It took me a while to get back on track after the MATS Bootcamp, the MATS GTS, the MIID Summer School, and even the Spoonflower 30-Day Challenge were all over. Suddenly there were no real deadlines, no design briefs or prompts. I was on my own.
I did learn a great deal from having gone through the assignments and challenges. I also realized that it was time to try and put a finger on what actually defined my style. Lisa Congdon talks about this in her book. She also talks about how having access to so much artwork by other artists can both inspire and discourage. She got that bit spot on.
Seeing the work of other artists on the bootcamps and contests was inspiring but it also raised doubt on my part about my own ability to create art that was not only good but that was truly mine. At my age, I feel as if I should have gotten that straightened out by now, but I also recognize the fact that it's not that straightforward for someone like me. I like doing too many things and trying everything out. There are dolls to sculpt, stories to illustrate, totes to paint and sew. There are techniques old and new to try my hand at, media I've never used and just discovering, and even scraps hold promises of artwork that could prove to be exciting and fun. All of that make for a really busy mind!
Once in a while, I do find some moments of quiet and when I do, the words of friends come to mind. More than once, the art I do when I'm not not aiming for any kind of look or style, had been described as sweet, as innocent, and even quiet and comforting. And then I look back to my earlier years when I would draw for my grandmother (whose birthday is today) and see, in my mind's eye, the silhouettes of children that I drew with a black marker and how I tried to put in color by adding hearts using a red marker! There were others with more color though I think I thought I was being sophisticated by limiting my color palette to just red and black!
But these memories seem to be reminding me of what my art is really about. I grew up making art largely influenced by Holly Hobby and Joan Walsh Anglund. Along the way, there have been elements picked up from other artists and it was good to be able to try new things. But now it's time to step away and take a good, long look at where I want to go.
This is why when Lisa Congdon began to explain how to make a Vision Map, I tore out a page from my sketch pad and followed along. I got rid of the doubts. I got rid of realistic. I wrote down what adventure I wanted waiting for me. I wrote down my Values and Intermediate Goals.
Today I scanned three of the artwork I'd been making with my Gelli plate and put them up on Fine Art America. They're not sweet or innocent but I think of them as fun. I'm going to revisit the days I spent making art for my Grandmother and see what comes of it. With any luck, I'll finally come up with artwork that will truly be mine.
Here are the prints:
Here are the prints: