Monday, June 24, 2013

What makes someone an artist?

What makes someone an artist?

Is it the ability to create recognizable images? If so, abstract art wouldn't count.

glazed wall with 3 d stencil
Is it knowing how to use color in pleasing ways? If so, black and white ink drawings wouldn't count.

Is it selling something you've created? Is it based on someone's opinion of what you've done? Is it based on your own opinion? All are dangerous and temperamental indicators, not really to be trusted. Vincent Van Gogh, plagued by depression, sold little to nothing, was not recognized as a talent during most of his lifetime, and hated much of his own work.

One definition says it is someone who is able by virtue of imagination and talent or skill to create works of aesthetic value.

Lumpy Jawed Lion, faux stained glass. 
We've all seen things which are called art that makes us wonder "what were they thinking?" (And not in a good way!) And, then there's art which was created to be good, but somehow went wrong.... check out Wikipedia's article on the museum of bad art!

I can't tell you how many people feel they are untalented or inartistic. Most of the time, they sell themselves short, not recognizing their own unique gifts.

An archaic use of the word artist includes anyone who is adept at something- a physician, writer, sculptor or even a brick layer or carpenter.

To be adept, skilled, trained is to do something well. Not just paint a face or sing a song, but to create something which is well done. To plane a piece of wood and build a straight, square cabinet, sanded and stained, beautiful and functional- this is art. This is skill. I have no talent for floral arranging, wood working, or even hanging a picture straight on the wall. And let's not even talk about keeping a well organized, aesthetically pleasing house!
Had to take a picture to prove I really could organize. It lasted 2 days.

I know so many who are creative, skilled, capable of doing things I can't even dream of. Dancers, writers, actors, graphic designers, seamstresses, carpenters, gardeners, floor pavers and concrete layers- these can all be artists.

Are you an artist?
Room painted by "non- artists" under my direction

I think you are, so go on, don't be afraid to experiment. What do you gravitate to? Arranging things in an orderly manner? Writing thoughtful letters? Growing beautiful flowers? Taking family photos?
Create and rejoice! Be the artist you are.

I am learning and growing, practicing my craft, studying the skills of other painters, experimenting and failing, trying again and again. I am an artist.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Getting Started- the reluctant artist

So, Been trying to think of something to write that would be fascinating, insightful and marvelously popular. And, I rediscovered the truth that if you are going to do something- do it.

Just get started.

Really. It's amazing how well that works. Every time I try to plan out the perfect project, the great article, the marvelous mural, I experience a deep, visceral fear of failure that paralyzes me. Then my natural talent for procrastination and excuses takes over- and nothing gets done. I collect materials, pore over other people's work, even clean my house. (Now that's Serious Procrastination!)

On the other hand, if you get going, even if your start is terrible, at least you are moving and you can redirect your course as you go. Then, all the ideas which have been mired up in fear and procrastination suddenly break through the muck and emerge in glistening glory and you are hard pressed to contain them long enough to transfer them to paper or canvas.

The progression isn't always neat and lovely, and the end result may not be what you thought when you began, but as you trust your instincts and work out the snaffoos, Art is the result.

Blank wall waiting for paint.
Charcoal and color wash idea
Revised idea- bunny removed, trowel and butterfly added.
Finished painting, including painted frame and shadow
 Trompe l'eiol in action- being slightly askew, people keep trying to straighten the frame!

So, the next time fear tries to paralyze you- knock it aside with your brushes and paints and just 

Get Started!

Monday, June 10, 2013

The Nearsighted Artist

I think I've determined why I love to paint big colorful pictures and include lots of tiny details in them like honeybees and spider websand ants carrying dinner back to their homes.
detail of a mural by Dori Just faux you
Sparrows, grapes and ants along a cafe sidewalk mural.

detail of a mural by Dori Just Faux You
A honeybee and caterpillar hiding in the flowers.
I have been extremely nearsighted all my life. I gravitated to the tiny things which I could see with my face close to the ground or other surface; the texture of things, the sparkle in a rock, the sharp grains of sand in dirt, the lovely beauty of a dandelion about to send out its seeds. I marveled at the miniature world ignored by so many. This particular mural contains several caterpillars, numerous ants, a snail, many birds and their nests, eggs and babies, a praying mantis and colorful butterflies.

detail from Coffee shop murals by Dori just faux you

On the other hand, the larger world about me seemed to be made up of great blobs of color, those that moved on two longer blobs were people. Add in a hearty dose of ADHD and the color of an object became the easiest way to find objects in those early years. I still track color much more quickly than shapes or lines. 

I remember the awe when my first glasses revealed LEAVES on TREES! I no longer mistook deer for large brown dogs, didn't have to put my face an inch away from my books, (although, it's still the best way to read!) and could actually see what was written on the chalkboard at school.

There was another awesome discovery- I noticed things in a way that others didn't; beautiful halos around street lamps and Christmas trees, rainbow reflections from the smallest of things- the blond hair on my arms refracting light in all directions and hues, the crack in the car's windshield throwing rainbows through the dirty lenses. It became magical, a world full of my own discoveries. I try to include that sense of wonder in my work.
detail from a Fairy Tree House painted by murals by Dori just faux you
Fairy bath teacup 
And so, the magic of being a nearsighted artist continues as I paint tiny surprises in large colorful splotches!