Tuesday, December 22, 2009

New Paths in Life and Art

They say that times of crisis are hinges in your life. They either crush you or empower you. I am choosing to make this difficult times the beginning of a new life. I now realize that being comfortable made me lazy and stifled my creativity. I feel the need to express myself and, being greedy, (why not be ambitious with your dreams) to try to make a living through my art.
Art has been a part of my life since my teens -but I did not think of myself as an artist, I guess artists were some kind of perfect ideal individuals with a talent beyond what I perceived in my work. I had not yet learned that you grow into your art working, I wanted instant gratification and results. In another post I will talk of my formative years in art, those first years with a teacher that I loved and respected so much, but I felt had too high expectations for me. So painting was relegated to a secondary role, a hobby, dying in a corner, while my time was spent studying more "serious things". I became an architect, well, at least art was allowed a small place in my profession, but still... But there was a nagging sensation inside my head of things abandoned and not completed, what was missing, I had to do something, what?? But I ignored it, was sad and did not know why.
In the last couple of years I felt this need of painting could not be restrained any more. I was afraid. I thought I could not do it, that I did not remember how it was done. And, in the background of my thoughts I could hear my teacher saying: " just paint what you see - that is all there is to it, do not over-think it, don't paint something the color you think it is, paint it the color you see it is" - that liberated me and I began to paint. People, mostly people. People's faces, expressions, hands, fascinate me, there is a richness in people's expressions that I love. And miraculously, I could do it. I stressed about it, but the satisfaction was so great, it was worth it. But now I found that the things I did not know were sooo many , so much I had to learn, basic, technical things I either had forgotten or never paid attention to, but nowadays there is so much knowledge posted in the web, it is as if you had hundred of tutors waiting for you. I could not afford taking classes, so now youtube was my academy, a special thanks to JimmyD who taught me so much. Just looking at the different artists that so generously post their videos, many things came back to me, and I learned so many more through hours and hours watching people paint... I felt, I can do this, why am I denying myself the chance of doing this just because of the fear of not being good enough. Not being as good as I wanted to be in my conceit, but had to learn to accept good enough at each stage, striving for better, but good enough allowed me to escape the paralysis of over achievement. And that is the key - if you accept "I cannot do it" or "It will never be good enough" you don"t DO, you freeze, and that is the death of any project. So my mantra became: " it will get better", and you know what... it did. And it gets better every time. What is still present is the fear. Every time. With every new painting, there is that boom boom boom in your head, "you won't remember how to do it" but you know you did it the last time, and push through it. A little stomachache and a quick drawing, and suddenly the canvas is not white anymore, a sigh of relief.
Crisis brought new life too, so one of my first works in this stage of my life was a portrait of my grandson Benjamin you can see up center. We are growing together, my baby and my art, one feeding from the other.
Next post, new projects.

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