confessions [of an artist] part. 4

 An artist should never grow stagnant in their work right?   We must be pushing ahead. branching out. exploring. experimenting. risking. failing. painting again.  If you know my work, you know I tend to stick to my one inexhaustible theme of sky-scapes.  Rarely do I get my paintbrush 'out of the clouds' to pursue other subject matter.  Yet, to my delight, I discovered an older painting I had jokingly done for my husband Ben - the above, "Lord Velveteen".  In fact, I also did a sequel painting of a regal squirrel called "Lord Fluffbottom".  I had a hoot doing these animal portraits... and I'm kind of itching to play with some more (even as a kid's version for Azriel's room).  I do confess (again) that these goals are serving to distract me from a couple commissions I need to get cracking on...  you may remember my last confession post about how I procrastinate the 'real work' for artistic 'play'.

My yummy new 36 'flavours' of Acrylics... a birthday gift from Ben's Grandparents
So what's my confession this time then?  Just this: every time I go to paint there is a conflict in my mind between two diabolical opponents.  The first is wearing the business suit and black sunglasses - with a power point flashing into the back of my brain "will this SELL?".  I hate that guy.  Every brushstroke I take... he's saying.... 'really, you think someone will want to buy this?'.
Enter the second voice (yes, still in my head, thanks).  They are wearing a long hippy dress with flowers in their hair - with a sun filled banner dancing in the wind that says "paint what you love".  I like this sage.  Every brushstroke I take... she's saying... 'truth is beauty, beauty is truth... paint what is true and beautiful to you'.  Somehow, her sweet voice often gets lost in the echo of a empty wallet...   and I start to waver and sway over to what might 'sell' or 'entice' the eyes of even you (?).  But that's not fair to either of us is it?
Throughout my artistic journey it has always been the times that I just 'paint like no one is watching' where I make my best pieces.  This is what makes commissions that much harder - I know an audience wants to like it - so I start to veer into the unknown mire of how to please them.  I must paint what is my passion. the beauty. the truth.  I owe it to myself, and to my audience to paint with authenticity.
I better nail this on my forehead now... and get painting.

What keeps you 'keeping it real' in your pursuits.careers.creating process?
Would love to hear!

Mel :o)


  1. Hi Melissa
    I think that all of your work is just wonderful!  I love to wear my birdie necklace.  It's one of my favourite pieces of jewelry.  I would suggest telling 'the suit' to go for a long walk and allowing yourself the freedom of playing.  You have so much creativity and talent brewing in you that you don't need to worry about selling your work.  Everything you touch is adorable!  Allow yourself the time for pure process without any distracting 'is this saleable?' inner dialogue.  Art is worthwhile!  Life would be so dreary without it...  The business of art selling can be fun, too, but I think if you separate the two you will feel more free and your art work will reflect that.  And then continue to sell like crazy!
    If it makes you feel any better, I spend up to three years on a project before exhibiting it!  Then I tour the installation around to public galleries.  But those three years of disciplined stitching and thinking and exploring and fabricating are essential to the work. Astrid and I would love to have you and the family for a visit sometime!  The hubbies can go for a forest walk while we talk art...
    yours in art

  2. Needleandnestdesign8 July 2011 at 10:03

    Hi Michele!  Thanks for posting your kind thoughts and encouragement... sage advice for sure - from a woman who knows.  Sounds like a great idea! ;o)


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