Saturday, May 1, 2010

My blog post turned into a journal entry. . . .

I have been struggling with my art the last several weeks. I couldn't come up with anything I liked, couldn't decide what to draw, looked at the work so many others were producing and thought my was not near as good. Just struggling with what I was suppose to be doing. Tonight it hit me.

I am trying too hard. I am trying to be a kind of artist that I am not. I am not at my best when trying to do very realistic drawing and painting. I look at others work and tell myself mine is as artistic as others. Well, I realized it doesn't matter what everyone's work looks like compared to mine, because we were all meant to do what we do best.

For me that has always been more design oriented type works or less realistic type work. That is what I like, that is what I do best, and that is what makes me like my work. I realized I was making "work" out of my producing art and not having any fun at it. I was not enjoying what I thought I should be doing. Soooooo now I am only going to do what pleases me. Who cares how good or not good it is. Who cares if I think someone else can do such and such picture better than I can.

God has given me a great and beautiful gift of my artistic talent. It was given to me to enjoy, to praise Him and to share with others. I am not meant to be doing what someone else does, not suppose to be comparing my work to others. I am to be doing what pleases me and makes my life more enjoyable.

I was going to be part of a my town's first Art Fair in June. It kept bothering me, because I didn't feel my work measured up to what I see at Art Fairs, didn't measure up to what I was sure most of the others work would be like. I was beginning to dread having to mat, package, set up and show off my work. It then hit me, I shouldn't be doing this if I wasn't having fun doing it. I shouldn't feel pressure to do something that was suppose to make me happy but didn't . So, I am not going to do it this year. I may next year, I may in some other Fair, but, I was not ready to do this now.

I have had alot of changes in my life in the past 6 years since my divorce, but, especially in the last six months since I quit teaching. I was married 25 years and then my life was turned upside down. Although it was my choice, it meant huge changes in my life. Going back to teaching, leaving my home, times of separation from my sons, estrangement from friends, my church, and on and on.

Resigning my teaching position last fall threw me into another huge lifestyle change. I have in the last 5 or so months finally found time to produce art for myself, not just to use as teaching examples, and I have had to face some things about my art and myself I wasn't really prepared for. I had people telling me to do this or that, or make my art for this or that, and I realized tonight that all of it is making me very unhappy instead of happy.

I want to paint, draw, sew, crochet, cross stitch, whatever it is because I want to !!! I want to draw what I like, when I want to and because I want to. I don't want to be pressured into doing it for an exhibit or an office wall or anything else for that matter, at least not right now. The time may come when I will want to produce art work to market, but, not yet. I need to find out who I am as an artist and what I love, before I start sharing it with others for monetary or exhibiting reasons.

It really doesn't matter if anybody even reads this post. This post is mostly a journal entry for me, not a post. I didn't start out to have it be that way, but, that is what happened. I think that I just finally had had it and knew I needed to voice what my heart was telling me.

I so love all the new friends I have made in "Blogland" and so admire all the different work I get to see, but, I have now realized we are each different, each talented in our own way, and each meant to do what makes us happy and pleased with our work.

Below is a piece I did starting last night, and finished tonight. This is probably my favorite kind of thing to do. This is where I find joy. So, this is what I am going to continue to do and also continue to find other new areas that make me happy with my art.

I also realized I like doing whimsical instead or more realistic drawings, so, I also am sharing my fish I did yesterday with this post.

I hope anyone that reads this realizes their own joy in their art work. I feel all our many gifts, whatever they may be, art, music, writing, whatever, are all gifts from God.

I am glad I wrote this, I needed to, and in a way it is a prayer of thankfulness to God for the talent He has given me.


  1. I think it's really important for everyone "to find their own voice" in creative things. Works of art are supposed to be unique... I think you've made the right decision and I'm sure your work will be all the better for it!

  2. I struggle with the same questions and when I find I am in a rut...I struggle to get out.

    Interesting that you are a dog trainer, I had been thinking of getting certified as a trainer, was it a long course???? Hope you like it.

  3. This fish makes me think of a snapping turtle fish! Very fun! He would be great in a Disney the star of course!

  4. EUREKA!!!!!!
    My sister has found he inner self.
    You go girl, Do what you want, and to Hell with what the rest of the world wants you to do.

    It is kinda like me and ship building, I enjoy it but I also enjoy Genealogy so I took a sabbatical from ship building to do Genealogy.

    Now I have to get back to Ship building for the rest of my sisters, as promised.

    but I really want to work on Genealogy.


  5. that should have read "my sister has found her inner self."

  6. oh my goodness.....i have been there SO many times, sweet marthann!!! you are wise to listen to your will never steer you wrong! create what brings YOU joy, and your art will sing! we're all our worst critics....but God loves us just the way He created us. and He has blessed the work of your hands, dear gal, because these two pieces of art are fabulous! keep on exploring, keep on creating, and keep on having fun!! xox, :))

  7. Martha, I could have written that above post myself!!! I think we all have to deal with that outer-comparasion monster! I know that it helps for me to write things out, just the way you did and do the thing that makes my heart sing. Cuz ultimately, I do "art" for me! Oh, I have a lot to learn. You're just peeling back some layers here to figure out what it is that makes you, you!!

    P.s. I really like the 2 drawings here too! Your mandala colors are so pretty!

  8. Marthann, I'm glad you did this post! Do you know how many times I've felt this exact way? I think all artists and writers and musicians have the same angst because we're so raw when we share our creations. The world can be harsh and judgemental. But if you do your art for the right reasons, meaning following your heart and your OWN muse, then you can't go wrong.
    I'm glad you decided that you didn't want to do the art fair this year. If it feels like pressure it will be a terrible experience to make you shy away from it forever.
    I didn't feel so good about joining a local art assoc. here and then have my first three paintings rejected! I immediately compared mine to what was accepted and then the self-doubt kicked in. I know my work stood up to the rest but to be so fully rejected felt personal to me.
    Whenever I try to whip out paintings I 'think will sell' on Etsy, they sit there. But if I paint something truly from my heart and not for public consumption people come out of the woodwork clammoring for them. But I don't care anymore if I sell them. I really am at such peace when I do art for art's sake, and mine ;)
    As a self-taught artist I often feel unworthy because I don't have a formal education. I'm snubbed by oil painters because I work in acrylic. I'm snubbed by plein aire painters because I'm a studio artist. I'm snubbed by people who travel to places like Italy and France just to take art workshops that I could never afford.
    So I avoid people with those shallow views and choose people who like me for me, not for what I do or how I do it. There are a good bunch of those wonderful friends that visit my blog, including you ;)
    Listen to your own music Marthann, and dance like nobody's watching!♥

    By the way, I love the mandala! It's very Scandinavian looking, and that fish is a wonderful piece of whimsy! I agree you should do more of that :)

  9. Bravo Martha! So extremely well said! Let your heart be your guide!

    These pieces are fun... I adore the sweet! :)

  10. hi marthann, it took me a little while to begin to investigate your blog, and i'm so glad i did! i especially was touched by this day's journal... i'm in complete agreement; God has a unique plan and gift for each of us. We have to be patient and not run ahead of Him. i've been convicted that everytime i come to my desk to paint or draw, that i lift my time and talent to His use, that i may in some way, glorify Him. we don't need to please others, we need to please Him. right?
    well, amen, sister, and let's enjoy the adventure!
    i love your mandala and your fish. thought i'd pass along a weird website i found recently and played around with... maybe it'll give you some more fish-spiration! (what about mandalas with fish?)