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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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!

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