I am having a bit of a crisis of direction.
So far this year, I have been focused on getting paintings done for exhibitions or art shows. I tend to work really well with deadlines and it flicks me into achievement mode and I get very productive. The issue for me is that I start to feel like I am pumping out stuff that I find fairly easy to work on and I also get hung up on the whole "will it sell", "will people like it" mode. And to be honest, I don't want to be in that mode at this early point of my art career as I am still working out what I want to do with my art and I think the focus on selling would limit me and restrict me from experimenting (this is a personal standpoint - others may have a different view).
So right now I have no new exhibitions coming up, the main art shows are over until the middle of next year and I feel a sense of freedom in that I now have time to play and learn, but also a sense of confusion over what direction I take.
I had an interesting discussion with my tutor last week and I told him that I reach a point where things are working really well on a piece, it is looking good so then I get fearful of experimenting as I know that if I play safe, it will turn out a nice piece. However I think this is stopping me from growing and I feel like I need to make some changes and stop playing safe. It's a scary step though when you have invested hours into an artwork (especially coloured pencil artwork) and know that if you experiment and it doesn't work, then you have ruined a potentially good piece and those hours spent creating it. I think a big part of my hang up with this, is that my time is very very precious. In a week, I am a Mummy to a one year old and two year old (except for when they are in part-time daycare), I look after the business side and employee side of things for my husband's construction business and do all the tenancy stuff for our property investment business. I also am about to start cranking up my own HR work again and increasing that - I am taking a new direction with that which I am really excited about but need to do a lot of development work over the next few months to be ready to kick that off, and I am studying art which requires 15 hours a week minimum. So life is fairly busy and I love it. But I think it makes me just a tad too precious about feeling like I have wasted time.
So, I think I need to get over the whole "wasted time" thing. I need to really recognise that even if it doesn't work as a finished artwork, then the process is still the most important factor. I do work well with challenges (which is why I like deadlines) so I need to shift my thinking and instead of having time-frames as my challenges, to make experimenting and "playing" my focus.
Anyway, that's where I am at. I am almost finished Connor's portrait and the cloud painting is almost done - I'm just hung up on experimenting with it and I will go for it, it's just working out how to do it as I am really happy with where it is at right now as a skyscape and I am about to change that with what I plan to do. I won't say anything more until I post the final version.
And also as promised, here are some links to other fantastic art blogs that I keep an eye on and get inspiration from. The incredible Making a Mark by Katherine Tyrrell which is pretty much the most information art blog that I have come across and I highly recommend.
Edward B. Gordon does wonderful work and posts a new painting every day. I love the dark/light contrast he achieves regardless of the subject matter. Karin Jurick is another artist who is a master that the dark/light contrast and I especially love her art gallery pieces (with figures standing in front of famous artworks) - just stunning. She has also started a new blog Different Strokes from Different Folks in which she posts a reference photo each week and then her painted version and then invites others to do their interpretation. Last week was the first one and she had an incredible response. I'm going to try and participate - if not this week, then next.
I also love Tracy Helgeson's work and even if she isn't painting, she still updates her blog with the going's on in her life which is always interesting reading. And her studio is incredible - I had to show my husband the photos and have instructed him that in "THE" house, I want something similar.
And finally, given that I am enjoying playing with coloured pencils at present and loving drawing Connort our black lab, I am in awe over the incredible work that Laura from Animal Art Adventures does - her animal portraits are just incredible.