Not My Baby

North View from Mt. Seymour, acrylic, 30x24

The other day I went to the art store to stock up. I get anxious when I am low on art supplies so I recommend avoiding that situation if at all possible. There was a young girl working in the store who helped me drag big canvases from the shelf. She was very enthusiastic so we started chatting about making art. She said that she is an artist and a photographer. The photography she defined as her immediate “in the now” creation. She said that she also makes acrylic paintings, using her photographs as inspiration, but that she has lately been overwhelmed with the idea of transferring the realism of the photo into the artistic vision in the painting.

 I kept thinking about her, remembering all the times when the same thing was overwhelming me. It sure does every once in a while. How to translate the inspiration of a reality into my unique artistic vision, and make a great painting? And then, how to stay committed to doing this day in and day out for years and years. How wonderful and how scary at the same time!

There are a few things that can help with the scary part. Firstly, let’s remember that this has been done by many artists, so it verifiably isn't an impossible task. Then, remember to trust all the skills that we have acquired; yes, sometimes it feels like two steps forward, one step back, but overall we can’t help making progress. The actual translation of the inspiration into a unique image is magic – it’s a puzzle that we create for ourselves to solve. Sometimes we say that paintings are our babies, but the thing to remember is that they are not! They are things that we make, love or hate, keep or destroy. Some puzzles don’t work out, but the best thing of all is that we can think of another one tomorrow! Isn't that terrific?

I wish I thought of saying all this to the girl, but I guess I am not very good with thinking on my feet. I think I said something like - take it one step at the time…ugh. Perhaps I’ll remember this for the next time I run into someone with the same struggle, which is bound to happen. Wouldn't it be great to write down all those thoughts about art that we wish someone had told us years ago? Well, this is as good a time to start as ever!