Monday, April 28, 2008

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Art Stuff

To be an artist... can mean many things. Playing an instrument, working in illustration or commercial art, or painting whatever the angels send; they are all art. I have been very lucky to have somehow caught the joy of drawing when I was a little girl. Attending Art School was never easy, not when I was thirteen, or when I was twenty-three at the Academy. I wasn't the best; I was not able to paint the way I would have chosen. I had to work at drawing. But one thing never changed; I loved using oil paint and drawing with ink. People seem to believe those are the two most difficult types of art; but they both feel good to me and that's what counts. To pursue your heart's desire, one has to please oneself, not do what other people think looks good. The point is that the highest forms of Art--painting; music; or writing--are forms of self-expression, not what sells. And then from there, it becomes tantamount that the artist finds some way to support herself and her family.
I chose not to attempt Art as a career, and that choice paid me well although there were disadvantages. Working in "normal" jobs takes the artist out of the art community. Often artists are non-conformist as I am, and that can be hard on the psyche. Fitting in with average white folks was an impossible challenge for me. It never really worked. I wasn't living in artsy communities, and they knew I was strange. Oh, well, such is life.
Now that I live in a Delaware suburb, on my own garden, no one, except who I choose, know me well. Whatever my neighbors think about me remains their secret as I re-enter my house and close the door. Out in the sunroom, paintings are always in process. I have been painting abstracts. They have been fun, even though even abstracts are work. But I have grown from the need to represent people and scenes on the canvas. Yes, they were always serious challenges, but I think I may be done with them. Perhaps it's time to simply enjoy myself painting. I've come to sixty years; painting has always been a large part of my identity. I am finally old enough to paint whatever flows from my brush. I have railed against galleries for years and I allow myself to forego their bullshit. If I can, I'll open my studio to show my work. I cannot look for glory and accolades in the art world. That, in itself, is hard, discouraging work. One needs to live and know people in the artworld, and that means Manhattan really. I would need to sing "The Impossible Dream" day in and day out. It is too much work. I just want to paint.

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