Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Playing Defense

Two Poles, 2008, Oil on Panel, 9x18

Well, I was hoping to get a bit more work done in the last week or so, but it turns out that I really needed to take a few days off. I have been struggling with the paintings I have going. Maybe it's not noticeable to others, maybe it is, but I am not getting "it" in them, whatever "it" is. (The one above isn't one of them, this one is ok) When I got back from Vermont I was so happy to get back to the studio. It felt great at first but then I began to question myself. While I was actually painting. I began having these imaginary conversations with critics defending my image choices, my colors, my decision to sell my work and on and on. I began to second guess myself and to think that maybe I should just shake it all up and completely change gears, like so many of the artists said in Vermont, and just make art for art's sake. I can't deny that a part of me is intrigued with the thought of doing that-just walking away from landscapes and realism and color and just do something completely different. But the thing is I really don't want to do that. I want to keep expressing myself through the landscapes and structures, because I still have so much more to say.

So there.

I am going to keep going. It's back to work today and I am done defending myself to um, myself. Anyway, I get to do what I want.

(but since I admit to being interested in the idea of changing things up, I will fool around with some different things on the side, just for fun, JUST FOR FUN)

10 comments:

Olga said...

Perhaps you should take 'art for art's sake' on as a hobby so to speak. I mean, set aside one afternoon, or whatever chunk of time specifically to explore ideas without feeling that you are abandoning your work. It doesn't have to be absolutely one or the other.

It is really difficult wanting to hear what others have to say, and then deciding that it doesn't help. A little mental turmoil's no bad thing from time to time though! Good luck.

Lorna said...

Climb out your comfort zone when YOU are ready. I find that I have to crow bar myself out!

Hylla Evans said...

Hi, Tracy. So you're wrestling between being your own best friend and your own worst enemy? You know the healthy answer to that.
If you listen to critics of the end product, you negate the importance of your process. How you work, how you spend your time has to please you and only you. For now there is benefit in that your works sells well. That's not a crime; it's a success. The most important success is your involvement in the process of your work. You're still learning, still growing and still have plenty to say. Stop listening to the committee. Committees don't make good art.

Tracy said...

Olga, I was thinking along those lines as well, setting aside a day or afternoon to do other stuff. Actually that is always something I have meant to do, but time just gets away from....

Ha! Thanks Lorna, a crowbar is a handy tool isn't it!:)

Hylla, This is an ongoing debate I often have with myself. Mostly it revolves around whether my work is relevant or useful or is saying anything important. Usually i get over myself and keep going with what I want to do, but I can't help but think that, as Olga said, a bit of turmoil is a good thing.

Thanks for the pep talk-I like the line about committees don't make good art-so true!!

Sus said...

Good on you, Tracy.

I love your work, especially when i have been able to see the actual instead of the images. In these images, color is the first thing you see, but the depth and texture you achieve are remarkable.

When the time is right to change, it will become an undeniable pressure.

Christine DeCamp said...

You really crack me up. "So there."I always enjoy stopping by to see what you're up to. Was fun seeing the "first post". I have some artist friends who look down their noses at "landscape painters"--mostly it's sour grapes.

Tracy said...

Thanks Sus, for the compliment. And yes, you are totally right-I won't be able to NOT change when it's time to change. I figured that out during one of my self-rants the other day. I figured if I was still wondering what to do, then I wasn't really ready. Anyway, you said it better than I did!

Christine, I must admit to having previously been one of those artists who look down on landscapes too. Which is why I never painted them until recently. I see the very subtle eye roll from other artist (saw it in Vermont!) but I understand. Sometimes I even agree!

Deborah Paris said...

Hi Tracey. I have been sitting on the sidelines thru some of your most recent posts, wanting to comment but deciding not to = I really got testy when I read the one about the critiques. First, I think you are brave and honest to talk about your experience in Vermont and also how it is still causing some tremors in the studio. One of the reasons I like to read your blog (and I know I'm not alone) is because it is very much the story of a working artist- someone living a real life and making art. Art for art's sake...oh, please. Those artists are just as much on a career path as you are-they may be measuring their success by a different standard (what grant they got or who reviewed them, or whatever), but that is not somehow more pure than what you do. And the eye roll- well, if they want to roll their eyes at what has endured thru the history of art, or what (God forbid) actually touches a viewer (as opposed to a reviewer), fine, but the jury's out on much of the "art for art's sake" crowd at this point. In case they have not noticed, realism is in a renaissance. Oh, yes, There's crap on both sides of the aisle, to be sure. But I digress.

I think hylla said it best- art isn't made by committee and selling your work is not a crime- its a success. Doing the work YOU want to do and having an actual audience for it- its a good thing.

Michelle said...

Ditto what Deborah said! Oh, and I like the shape of this painting...

Dani Brandimarte said...

Hey Tracey- I love reading your blog and really identify with this post. I'm struggling with deciding if I should switch gears myself. I took a new direction and for me, it seems as though I had done a certain style of painting for so long and it was time to move on to something completely different. The problem with that is that now I miss the old way of painting. The advice given to me has been that there will be a natural merging of the two styles which will hopefully be satisfying. Good luck!