’t mean quantity over meaningful work, but work that felt more natural, and moved along in a more progressive manner creating more consistently helping to further the course.

Last year I revisited color by taking a class online with Jane Davies, mixing lots and lots of colors, painting papers and collaging in smaller format, and I had a blast. It reminded me of my color theory classes. Although I think I am fairly skillful with color, counter to my design profession I had been reacting to color as the painting progressed, which lead to my getting stuck more - there are so many decisions to make and that was a big obstacle.

So I decided to approach it differently and pick colors more consciously at the outset. Changes of mind happen, but I gave myself more of a vague roadmap.

Armed with tons of painted color swatches and my extensive Pantone chips and books I started working on smaller monoprints (gel plate printing), mixed media collage works in rapid progression, rather than individual larger paintings where the focus was on one piece for too long.

Happily, I found these smaller works have been revolutionary for me and will prove to be helpful when the works gets larger which will be my choice. Size does not matter, it’s the content and intent.

So, still feeling challenged, but feeling more in my old neighborhood.

To Art!