Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Struggling with Perfectionism and my latest work

Perfectionism can kill art.  It killed one of my pieces I started last week.  I had a beautiful drawing, but then I started painting.  I was trying some techniques that I saw another artist do.  I was trying to be that artist I suppose, and got aggravated that I wasn't...and ruined the piece.  I realize that I don't need to be another artist, but sometimes perfectionism, or the ego, creeps in...and kills art.
So I started on another one.  This time I found the perfect face somewhere on the Internet.  She is my perfect model, my perfect symbol of beauty.  I wanted to draw her and it had to be exactly like her.  Well I started drawing, and lil' miss perfectionist came right back in.  "It doesn't look like her", "You can't get the lips right", "that left eye isn't right".  I erased and erased, and finally decided that I had a pretty close representation, even though it was not perfect.  Here is the beginning drawing:

The lips were driving me batty at this stage....and that left eye still.  But I started to slap on some paint.  I am experimenting with a more neutral background than my norm.  Here she is with the first bit of paint:

Starting to come to life, but I was still very displeased.  She doesn't look enough like my model.  I was fretting a lot about the lips at this point.  Now I am looking at them here and suddenly they look great to me.  I changed them a bit though, and here is where she is now (I think I might try to take the lips back to where they were above though).:

Sorry the pic is a little grainy, it was taken last night.  Anyway, this little gal is a Leanan Sidhe.  These are faerie women that are believed to attach themselves to artists.  Irish folklore says they are beautiful dark muses that both provide inspiration and suck the life from their host.  Many artists are driven mad and die young because of their relationship with a Leanan Sidhe. 
I think this is in a way a metaphor for the artistic inspiration itself.  It comes in and you fall in love with it like it is a beautiful lover.  But often, the ego mind sets in and you think the artistic inspiration is all you and from you, or your mind.  Eventually the inspiration wanes, and the artist can be driven mad when they can no longer find it anymore.
Then there is the perfectionism.  Driven by your mind, or ego, to create the perfect work of art, you can drive yourself mad.  I am laughing at myself here.  This little Leanan Sidhe is truly doing her job on me.  But I am starting to get that you can create your idea of perfect beauty, and it doesn't have to be perfect.  Although, if you are doing it in a state of joy instead of anxiety....it will in no way be imperfect.
I was inspired to write about artistic perfectionism after my gifted artist friend Steph Granshaw posted a work of Audrey Kawasaki's today on her Facebook page.  Audrey of course is a very gifted artist and fairly famous.  Her work always seems like sheer perfection, but the first thing I noticed about this work was that the right eye was way too far over to the right.  Now maybe most people that do not constantly paint faces wouldn't notice this.  But I sit and stared at it and thought about how much it would have drove me crazy and that I would have had to fix it.  But Audrey left it, and it is still perfect.  Here is the painting, go have a look and marvel at her other work if you haven't before.
Hope you are all walking the path of non-perfectionism today........

Monday, August 22, 2011

Upcoming Events

I had a great time at the Woodland Arts Fair this past weekend.  It was a little too hot, but at least it didn't rain.  Now on to September events.

September 10th:
I will be displaying my art at Open Heat Yoga studio which is located in the Unitarian Church in Lexington.  They will be having a day of free yoga, free henna and food.  I will be be there with my art and will be drawing names for free prints.  The fun starts around 10 am, hope to see you there!

September 16th:
I will be participating in the Artist Trading Card event put on by the Lexington Art League and Citizens Create.  Over 50 artists will be trading cards at the Mayor's office during the Gallery Hop.  If you are doing the hop make sure to come by and check out the fun.

October 1st:
I will be vending at the Wee Folk Fairy Festival in Covington, KY.  It is from noon to 5p.m.  This is a really fun family event.  So put on your fairy wings and come and join in on the fun.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Woodland Arts Fair and a beautiful video.

Lexington's biggest arts fair is this weekend.  I have been a busy bee getting ready to set up my booth.  I will be in the Woodland Christian Church's lawn this weekend.  The fair runs Saturday 10 am until 6 p.m. and Sunday 11am until 5pm.
I am running a little promotion of sorts, the first 12 people to come up to me at the fair and say they heard about this on Facebook, or here on my blog, will get a free postcard print and maybe some other goodies too.  So definately make sure you come by and say hello this weekend.
Last night I saw this video for the first time and just thought it was beautiful.  I think it was pretty viral at one point so you might have already seen it, but it is worth another watch.  Lately it seems the news has been littered with things that bad men are doing.  Sometimes when I hear too much I begin to get afraid of men.  I begin to think that the world is not getting any better, that men are not learning to love.  I needed to see this video.  I need to watch it everytime I hear too much about the bad men and to remember that there are many men that are trying to be the change, to honor love, and to restore the divine masculine.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Finished "Dakini"


14x18 acrylic, ink, gold leaf paint
on gessoed hardboard panel

Monday, August 8, 2011

Dakinis in bikinis...

Okay, not really dakinis in bikinis.  I just thought that would be fun to say.  Sorry I haven't wrote much in ye olde blog lately.  I usually fall into a pattern in the summer where I turn into a virtual hermit in between all the trips.  Needless to say this summer has been busy with the kids and trips, but I have managed to get some painting in here and there.
My latest obsession has been with the idea of dakinis (sometimes in bikinis I suppose). 
A dakini is a tantric deity described as a female embodiment of enlightened energy. In the Tibetan language, dakini is rendered khandroma which means 'she who traverses the sky' or 'she who moves in space'. Sometimes the term is translated poetically as 'sky dancer' or 'sky walker'.
A dakini comes in many forms and in some ways is related to angels or thought of as bird women of sorts.  In many parts of Tibet vultures are considered physical representations of dakinis.  Vultures have been revered by many ancient cultures as they are able to transmute negative energies and disease from the physical plane.
It is believed that all women are dakinis, but most do not ever realize this.  I like that dakinis are not always pure and perfectly nice, sometimes they are scary and mean too.  They are similar to the Valkyries of Norse myth. 
I feel that dakinis are muses.  I once read where the amazing visionary artist Andrew Gonzales said that he felt like all the women he painted were his dakinis.  I really understand this, because as I paint each one of my ladies I form this mystical connection with them.  They are me in part, they are my muse, and they are dakinis.
Obviously two of my favorite subjects are birds and women, so I am planning to do a whole series of dakinis I think.  Here is some progress pics of my first dakini....

I am working on the feathers around her eyes now and really loving them.  Be prepared for lots of feathered masks in the future.  I am also giving her some wings, but not really sure how I am going to make those look yet.  I hope to have her completed soon.  I am hoping to have her done and framed for the upcoming Woodland Arts fair.  I will have a booth that weekend in the lawn of Woodland Christian Church, hope to see you there!
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