I said that to Mark this morning before he left for the gallery.
He gave me one of “those” looks, but I think he really does know what I mean by that.
I have not been “being an artist” because I have been mostly “being” a business woman and teacher of art. My focus has been on your art, not mine. That’s a weird thing, but it’s true.
During this time of soul searching, I am also searching other people’s blogs, and finding that many of the most widely followed artist’s blogs concentrate on the artist’s own work, and story, and progress and process.
I am not talking about craft and DIY blogs here – they are full of teaching, and they are directed at hobby artists for the most part.
I am talking about the blogs written by practicing artists who are creating and showing and selling their artwork.
That term “practicing” artist is one that I will want to explore sometime soon. It’s a very interesting term when you think about it.
I honestly don’t think that I would be any less interesting of a blogger if I talked about my own story. In fact, statistics show that my tutorial posts get fewer comments than the ones that are about “story”.
There are two things that get said to me all the time.
One is a question: Where do you get your ideas?
The other is a statement: I wish I could follow you around for a day to see how you do what you do.
And maybe that is what this blog should be about.
So, here’s my interesting story for today . . .
Something has happened to my art journaling process.
I have always embraced a couple of ideas about art journaling that play into this change.
My journals are “illustrated” journals based on drawing and watercolor.
I can take as long as it takes to finish a page. I have given myself permission to do that because it’s the only thing in my life these days that is not in a hurry. There is no hurry in my journals, and if I want something perfect, I will take the time to make it perfect.
To that end, I thank my iPad for its help. I ALWAYS shoot a reference photo, even when painting from life, because, by the time I finish the page, the subject will likely be changed or gone altogether – Orchids in the studio for example.
I recently ran into a new brand of watercolor (new to me), and I will share all about that in another post. I fell in love so hard that I went from owning 1 tube, to 33 tubes in one month.
And these watercolors used in the Stillman & Birn Beta and Zeta sketchbooks is something like heaven.
So, what I realized is that I have been creating some of my “real” art in my journals – instead of just preliminary studies.
This creates a big question – how do I sell them?
The originals are not going anywhere because they are in my journal and you would have to tear my arm off to get me to tear a page out.
I am going to have to sell reproductions of these paintings.
I am a big fan of prints, actually. I think it allows art to be owned by people who can’t afford to own originals, and that’s a good thing.
But, in my opinion, the reproductions can’t be mass produced if they are going to hold their value as art. The artist must produce the reproduction and even sign the prints – the signature should not be printed.
Making a good reproduction is not an easy thing as those of you who have tried it know. You need archival ink and archival paper and you have to get that paper to go through the printer. And there is sizing and trimming and a bunch of other concerns.
But the end result is still a product of the artist’s hands and it’s worth the trouble.
My latest paintings are of strange neighborhoods.
I live in a strange neighborhood to begin with.
And I LOVE houses in art. Not the fancy detailed ones, but the ones that look like a grown-up version of the ones we drew in first grade.
European artists depict houses that have a mystery to them, and I love that. It keeps the houses from being too “cute”. I have been fighting my “cute” gene all my life.
In the ’80s, I was registered with the SFMOMA (San Francisco Museum of Modern Art) as a Surrealist, which is definitely what I still am for the most part – even though I love painting realistic flowers.
So, painting “strange” neighborhoods is right up my alley.
My true love is narrative art. There is a story in the painting, and I love to figure out what it is. Even in my own paintings, I have to figure out what it is, because I don’t know what’s going on either.
Also, like Rene Magritte, I think titles are an important part of the work. His titles didn’t necessarily make sense, but mine usually do – and give you a clue to the story. The titles just show up at some point while I am creating the painting.
It’s like a voice says: “Here is the title. Figure this one out.”
I am showing you my two latest paintings today. Both were done in watercolor in my Stillman & Birn Beta Sketchbook, so both will be sold as reproductions and I will share that process with you too, as I go through it.
Both paintings are part of a series called “Strange Neighborhoods”. That’s another thing I often do – paint in series.
The painting at the top of the post is called “Gathering” and your guess is as good as mine what that means. Whatever it means to you is what it means.
This one is called “Mending Fences” . . .
Again, you can make up your own story.
I think that is the weirdest fence I’ve ever seen anyone put up, and somebody is sending somebody a message. And, it’s not like they won’t be running into each other. But, I’m not sure whats going on exactly.
I have to admit I love this series, and may even try to make those houses in glass one of these days.!