For the next couple days I am going to share what I have been working on since September. The photo above shows the “concepts” for a painting series I am working towards. It is going to be a series of 8 large paintings called My Secret Garden.
This is a very big deal for me. For almost seven years now I have been floating and experimenting without direction. I’ve asked so many questions of myself: Who am I as an artist? What is my style? What do kind of art do I want to make? Who am I making it for? What is the message I want to communicate?
The universe is kind of cruel like that. The more important something is to you, the more time it takes to get to the answer. I’m not a very patient person, so this journey has been brutal.
I’ve dug deep.
When I first started on this personal journey, I did not have the answers. I’ve tried everything: quilting, polymer clay, jewelry, wood crafts, painting with acrylic, watercolor and goauche, printmaking, teaching, graphic design, and pottery to name a few. I haven’t been able to commit. I like them all yet I’ve always felt like I’ve been getting nowhere.
Seven years later. I’m feeling a bit older, more mature, I don’t know that I can sustain that crazy chaotic creative energy anymore. I’m tired. What took me so long to figure out is that I had to try everything and that this is ok. It’s the type of learner I am ; an experiential learner. I’m the kind of kid that has to touch the stove to learn what hot means. I can’t take anyone’s word for it –ever. I’ve beaten myself up for this because it has taken so much time, but in trying so many things I have figured out what feels right and what doesn’t.
Another concept that has plagued me is the for who? Do I paint subject matter that suits me? What does suit me? What do I like? Do I try to figure out what’s trending? What other people might want? Go where the money seems to be? I’ve spent so many hours trying to figure out the balance between my own personal interests and making others happy.
So this September my soul said ENOUGH. Time to answer the questions. You are ready.
The seed had been planted in this painting I had done in the spring:
This painting came from my stream of consciousness. I started with one blackbird, then a flower, then another, then another. The painting isn’t of something real. It is a fantasy. It comes from my own world that contains the things I love. In painting this, the answers came.
I LOVE color.
I LOVE flowers and gardening.
I LOVE the animals I find in my backyard.
I do 100% what I LOVE because there in lies my uniqueness.
When I stop apologizing for such simple concepts, beautiful things begin to arise.
This September I felt the strongest sense of clarity I have ever experienced. I now can answer the question – what do I like. I decided to be as disciplined as possible and create a vision through art that represents my LOVEs.
The discipline part will come from the many stages. I usually paint something and never think about it again. For this project I am asking myself to research, sketch, try things out, analyze what works for me and what failed, and do it again.
My thought is to create these small 8×10’s (which I just completed). Analyze them. Try it again. Fix the colors. Fix the contrast. Fix the layout. Then I am going to do 8 more small studies again. In hopes of creating a stronger vision before I embark on 8 LARGE watercolor paintings. I won’t be done then, because when I am through with those, I am going to do the entire series again but in a more abstract style.
8- 20×24’s finals
That’s a doozy right?
What you will see through the coming months is the same concept -but in a metamorphosis. What I like will stay. What I hate will go. The end product should be as strong as I am currently capable and in my wake I will leave evidence of my process.
There are a few more things that I love which I will incorporate in the larger paintings as well. These small studies were just too small to add this type of detail. However, I also plan on incorporating my great LOVE of fabric and mysticism. I am fascinated with the symbols of all cultures and what they have come to mean. So, I plan on hiding intriguing things throughout the paintings.
This is a big undertaking for me. It is the journey I have created for myself. It’s the path I’m choosing to take and I actually have the answers. Boy does that feel good!
WATERCOLOR – BACKYARD ANIMALS – GARDEN FLOWERS – FABRIC – MYSTICISM
My other hope is to put on my big-girl-pants and try selling this work online. Through Etsy or something. In the past, I haven’t felt “good enough” or “ready”. But it stops here. It’s time. And hopefully after all of this work I plan on doing, my art will be something I am proud of and ready to share.
I hope so. Because on a soul level, it will be the first time I feel like I’m sharing a real piece of –well, –me.
Mary, I am so happy for you in your art journey. Can’t wait to see your vision come to fruition!❤️Terry
Honestly these would sell on Etsy. They are very sellable. I suppose it depends on how you view your art…to start to be commercial or to be all about your soul and only ever sell what is to you perfect.
Maybe just get these out and then work on your deeper secret garden..the truly secret one.
Hi Judy. In December, you so kindly commented on my posts. I didn’t get to respond. Shit has hit the fan with some people in my life who need care giving and I have been forced to drop everything and go to them. Anyway. Today is the first day, really since Thanksgiving, that I have allocated towards administrative stuff and picking up the pieces. Funny how life can remind you from time to time that you have absolutely no control. Anyways. I was reading this comment about Etsy and I think you are so right. Matted up, these little painting studies are adorable. Of course I’m actually using the studies as reference at the moment, but after I begin the larger works and I know where I’m going, it will be nice to send these out into the world.
A sudden inheritance and a HUGE STUDIO. You are my dream women! Enjoy the gifts set before you and enjoy your art-making process. Thanks Again. Mary :)
Love your posts! I feel very connected to them and they speak to my journey and struggles as an artist. I mostly write but the creative arts of pottery, sketching, and painting help to open the creative process for me. Thanks for sharing!
Rise Daniels, loneheronart.com
Thanks for sharing your site. I totally agree! Poetry stimulates my brain in a different way than the visual arts do. I read your Haiku and it stimulates so many images in my head. We can both observe a blackbird and recognize it’s beauty in completely different ways, yet the message is universal. We definitely need each other!