Monday, February 13, 2012

Trying something new

I am writing this post much later than I normally write them.  Saturday nights seem to be my usual writing time and I think that I have myself believing that between the hours of 7 p.m and 10 p.m., my creative persona dons its writer's cap and pulls together this blog.  The reality of it is, that the writing I do could be done at any time on any particular day.  I know that a lot of people feel that they do their best writing when certain conditions are met.  For me, the only condition that must be present is that I need to have accomplished something of an artistic nature within the past several days. 

This past week, I have been playing with acrylic inks in my studio.  I have picked up a small selection of different colours which should more than suffice.  I have been spreading the inks on pieces of watercolour paper to see how the colour lays down on the paper, whether the paper buckles, and so on.  I have a ways to go before I am ready to paint the pieces of art destined for Norway for the Twitter Art Exhibit.  I really want to do something impressive, something that defines me as an artist.  But, I have to admit, I am not sure what it would take to put something down on watercolour paper to have others think of me as an artist.  I am of the opinion that one must accept themselves as whatever it is that they want to be noted for before they can actually be deemed that particular type of person.  So, although I am determined to become an artist and participate in various attempts using different mediums, does this strong desire to be an artist in fact make me one?  What do you use to define yourself or how did you come to describe yourself as an artist?

I have a studio room in which I keep various art supplies varying from different paints, coloured pencils, right on down to pieces of fabric and an assortment of wonderful Japanese papers.  I say that I am a mixed media artist, an artist who uses the different mediums to express my ideas, thoughts and dreams.  I have even done up a picture, Japanese in nature using embroidery floss as one would use paint to put down certain colours as one would paint sections of a canvas.  But, supplies aside, is there something in my particular make up that holds the key to my determining whether or not I truly am an artist?  I wish I knew the answer to that question.

I guess I could take and accept the premise that since I make art, therefore I am an artist.  But, even though I make up pieces that friends kindly refer to as art, I have to wonder if I really am meant to be on an artistic journey.  Am I just fooling myself into thinking that this is what I really want to be and so if I tell myself that it is true, that I will make myself over into a fine artist?  I am not so sure that it really works that way.  Just because I would like to be an artist, does not mean that I am one anymore than being able to sew a button on my shirt says that I am a seamstress.  I know beyond doubt that I am not a seamstress, nor will I ever become one.  Sewing does not pull me into its power and mesmerize me the way that art does.  As lovely as a dress might be, I cannot see myself going over it, seam by seam, noting the tucks, fine seams, exquisite buttonholes and finely detailed darts.  I can see myself looking over a piece of art taking note of the gradations of colour, the balance in a painting, the textures of the paint, the subject matter and how it is portrayed, as in whether  there are symbolic references or whether I see actual references to a particular subject.  But, are these acts enough to cause me to think of myself as actually being an artist?

I do find pleasure in my into the art's world.  Wandering through the aisles of an art supply shoppe, I can while away the hours quite easily  But, then I can happily spend hours roaming though large office supply shoppes.  There seems to be something about vast quantities of paper, pens, and other supplies that I find enjoyable.  Lately, in art supply shoppes, I have been drawn to the aisles of coloured inks. calligraphy pens, and other supplies related to the art of penmanship and the study of illuminated script.  I enjoy looking at samples of penmanship from earlier times and wondering how people were able to develop such elegant ways of putting their thoughts down on paper.  The only answer I have is that constant practice must help in developing the skill.  Consequently, practice must be the key to developing any skill, even those deemed artistic in nature.

So, I will continue on my artistic journey.  I must admit that typing down these thoughts right now, has helped me reach this decision.  I was beginning to lose faith in myself.  This often happens when I feel that I am not progressing at the rate at which I felt that I should be developing skills.  I seem to forget that progressing at a rate, any rate, is a positive.  I will learn at the pace for which I am hardwired, and not a bit faster.  Learning at a slower pace is not a bad thing.   I need to take my time and go over something frequently in order to really learn it and learning to write in an elegant style will take time after having written, and written badly for so many years, taught me sloppy habits that lead to embarrassing transcripts of my handwriting. I do want to learn to make illuminated script (think of the elaborately scribed capital letters in storybooks) and use this knowledge for another project at a later date.

Meanwhile, I have come up with two drawings that I hope to put into action for the Twitter Art Exhibit.  While I cannot say that these drawings will be the ones that make their way to Norway,  I do feel that I want to try them out using the inks.  Somehow, I want to think of these pieces as being similar to stained glass in design. That is the nice thing about this project, if I do not like the way these two sketches turn out, I can always go back to the drawing board and try to come up with something I like better.

I hope your week is full of artistic surprises, nice ones of course!   As always, I would love to hear from you.  Tell me what you are working on, what it was that called to you to head into an artistic life, what causes yourself to doubt your instincts and question whether the artistic life is for you.  Maybe we could get a real support community running here to help out with giving you the feedback that you need and so much more.

Have a great week!

Sincerely,    Rutheemac


Samantha Kira said...

Wow. I really love this post, because I think this is something that goes through everyone's head at some point. By questioning yourself, though, you are exploring yourself as an artist. Have you heard that if you think you're crazy, you're not, because a crazy person doesn't question their sanity? I think it's the same...if you're an artist, you question yourself, and continue to do so. I hope this makes sense.

I see myself as an artist because of how I live my life and approach my daily life. I see things in a different way. And I want to learn and explore. I'm not an artist because other people say I am -- I am an artist because I choose to explore the world and express what I've discovered in an artistic way. In paint or words; it doesn't matter.

Keep playing. Experiment with those acrylics. I've used them for years and have done many paintings, but they still teach me something new every time.

Rutheemac said...

Hi Samantha! I think everyone questions whether they are in the right job, if they are making the right choice and so on. It only makes sense that to question whether or not one can say that they are an artist. I consider myself an artist, but I have friends who refer to what I do as playing with my paints, etc. LOL Truthfully, I question the validity of what I do, but the answer I get back mentally is a resounding "YES." You're so right, we do live and approach our lives differently. I see sunrises and sunsets as performance art. Mother Nature is one amazing set director! I will keep playing as long as I can and try out as many different mediums as I can. Thank you so much for your comment! It helps when I know other artists see what I see, maybe in a different way, but they do see.