After being home due to Covid19 safety issues at my place of work, for some time, I now find myself searching for work, at an age when I should be planning my retirement. I won’t go back to my previous job as even in the best of times, it is a dangerous, mentally and physically exhausting job. I continued to work at my art, upping the game as much as possible in order to somehow make a living at what I know I am very good at, and love.
Contrary to all of the hype, although it seems that the art world is thriving, I would say it is just the opposite. Inundated with kitschy and an anything is art attitude (which honestly who can say?), it is harder and harder for people to dig through the logjam to find the truly good, or even what they would like to own. But we artists carry on, as it’s in our blood, and do whatever it takes to get our work “out there”. Aside from trying to survive, we truly want people to enjoy our work. We want it to be seen.
The job market is very tough right now, also contrary to what is said. The one good side effect is that some employers are starting to understand that they have to offer a fair wage. I live in a small town where the jobs are either medical, retail/restaurant, or college with a few office related options. For two of those they require specific qualifications, for retail you have to have low self esteem or massive desperation, and for office jobs, mostly luck and to be quick. I managed to find one that appealed to me, as I am also a writer. But it is only part time, and seems that it will mostly be filing. Oh and just minimum wage, and no benefits. I find out tomorrow if they are interested in me, but am I interested in them? Yes it would allow me more time for my family and art, but it really isn’t enough pay, as well as the filing aspect along with being in a very tiny office with two other people.
While trying to decide what to do in regard to the office job, if offered, I did the usual pros and cons thing, which includes the fact that I am the major bread winner in my household. I also did the asking the universe what I should do, thing. The office position should seem perfect, but something just doesn’t feel right about it. And that’s not good. It could just be normal hesitation due to having been out of work for so long. But I don’t think so.
Then the universe did something, I received a request to do a commission. It’s still at the very early stage of price negotiation etc. But having it pop up like that when it has also been a while for that, makes me hesitate even more about the office gig. Some might say, “a bird in the hand” and all that, and “do both” (which even five years ago was no big deal…) but something tells me to trust in myself, and do what feels right, and not get into a situation where I’m trying to do it all, for minimum wage. I guess another night to sleep on it might help.
Thanks for reading my art life ramblings. Stay well!
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Throughout history artists have been compelled to create and recreate the beauty and pathos surrounding them in their daily lives. We are often awed by the discoveries of art found on walls and in caves in remote and nearly inaccessible places around the world. They are stunning and mysterious.
A personal favorite of mine are the caves of Lascaux. The beauty of these works of art is astounding. And we wonder what they were for, what they meant to the ancients who went deep into these caves to create these incredible works of art. Often in dark and not easily accessible places. One of the images of bulls, in the “Hall of Bulls” is 17 feet long and almost as tall. This meant that these ancient peoples had to build some kind of scaffolding. This was important to them. They were cognoscente of a future. Or was it just that inborn need in some of us, at it’s most basic, to draw, or paint the things that grab our attention? I feel it’s not just a mental thing to recreate or create, it’s physical.
Around the world we see examples that have transcended time. And then those that have been lost to evil and misguided men, such as the once World Heritage Site, and treasure I had dreamed of seeing in person, The Buddhas of Bamiyan. (My heart still aches over this.). I was born a little too late for the “hippie silk road”, and now they are gone. There are other astounding examples of ancient Buddhas around the world and I hope they never suffer the same fate.
The history of art is complicated and vast. And now during this world wide pandemic, one side effect has been the staggering amount of people showing up with their art. I am on a well known platform, and made a separate one to post and highlight my artwork. In the last year, I feel that the amount of people on this platform alone has grown astronomically. How does one not get lost in the noise? The styles, forms and levels of skills, knowledge and choices is endless.
Then there are what might be considered fads. One example, is “pour painting”. I suppose every new form of art has to be scrutinized to gain acceptance. Today most of us think of Impressionism as a classic form of art. But when it first started to become popular, not only were the practitioners of it, considered poor artists, but they were banned from exhibiting them! I have to say, that although I think pour painting looks like it might be fun to try, and some of the finished products look pretty good, it doesn’t sit well with me.
There are a few things about it that bother me. First and foremost, I find it unacceptably wasteful. In most cases, more than three times again amount of paint is used to make the picture. This extra is then literally poured down the drain. As someone who has tried diligently over the years to find better, safer, and more environmentally safe ways to create my art, I find this distressing.
Normally I would say that ‘there is room for everyone’. But during this pandemic between unemployment and social media, the ‘everyone’ has grown exponentially. The ratio of art lovers and buyers to artists has always been a problem, but now it may be a crisis. This could force artists to do their best, or it may be forcing the truly great artists out of the game, leaving only the mediocre.
Then there is the fact of having worked, suffered blood, sweat and tears, and upheaval to continually improve my art and there are now thousands of people using this simple, wasteful technique, and forming a further glut in the artworld. There will always be some artists better than other artists. And as an artist, I learned a long time ago to only compete with myself. I know when I’m happy with it, and that’s what matters. But it is getting harder and harder to be seen.
I wonder what the “world of art” will be like in the distant future. I hope that despite the glut of mediocre artwork and fads of today, that the great artist’s legacies of our time will shine through and future people will be in as much awe of what they have done, as we are in awe of those past great artist.
Thank you for reading this. Please visit my art IG page susanm.l.mooreartist. DM me if interested in any of my work, or if you would like to commission a piece. I would love to work with you!
Stay safe and well.
Creativity, where to even start. Although I am, and have always been an artist, I’ve never really thought of myself as “creative”. I see all of the things that people come up with, the different ways they express their art, and I think, ‘wow, I wish I’d thought of that.’ For many years I considered myself more of an illustrator. Shinning a light on human activities, and foibles, and in particular painting portraits.
Putting a subject in a setting that fit with them in some way, made the portraits more interesting to the viewer, but faces in particular, have always intrigued me. Eyes being the “windows to the soul” and all that. But is it “creative”?
About, well let’s say a long time ago, I started taking commissions for portraits, most often of people’s kids. At that time I was honing my skills in the medium of color pencil, trying to learn how to make them look as real as possible. Humorous fashion choices aside, with each portrait I tried to become more proficient.
I was commissioned to do the above portrait for a friend, way back in the day. It was one of my first color pencil portraits. (A little bit “uncanny valley”, but hey, practice and all that.) It was a bit more difficult given that my friend didn’t have one recent photo of her two daughters together. I had her give me as many photos of them that she had, and basically cobbled it together. I didn’t have people actually “sit” for me, especially kids as I was slow. Although, I often had to do things like this for commissions, most of the time, I was using photos, and this is the opposite of creativity. But maybe, not entirely. “Cobbling things together” took some creativity I suppose.
As I’ve mentioned before, art had to come after, and sometimes between life, raising kids, work, moving, (a lot), pets, etc.. But I worked on my art as often as possible, as well as finding ways to incorporate it into my life. So I guess, that took some creativity, heheh. For example, for a few years, I worked as a visiting artist at schools all around my area. I did this a few days a week, after my “regular” work, often times picking up my youngest daughter a little early from school, to assist me with the after school art classes. I also taught an adult color pencil theory class in the carriage house of the arts center near me, as well as a short class for a convention of teachers at a local hotel. That was fun. (Not sure if the sarcasm translates.)
On one occasion, I joined a group of people at our local arts council, and set up some of my work on the lawn of their site. An older woman approached me to ask if I had any paintings of old barns. Apparently she grew up on a farm locally, that no longer existed. I told her that I didn’t but would be happy to paint one for her. This turned into an extremely large painting incorporating, her family’s farm, the barn, cousins and other family riding high on a hay wagon, her mother in the garden, the “main house” across the road, and “Petunia the Cow”. Again this was done in color pencil. It was quite large for a color pencil portrait. It was 4′ x 3′. I finished it, feeling proud of what I had accomplished, and also gained a total of six other portraits for her family. The photo isn’t very good, as I took it at the framer’s and as it was heavy tried to get a photo while it was lying down, hence the distortion.
I began to do fairly well, and was getting commissions on a regular basis, including doing multiple portraits for some of the same people, as well as doing portraits of people’s pets. Though working with color pencil on large portraits, was difficult and sometimes tedious. I did feel that I was accomplishing something in what I felt was my chosen field. Yet I still had this nagging feeling that I wasn’t working to my potential, or with enough creativity.
Eventually, I transitioned away from color pencil, and returned to my roots of working with oils.
We moved often which meant that I had to find new clients. It wasn’t easy, especially as at that time social media wasn’t what it is now. I did gain new commissions, again painting multiple portraits for some of the same people. I also tried to stretch my painting chops. The above painting was completely from imagination. That may not seem like much but for me it meant a step toward more spontaneity.
