Me, me, me

Last week, somebody told me that a friend had been talking about my art in the pub. They had seen it online and loved it. They had been following what I was working on and said that it was the kind of art they would buy, but… they found it a little odd that it was all about me. So, I stopped. I put the portraits on hold, I took a step back, I looked for other ways to express myself. I took the “me” out of my art and whilst I had fun creating in different ways, I did not connect in any deeper way with what I had produced. I was creating art that was neutral, impersonal, safe. I played, I experimented, I explored new methods and media, but whilst I enjoyed the process, after a few days, began to feel that I was not following my heart.

What I should have done, of course, was listen to the praise. I should have taken to heart the fact that this person I respect would spend their hard earned cash on art like mine, that they were interested enough to follow what I was doing, wanted to see more. I should not have let my own interpretation of a comment influence my art. But I did. 

When emotions are high, I often feel the need to get them out. I write, I draw, I photograph, I explore what is going on in words and images. It is when I feel things strongly that I channel my emotions, pour out and make visual or verbal that which is crowding my head.

As an artist, this is my way of exploring and expressing my thoughts, feelings, emotions, my light and dark days. I find that one of the most powerful forms of expression for me is self-portraiture. So I am back… being true to myself and working on a new set of self-portraits which reveal the pensive gaze, the dreams of colour and light, the fire and the fear.

Yes, they are odd, they may look awkward or uncomfortable, but that is how I feel sometimes and examining those sensitivities through art helps me make sense of them. So I will continue. “I like what you are doing”, another friend told me, “it must be a bit like therapy”. It is. And for as long as I find it enjoyable or beneficial, I will go on.


Drawing without looking

Yesterday I was feeling stuck, not knowing what to create.  This evening, tired after too many late nights (immersed in the 30 Day Challenge and trying to keep up with life in general), and a day riding rollercoasters (really, it was my big boy’s Birthday surprise), I needed a quick artistic activity that was not too challenging on the brain.  So, I went back to an old favourite – a technique I use when I need to free myself up and get unstuck – drawing without looking at the page.  So, I did a quick self-portrait, looking only at my reflection in the mirror and the coloured pencils I was using, not at the paper.  It’s a bit of fun and is great for when you don’t have much time and don’t care what the outcome will be.  This one is about picking up a pencil and doing something, anything, rather than doing nothing.  Funny thing is, it is quite a good likeness at the moment!  Right, I am off to bed, then hopefully the next self-portrait will be a little more flattering.