Friday, March 20, 2015

identity crisis, self esteem, and words of encouragement

In my brief micro-adventure into the land of photography this past week, I have noticed myself going through a range of emotions.
These thoughts & criticisms go somewhat as follows...

Maybe a nature walk will make me feel better.
Maybe I should take some photos for inspiration. 
Meh, you're not a real photographer, you don't even have a real camera, iphones don't count.

Well, this looks kinda neat, maybe I can do something with it in photoshop? 
Oh, you messed with the saturation & hues palette in photoshop and suddenly your mediocre snapshot counts as 'abstract art'?

Not Bananas, Not Lobsters, Not Watermelon, Not Nail Polish and Not The Eighties

I kinda like these, I think they're kinda cool, I think I'll post them in my store. 
What's wrong with you? Who do you think you are sharing your so-called 'artistic photos' to anyone?...let alone, posting them up for sale on some POD site. 

I do like the colors. 
Is there any real artistic value to these, though, besides the colors being a bit fun? What are you expressing? 
Oh, you just like the wacky colors? How brilliant!!! Your type of artistry is a dime a dozen. Go find another hobby. You suck!
They're not that simplistic... See... the corrugated drain pipe, in yellow, on purple, kinda reminds me of bananas... 
Ugh! You sound like one of those pretentious assholes that claim everything they do has some 'big, deep meaning'
And the orange on the blue, makes me think of lobsters... 
This drain pipe is having a bit of an identity crisis! 

I am projecting my own identity crisis onto this poor pipe... 
I'm so uncomfortable in my own skin, 
I'm forcing my state of mind onto this pipe & using bright, happy colors to do so. 
I'm trying to cheer myself up! 
I'm trying to figure myself out! 
What kind of artist am I? 
Do I even have a style? 
I'm supposed to be consistent... 
The market prefers predictability. 
As an artist, you need to have a style. 
Something that fits well & is marketable with the world! 
No one will ever buy this crap.

You're not that important. You're not that original, or different, or special. Why do you bother?
I'm just compelled, I guess...

And no, I don't have some singular shtick that I can peddle to the masses. 
I'm not clever.
I'm not edgy.
I'm not unique.
But I'm not that different either.
I like too many things.
I can't focus on just one style, or genre, or subject... I get bored.
I like weird things.
I like cute things.
I like pretty things. 
I don't specialize.
I am worthless.
I should just give up.


I should keep trying, keep doing, keep creating whatever I want & sharing it whenever, wherever... What makes them so special that they can & do but I somehow shouldn't? Nothing. I'm just as special as everyone else. I need to find my own way. Carve my own path! I need to be nicer, & more encouraging to myself. I would never critique a person outside of my own skin, in the way I treat myself. My overly critical self can get downright mean... To the point I do give up, temporarily. While certain questions need to be asked in order to make sure I'm not just 'phoning it in' as an artist, being an outright asshole to myself is just not helpful.

I think I've made my point. 
Today's post was quite therapeutic.
Thank you for reading my babble.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015 a Funk!

I've been struggling.
My creativity has stalled out.
I'm having a hard time painting & drawing.
It's time to switch gears.
I turn to photography.

I seek out
& shapes
that I find

Even this process was feeling forced.

But I decided to play in photoshop, anyway. By simply adjusting the saturation, these colors emerged. You can see some faint reds & greens in the original shot. I continued to adjust the contrast, shadows & even the resolution to dramatize the bark's texture.

Anatural Abstraction of Tree Bark

Then, I decided to take it out of it's hue range... These pretty iridescent purples, pinks and turquoises emerged as if from some fantasy forest. 

Afantasy Abstraction of Tree Bark
I felt better! Pretty things have that effect on me. I couldn't resist, I had to offer them up in my society6 shop!
I hope you like them as much as I do!

Thank you for reading my babble!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

I have a mood disorder

It was supposed to be some flowers

My doodles are never just doodles. 

It began with a few swirls, some lines to look like flowers & vines. Then, I saw a face emerge. There she was, my Frazzled Hag, my anxiety. A self portrait of sorts!

Not all anxiety is the same. I'm not that jumpy, frightened rodent, fearful of her own shadow. I'm not even the hand-wringing, worrier type. I appear quite calm, sedate even, most of the time. All of my anxiety is deep, deep inside my gut. Am I good enough? Am I acting right? Should I not have said that? Am I talking too much? or not enough? Smile, nod, laugh, repeat...

Frazzled Hag

Who knew just feeling okay could take so much work? 

I was diagnosed with Dysthymia years ago, in my late 20's. I am a low mood person. This is just the way that I am. I suffer from anxiety & depression & really low self-esteem. This makes functioning like a person, difficult. I feel like I don't know how to act most of the time. I try to do the best I can to fit in. I try to follow along & do as everyone else seems to be doing. Yet I feel a bit like my Frazzled Hag looks much of the time.

I keep falling off the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy truck. The maintenance just feels so hokey. I tend to should all over myself while stammering through the exercises. I should know better... I've done this before... Ugh! Why won't it just stay away & leave me alone! I really have no reason to hate myself as much as I do. Redundant. I am redundant.

Why am I so mean to myself?

Par for the course, I suppose... I'll move on, I always do... But these rough spots really suck.