I’ve noticed that there were distinct periods of my art. In between these “periods” occasionally, for whatever reason, I didn’t work on my art for long stretches of time. And after each period of time, I emerged feeling better able to “create” in I what felt was a more proficient and personal way.
At one time I was also a working writer. Nothing fantastic, I never published my fantasy mid grade reader, called Skara Brae. But I did finish it, and I had various articles published in magazines, as well as worked for a newspaper for a summer. (That’s another story).
Creativity, I have found, comes in many many forms. I realized that the book I wrote was creative. But maybe just not creative enough. After five years of nonstop work, I set writing aside for a while, and concentrated on my painting.
Along the way, after one of those break periods, I decided to try something that I had always admired, but felt that I just wouldn’t be able to do. I decided, what the heck, if I’m not happy with it, at least I tried. This was the beginning of my abstract period.
This painting is the first of what I consider abstract, that I did. After my son took me and my granddaughter to New York City for our birthdays, (both in April), I painted this city scene for him.
Looking back I see now that this was creative. I did it entirely in one sitting, from my imagination. I felt really good about this, and he loved it.
I then did this painting of a Romany Cart, and a Vanner horse. It’s done in a more dreamy fantasy style. These paintings made me feel a new freedom with my art, and I was hooked. (Unfortunately, the photos I have of it are somewhat blurry.) There is quite a bit more detail on the cart. Which may make this a blending of styles.
Abstract art could be considered one of the most creative of arts. Having been an artist for so long, I do feel that I have an “eye” for if something is “good” or not. Of course everything is subjective, and what appeals to one person, may not appeal to another. However, I do know what I like. Throwing caution to the wind, I got some acrylics. I figured, I could work in a quicker and more spontaneous way than I was used to, while pushing myself to be as accurate and true to what I envisioned, in a more flowing, and natural way.
I still strive for that elusive “creativity”, and I suppose I always will, but I do feel I’ve gotten closer.
Thank you for reading my blog. If you’re interested in any of my paintings or wish to commission me to do a painting, please DM me, or check out my Esty site. etsy.com/shop/omordah
Bye for now, and stay safe, while waiting for the light at the end of the tunnel.
OK, before I get into this Monday morning rant, I will say that I have nothing against Marilyn M. She is an icon. But there lies the dilemma. I do or at least have come to have a mental fatigue when it comes to art pieces of her image. (This would be a good place to upload a picture I’ve done of her, but I haven’t, and I won’t.)
It seems to be a right of passage for many artists, to create some image of Marilyn. They then post it to whatever social media of their choice, to a rousing chorus of pedantic accolades. I’m not covetous of their work. Without sounding conceited, I have gotten to a point in my own artistic career, where I feel I could do a reasonably good image of the great lady. I choose not to. I get this ugg, rolling my eyes kind of feeling of tedium when yet another artist’s rendering of her pops up. Good grief. I do apologize to any artists who have done so, I’m sure you’re a great artist. And I also choose to be the kind of person that praises and uplifts other artists, so it somewhat pains me to reveal this abhorrence.
So please, for the love of all that is holy, and unholy, stop! Just stop rehashing images of Marilyn M! There are millions of other possible options to use as inspiration for your wonderful art!
When I was very young, my parents, Mae and Tony, owned a small corner grocery store in Albany NY. I remember it well, even though by the time I was almost five, we had moved on from it. It was my earliest home, and even though it was hard times, (beginning of the Civil Rights movement, as well that my parents had to work early in the morning until late at night.) We lived over the store, in a flat, and didn’t have much, but I still look back on it with very fond memories.
I mention this, because, my mom, when she wasn’t running the store, helping customers, restocking etc. would sometimes read a magazine. I remember she loved Marilyn M. Years later she would mention Marilyn fondly. But not the movie star Marilyn, the Norma Jean, Marilyn. She must have felt a kinship to the real Marilyn. The one that was misunderstood, as she too had been in her own life. So I get the fandom, maybe at a deeper level than a lot of people.
Details of a painting I recently completed. You guessed it, not Marilyn.
Norma Jean had wanted more for herself, and sadly fell prey to the enticing life of a star, and the sometimes horrible people surrounding her. At heart she seemed like a really good person.
We all know her story, and can find out information about her, probably by the boatload. But in the end, I like to think that she would have wanted to be remembered for more than just her looks. The constant reiterations of her image, to me don’t do her or the artist justice. End Rant.
