This post itself has been a “work in progress”, behind the scenes of my blog for a while now.
There are these days….these moments….. where I question why I am doing what I’m doing in life and if I’m failing at my purpose. Why I’m using my a LOT of my spare time trying to be an artist? Am I failing at being a parent, at being a spouse? What am I doing, trying to belong in a career as a “techie”?
It’s been a rough week this week. I have a lot going on in the next couple of months in my home life, work life, and art life and it just all sorta came crashing in on me this week. It goes without saying, I am STRESSED OUT and without intending to, I snap and end up letting my stress get the best of me and overflow into my mood and my actions. I turn to my daily devotions and prayer of a morning to try and start the day off right. I try to wear my inspirational bracelets to remind me throughout the day to; “Just breathe”, “Let go and let God”, “Have faith and remember I am blessed”, “Good girls rarely make history” ….oh wait, that last one’s a different reminder! Anyway, reminding thyself that it will all be OK and to just chin up and keep on…..yeah…..all of that is easier said than done…… So, to try and stamp out some of the stress, I’m trying to focus on joy. I’m trying to make myself take a little extra “me time”. This means making myself take a few minutes to paint, draw, read, spend time with my newest lil nephew, visit with a friend….things that make me stop and take a deep breathe and that bring me joy.
One of my absolute, favorite movies, “Mom’s night out” is based on these thoughts; being a mom and feeling like you’re failing at everything you do. A hot mess. If you haven’t seen the movie, I highly recommend it for both guys and gals. For the guys out there, it may give you a little insight to the female mind and it’s thought processes. It may help you to understand why we sometimes freak out about the littlest things and subsequently help you to avoid a meltdown, blowup, or worse; a trip to “the doghouse”. For the gals out there, it will remind you that you’re enough, sometimes failure is just our perception and no one else’s and above all, that we’re way too hard on ourselves.
Speaking of being way too hard on ourselves, I have a saying that I try to pass on to fellow artists and painting buddies when they’re doubting their work and that I often try to mumble to myself when I want to toss a painting on the burn pile, “We are our own worst critics.” I should probably yell it at myself instead of mumble it but then anyone around may thing I’m full blown, straight up crazy instead of thinking I’m just a little off.
This trying to be an artist is a love/hate thing –sometimes what brings you joy can also be a thorn in the side. I’ve really been trying to paint en Plein air more often because I feel that it will ultimately make me a better artist in general. Painting from life brings it’s own challenges but it gets the crutches of working from a photograph out of the way. Something I only realized after painting from life more. I’ve had some great teachers try to get me to see that point but it just hadn’t sunk in until I experienced it. Painting from life forces you to really see and make your own decisions on the process of creating the painting. It is not limiting the view or color range or depth as a photograph does. Don’t get me wrong, painting from reference material is definitely a must for some work but I feel like the foundation and the knowledge gained from painting from life is still showing through in the studio work. Some paintings leave me feeling like I am really making progress and then other days, I wonder, “What was I thinking????” I guess I just have to remind myself that I learn or take something away from each and every painting. Sometimes it is how to mix that perfect green or finally getting my brush to achieve just the right stroke, or experiencing the way the light hits my subject…..and then again, sometimes what I learn is that I definitely need more practice!
At any rate, it’s all good. I just need to pour some Velvet Red, sit a spell, and remind myself that I can’t do it all but I am enough. I am a work in progress and probably always will be….oh, and so is my art.