I started this week off by forcing myself to use paper for my daily sketches:
|Dandelion Dragon 4x5 inches, pencil on paper|
Which only lasted two days.
It was good, because it did force me to spend less time on them, even though I wanted to go in and add more detail, and all sorts of things. I think I do a lot of pushing when I work. I push to make things brighter, deeper, just... I'm aggressive with my art. I see so much art that is light and airy, and while I LOVE it, I just can't do it. I'm hard, I want my art to be hard, and that's what happens. But hard takes time and more effort, so that's a tough goal when you're trying to speed things up and loosen up in general.
Then, I kind of burned out. On everything. I had some pieces not turn out, which is rare but extremely frustrating. The kids being out of school makes me feel like my head isn't on straight. Everything is just upside down. I did manage a couple more digital pieces though:
|Part of my adventure illustrations, I decided the bunny needed to explore and the dragon and bee are going with him.|
I've also been revisiting a lot of my abstract and surreal work lately. When I've worked and shown, this is the art that gets a lot of play time. People WANT to see it. They want to have a nice long look at it, and will sit there for a while talking about it and being totally engaged. It's where I started with my work when I was showing in galleries and such. But this is not the work that people take home with them. At least, not as much. They would come out to an event just to see it, spend hours with it, but not need to buy it or take a print home. It's kind of fascinating, actually. The fairy tale work I do? People don't necessarily come out to see it or spend hours with it, but they do take it home with them.
But then I wondered (and was prodded to wonder by others...) I exhibited back when prints cost an artist several hundred dollars to make, and you had to invest in that print and hope to high heaven that enough of them would even sell to recoup your investment. The world has changed (in just 15 years! Wow!) and now I can make prints almost on demand (I still use a professional service, because they have better quality and can beat my costs of just printing them myself) and I don't have to have a huge stack or investment. What if I had been able to offer the variety of prints like I can now?
Is that something I should pursue now, a reboot?
I don't know. I think I have Multiple Artist Personality Disorder. I can do so much, and yes I know the phrase "Jack of all trades, master of none", but I am not certain where my heart is with art.
I think I need all of it. I need everything to feel whole. I can't just do one thing and be happy about it, and I can't stop learning something new.
So, I'm struggling with that aspect. I wonder about those prolific artists who only create one type of thing consistently - are they happy with that? Is that all they see in their dreams? Or are they suppressing another side of themselves so they can reach a customer base and not confuse or turn them off?
Anyway, I think a large part of this is me being a bit burned out (or maybe I'm channeling my inner 12-year-old and wishing I was on summer vacation banging at my best friend's front door and asking her to come and play?) But I also believe there is value in entertaining the question of whether or not I am pursuing the best path for my art career, and how to either make peace with it or change it, or add to it, or...