PLEASE READ! Due to a glitch between Microsoft, and Word Press, I never received the commission quote requests sent to me starting from 2019!!! I must apologize for this. I am so sorry if any of you have tried to reach me for a quote! I now have access and have begun sending out notes to those who are listed. It’s a long list. If those who did contact me are still interested, I will get back to you asap, as well as set up a time frame for those interested. Again thank you so much for your patience and understanding!! Please contact me at email@example.com
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I’ve never been one to be overly nostalgic about anything. It’s always been my nature to push through, onward and upward. At least since I was twelve and my father died. We had been very close. After spending a year of non stop crying and grieving, my personality changed somewhat, except in as far as art goes. I was always an artist, and always will be. It’s not really something that I chose, so much as it being an intrinsic part of who I am. It has saved me in many ways on countless occasions. Compelling me to push through the good and the bad. That’s why it’s weird for me to be getting nostalgic. I have a sneaky suspicion that the plague may have something to do with it. I find myself listening more often to music that I connected to in my youth. Which is, unusual to say the least.
It started with me looking for upbeat music to listen to in the morning because I was feeling a little blue, which is also something that I tend to push down into the depths. Unlike a lot of people who feel the need to bond with others over their angst, problems, or if they stubbed their toe, that’s just not something I ever liked doing. ( Except for with my ex, because that’s a given, and even then not nearly as often as most people.) And I can say this with some acumen, simply from observation in life and social media. In any case this reticence on my part, is mostly because to rehash things that have happened, or how I’m feeling, just seems to make it worse for me. So there you go. Yet, now here I am, listening to music that meant something to me when I was young and wading through the struggles of being a kid, growing up, having kids, raising kids, etc..
I put Pandora on, starting with the upbeat… I chose early Beatles, and it’s algorithm or whatever, starts scrolling through a universe of songs I haven’t heard or thought about in decades from groups I loved and felt I belonged to at different ages of my life. And other than scents, music is one of those rare things that can instantly transport you to that second, that hour, that day, that decade that you lived, grew, regressed, loved and hated, in.
From Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, to Led Zeppelin, to Sgt. Pepper, Pink Floyd, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Foundations, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, and a host of other memories. Some better than others. And this was just the ones that came up from that first group I picked that Pandora was scraping my heartstrings with.
In reality, it doesn’t make me feel sad. Picture one of those movies where the wise older person is reminiscing, narrating about times past, with love. This is not to say that my past was rosy. It was actually very difficult. But I am also not one to look for sympathy when things happen. Other than when I was very young and had lost both my parents. But even with that, I eventually came to realize that that was not how I wanted to see myself, or for others to see me; a Dickens-esk orphan. I had to be strong and make a lot of tough decisions. The only difference from many other people, is that I was doing it at a much younger age. For example. I didn’t have much family left, and those I did, well, I just couldn’t imagine having to live with them. At fifteen I became an emancipated minor, and got a little apartment. How this played out, is a story for another time, heheh. Don’t want to overwhelm you all. If it were to be made into a TV show, it could either be portrayed as a drama, with love, loss, and intrigue, or a dramedy, with the aforementioned, and a comedy of errors, and maybe some slapstick thrown in. (Not much though as slapstick is basically the lowest form of humor, other than puns. Except of course through the genius of Chaplin. Chaplin, who despite some really bad personal choices, was the epitome of slapstick.)
I continue to grow with my painting. I do, (rarely) have nostalgia for my earlier paintings and scribblings, but always with a very critical eye. Ask any artist, and for the most part they don’t like their past works. That’s because art is one of those things where by it’s very nature, is ever changing. Most of us artists feel that we have improved over time. I can only speak for myself when I say that I prefer people to see my most recent work. Maybe it’s a bit of an ego thing, where we want people to see what we are capable of now, as opposed to then, Like, “oh god, my work now is so much better! Heheheh. Musicians too, are artists, and if they are dedicated and good, they evolve, as well. I think for them sometimes, it’s harder because so many fans will love a certain piece of music so much that any changes are abhorrent to them. They have my sympathies.
Nostalgia, a wistfulness for the past, can be a funny thing. It can become a rabbit hole that folks fall down, and find hard to climb out of. Or it can be something that we look at with wonder of how we survived it all, and pride that we did. We can take a look back for a little while, and then move forward.
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