August 22, 2007

Talking Points

"I don't always know what I think until I hear myself say it
...and then I don't always agree."


According to a few comments re the last post suggesting that we 'shut up and paint,' I'm reminded that that's pretty much what we do here in ArtBlogVille... talk about it. Should we all revert to simply posting examples of our work with size and title? I don't think so. Is it the work in progress that should be off limits until a certain point in time? That depends on you and your personal needs and reactions. Some are stifled by saying too much about their works in progress and some are invigorated. I've experienced both.

I have something to say... matters not if anyone listens. This is my journal... my career roadmap which once was marked only by slides, clippings, ledgers and databases. Now, if one of my descendants should ever care to know more about their artist ancestor, it will be there for them. Wouldn't I love to have this kind of record to read about one of my grandmothers! I know traces of them are within me... but faded photos tell little and now that I have questions it's way too late to ask. Is that my primary reason for blogging? Dunno.

Verbal communication doesn't come easy for me... always regretting that I said too much or not enough. Standing mute when I can't get a word in edgewise or am verbally stepped on when I do. Writing it out means I can edit what I have to say (not always correctly) and check 'sent' emails to remember what I did say... exactly! And given the time to do it, I can uncover much more of what I really think by funneling it through a keyboard. Try it on for size, see that it fits or not, delete or save. I know myself better this way.

Recent trip to deliver paintings to a gallery included several from the Bokusho series. Thought a few words to the gallery on the background of the series would be appropriate... the meaning of the word, how it came about, technique involved... talking points if needed to push a sale over the edge. Never mind... who cares? The finished work has to stand on it's own now... few potential buyers will care beyond color, size and personal feelings for the composition... or maybe they'll be attracted to the surface quality. Face it... I'm just not in the type of galleries where anything beyond trends and styles matter. They toss around words like 'your collectors' but that means nothing. Somebody's got a big house or business with walls to fill and a couple of my works fit. My collectors indeed. ((Hey! I love and appreciate them all... every last one!)) But what do I know... there's a barrier that separates artist and 'collector' and seldom do either meet in a meaningful way. At least on my level.

Never-the-less... Thanks to the comments from readers who do follow my wanderings, I was able to focus on a single series for a full year and brought an idea to a polished conclusion. I honestly doubt that I could have done that alone. It's a series that had to be talked about, had to be discussed and even approved. I needed that feedback in order to stay committed. I may never return to that series, I worked every aspect and there are no new thoughts to explore. It's all been said, both visually and spoken.

Next challenge: that elusive signature landscape series...


Tracy said...

Hi Karen, Glad you came back to this topic, I meant to comment last time as I think a lot about what I should and shouldn't say about my work.

Like you I continually stress about what I say to people in real life, but for me it's usually too much. Um or just stupid! So having to consider everything and then being able to edit and maybe run it past my husband is just the best system for me to track all of this.

As far as talking about work in progress, I don't do much of that, preferring to just do it and not distract myself by blathering on and on. I also try not to talk about future directions-whenever I do those plans go down in flames! Jinxed again!

I have really enjoyed following you and your paths, not to mention reading about your history of making art.

Daphne said...

I love reading about how you work. Last year I was incredibly frustrated because I didn't have a lot of interaction with other visual artists and it left me questioning whether I was doing things the "right way".

It's silly, I know. But I had just begun to realize that painting was my job, rather than a past-time and suddenly I felt like I needed "co-workers" for feedback.

Finding art-blogs, yours being the first and most thorough, has given me a lot of satisfaction and comfort.

I'm always amazed with how generous you are with information.

I don't care that blogging may take the "mystery" out of our profession. I think that it's time that people find more personal connections to art. It would probably take the fear out of the whole process of buying art for people if they knew that we were normal people too.

KJ said...

It's incredibly important to interact with other artists in an ongoing manner. Otherwise just small talk prevails and there is no problem solving... yet plenty of problems. I've been participating in online artists groups for well over ten years, which puts me back at the beginning of time in Internet years. One group morphed into another and then blogs came along... I could no more 'shut up and paint' than fly! I'd also have a hard time faking it so it's pretty much as I remember. Glad you find it worthwhile.