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.
No, not that crossroads. Though the “devil is definitely in the details”. Being at a crossroads with your art, or writing, or whatever creative things you do, is always a nail biting, angst ridden moment. And hopefully that’s all it is, a moment, a short period of time in your life where you may be questioning your creative ventures, your style, inspiration, or if you even want to continue. It can be a confusing and scary time.
OK so zombies may not be the best example, but they are scary and confusing.
In the course of my career as an artist, I’ve had many of these crossroad moments. In particular ones that in hindsight seem to coincide with that seven year evolution we all go through, uh, every seven years. (Proven, look it up). Not that I don’t have other “moments” in between, because I do, and have. But the big ones do fit that pattern. Currently I am going through it again. I should have realized as I have had a hard time concentrating, and finding inspiration, or ambition. At first I blamed it on this last, long year of Covid19 and isolation. You have to feed the beast, and being home all the time is not conducive to that. Hence my thinking that that was the only reason. It is a huge reason, but not the only one.
Recently, one of my adult children mentioned during a conversation about eye glasses, that she was “old” and her “eyes are sensitive now.” What the what?! She’s 35. And when I said that ‘I never really felt old until this year’, she sent a shocked face emoji. Humm. At any rate, that got me pondering, as us old folks will, that perhaps it isn’t just the plague causing my lack of inspiration. And doing some calculations, I saw that yes, I’m starting a new seven year cycle. I’ve embraced and been known as being an artist, nearly my entire life. If I don’t paint, or sketch, then who am I? Just another faceless person in the crowd?
Don’t worry, I haven’t gotten to the point of no return. As a matter of fact, I never really stopped painting or sketching. It just hasn’t been at the same level of intensity. I have been feeling somewhat directionless and all over the place. I’m sure I’m not the only person feeling this way. It has been a tough year for everyone, and many of us must be feeling at loose ends.
As with everyone else, I have been impacted in ways I didn’t foresee. Plans, important plans have had to be put on hold, possibly for a few years, possibly to never happen, and this has been difficult. Many toxic things happen on a daily basis in the world. As an artist, in a family of artists, I know that the impact of this toxic world hits us deeply, making creativity that much harder to attain. It’s hard not to be affected. It’s hard not to engage, or see it. But for us creatives, it is vital that we learn to do what we can to help, and not absorb all the toxins, because that causes us to become immobilized. Add to that the seven year metamorphosis, and you can see my dilemma.
As I sit here writing this, it feels a bit cathartic, like getting it out, writing about it helps. Yes, I have been painting and drawing things aimlessly, but maybe that’s good. I’m still working at it, and perhaps after I’ve had some time to just play around with it, something will kick in, and I’ll know which direction on that crossroad to follow.
Thanks for visiting and reading my blog. Stay well. If you are interested in any of my paintings or would like to commission a piece, please DM me, or go to my Etsy site, at etsy.com/shop/omordah I’d love to hear from you!
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.
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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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Continuing with the theme of my last post about having been asked to showcase my art at a local Juneteenth event, I managed to get two other paintings done in time to show along with the first, “Beautiful Son”. It’s always gratifying to be acknowledged as an artist, and this is especially so.
The second painting I did, I simply call, “Story Time”. It depicts a young father reading to his baby. Here are some photos of it, and the process of creating this piece. As you can see in the second photo, I drew up a sketch of what I had in mind. In the second, I filled in the background shape of a map of the USA, and began working on the figures. I continued from there, adding color and finishing up the figures to my liking. Once the painting was dry, I gave it a thin coat of acrylic gloss medium. This serves two purposes, it helps to protect the painting, as well as to highlight and maintain the bright colors. This is quite a bit smaller than the first painting, “Beautiful Boy”, for a few reasons, mostly concerning time constraints and having to use what I had on hand. It’s still a good size at 16″x 12″.
The last piece I call, “Grace Under Pressure”. I didn’t get as many photos of the process of this as I was short on time, but I used basically the same process. I did a few quick sketches, (sorry they’re very light, but you get the idea.) From there, I then drew up an approximate sketch on the canvas, arranging, and changing features as I worked on it.
I hope it doesn’t sound egotistical, or worse, silly ( heheh), but I tend to fall in love with my paintings and these are no exception. I think I have even more so, because I feel that I have gotten to a place with my work where I feel more confident about it, as well as am able to create what I envision at a quicker pace. Not that that is important in and of itself. But for me as an artist, it is, as I feel these representations wanting out of my cranium, and am compelled to create them, to get them on the canvas. And now being at a point where I can do so more readily, makes it more of a joy and less tedious. I’m thinking that, in my next post, I may go over some of the tools I use, and give some pointers on my own process. Let me know if any of you think that you might like that, or not. (I’ll still probably do it. 😉
I wish everyone joy, and to stay safe, and I hope you join me next time!
