Bird & Sunrise photo

Bird & Sunrise photo
Because "someday" is today!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

What I Learned From Art School

7" x 5" watercolor on paper, copyright Tina M. Welter 2008  Red roses watercolor painting
"Memory" 7"x 5" watercolor, © 2008 

 7"x 5" watercolor on paper, copyright 2008 Tina M. Welter  Watercolor painting of yellow mini-roses
"Cupid" 7"x 5" watercolor, © 2008
I am grateful that I learned a great deal about design and the elements that add to interesting art. Also, all the art history I learned has been helpful to me. What hasn't been so helpful is the belief that if your art isn't brilliant and cutting edge then there is no point in trying. I certainly didn't want to be mediocre, and I judged my fascination with painting light passing through flower petals to be just that. Expectation of brilliance is a real creativity killer, only I didn't know that twenty years ago.

I also learned that your art isn't worth anything unless someone else tells you it is. It never dawned on me that if it mattered to me, it was worth something. Eric Maisel in his book "Coaching the Artist Within" said it beautifully: "If you don't really think that you, your ideas, or your work matter, you won't have the motivational juice to create." That is the key I had been missing for so long. So much of the focus at school was how to make great art, which is good, but very little on how to keep being an artist and survive in the world once you leave art school. Frankly, I don't think they knew what to tell us. Good luck! Hopefully you will be able to pay the bills!

There is something about creating that feeds the soul and when that isn't recognized and respected, it manifests itself in negative ways. For me that was depression and sometimes anger at not doing what I felt I was supposed to be doing, but it didn't matter to anyone if there was another piece of art in the world or not, and it certainly wasn't brilliant, so why do it? So the argument circle went on and on in my head for years, until I finally read Eric's book and decided that I would matter.

This January my Talented Boss told me about an art show at a local museum that she had been invited to and told she could invite other artists she knew to submit artwork to be juried into the show. This was January 16th and the deadline was February 10th. I usually would have said there is no way I could have some new work ready in time. This time I said give me the information. It was a miniatures show, nothing bigger than 8x10, frame included, so that was good. I had to do some creative things with time, but I made the deadline with two paintings to submit. Much to my surprise and delight I was juried in; both paintings were accepted. Going to the show was such fun. I had been to many beautiful shows for my Talented Boss, and I took pride in what we had accomplished, but this was something different for me. I found myself wanting more.

My two paintings didn't sell. I didn't care. This deciding to matter thing was good. I am posting photos of the paintings without the frames. They are both watercolors of roses.

Jeff's Corner: It doesn't even matter if your "dumb ol' husband" tells you it's great...

1 comment:

JackieG said...

Great blog Tina. Loved reading it, can't wait to read more. Would love to see more of your art! Jeff's Corner is pretty cool too! ~JG