First, let's have this...
I hadn't really planned this post (not that any of my posts are planned) but my good friend and partner/colleague in art, Marissa, sent me this link and it got my brain-wheels turning. Not about jealousy (which the article is about) but about motivation and priorities and things that keep me working and happy with what I'm doing.
Last night I finished painting and framing the pieces I'm sending down to Roger Williams Park Zoo for their Party for the Planet event. Looking at them all, finished and pleasing to my own eye, I started thinking about why I had had so much fun with them.
I realize I did them FOR ME. Yeah, they're for RWPZ but I didn't make them expressly to sell or print on tshirts or mass produce. Maybe I'll offer the originals and/or prints if folks are interested but if they never sell, that's ok.
While I was in school I was told to hone my style and find a focus. Make myself marketable and my work recognizable. I respect that to some degree but every time I let myself take a detour I find exciting places for my work to go. As a business I think my branding/name is pretty set but as an illustrator/art-maker I like to be all over the place - college crits be damned. I work in whatever media inspires me and, to be completely honest, I work in whatever way I have time for. SHOCKING NEWS FLASH - I, like every artist I know, have a life and need to live it. I would love to just lay about, chatting with my muse, painting whenever I feel like it but I have to go to work, cook dinner, clean the litter box, do the laundry, buy things, and watch Law and Order. It's a pretty awesome existence but art is only part of it.
So back to these paintings in particular. It helps that they are for a zoo show. I paint animals. I have no shame in my game. I'm not big on humans. I like plants and animals. Paint what you know, right? The structure of animals makes sense to me and my right brain. Again, during school I felt like I had to apologize for what I preferred to draw/paint/print and usually had to go in uncomfortable directions - but that's what happens when you're learning with structure I suppose. No problem, that only lasted four years.
I love these paintings. I love that I'm using watercolor again. I love how quickly I was able to turn them out to meet the deadline for this. I love how they look all together. They make me feel really proud and satisfied.
In many drawers and boxes I have a dozen or so half-started 'products' - drawings for new silkscreen designs, sketches for funny tshirts, color palette ideas for stationery - and I'll probably get to them eventually. But there's no rush. I love Egg-A-Go-Go, my shop, that aspect of my art-life but my focus seems to be wanting something different. I won't be abandoning my little biz but I think I need to explore some paths I had seen/mapped before but passed by on my way to a market or fair.
So here's to exploring! Here's to making making time to make what you love! Here's to swishy watercolor animals without backgrounds!
Focused and inspired,