As I continue with my plan to basically see where my art takes me, I am finding that it is slowly coalescing into a “thing”. Even though I’m not really admitting it to myself consciously, or at least as loudly in my own mind speak as other topics. I know that, for me to stick with one idea, form, or subject for my art, is nearly impossible. I’m too easily swayed by the bright lights and excitement of a new idea. I tell myself, that’s because I’m an Aries, heheh. Whether true or not, this fact of my nature is absolutely true. It’s a wonder that I’ve actually finished as much work as I have.
So to have given myself permission to simply see where it goes, following each whim, seems to be having the opposite effect. Yes, I am enjoying the process in a more relaxed way than normal. As I usually have a goal, or a deadline. But it does seem to be heading toward something. I do tend to be slightly superstitious so won’t say much more about that lest I stop it in it’s tracks. Just saying that much gives me a feeling like; ‘oh no, will this cause me to falter?’. Is this how other creative types, artists, or craftspeople feel?
Unless you are an artist, or writer, etc., you may not know the hellish amount of pressure we put upon ourselves. Pressure to produce, create, invent. To come up with a new version of something. Then to bring it to life, to be satisfied, no excited about the finished work. It’s exhausting. And the competition to find a following is astronomical. To some who don’t live this lifestyle, and make no mistake that’s what it is, it may seem like it must be all joy and colors. And it can be. But it’s also tedious, frustrating, sometimes disappointing, and often maddening. Why do it then? You may ask. For me, it has been more than an obsession, it has been part of who I am my entire life. And it’s not always easy, not for me, or those I love. At times it could be stressful for everyone if it’s not going well. And there are those who feel you should always be making money with it. Which of course we’d all like, but when not, I will still be painting, or sketching. And those same people do not get it. And at the end of the day, what they get or don’t get, doesn’t matter.
Some may say, “well, do it for yourself, that’s what matters”. And as much as I do agree with this, it is important for me to sell my art. Art needs to be seen, to be loved and shared. It’s not meant for the dark. And there’s nothing more heartening than knowing that someone likes your work enough to buy it. I try very hard not to compare myself to others, but I do remind myself that there were many many (now referred to) as “great artists” who during their lifetime, were never able to sell any of their work. Not that I consider myself at their level in any way, but it is heartening that I have sold many pieces, and for a while had a following of repeat customers. Although recently this has not been the case, due to many factors. I am not exactly at ground zero, yet it does sometimes feel like starting over.
This brings me to what my next post might be, maybe something about my feelings about pieces that I have not sold. Well something to that effect or other. I guess I’ll have to see how it goes. 😉
Thank you for following my blog, I hope you and yours are safe and well. See you next time!
A few months back, I decided that I would like to participate as an artist at a Comic Con that takes place a few hours from where I am. It’s usually around March. In order to do this, I will need to have enough art pieces in various sizes to warrant paying the price of the booth area. After taking some time away from drawing, I did feel somewhat refreshed, and thought that this goal might be a good place to jump back into the “paint” so to speak. I decided to go with a favorite super hero of mine, The Flash. (I do have a few other art works almost ready for this Con, but that’s another blog.) Not being an official expert on The Flash, I of course have to go with what I am into. And that happens to be the most recent incarnation on TV. I like the characters, the actors, and the overall look of the series. (Everything except the most recent version of The Flash’s outfit. I’m sorry, but good grief. They seriously need to go back to the season four costume). I meander. Anyway I’ve begun by doing some simple preliminary sketches. (With the season four costume).
For the title of this post, I left it a bit ambiguous for the simple fact that, although, I have my subject, I haven’t quite nailed down the exact form I’d like these to take.
I haven’t had an art booth in some time. And have never don a Con. But I’ve been to a few, and I know what I have personally been drawn to.
Personally, I enjoy the whole experience, from the cos players, (sometimes myself included), to the panels, and of course the many related items to purchase.
It’s always interesting to see all of the artists. They are as varied in their art, as in their separate approaches to selling it. Many work as a team with another artist. Some are more approachable than others. There are those who reach out to people wandering around. This can be a good thing or a bad one. If it’s done in an easy going friendly way, it’s usually OK. But of course there are always those venders who just have too much of a desperate vibe. It can be awkward, and is usually a turn off.
