Garden of Grackles -watercolor 18″ x 24″
This painting is very special to me.
I have been blogging about my art journey for almost 8 years now. Can you imagine that? -8 years. In that time I have complained A LOT. Sorry about that :) My almost decade frustration has been not knowing what my “message” as an artist would be.
First, as an artist, I had to figure out what art medium was best suited to me and which best expressed my talent. Second, what style felt right? abstract? illustration? graphic design? botanicals? landscapes? still lives? and Thirdly, most importantly, what is my message as an artist?
Eight years later I can safely and proudly say I am an experiential learner. Meaning, no one could ever tell me me the answer, I had to learn the hard way. I had to learn by trying EVERYTHING and I’m sure I will keep exploring. No one could say “Hey, you seem to shine when you do xyz” or “You really should stick to xyz subject matter”. I have painted with acrylics, gouache and watercolor. I have tried printmaking, pastels and mixed media. I have painted still lives, landscapes, abstracts and everything in between.
I really struggled with my message as an artist. Some artists don’t care. They are just happy doing what they’re doing. But inside me all the existential questions lie. Why was I born? Why am I on the planet earth? What is the point of being alive and dying? Is there a point? What will I do with the life I have been given? I have gifts how will I use them? and most importantly, what can I give back to the world?
As an artist I have always taken this last question to heart. I was not born with a scientific brain to cure diseases. I wasn’t born to be a world leader that will guide future generations. I wasn’t born with a medical mindset to nurture and heal others. I was born with a particular gift of creating images. I haven’t really seen a society who value’s this gift. Not like they value notoriety, wealth and technology. How do you answer the question of giving to your community, your planet and the world at large as an individual? As a human, I can care about the earth, be politically active, raise responsible children, pay my taxes and do no harm. But a give to the world by making images? I’ve struggled for years with the guilt of feeling frivolous, redundant, obscure, voiceless and insincere.
With age comes reason. Again it comes back to experiential learning. I had to experience and search and search…. and continue searching. And the answer is that it was always with me all along. The school of hard knocks. I would not accept any other way than to search, knock on hundreds of doors, open hundreds of doors and close a hundred doors. I can say I’ve tried on one hundred hats and I think I’m at the point of finding one that fits.
This is a bit long-winded, I know, but now I’ll get to why this painting is special to me. It has taken 8 years of trying everything else to be clear in what is special to me. Artists that gleam the attention of the world’s mainstream express their strong feelings about death, suicide, mental illness, sexual identity, war, human rights, activism, ant-capitalism, tribalism…. all sorts of -isms. I’ve tried them all, but I never felt true to myself. Again, like I was wearing someone else’s hat.
My message is a lot quieter. It’s really quiet actually. My loves are very simple and I can’t change that. Lord knows I’ve tried. I love my gardens, the critters that crawl within them, my bird-feeder, staring out the window, smelling nature, feeling it underneath my feet and I am obsessed with recreating it in COLOR.
This painting is special because I am owning this quiet little message. It may not be loud, it may not be flashy and it may not get a ton of social media hits, but it’s still a message. It’s a message to my tribe. My tribe of flora, fauna and everyday backyard enthusiasts. I for several years, have tried to run as far away as I could from this concept. But I have to own that inwardly, I am very quiet. I’m a bit of a dork actually. I don’t mind sitting in my driveway for hours watching squirrels and listening to the birds. And they don’t have to be fancy animals either. Blackbirds, robins, cardinals and seagulls, insects, woodchucks, skunks and bunnies – they do it for me.
Forever, I have painted what I see ( ie. a gorgeous bouquet from my garden or a beautiful scene from a vacation). This painting above is one of the first explorations from my imagination. I simply thought about all the things I love and assembled them into a composition that does not exist anywhere other than my mind. That is very scary. I think it’s why I haven’t really done it before. I can’t blame the image on the circumstances or the environ. It’s on me. I am telling the world what I love and it’s incredibly personal. There’s the fear of what if people don’t like what they see? But again I think that age and time give you the confidence to care not. There is so much freedom in not caring.
I made a painting and “I” love it because it has all the things special to me within it. It’s colorful and happy and strong and unapologetic – in a very quiet way.
Bingo. That’s the direction I need to move in.
I’m feeling very comfortable in this hat.
LOL. So now I’ll get off my soapbox and show you the progression of the painting and some of my favorite parts:
Thank you so much for being on this journey with me :)
Mary, thank you for sharing your journey. You are so talented. You have to know how special you are. Your view of the world is the one I want to have displayed in my home. I am sure others will want to have your work in their lives too. I love that you will continue to explore the beauty in nature and open the eyes of others so that they can begin to really appreciate the world around them. You also have done an amazing job of working with children and showing them so many ways to express themselves through art. You have to celebrate that success. I am so proud of you. I love that I can connect with you and your incredible talent through this blog. Thank you so much for sharing. Sending you love and best wishes as you continue you wonderful journey. Sue Georgiev
Every time I hear from you, it simply warms my heart. Thank you for being one of my best cheerleaders!!!
This painting is so real that I feel as if I could touch the grackles and smell the flowers.
B I N G O !
On Wed, May 29, 2019 at 12:12 PM Be Creative Mary wrote:
> becreativemary posted: “Garden of Grackles -watercolor 18″ x 24″ This > painting is very special to me. I have been blogging about my art journey > for almost 8 years now. Can you imagine that? -8 years. In that time I > have complained A LOT. Sorry about that :) My almost decade ” >
Mary, I am a new subscriber and just wanted to tell you that your message and your beautiful, colorful images touched my heart. I am on a parallel journey to find my voice through my art. This summer, for the first time, I will be donating two paintings I’ve created to be auctioned for causes that I want to support. I will continue to draw inspiration from your posts.
Thank you. That made my day! I think when we share our vulnerability, dreams and experiences we some how find each other. Proving that even though we can’t see it with the naked eye, we are all connected. Glad to have found you. Glad to share our journeys!