Thursday, October 23, 2008

Flying Girl Looks for the Wild Things, or Imaginations

Flying Girl Looks for the Wild Things, or Imaginations
Golden Liquid Acrylics, Faber Castell Pitt Artist Pens, Prismacolor Watercolor Pencils.

Last night, in the midst of painting the latest FG, I had to ask myself... "Is this the end of Flying Girl?" because, oh, my friends... it was NOT working out? I had to take a break for an hour or two before coming back and painting over the entire background sketch.

Let's just say that those wild things did not want to be found. They wanted to give FG space to fly, and then they hid behind the trees.

I got the idea for this painting while, again, reading bed time stories. This time, Where the Wild Things Are. I thought she would be dancing the wild rumpus, but when I drew it out, it just made me cringe. I don't know why.

Perhaps it's because as an adult, my monsters and fairies are all at a distance. It's not like when I was a child and mermaids swam with me at the shore, or elves lived in the flower blossoms and tall grass I walked through. Now, the fantasy hides in shadows, flits in the corner of my vision, and shows up, fully formed in books, movies and dreams.

Perhaps I, with so many worries and such long to do lists to deal with, have stopped paying attention to the magic of every day life, and so it hides behind the trees, ducking away when I look.

I think of these Wild Things, these imaginary friends, these beasts and characters as my inspiration. They are here, I believe. Maybe not in physical form, but here, nonetheless. And they hide from me, oh yes they do.

What? Am I kidding you? They hide from ME? Who is painting a new picture every night and planning a new novel, and drawing away and playing funtimes with the kids? They hide from me?

Yes. They do.

I pull my hair out sometimes trying to get them to come here. But don't take that as discouragement. It is proof that anyone can do it, if they put their minds to it. If I can do it, with my years of fallowness and my really low natural energy level and my chaotic life and my pushy children, you, too can do it. As long as you believe in yourself, and show up to the canvas/page/keyboard to do it.

Sometimes, the ideas come fast and furiously. And my pen is kept busy as I take notes and sketch out little thumbnail drawings and write out links and save to delicious and do as much as I can to capture the moment of inspiration. Sometimes such brilliant ideas come to me, I am sure they have legs of their own and will simply jump out of my head and dance around, but no. If I don't write those suckers down, they disappear. Sometimes my daily life feeds my inspiration and I am ready to paint when I sit down with my supplies. Sometimes my head is absolutely and irrevocably lonely, nothing alive in there at all, and I cast about in my notebooks and my surroundings and my subconscious for something, anything to paint. Sometimes I have a great idea when I sit down, but it revolts and runs away when I try to capture it in paint.

But I am not giving up. Even when I think the painting is going to die the slow death as I struggle with it, like last night. I don't give up and I take my daily paintings to completion, even if I don't love them. They are still vital. I take them as part of the process instead of beautiful work. I take them as a lesson about what I DON'T want to paint, and turn the next painting in another direction.

Oh, and I forgot about his one. Boredom. I get bored ALL THE TIME. I get sick of FG. And I take that opportunity to develop her in a different direction. Then I get excited again.

Don't forget Exhaustion. I am exhausted every night, but by dragging my butt to the show, I have turned my painting into a routine. I love routines. Forget about the exciting and glamorous artistic lifestyle. I really believe that the career of an artist is one of routine and showing up everyday. It's when the inspiration doesn't strike that you prove yourself to be a serious artist. Anyone can get high on flow and paint for hours, I think. The pain is doing it when you don't want to. Ugh. Just thinking about it makes me stressed. But now I've gotten to the point where if I don't paint every night, I don't know what to do with myself. The discomfort of feeling lost trumps the discomfort of not knowing what to paint.

When you folks come on here and see this crazy output of a painting a day, I am afraid that you think it takes something special and magical to do this. And it does... but it's the same special and magical qualities that you can have too. Yes, I have been painting for most of my life, but that does not signify. I have NEVER been this productive. I have never painted this much, even in my other productive periods. And not only does my history with art feed into this project, even more importantly, my history with living feeds into it. Everyone has their own history with living. Their own symbolism, their own tactics for difficult projects, their own stories to tell, their own abilities to focus, their own characters running around, Wild Things and fairies, waiting to be caught and turned into art.

Hand with Bracelet
The Big Draw #22

This drawing is me just showing up and not playing with my heart. I committed to the Big Draw in October, so I tossed this one off. I'd be surprised if it took me 5 minutes. And I think that's okay. Not everything has to be earth shattering. You can't win the game without showing up. You can't win the game without expecting some losses, right?

Pardon me for the sports metaphors. They are not my usual language, but I am coming to see some value in them for my own needs. Hopefully, it will help me as I tackle challenges and step up to the plate with projects that scare the bejeezus out of me.


Lynn said...

I really appreciate your pep talk here today. Really, really do.
Even though I am not an artist of long standing...or sitting...nor did I, like you and many others, get training in college for this...but it, what ever it is I am doing, or attempting to do is flowing out of me right now, and I am doing my ever loving best not to compare myself to anyone one else or anyone one elses How They Got There...because I am just enjoying it so long as my stuff does not offend anyone, hurt anyone's sensibilities I guess I can keep on keeping on...
as it brings me a sense of satisfaction and yes, sometimes joy and awe that I can even do what I do, do. LOL I amaze my self, and for now that is enough and I am not embarrassed to say so.
And I continue to look at the work of the likes of you and my other newfound blog land friends as I call you all...and get inspired each and every day to continue on.
Thanks again for being an inspiration.

Lynn said...

PS I see the creatures peeking out from behind the trees...perfect...she is delightful flying there in the woods today...and the hand down below if wonderfully done.

sukipoet said...

Wonderful hand. Doesnt matter that it only took five minutes. Has power and love all the bracelets.

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