But for the most part, I have found the venders to be friendly, interesting and fun. Many of the venders spend their time there, working on more pieces. This is always interesting to see. The artwork ranges from simple to unbelievably detailed and excellent work. But whatever the case, they have put their hearts and energy into it, so it’s important to respect that.
Getting back to the question mark in my title. It also covers the how and how much to charge per item, aspect. Another thing that seems to be a good idea, is to have a few different price point items. I know that whenever I go, I like to get a few small things, sort of as souvenirs. For example I almost always get a few Lego super hero or Star Wars figures. Many times these have been refined or modified by the seller. I also like to get a few small art pieces, or hand done comic books. On occasion there may be something that really catches my eye, and I may be willing to make a bigger purchase.
I’m guessing a lot of people think this way. Unless they are hardcore collectors, most people are there for a good time, and may get a few little things. But It’s also a good place to display your more expensive pieces. People may not be interested or able to get something there and then, but might consider it for a later date, or as a future gift. The question here is, how many, and what kind of small items I should have on hand, as well as larger pieces, some small hand outs, business cards, and maybe some written items that explain my process, or a little about me? People do seem to like to know something about the artists. More importantly, I feel that the venders should be relaxed, and enjoy the venue as well. Those are the ones that I like to talk with. I don’t feel pressured, and neither do they. I’m more likely to purchase something from them as well. But if I don’t that’s cool too.
As a side note, there was a young woman at one of these venues, who had written and self published some comic style books. She was asking a reasonable price. It was late in the day, and the second time we came around and had decided to get one, she gave it to us for free! As fellow artists who know what has to go into this sort of thing, (after our first shocked delight), we just felt that we couldn’t accept that, and insisted that she take payment. See, relaxed and happy, and generous. We practically begged her to take our money!
If you are an artist, writer or musician who is selling your work, here’s hoping someone begs you to take their money!
I hope you enjoyed this post, and see you next time!
My Dad used to joke when my mother was in a slump, that all he had to do was “shake the car keys over her head, and she’d be ready to go”. I guess I must have inherited some of that from my mother. It may have to do with some innate need. But whatever it is, as an artist and “creative” (to use a recently popular term), it is also necessary to recharge and get a fresh perspective. And sometimes it’s just nice to “get out of Dodge” as my son says.
An economical, and often more convenient way to accomplish this, is to go on day trips. This is a personal favorite, as it gives me that new perspective, without breaking the bank, but also without all the trappings that go along with a longer trip. I come home refreshed and hopefully a little inspired.
Recently on one such day trip, we headed out to a small village about an hour away from us called Cherry Valley. After an online search we had found an announcement about a “Sculpture Trail” there.
After a pleasant drive over hill and dale, we arrived in the pretty little village of Cherry Valley. We normally visit there about once a year. There are some neat places there to visit, but first we wanted to check out the trail. We spotted it almost immediately upon entering the village. We both thought the same thing, “This is really small” Heheh. (We soon realized that this was just part of the “trail”, and later discovered other pieces throughout the village.) The above photo shows an archway built for the “trail”, so we were in the right place, and the arch was beautiful. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a photo of the placard with the artist’s name. But if you’re in the area, I hope you get a chance to check it out. It runs through October 8th 2019.
I particularly liked this piece titled; “Eventual Artifact” by Devra Freelander and Gracelee Lawrence. ( At the top there is a hand holding a smart phone.) What will future generations think of the things we will leave behind?
This piece is by Marc-Anthony Polizzi. It kind of reminds me of skyscrapers rising over the landscape.
This small piece had no placard, and is also located in the same small garden area adjacent to the Cherry Branch Gallery.
The two pieces above, are located on the lawn of a local bank. I really liked the concentric circles on the one on the right, and the shadows created from the one on the left.
This piece titled “Red Waterfall” was on the lawn of the Post Office. It has a bit of a “steampunk vibe”.
There is also a gallery that had some very intriguing sculptures in the windows, but sadly were closed when we were there. But I did get some photos through the windows of these beautiful pieces.
The above objects were found in a local antique store. As my daughter says these skulls/skeletons “have a very oddity-esk feel to them.” We also stopped at a cute building housing a used book store that is like the Tardis, bigger on the inside, heheh.
I definitely got a “different perspective”, seeing all of these fantastic works of art, and talking with the people working there. And we got back in time for me to do a little painting of my own, some figurative abstract. I hope you’ve enjoyed this little “day trip” and get a chance to head out on some of your own. Thanks for stopping by. See you next time!