Thank you for reading my babble!
-Jen :)

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Figuring it out

Freeform Doodle
As the kids get older, I'm slowly able to sneak more time to work on my artsy stuff, including this incredibly neglected blog. This also means I need to figure out what I'm gonna do when they grow up. Like, really do. I hate to say 'work' or 'career' because I don't want to poison my creative sprit in that way, but I'm really gonna need to convert my hobbies into something that has some monetary value.
Jewelry Hobby
Soft book I designed & stitched
Pattern at Spoonflower
Wiggly Flower
Abstract Drip
I am aware that everything is about choices. And that's just it... too many choices! My biggest problem is focus. I'm drawn in so many directions. I love to paint, draw, bead & even sew, but there aren't enough hours in the day or days in the week, blah, blah, blah.

I even get caught up in applying my designs to products on sites like zazzle, society6 & spoonflower, because I just can't shake my graphic design roots. Plus, it's just really cool to see my own art printed on stuff without having to do formal sourcing like the olden days. And that's huge!

And second to focus, is networking, I have a real hard time wrapping my head around the whole networking process. The world barely knows I exist and it's all my fault! I do have a facebook page and an instagram account too! I'm just so clunky & haphazard I fail to use them to their full potential. I really don't know where to begin or what my priorities should be! HA! I'm a mess!!!

So here I am, stumbling along, trying to figure out my next move.
Wish me luck! Leave a comment if you can relate, or if you been here in any way & got past this, I'd love to hear from you!

Thanks for reading my babble!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Real Artists Use Paint

The Heart - 1997 - Acrylic
My first intuitive painting.

I've always wanted to be a real artist.

I've always envied the painters.

I've dabbled a little but have always backed away from it quickly regardless of my feelings about the process. When I've enjoyed it, I also found it too overwhelming & emotional, so I quit. When I've been frustrated by it, I quit. When I've liked what I've done but feared messing it up, I've quit.

I always blame the paint. I don't know how to use it. I'm impatient. I keep making mud. It's so expensive!!! I don't want to waste my paint on bad paintings. I have a fear of paint. If I can't be a painter, I can't be an artist. I'll never be a real artist!
Oh, woe is me…

Then a friend shared a link to a site offering an online painting class. The Bloom True e-course with Flora Bowly.

My friend had already signed up. I checked it out & the price seemed reasonable so I signed up too. I had nothing to lose. It might be fun. I have a bunch of paint already. But, it was the philosophy behind Flora Bowly's creative process that really got me.

Intuitive painting. 

She doesn't sweat out planning her paintings, she paints until… it happens! Until she feels her images emerge… the paintings paint themselves!
Of course! (How did this not occur to me on my own?)

I have been an intuitive artist all along but I managed to diminish it by calling it doodling or babble. And I may have well just called it crap (and I have).

It's not the paint!

Paint does not make art, Art!
The process does... the meaning, the feelings, the self, the message, the communication does!

We are in our final week of class this week. I don't want it to end because the daily postings are what have been motivating me to keep painting over the last 5 weeks. I have to say, this is a 5 star class.
It has been a confidence booster for sure. My fear of paint has diminished quite a bit. I'm able to play & focus now. I can take myself seriously as an artist. And I'm starting to see the value of my own work… even if most of it is not in paint.

Thank you, Flora! There are no words that can fully express my gratitude for you & your class. Thank you hardly seems strong enough. In addition to my struggles as an artist, you have helped me as a person. And now I have flood of cliche things floating through my head to express but I'll save anyone from having to endure that mess… Again, Thank you, is the best I can do. Flora, You're great!

Thank you for stopping by to read my babble.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Amateur Performance

I just completed a new watercolor & ink illustration.
I titled it Amateur Performance for a couple of reasons:

First, because the 2 central characters look like they're putting on a play (or engaging in a confrontation?).
The second reason is because it perfectly explains how I feel about myself & my art & my attempts to get noticed… totally amateur.

The dinosaur/rock structure holding up the backdrop reflects my insecurity about my age and my late start. I've realized I have a few reoccurring themes in my doodles and they include wings. Wings to me imply the ability to fly, therefore flee & escape. They also imply a sort of freedom. I wish I allowed myself total freedom to express and not be so self conscious. While there are spectators, there are only a few. (I'm just getting started, though do I really expect global domination?) The feedback I've gotten so far has been positive but I'm bracing myself for when I get asked to leave. My insecurity is so crippling at times I fail to move forward. It's scary to share any of the things I create. They are incredibly personal. Being able to share digitally makes this a bit easier. I find it encouraging to get positive feedback on sites like Spoonflower and Society6 and I'm hoping these communities will help me grow & accept myself a little better.

Thanks for reading my babble.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Playing with Supplies

I like to play with art supplies and I don't care to have a plan. Since I am in a constant state of being interrupted, it's easiest to draw. And if the kids are painting with their watercolors, I can do that too. So, for the last year or so I've been pairing up the two, watercolors with my ink drawings.
Here are a few.
My Brain has These Thoughts Sometimes
My Brain has These Thoughts Sometimes was one of the first and I think still the best of my experiments. It's on bristol board. I can't remember if my son contributed to this one or not but there are certainly finger smears that I used to create the little floating critters. To me, it looks like the profile of a patchwork head that's been happily blown apart.

Alien Sea Floor
Alien Sea Floor was done around the same time as My Brain has These Thoughts Sometimes.

Desires for Change Complacent in the Same
Desires for Change Complacent in the Same is a more recent completion. I hated it for weeks. All I had was the weird flower thing developed for the longest time and couldn't get past it. I didn't want to do another generic imaginary floral design. But then, I started to see the faces emerge, so I followed them. The worry, the complacency, the longing… Hair that becomes wings to a snail-like creature. It's like a weird dream I have yet to figure out all the way.

Thanks for stopping by and taking a look and reading some of my babble.
-Jen :)

Prints of these are available over at my Society6 store.