my sister Andrea and I ready for church
There was a time that I felt like it was "sinful" to maintain or devlop a strong sense of self. My system of belief taught me that I was bad and that anything that I wanted to do was probably motivated by selfishness. I really struggled with understood "my will" vs "God's will". How could I paint or create if there were starving children in the world? I was trained to put everyone else's needs before my own. I tried really hard to be that ideal sacrificial person, constantly trying to please and take care of everyone else.
It got much worse when I moved back to my hometown, where most of my family still lived. I let this people pleasing, God pleasing mindset get me in all kinds of trouble. I'm an introvert and I need lots of personal space and time. Here in this town, it seemed like everyone needed me. The townsfolk, my parents, my grandparents, husband, kids and clients kept me feeling like I was constantly juggling everyone else's wishes.
I tried for about three years to be that "other-focused" woman that my culture esteems so highly.
Then I quit. I got burned. The world wore me down.
For a few years my spirit went sour and I really struggled with depression.
So, I prayed and begged God to fix me, but I only "heard" silence.
I kept waiting to be rescued.
Then, finally, something changed... I let everyone down except for a few chosen people like my kids and husband. The rest of them, I stopped. I wish I could say that it was easy.
I can only imagine the gossip that swirled around my sudden hermit status. I stopped helping everyone else, I stopped trying to fulfill needs before they were ever voiced. I "got off my culturally assigned "cross, " and went home.
Then I went inward and really started to do the deep soul and emotional work. After a few years, my own sense of self worth and dignity grew like a carefully pruned sapling. I finally actually began to accept myself... Even love myself. I started to see how my religion had taught me not to think for myself, not have goal other than pleasing a seemingly indifferent God or to pursue my own desires.
Fed up with feeling stuck, I finally decided to take charge, to get agency, to climb into the drivers seat I'd my life. I realized that I had power, a voice and the right to be myself. After 40 years, I no longer felt helpless and dependent anymore. I was becoming master of my own destiny.
It has been a bit over two years. I never want to go back to that old mindset. I finally feel free and happy and I am so grateful that I was lucky enough to get out.
My paintings, especially the ones in my Eye Candy exhibit at The Center for Contemporary Art, are a visual record of my process of freeing my soul and mind. My own identity started emerging from beneath years of depression and inslavement to the expectations of others and a religion that promises to free, only to repress sometimes.
In my part of the world, it's highly unpopular to think for yourself. I played the game their way and now I live like this, and I can for certain say that my freedom is 1000 times more joyful and free than anyway I lived under the authority of religion and fiction that makes us afraid to be ourselves.
I have found that choosing where to go next in my work is a big theme in my brain chatter. I have multiple "tributaries" to explore. I come to a junction with multiple routes and I choose one... hoping to double back and take a different route later. Right now, I'm floating down the river of "experimentation and play" however, I am constantly shelving ideas for new ventures. The summer is difficult because there is no real routine to our summer. I must be somewhat engaged with the small humans that I live among. When school starts, I hope to double down on a few projects that require a lot of planning and focus.
These are a couple of paintings I'm working on now. Both are large canvases and I am just working intuitively.
There is a a lot of materials and products out there to help artists like me market my work. I know that I should really get more serious about the business. However, my gut says to simply keep working. I believe that as my work evolves, and I have a better grasp on the diversity of my work, then the time for that will come. I'm just over one year into this professional artist thing.
But wait... Just because I started painting differently in May 2015, does that really mean that I'm a beginner. The urge to sell myself short is constant. When did I become an artist? Actually, I started making money as an artist in junior high. My first mural was a project for my hometown high school. I painted our mascot on a dressing room wall. I then painted four more before I graduated...the gym, the field house, the band trailer, and more. I guess I forget to start my pro career way back then. Why do I still feel like a novice?
I am am not a novice. It's that inner critic that always pours doubt over all my memories.
Today, I have works in multiple galleries, I have sold many paintings in the last year, I have a new rep/agent working on my behalf, and I have been included in multiple juried shows. This September, I will have my first solo exhibit and I am incredibly excited to see how far I have come in a short time. The short time frame started when I finally saw what other people always saw... they saw me as a "real artist" longer way befo I did.
I used to worry about having a cohesive body of work. I felt like I needed to pick one genre or medium and stick to it. Then I watched the documentary "Beauty is Embarrassing" and my whole view changed. Wayne White is my hero.
I'm cringing a little over how self-referenced this post is... But then again, if you are reading this, perhaps you have the same struggles.
I am pretty certain that most people have trouble deciding to take themselves seriously. I can bet that all creatives have more than one area of interest and more than one talent. I believe that as long as we are alive, we have the freedom to float, paddle though the backwaters, dig a new ditch, or put on our scuba gear and go deep. There are no rules. There is complete freedom in exploration and experimentation. I often get jokes about being ADD... and it comforts me to know that most creative people get the same label.
