I’ve been so bad lately!
I’ve been busy editing my Sacred Knight manuscript (it comes out one month from today, you know!) and getting things up and running (okay, well how about a couple baby steps?) that I haven’t been painting too much lately. Well, even that’s not too true. I’ve just been doing ACEO’s and 8×10 pieces lately. Oh, and my cover for Sacred Knight: The Three Books. You can check out the progression of the painting here. I’ve also posted another video and a blog post or two.
But painting, no, don’t feel like I’ve done any real painting lately. So, if I’ve been doing smaller pieces and I don’t consider that “real painting,” then what is real painting. Do you do “real painting”? How about “real sculpture”? Or “real writing”? Am I even doing “real writing” right now as I’m working on the second story arc of Sacred Knight? Nope, there I’m pretty sure I’m just messing around!
Why do artists put themselves through these kind of frustrations? Why do we feel we’ll be a real artist when we get to this level of sales or into this gallery or that? Or when the book hits the best-seller list? Or we’ve won this award or even the little golden Oscar man? A Tony perhaps?
I actually ask myself these questions often. I wonder why accountants don’t stress like artist do (mostly because that’s the other profession I have real insider knowledge of I guess). Seriously, I don’t think accountants say, “After I’ve gone through 5 tax seasons, I’ll be a real accountant.” Okay, yes they do have the stress of taking the CPA exam and I’ve seen worry about that. Doctors have a medical licensing exam and attorneys have the bar exam. But even artists who get certified or have a degree still fight with themselves about when they will be a real artist. I know I’d probably freak if I went into my doctor’s office and he said, “Yes, score! After I’ve treated your illness I’ll be a real doctor.” Ah, Pinocchio you too can be a real boy someday if you try real hard.
For a millisecond there, I thought I might actually have new insight into that story. Then I realized it was just my nose growing and changing the light.
I can tell this is a question that’s really bugging me – I’m making really bad jokes. Perhaps it’s been on my mind for too long. It’s not like I don’t feel like a real artist — I use to feel that way. Then one day I stood in my booth at a fair and looked around, suddenly realizing that everything within my 10×10 space was all mine. I’d done it all — the paintings, the ACEO’s, the books. After that, nearly everyone who came in mentioned how prolific I was in doing so many things. I hope I inspired them!
But now, to think that I might not be doing “real painting” or “real work” bothers me. It’s not like an ACEO is easy to paint (not hard either, but then neither is sitting down and “puking out” a first draft of a manuscript – yep, pretty much the same level there), especially considering the detail I like to put into ACEO’s. It’s a challenge. Even 8×10’s, I see those as a study for a possible larger painting. So I might just be throwing paint at a canvas to see what comes out. Sometimes something comes and sometimes I just paint over it. Even the canvas for the Sacred Knight cover was a throwback — I didn’t even bother slapping a layer of gesso over the bad painting; just had to get rid of it and quick!
So, what about you? Do you ever feel like you’re just piddling around playing to see if something develops in smaller ideas before you go get productive. Or is everything you do something you consider real art at the moment? Do you have a secret for keeping your thoughts on the right artistic track? Please do share!