Monday, January 17, 2011

why we don't stop

Last week my 13 year old son had an school audition for the spring musical Annie. He signed up two weeks prior. The night before the audition he was looking for the song online. I asked him what he was doing. When he explained the audition was 'tomorrow' and needed to learn the song, I was livid. Now I am not the get mad, yelling type of mom. I usually keep my cool even under the most annoying and rebellious of situations. But this really ticked me off. I took the usual tack of how did he expect to get a part if he was just learning the song the night before. I decided to let that sit with him, and let him practice but warned him he was to audition for his dad and myself before dinner.

Dinner comes. Dinner goes. Time to audition for mom and dad. He begins to sing, makes it through the song. My husband begins to critique. His criticism wasn't harsh, but he was honest and pointed. My son gave some lame excuses, and pushed back on why he thought he was 'trying' and we didn't get it. Deep breath.

Ok, now, do you think that an artist mom who has spent 20 years struggling and paying dues is going to listen to even the tiniest bit of whining? No. No, my son didn't realize that sympathy was the last thing on my mind. Without boring you with the details it will suffice to say that he got the lecture of lectures on what 'trying' really means. I told him he would practice until he went to bed, he would audition tomorrow and he would do the best job he can. There is no half-way. Two hours later he sang for us again, and low and behold it sounded 'alright'. Not great, but decent. The next day he auditioned, and two days later he was given the role of President Roosevelt and will sing 'Tomorrow' with Annie.

The point to be taken from this is simple. In any endeavor you work towards, you owe it to yourself to give it your very best. As an artist who is constantly fighting to be seen, fighting to sell that piece of art, fighting to keep creating when any reasonable soul would question why, I realize that the reason we don't stop is because we most certainly have failed if we don't fight though it. I know when I go to sleep, I will have tried, really tried, and any successes I achieve I own completely.

Never give up, never stop trying.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Ok I don't know about any of you, but finding the motivation to create new work in the middle of winter is really hard sometimes. Here in the Pacific NW, it is grey, grey and more grey. Which for me can be very tiring when I want to think about color, and spring, and life that is not, grey.

How to get motivated. I would love suggestions, but for now this is my tactic. First I try to do a little digging online for some fun artists that are inspiring. Often it just takes a few searches to see something beautiful that jump starts my brain. Second, I go for a walk or run. Something to get the blood moving. Yes even when it is pouring rain a walk can really help. Third, the library. I love the library. If I start poking around the books on gardening, art, home decor it can really get me thinking about new imagery. Fourth, the book store or a cool shop full of fun stuff. Seeing what is out there can give me the spark I need to go down my own path. And finally, I peruse old sketchbooks to find doodles that need a chance to come to life.

Currently I am in the 'idea' phase and just need a hot cup of tea and a sharp pencil to get going. Of course one brisk walk wouldn't hurt to help me move this along. Perhaps that break in the rain is trying to tell me something.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

live your truth

So I spend a lot of time laboring over my art and myself as an artist. Recently I completed a piece that may never get purchased, or licensed by anyone. But I had to finish it. Why? Let me tell you.

When I went to college it seemed the main difference between the 'illustrators/designers' and the 'fine artists', was that the fine artists painted or drew for themselves. If someone liked it, great. The commercial artists (as we were called back in the day), created art for MONEY. And we were looked down upon, go figure. Now, as a grown-up I personally think many fine artists are just as commercial as I am. However there are those rogue artists who whine and paint in their somber moods and never care if anyone likes their work. Oh, and the happy go lucky artists who do their art for pure pleasure.

Ok, that was the groundwork. Why did I finish that piece that will likely NOT net me any money when I am a professed illustrator and commercial artist? Because I still have a bit of that fine artist in me who sometimes just needs to get the art out. Even when I know it is just for me and the sake of doing it.

Want to see it? Ok, here is my fun pattern 'Ode to the humble cut of meat diagram'. Personally I think this pattern is awesome I would so totally LOVE an apron made from it.