Thursday, April 21, 2011

Back to school - Do the work!


Starting April 16, I am officially going back to Lafayette Atelier to finish up my art education.  I am so happy I could just wiggle.  Ok, I am wiggling!

 This is my first charcoal drawing for portrait class.  We have another 3 hour session on Sunday where I will do some cleaning up and adding white to make this thing pop.

Starting next week I will begin a cast drawing.  I will start with a line drawing that I will trace to use for a painting once the drawing is complete.  It is going to be exciting to work in the studio again!  I have so much to learn. 

In addition to my class work, I will continue to work on personal projects outside the class.  I think this is important for my growth as an artist.  While the class time will help me improve my skills, it will be the out of class work that will help me improve my artistic voice.

I am at the point that I want to start exploring what it is I want to tell the world.  That is, after all, what an artist does - communicate with the world in visual form. In some ways that is harder than learning about light and shadow, forms or lines.  No one can teach you what you would tell the world.  They can teach you the visual language and give examples of messages sent from other artists, but your message is unique to you.

Since going to class and working out a schedule and plan, I have noticed an incredible change in my motivation at home.  Chores seem simple and easy.  My general outlook seem very positive.  I am on a motivational high that is hard to explain.  I am hanging out on Facebook less and getting more done. That is how I know this is the right thing to do. 

Yesterday was the debut of a book by Steven Pressfield titled "Do the Work".  It is free if you download it on your Kindle, but for under $10 it can be yours in hardback or paperback.  If you are the type that believes in such things as signs or signals from God or the Universe, then this would probably qualify. 

Just when I needed to hear "Don't stop.  You will get discouraged.  You will get frustrated, but don't stop" the book arrives automatically on my Kindle!  I like to get caught up in details.  That is my nemesis.  Will these classes cut into my quality time with my family?  Will my fees and supplies be a problem to my budget?  Will I be able to learn fast enough to do something with these skills?  When will I be making real art?  Doubt after doubt, detail after detail I began to sabotage the dream.  This, I leaned in the Orientation chapter, is resistance.

I was planning on abandoning this blog.  I even thought about abandoning my dream to become a fantastic artist.  After all, the odds of doing anything remarkable is slim.  The art market is in the toilet with this awful economy.  I am 45 years old (way past the point of being easy to teach).  I have very little skill and less instinctual talent.  Since I am not going to take down any of my old posts you can thumb through and see that I am anything but consistent. I have ideas I don't act on.  I act on things I other than my plan and I am horribly, horribly disorganized.  All of this is just resistance.

After reading this manifesto I took on a whole different set of questions such as:

Why aren't I making "real art" now? 

Seriously?  What is stopping me?  Why am I doing study after study after study with no real intent on making it something someone is supposed to hang on their wall?  (answer:  because if I call it a study then I am not responsible for failure)  What would change if I called this stuff my art?  What would change if I actually took a sketch to the finish line and it was ugly?  Would they bomb my house?  Would they take my pencils away?

If I want to make narrative work, why am I working on still life all the time?
 Yes, still life can be narrative, but that isn't the work I see in my head when I close my eyes and imagine what my paintings will be.  Yes, still life is great skill building, but what I am doing is a lot like chopping up vegetables and then throwing them in the garbage instead of in the pot.  I would never get dinner done that way!  Seriously, why am I not scheming up my first narrative piece?  (answer: because if I do something other than what I want to be doing then I can avoid failure? yeah, that's not working so well.)

I have been listening to the chatter inside my head telling me "not yet.. you are not good enough yet.. " for years.  I have heard the same voice telling me to feel guilty for even wanting it.  I have heard the same voice urging me to take my attention elsewhere and do other things.  - It's just resistance.  Now that I recognize that it changes how important those words are.

I am scared out of my ever loving mind.  I don't know which I fear more - failure or success.  I don't know how to begin.  I only know that I must start.

Here is a link to the free Kindle copy of Do the Work.  I just downloaded the Poke the Box.Workbook.  It seems to be a similar message.  I will sort through it and give an update if I like it.

Now Go... don't click another link.. go Do the Work!

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