Welcome to my blog! This blog is dedicated to blogging about my art, my struggles as I try to become a regularly working artist, and useful information and tips that I learn along the way. My hope is that this blog can become a resource for other emerging artists; a combination of empathy and useful resources to help them through the beginning of their career.


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Monday, June 20, 2011

Art Momentum


Finding ways to squeeze art into my daily life has never been easy for me. I have a regular money making job, like many emerging artists do, which seems to get in the way of my art.  I'm always feeling frustrated because, really, what I want to do all day and everyday is art. Stupid need to eat and have a roof over my head.

However, lately I've discovered that I feel less frustrated as I've been squeezing a little bit of art into my daily routine. I've found that if I make my expectation for my art on work days lower and say that my goal is only to keep my own art momentum going then it feels more doable. I can save the complete drawings for the weekends.

So now I get up a little bit earlier in the morning and take my dog for a walk. I'll take some photos with my phone of things that I find, for some reason, visually inspiring. It starts my day out thinking about art. Then, during my half an hour lunch I eat as fast as I can and do a quick doodle on a sticky note which keeps the momentum with which I started the morning going. Also, my doodle usually amuses the heck out of me which helps my work mood!

Then I post it all on Facebook (and sometimes Twitter). I don't really post the snap shots or the doodles on Facebook because I think they are fabulous and should be shared with the world. In fact, I've gone back and forth about the wisdom of putting work that is unfinished out for the world to see, and only time will tell if this is a bad move or not. I ended up deciding to post them on Facebook because, for some reason, it holds me accountable. If I think, no matter how false, that someone out there will wonder why I didn't post that day, then I can hold myself to my plan. It's like having an imaginary work out buddy, and it works!

Every artist has their own way that they keep their art momentum going. I'd be interested in hearing how you do it. What ways have you found to squeeze art into your daily life?

Another Helpful Website for The Emerging Artist:

Check out Alyson B. Stanfield's website: http://www.artbizcoach.com/. She has great blogs and podcasts which offer free advice on the business side of being an artist. She also has a book out called I'd Rather Be in The Studio which I've been ogling for long enough now that it's just silly that I haven't bought and read it yet. I also follow her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/artbizcoach. I find that it's a great way to occasionally get little tips thrown your way without having to search for them. Check it out!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Artistic Contractions

Lately I have been thinking about the stages a piece goes through as I work.  I’m not not talking about the standard physical stages that my drawings go through but the stages of feelings I have as I work. I seem to have three, predictable, main feelings.

The first feeling is when I begin a work. It’s a feeling of excitement and trepidation. It goes something like this: “I have a GREAT idea for a piece! I think. Maybe. Yes, it’s going to be my best one yet! Unless I mess it up. I really hope I don’t mess it up.”

The second stage usually happens somewhere in the middle. Sometimes it even happens a couple of times depending upon how involved the piece is. I call it a sort of artistic contraction. It’s a feeling of despair and hatred directed at that monstrosity that I’m currently working on. “It’s total crap. I’ve spent hours on this damn thing and it’s crap. Great. What a waste of time and paper. Well, nothing to do but keep going and hope I’m not wasting even more time on this damn thing.”

I’ve gotten so used to this stage that it is almost (but not quite) a welcome feeling. It means that I’m pushing myself, possibly learning and usually, if I work through it, I can turn it around.

The final stage happens toward the very end and it is the reason I make it through the second stage. It is when I put a line or a mark on the page and suddenly the piece seems amazingly familiar. It feels like, somehow, I’ve always seen it. It’s not perfect, it has it’s issues, but, somehow, it has always been there. “Ah. There you are. Haven’t I seen you before?”

That really is the best stage.

What stages do you go through as you finish a piece? I’d be interested to know if other artists find themselves going through similar feelings as they work!


Now, on to my next helpful website for the emerging artist. I found this one recently through twitter and I’m adding it to my list of go to websites when I have a career question. ArtsyShark.com is run by Carolyn Edlund (an artist consultant) and has hundreds of useful blog posts.  Really, you need to book mark this one!