Friday, March 29, 2013

(New) Beginnings


A dear artist friend and great inspiration through the years, Martha Marshall, shared this photograph from her studio recently on facebook along with the simple title, "Beginnings".   Oh how I love this image, this glimpse into an artist's environment that I admire so.  That table, saturated with paint, and fully used and abused is pure eye candy.  Marks left as recorded history of every blank surface that has ever been handled and altered by the artist's hands.  It is a thing of beauty in and of itself.  The stunning square paintings that currently sit atop the table in their various stages of completion are, of course, the real beginnings to be noted and without them, it would be an image of a work-space's history.  With them, it is a work in progress as a whole.  So inspiring!  Martha, in one of her comments said, "Sometimes it's necessary to just make a start.

Isn't that the truth?

Since my last post, I spent a few nights in quiet reflection writing about some things I felt I needed to face to begin a journey of rediscovery of my passion for painting, dreaming big, and really challenging myself.  They have been written as potential blog posts but I decided that they are too long winded and go deep in such detail (and ultimately are very personal), that I will keep them to myself, both for my own sake and for yours (this will be long winded enough on its own!)

Most of what I've been exploring has been the many excuses I've used that have prevented me in a number of ways in my life as an artist.  I went through each excuse I've ever sincerely believed, as well as any excuse I've made that a small part of me knew I could overcome if I just put more into it... and I blew them all away.  I realized that in some cases, there were measures I could have taken to have prevented me from being slighted or taken advantage of which led to me closing doors on future opportunities.  In another light, those experiences are things I should be very thankful for because they taught me important lessons and I learned them.  Now that I know better, why should I let the sting of some not so pleasant past experiences/mistakes sour the potential of something new?  For some others, I realized that it wasn't about the excuse, it was about an underlying need for approval, or a fear of failure.  Once I systematically listed them all and explored each one, I realized the common theme of taking personal responsibility.  I no longer wish to lean so willingly on excuses or even unknowingly refer to them casually like they are established truths.  Own my choices, my successes and failures, my action and in-action (especially in-action).  If I don't do something or take chances, it's really nobodies fault but mine.  It's that simple.   

The process of working through this and writing it all out made me want to go through every post on Make Big Art and write and write in response to every challenge, and push and push and somehow work it all out of my system and then I'd be a whole new woman.  Ha!  But... clearly... that isn't the answer.  In fact, it speaks to one of my biggest issues.  I can get so incredibly excited about a great big idea that before you know it, it has exploded into epic proportions and by the time I get ready to take action, it's just too huge, it has bloated into impossible-land.  Such is the case with my writing exercises.  They are great... to a point.  All of this cerebral activity makes me feel like I'm really DOING something about my painting when, well, I still didn't make any art this week (that is if you don't count carving a ton of stamps, which I don't, because it's pure production at this point).

So long story short, it's time to stop thinking about it.  It's time to engage.  I got a lot out of the mental exercises I did this week - it was a healthy, healing and excellent preparation - but it's time to get off the computer, out of my head, and get my hands dirty.

Sometimes it's necessary to JUST MAKE a stART.

(New work coming this week... in the meantime, visit Martha's blog for more inspiration!)


Martha Marshall said...

I love this, Jessica! First of all, thank you for featuring me in your post today. But even more for speaking the thoughts that go through so many artists' heads on a regular basis. And not just for artists -- your words apply universally. Lots of food for thought here.

I've noticed that I busy myself with things that seem productive and worthwhile -- perhaps doing a few collages, or making some gel prints, or just sketching -- so I don't have to feel guilty about not tackling the hard stuff. And yet, even those little productive things are therapeutic sometimes, and allow the left brain to idle a little and make room for creative contemplation. Not a bad thing.

Unknown said...

Thanks Martha! I think you are spot on about keeping yourself busy with anything that strikes your fancy instead of overloading yourself with too much (or what may feel in the moment to be too much). My goal for the coming week is to just make art every day. No rules, no plan, no series or set expectations - just DO IT. I'm really excited about that sense of freedom about it, too. Thanks again for your constant inspiration!