Thougts on Creativity

I started this month with the idea that I would do both the Nanowrimo and the AEDM.   I did the same last year, but the posting fell away on the AEDM, and more days than not I felt my creative effort was in writing the words, because the visual art items I made were stiff and not terrible creative.   I was looking back at some of those. I had not realized how much I had grown as an artist in the last year.   I tend to measure my growth against the body of work I created as a college student in an art program.   At that time I was pretty much creating art for 8 to 10 hours everyday, most of it pencil and charcoal sketches, so it is not surprising that I was at the top of my game.

Looking back at last years work made me want to go back and make the sometimes painful comparison to the college work.   In sorting through the art stuff in the basement to stock my studio  over by the gallery,  I had unearthed some of my other college art. Some of the paintings, some of the weaving, and a very sad little sculpture.

This time when I went to make the comparison,  I saw all of those before I pulled out the portfolio.  All of those piece were the best piece of their respective classes, and my current works in those area surpass all of them except for the sculpture and that is because I do not have any current works as a sculptor.   I decided to skip the portfolio and pick up one of my sketch books from that period.   I was pleased to note that  my current sketches were on par with those.    All these years I had been comparing my rusty sketching  attempts against the 20 best finished drawings that I had chosen out of the several hundred completed drawings I had made during that time period.  I have read a lot about self sabotage and letting the inner critic shut you down. This felt like a two by four to the back of my head.  I came upstairs and sat down to write.  Not this posting, but rather on my nanowrimo project.  Why? Because back in those college days, I had wanted to be an artist and a writer, but I did not have any written works other than papers and journals from that time period. There are not any because I was afraid to try then.  I may not hit the mark this year by the end of November, but at least I will know that I was writing, and that is a win in my book.

So,  completely unedited,   a couple of paragraphs from the NaNoWriMo project.

A bright yellow candy wrapper caught Russell’s eye. Its bright plastic coating seemed to shed the thin film of wet dirt that covered the rest of the floor of the bus. He looked up at the sea of black, grey and tan in which he found himself seated. Black suits, black raincoats, black briefcases, black shoes. His own all black and grey attire that he had so carefully chosen as a statement this morning seemed to just blend in. So the business men were wearing dress shoes not high tops, but his long black duster was not that different than their trench coats. His gaze driffted back to the bright candy wrapper. Its bright cheerful colors seemed to mock him. Starbursts, a pack of contradictions. Their latest add featured the candy as players in a rock band. It was so close to what his own dreams were that he closed his eyes to trap the water that threatened to spill from his eyes.
Everything seemed so hopeless, so grey, dingy and grimy like the floor of the bus. The bus jerked to a stop, he looked to see that it was the stop before the Hospital.  He rose letting  and started moving towards the exit. A man wearing the same black canvas duster as him, but over a cheap looking black suit dropped into the seat he had vacated and unfolded the paper he has shoved under his arm. It was the wanted ads, with circles around some of the ads.  The doors parted and allowed Russell to flee from this possible vision of his future to an equally grey city sidewalk with another sea of nameless people hurrying by in black and grey.  He had enough to deal with in the present, without letting the vision of soul sucking job search cloud his mind. “First things first” he told himself and started down the block to the Hospital  A beautiful flagstone path lined with bight mums in yellows, reds and even a few purple curved away from the dirty grey sidewalk towards the beautiful old building. On his first visit here the path had been flanked by the little green evergreens. They were still there and not much larger than when he first saw them. He wondered if they were just slow growing or carefully trimmed. He liked them, they were the baseline to this garden, a constant rhythm through out the changing melody of the seasonal plants.




Ceramic Tile – take 2

Ceramic Tile Take 2I managed to get the colors a bit more vibrant on this one. My daughters both love it, but it is not what I had in my head, so I want to keep playing.

This morning I read Sandy’s Post on Time Well Spent. It got me thinking about balance in my life and business.  While I am enjoying playing with these coasters, a little voice in the back of my mind is saying “Product Developement”, while another is saying “COA research”, and yet another says “Wheee! I am playing.”  All these parts need to be kept in balance.  The research into Certificates of Authenticity(COA) is by far the least fun, and since I show paintings and prints of graphic images, not hand painted ceramic tiles,  it should be the more pressing so I can get the latest batch of prints up for sale.   I have only recently started selling limited runs, and I had a buyer ask for a COA. 

I discovered this is one of those areas that falls into a big grey zone, and I could research it for days and still not have the perfect answer, as there is not an equivalent to the ISBN for art prints.   I’d love to hear from other artists what they do for COAs.

Exploring and Enjoying

One of the questions I get asked all the time by students is some variation of is this right?

What is the right answer when it comes to art?  Is it right for a tree to be purple?  Absolutely.  The sky and the ground too.

Henri Matisse. Moroccan Landscape (Acanthus). 1911-13. Oil on canvas. Museum of Modern Art, Stockholm, Sweden.

When it comes to art, right is what you feel is right.  Many Artists and art students compare themselves and their works to the best works of famous artists.  One of the most freeing experiences was visiting a smaller museum. It only had the lesser works of the major artists.  It made me feel so much better about my own art.

My own art varies radically in style, it always has. I remember being told to give it time, you will develop a style of your own. I have been giving it plenty of time. I think of my style as a style of exploration.   I have favorite mediums and styles that I return to, but my part of my real joy in creating comes from trying something new.  A different style or medium.

Rennata M. Tropeano, Princess and Rocker 27, Print 8x8 inches ©2009 Princess and Rocker027

If I were defining my art by what looks most realistic, the eye more toward the center of the page would be right.  The other eye, is the one that felt right to me.  So naturally it was the one I choose to use while I was exploring and enjoying.  Both images are different, and both are right and both are my style.  Take the time to explore and enjoy without worrying if it is right.