I’m walking Away

__2018-03-07 11.47.45

 I’m at that point.  The point of giving up.

I’ve been incredibly frustrated lately.  Mainly, the ideas in my head aren’t matching up with what’s physically manifesting on my canvas.

After six months of painting abstract acrylics,  I can look at this body of work and say:  It’s not translucent enough (the pieces are kind of muddy in color) and they don’t really communicate a significant message to my viewer (I don’t know what they communicate!).  These were some of the goals I had set for myself and I sort of fell short of them.

With that said.  I’m ready to walk away.  Throw in the towel. Maybe even create a giant pyre and throw all my paintings in it.

Ok. That might be a little dramatic.

I’m not feeling that bad, but I am frustrated darn it.

I am walking away, but really I’m just walking into a different room.  A room filled with watercolors and paper as opposed to acrylics and canvas.  My hope is that if I walk away, I can let everything I learned in the last 6 months synthesize into my brain somehow.  I’m hoping with time I will be able to mentally separate the processes I liked from the ones that didn’t work for me.  Or who knows, maybe with a little bit more time I can simply check acrylic-abstract-painting off my list.  – Check.  That one’s not for me.  Let’s go try something else.  That could be the case.  I don’t know.  Hopefully time will tell.

I do know that I love painting.  I can’t quit.  I won’t quit.  You’ll have to pry that paint brush from my cold dead hand.  I do sure hope I figure out where I shine technically before I am cold and dead.  Gulp.

So here’s to another go.  A different go.  Wish me luck :)

No. Seriously.  I mean it. Right now.  I wouldn’t mind a little prayer.  You could send me some positive Ju-Ju.  I’m a believer of that kind of stuff.  Send it my way right now I’m waiting!!!

Here were the last paintings I finished in this series:

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These canvases were roughly 16×20 – 18×24.

It’s hard.  I feel like I would NEVER bring one of these paintings to a gallery or art association for exhibition.  Mainly because they don’t look like ANYTHING I see on their walls.  Mine are playful and crazy where as everything I see there seems so serious.  That definitely weighs into my cruel critique. I don’t feel like these are “show”-able.

__2018-03-13 14.10.48-2

I do have to say though, when I hang them in my house, I very much like them.  They are colorful, happy and create a cheery atmosphere.  That puts me in a strange conundrum.  I want to make art for the world not simply for myself.  Will I ever get there??? 

Deep exhale….. I hope so.

2018-03-16 10.45.28

As we speak, my brand new set of watercolors has arrived.

My old set is probably ten years old.  It’s been on rocky car rides where the pigments got mixed all together.  It’s filled with cat hair, mainly because my cat won’t leave me alone! It’s a complete mess.  Ta Da.  A new set with new paint brushes.  It’s like artist Christmas.

Well here I go.  Off to give these new puppies a try!  Hee Haw! Yipee!


  1. Hallo, Mary, I don’t know if you remember me, but I wanted to make sure I wrote to encourage you NOT to walk away from your latest paintings. I really think this series might just be you decompressing from all that detailed jewelry you’ve been creating for months, which is why it’s a little more “blended” (hence the not so bright shades and more generic items in the composition). It’s still you, though, even if slightly more naif than usual.

    I have to tell you that I LOVE the hummingbird painting/flying fish painting, just so you know.

    Take heart and good luck with your new watercolours,
    The Laughing Potter

  2. I want to encourage you, I totally understand what you are going through, been there done that and I still do it though not as often or as dramatic as I have in the past. There is a fantastic artist who I have three of her books. She explores the creative life, the struggle. Her name is Jeanne Carbonetti, the book that I am thinking of in particular is entitled ‘Making Pearls:Living the Creative Life’

      1. Let’s see, I think that I read The Tao of Watercolor first then The Zen of Creative Painting and when I got to the Making Pearls book it was just perfect….it is up to you. But I am thinking that the first two books that I mentioned is a good way to get introduced to how she paints, get some inspiration and then delve more into the spiritual part (a general view, not subscribing to any belief system) , letting go and the depths of creating itself. I found that it worked for me.

  3. As you are about to pull your hair out throw it all away ….. someone like me comes along and says,”Oh, I wish I could do that!” Let your Mind and hand and colors go where they will without thinking about it and it will happen.

  4. Don’t know you… but I love the energy and detail in the Hummingbird/Fish painting. I think you just haven’t found the right gallery for your work. More Bohemian..haha …full of colorful life. Your work would be loved here in Nevada City, CA. Lots of alternative open experiences in art and music festivals here. Sending you hugs and well wishes on your exploratory journey.

  5. Mary, never give up. Every artist goes through a period of self-doubt. But you just have to look at all the wonderful things you have created. You are a wonderful artist. I just love seeing all of the things you have created. I may just be your old first grade teacher but I think you are A+. Keep going, girl!

  6. I’m new on your blog, and I really do like your paintings, but I understand your problem. The most important thing is that you need to create things you’re happy with.
    I hope watercolors will help you, I love working with them :)
    I’m looking forward to see your new pieces,

    1. Thanks for your encouragement! Boy, I think it was only a month ago when I posted that, but I can already look back and see I had worked my way into quite a depression. 3 years of experimenting in acrylic abstracts and not manifesting my internal visions. Walking away was such a good decision. It’s like a cloud lifted instantly. I’m trying really hard not to look at the last 3 years as a “waste” of time. I’m a bit frustrated, but I know I learned a lot. Stepping away is going to allow me to synthesize what I’ve learned and help me figure out how to apply it differently. In the meantime I am having a great time watercoloring. It’s like rekindling an old romance. I shall ride this wave and see where it takes me… hopefully to a beautifully colorful place and hopefully to a place with a little more clarity. My soul is yearning for it. :)

      1. No problem :) I have serious problems with acrylics too… it seems they hate me, but I don’t know why.. I’m fine with colored pencils, watercolors, and oils, but not acrylics. But there’s no wasted time, we learn from every failure :)
        I love your new watercolor pieces, I cannot wait to see more!
        Are you still experimenting with abstract? I’ve just started learning more about it, which is strange for me, because I’ve never really liked abstract… maybe I just wasn’t ready yet. So I’m in the same shoes as you. It’s scary, but also very exciting :)

  7. I think the next step is to try abstract with watercolor. I just found a new artist as inspiration. I found her on Pinterest. Her name is Jennifer Tyers and she does abstract landscapes in watercolor. They very much remind me of Milton Avery. After I do a few more still lives, I’m going to give her style a go… I think it might point me in the right direction or at least closer to my strengths :)

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