When you walk into a gallery or a museum, you're very rarely faced with works that require you to be up close to see; they're full of large to grandeur paintings that knock the wind out of you. Not only does the thought of working at that scale make my wallet shiver in fear, but when would I be able to finish something that size? Could I finish something that size? Between parenting and a part-time job, my time is already stretched thin - if I were to try and only paint at a size any larger than 9x12", I would probably only get four paintings done a year, seven if I'm being generous with my expectations. But that's just me and I kind of suck at time management.
I did a single year of art school and in that time I don't think I made a single piece under 16x20", as all of my professors required us to work on a pretty large scale. For almost 2 years after that last semester, I made almost no work because I kept trying to do large-scale pieces that I got bored or frustrated with. I'm not sure what or when the turning point was, but I began making a lot of paintings that were only 4x6", and I was able to do them consistently while simultaneously improving my skills.
When I do do my large work, I do it on the side and work on it alongside my smaller pieces so that I'm still producing work. Also, smaller works are becoming more popular, especially with sites like DailyPaintWorks, which encourages and showcases artists who make work every day.
All this to say: Don't waste your time making museum-sized paintings if you're not feeling it, Make what you want to make, how you want to make it.
I'm also making this blog post to celebrate the reopening of my Etsy shop! I've been working really hard on getting it back up and running, so if you're interested, take a look! From today until May 5th, you can use coupon code SWEET15 at checkout to get 15% your total order at my shop!
I finally feel like I'm back to a normal level of productivity in my painting, but with that my living space has just gotten dirtier and dirtier. It's really hard for me to feel motivated to clean when all I want to do is paint, especially now that we're in the process of buying a house (YAY!), so in a week or two I'm going to have to go through and start sorting and packing everything anyway. It's all a bit daunting at the moment since moving into this house will be the seventh time I have moved since 2012, so I'm more than ready to just be done and settled somewhere I will stay for at least a few years.
The other part of getting back into painting regularly is that I suddenly have a huge influx of ideas and it can be a little overwhelming, which is why I've been doing small tattoo flash paintings the last week or so. They're small, quick, and I still feel like I'm getting something done and being creative, the latter being important; I struggle a lot with feeling "creative" when I'm doing my still life paintings because even though I love doing them, I'm just putting things on a table and painting them. One of my goals is to start trying to set up still life subjects that tell a story, which is sort of what I attempted with this last one. I don't think it quite hit the mark but I'm definitely on track and excited to do more.
At the moment I'm nearing the end of a "burnout binge" - which is something I fall into every couple of months. Sometimes I paint, and paint, and paint, and paint, and have a really incredible turnout rate for a couple of months and then I just...stop. After doing and producing so much work, I'll cozy into a video game and only paint for a few hours every week, rather than every day. It's cyclical, and very much necessary. It's easy to feel guilty for being "unproductive", but breaks are important and help keep you refreshed and motivated. Painting is the thing I love doing the most, but sometimes it's the last thing I want to do. I said I'm nearing the end of this cycle, and I can tell because my work is starting to pick up pace and I'm doing more and feeling more motivated, which is great! Sometimes during a burnout binge it can feel like I'll never want to paint again, but the feeling is always fleeting and I always come back to it, even if it takes a few weeks.
Here is what I've been working on for the last couple of weeks:
It's an 8"x10" still life in acrylic - something this size typically takes a week or less, but since I'm working on it during a burnout binge, I'm just not putting in the time I should be. Maybe if I was better at time management, I wouldn't have such long periods of on and off productivity, but balance and time management have never been my strong suits.
So 2018 is off to a slow start, but I have a feeling it's going to be one of my best and most productive years.
For most of my life I always carried a sketchbook with me wherever I went so that if I felt like drawing I could just take it out and draw; I can't say for sure when I stopped, but it's been within the last 2 or 3 years. Having a small child at home to take care of has really put some interesting constraints on how I can spend my time drawing and painting, and at the current moment I feel like I'm in some strange limbo where I simultaneously have a ton of time to work and no time to work. During the moments I feel I have a lot of time, I end up frozen, procrastinating, and stuck in my head about what to work on, instead of actually doing anything. These odd time restraints and inability to manage my time properly have led me to prioritize painting and making finished work instead of utilizing a sketchbook.
