Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Where are you?

I have had many discussions with artists over the years, especially here at Incamminati, about their personal dialogue with themselves, about themselves, as artists, as persons. Perhaps a few do not struggle with feelings of inadequacy, but there is a good number who do. I have struggled with my own thoughts and feelings about myself and my work. In fact, I'm probably a notable warrior in this vicious battle.

Several things have helped me overcome feelings and thoughts of inadequacy: I heard Richard Schmidt once say that he does not degrade himself or his art...(that was sort of a wake-up call for me!). Having Nelson Shanks tell me to "rise to the challenge of painting..."(never forgot that!). Reading the book "Painting and the Personal Equation," by Charles Woodbury, and landing on the passage where he says to become a better painter, he or she has to change as a person. Lastly, I got completely exhausted from questioning myself and my work. That kind of self-dialogue just doesn’t gets in the way of progress, and it just is not necessary!

I had one student who used to perpetually degrade herself and her art, and I used to tell her over and over that she had to quit doing that. She continued taking my Saturday class, and slowly started to improve. One day I asked her how she had turned this corner, and she just said “I got tired of being so negative.” Hmmmm...

So, the purpose of this entry is to invite others to write in about their own metamorphosis from self-induced slug to self-proclaimed viable and veritable artist. I would love to hear from everyone, and anyone…


  1. Great post. I may print it and tape it to the easel. In a day and age when you have all the great works of art ,both past and present, right at your fingertips it is easy to compare and despair. The best remedy is exactly what you described. Community.

  2. Great post. I think most of the students at the atelier I attend (Georgetown Atelier in Seattle, WA) struggle with this from time to time and we take turns bolstering each other up when needed. But one student in particular is so harsh on herself it is painful to be around. It not only affects her performance, but it affects the atmosphere around her. I've tried really hard to boost her up. In fact, her own attitude and its destructive affect is one of the reasons I try not to be so hard on my ownself. I remember a friend that took up the violin said she walked around with earplugs in for a year before she could listen to her playing. She just rolled up her sleeves and dug in and just edited out the badness for awhile until her skills had improved. We can't exactly put dark glasses on while paining, but I think there is an analogy here. For me, I'm going to allow myself to make a LOT of so-so paintings for the first 3 years. In school, we're learning to skills to be able to create fine paintings and the skill building process doesn't itself produce these fine paintings. It produces a bunch of "figuring it out" paintings. And those have there own rewards.

  3. Thank-you for your response, Brandy. Please give a greeting to everyone at GA for us here from Inc. The work at your school is very impressive! I would love to visit someday. You brought up a good point about one's attitudes affecting the enviroment that is shared by others. As an instructor, I have worked with many a student to encourage them to grow in a good mental direction. As a student, I experienced a lot of needless negative thinking and once I overcame it and replaced it with positive thinking my work got better and got a lot more consistent....fewer bombs. Wow....who'da thunk???
    By the way, love your work, Brandy!!!

  4. I'm a strong believer that all one's thoughts and intention show up in the work. Every brushtroke, every mark with the palette knife. Maybe this is why viewing other's work can feel insightful (or sometimes voyeuristic!) and showing your work can feel so personally revealing, so liberating, perhaps even uncomfortable. I know for myself there are certain times when I can paint and others when my mood is not right- better to not pick up the brush but do other tasks around the studio.

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.