Monday, June 15, 2009
Paintings & Ponderings
In the past couple of days, I've been on a serendipity rampage here at Hand & Soul Studios, painting a boatload of canvas for possible art quiltie mania. I have settled on themes for two of my five fall art shows and trying desperately to come up with at least one show theme that doesn't involve the purchase of stretched canvas by the ton. I figured that I'd better get a bunch of pieces painted in a variety of color schemes so if I decide to go this route, I'll have a stash to work with when the inspiration finally arrives. Frankly, I've been tossing around any number of show ideas in the past year and just when I think I've settled on something, one of two things happen: first and foremost, those sneaky, whining, combative, and tiresome inner critics set about chattering in my ear and I start to second guess myself. Or I get what I suddenly declare to be a "better" idea and I promptly go skipping off in pursuit of that idea that dances along ahead of me like a piece of paper caught up in little flurries of breeze. A "better" idea in this case is more specifically defined as "something that will sell." I'm really very torn right now between creating with blind passion and creating with a practical eye towards paying the bills. Those two goals are not mutually exclusive but it can mean the difference between making art just for me and making art for an audience with pocketbooks. Luckily, in the past, those two have been one and the same. Somehow though, I am having trouble this time around trusting my instincts and so, instead, I've been bouncing from idea to idea and back again. After selling 37 of 39 paintings in my first three shows, the pressure for a repeat performance is enormous...pressure of my own making for the most part but still, there it is. People familiar with the first wave of my work to see the outside of my studio keep asking about the "old" stuff and upon explanation of the "new" stuff, their eyes glaze over and they get that "why mess with a good thing" look in their eyes. This is really an age-old dilemma for artists, one that seems to go with the territory. It would all be so easy if I could just throw caution to the wind, say "the hell with finances" and go paint my brains out. Then again, I'd probably be painting by candlelight and eating Top Ramen every day. Hmmmm...so much to ponder...I'll let you know how it all turns out.