Monday, February 09, 2009


This has been my mantra lately and it's like an obvious light has been turned on. When things get tight, don't get desperate, work with what you've got. I tend to save things for the perfect time or occassion. Use it, utilize it, "Make it work!" as the great Tim Gunn would say. When times got tough before I'd get desperate. I don't need to explain how, but I did as an artist. NO MORE. It's proven that acts of desperation don't work, they are money and time (and inspiration too, ultimately) down the drain. So in these economic times, am I painting little cheap give away paintings?

NOPE - I'm painting huge monster paintings!

Something most of us artists discuss amongst ourselves is the balance between being the artist we want to be and the creative fears, personal doubts and concerns that limit us. We all seem to agree that when you make something that you think/hope others will like, they will see right through it, or as a good friend said, see it as "pandering" to your audience. Guilty as charged, but right now I'm not going to do it.

Right now I'm going for the full dream. I'm going for the monster jam.

What did I want/have on the to do list that I couldn't provide for this or that reason?
-My shed/studio to be heated
-Lots of new ready to hang canvases

What did I have? (work with what you've got)
-A relatively empty basement that's warm enough
-A bulk of unprimed canvas and a bucket of gesso

I am much more linear thinking that I thought I was.

How could an artist NOT be thinking, "Hey I've got this that and the other to work with, let's do this!" when you've got a bunch of canvas laying around? Apparently I really have been too focused on the business end of things and less as an artist true to her craft FIRST.

Being true to myself as a painter is what got me into this world of selling my art to people I don't know around the world. Putting it all out there, taking chances. The meat and pulp of the artist on display for all to see. This is what it is all about. Work with what you've got.

For this work in progress, let me first say this is prepared to be 36" x 75" long - it will be shipped unstretched so that the buyer's framer can stretch it for much cheaper than it would be for me to ship it stretched.

Canvas had been primed. (Since I'll be shipping these biggies unstretched, I'm thinking my next big purchase at the art supply store will be a roll of pre-primed canvas.) First gestures of paint. Not feeling it. Go for some sticks of loose charcoal to sketch out a composition.

The charcoal composition evolves...

Navy blue/black paint over sketched composition...

The first layers of paint.

There will be many more layers of paint over this. This is just a shadow or actually skeleton of what this painting will end up looking like, but it's fun to share the process with you.


T.Allen said...

Great words of advice-can't wait to see the finished product!

Kendra Zvonik said...

You know, I find it very interesting to see the beginnings of this new painting. After all our conversation, I too have been re-inspired and obviously much in the same direction. Although, not size-wise but, rather, gesturally. I just finished a series of 22- 9" X 9" paintings on paper(this lovely paper I received as a gift last year). Using what I have and concentrating on the gesture- loosening my grip. Big, black sweeping lines are a symbol of FREEDOM. I have done a similar thing as you in that I have started with big, black brushwork- on a smaller scale.
Oh! How freeing to work on the scale you are working though! You are so right- going for it like you are! You continue to inspire me, Jessica!
Thanks for kicking my ass! You have given me the opportunity to say things out loud that I needed to hear myself saying- I needed to remind myself why I am painting and what a big joke it is making things to please other people. Also, what a big joke it is to pretend to be something I'm not- a crafter. It would be nice to make money from painting but FREEDOM is the reason we started living this type of life and FREEDOM is the reason to paint, not commerce.

Unknown said...

looking forward to seeing the finished piece!

Unknown said...

Yes Yes Yes, Kendra! I can't wait to see the new series and thank YOU for our wonderful conversations that have inspired me and nurtured my creative spirit. I'm about to get back to work on this and your words, as usual, has lifted me up!

Tameka and Bobby, thank you both for your comments and support. I should have more work in progress shots later today! :)

Meghan Henley said...

We are SO on the same page. You know I love to upcycle and recycle, yada now I am thinking of some art collages from stuff I have...feeling pretty inspired. Oh, and I am trying to talk Ryan into buying a piece of land and doing this:

Unknown said...

Yeah Meg! That's amazing! I just posted the link in my latest blog post. I love that guy. I think you and Ryan would be so happy in a creative home like that. I found his company's website and one of the things it mentioned was a 7 year mortgage of $300 a month. OH YEAH! Where do I sign up!? Can you imagine? Though Rob wasn't too pumped about a tree house, we'd have to find a pre-existing foundation to build on. :)