This all probably has something to do with the fact that sketchbooks -at least in the last couple of years- have scared me. Despite being under no obligation to show anyone my drawings, there is still a looming voice in my head that tells me if I'm "failing" in my sketchbook, I'm failing in my "real" work. Thus, if I'm not using a sketchbook, I'm not failing. Which is completely untrue, of course. And not that I make a lot of money from my painting at the moment anyway, but I feel guilty for working in my sketchbook because I feel like I'm taking time away from doing finished pieces that could potentially make me money. And everything said above is just me fighting myself because I'm too intimidated to practice and make crappy drawings.
However, I feel like I've reached somewhat of a middle-ground by doing my miniature(2"x2") and small (3"x5") paintings because they're so quick and I can really do a lot of them in just a couple of days. But there is something to be said about being able to sit down and flip through the pages of a sketchbook; it feels different than just rifling through old paintings in boxes, but maybe that's just me.
Anyway, I don't really know what I'm trying to say. Sketchbooks aren't for everyone and you're not a lesser artist if you don't use one, just like you're not necessarily a better one if you do. I just wanted to talk about my journey with them, and I'll end the post with a ballpoint-pen sketch I did today from RedditGetsDrawn.
Well, here we are: the first day of the last month of 2017. This is the time of year that I spend a lot of time reflecting on what I've accomplished in my paintings and my life.
2017 was a very progressive year for me - first and foremost I got a job in the late Spring, which, despite being part-time, was a big change after being a stay-at-home-mom for nearly 3 and a half years. It pays shit but it's the first "real" job I've ever really enjoyed and it's gotten me out of the house a couple times a week for the last few months. Once the year is over, however, I will be transitioning into a more full-time painting position which is now more feasible since my daughter is 4 and is more self-sufficient. But I'm nervous, of course. What measly money I do make from working is probably not going to transfer over from selling paintings - at least not at first, maybe not ever, but I'm trying to be positive. I'm reading books on how to market your own work and really dedicating as much time as I can to doing my painting and putting myself out there so that I can better contribute to the household finances.
But enough about work, let's talk about art! 2017 was a bit of a breakthrough year for me with painting; I picked up gouache in 2016 and did a "50 Days of Gouache" challenge where I did a small gouache painting every day for 50 days, and during that challenge I picked up still-life painting, which, funnily enough, I hated in high school and college studio classes. That challenge really sparked an interest in still-life painting that I hadn't felt before so I went with it, and this year I made some of my favorite paintings I've ever done. This is my favorite one from 2017:
But of course with the good there are the bad, and I completed a painting yesterday that is probably one of my least favorites of the year. It was disappointing, as all "meh" paintings are, but mainly because I thought the idea behind the painting was clever and I just botched the execution. I've been doing this YouTube challenge where I do paintings based on a letter of the alphabet, and this one was for M. I've done a lot of paintings this year, mostly tiny 2"x2" paintings up to a couple 8"x10"s, and I'd say as far as good vs. bad, it's about 50/50. I post almost everything I do on my Instagram, just to be putting new content up, and I've also noticed that sometimes the paintings I don't particularly like, everyone else does.
At any rate, I've got some pretty cool ideas that I'm excited to start pursuing as we move into 2018, and I hope you'll join me on my journey!
I don't really know where to start - a little about me, I guess? Currently I am living in Pleasant Hill, Missouri with my husband and our four-year-old daughter. I work part-time at an adult store and when I'm not spending time with my family, I dedicate the rest of my spare moments to painting. I usually have between 1 and 5 paintings all going at the same time because concentrating on any one thing until completion is agony for me and I prefer to be able to focus on different projects on different days. Still-life painting is my happy place, but I paint a lot of figures and portraits when I can.
The idea of starting a blog was...weird. It hadn't really occurred to me that I would have anything interesting to write about, but a lot of things that pertain to my art go unsaid simply because I wasn't sure where to say it. Typically I would try and save my thoughts for my YouTube videos, but recording voice-overs with a small child in the room is often difficult, and at the moment my living situation doesn't offer a quiet place to do it. Thus, a blog was born.
I'm not sure what my solid goals for this blog are at the moment, but I know I want to talk about my projects, my processes, my thoughts, ideas, and milestones. Maybe that's all I need to talk about. Maybe I'll have more to say. I'd like to start by giving myself a loose goal of posting at least once a month, that way I have time to collect my thoughts and have something fresh to give every time I post.
But for now, Hello, this is me.