Let's ignore that. Let's get on with whatever we want. Let's not be afraid to make mistakes or change courses.
Life is not a train ride down the immovable tracks set out by others...
Life is off-road and free-range. It's muddy and wet, and there is no map.
I am so glad that I have the freedom to explore. I think more people need to give themselves permission to make life an adventure instead of a list of to dos.
I started painting my agate inspired paintings again... I go back and visit my old interests once in a while. The first few were more "natural" colored. However, I decided to play with this crazy mix of colors.
Why do my eyes love this so much? The colors and shapes are incredibly pleasing to me. I am realizing that visually interesting to me is usually void of subject or messages. I am so drawn to shape and color.
Summer is extremely busy so I don't have time to write as much...because I'd rather paint. Check out my agate inspired paintings.
Recently went to my first Artist Member meeting at the Center for Contemporary Arts in Abilene TX. I am so glad to be there and am really looking forward to being involved.
My painting "Meta" made it into the Art Space 111 Regional Juried Exhibition. I am so happy!.
I found a good picture of my Butterfly Girl giant puppet today... she looks beautiful!
Today I listened to one of my favorite podcasts, "The Creative Pep Talk" and had my mind blown a little...
As an artist, I've read over and over that you have to "hustle" and "self promote". I've also heard that it's better to have fewer repeat customers than new ones that come once and never come back.
He talks about the tricky work of promotion. There are some people who must advertise, send out fliers, buy ad space and go the traditional route. Artists, musicians and specialty businesses on the other hand, do better not to play that game.
For some reason, too much hype of your own creation can turn others off. If you get some success this way, it may be short lived... Because it comes on like a fad or a trend.
For some people, we must just keep working, and making work accessible. Here's the kicker, customers love "discovering" something on their own. Think about bands you love or films you adore. The affection for it is greatly heightened when it feels like a "treasure uncovered." It feels personal. It feels special.
Low hanging fruit is suspect. Too much exposure brings about boredom.
It's best, Andy says, to be more like Bob Dillion and keep working, keep perusing your curiosity and evolving... Unlike the Monkees, who came and went quickly, Dillion persists to this day.
This is why I cringe when I see artists treating their work like a garage sale. When I see promotions and emails and ads, I feel weird. We are not department stores. Money can not be the goal, the work must carry us whether it pays or not.
Here are my current top ten artists to follow right now. These are not ranked. I have a list of over fifty absolute favorites but these are at the top. Of course this list is about my favorite living artists. I hope to do a list of favorite artists of the past...
Lisa Golightly is an abstract figurative painter from Canada who uses old house paint to bring old photos to life.
Claire Desjardins is a very popular abstract artist whose work can be seen at Anthropologie and in high end galeries. It's easy to see why
Erin Fitzhugh... Everything she makes is gorgeous...
Susan Gee Miller is a hard edge abstract artist from Canada
Wayne White... Watch his documentary "Beauty is Embarassing" to understand why I love his so!
Michael Carson... Do I really need to explain why I think he's a badass?
Souther Salizar is a combination of so many wonderful things I love.
Hollie Chastain is a collage artist from Chatanooga Tennessee.
Lisa Cogdon is a self taught artist who has built an art brand and empire out of Portland. She designs for lots of big names including Land of Nod.
Rex Ray... Collage artist extraordinare.
The last time I checked, I didn't have any high-brow art credentials and I know that no one ever accused me of knowing everything. I might not be a critic or an expert, but I do feel like my observations make sense and probably are worth the time to consumers even if I am not a part of academia.
There types of art:
Fine art is the good stuff. The kind of art that can and should cost big bucks. Not all fine art is pleasant or desirable. It simply reaches above the trends and proclivities of potential buyers and seeks to be observed "as is".
Commercial art: illustration, commissions, and graphic design. The content or style is not the question. It is the end game. All mass produced "art", custom art, or art created as a vehicle for a message is commercial. The purpose is money. It is a great thing to do, but it can be soul sucking.
Personal art is the stuff everyone does. From macaroni glued to construction paper by a kindergartner, to a watercolor in your art journal, to the crafty art projects that people enjoy. These things are often copies or versions of art that already exists. Everyone must start as a practicing artist before advancing to the other levels.
Four types of artists.
Ones that focus on skill
Ones that focus on decorative ideals
Three types of art buyers:
THIS NOW by Kacy Latham
Creative Writing and Essays. Follow Me on Medium.com
I'm a small town gal, raising two boys who loves to make things. My current love is abstract art. It might be the creative love of my life!