mardi 16 juin 2009

Lost along the way

Feeling a little bit under the weather today. Sometimes I hit those places along the road where I don't really know what path to take next, what I should work on now, which areas I'd need to explore. I suppose it's a normal part of an artist's journey, once you have cleared some obstacles on your way you have to make new decisions and set new goals for yourself. Right now it feels a little overwhelming, though. I have a lot of ideas, but they're elusive and often disappear before I can write them down. There are new techniques I want to try my hand at, but I'm stalled trying to do that on my own. There are different styles I want to give a go to, but I feel restricted by some of my technical abilities - or lack thereof. There are, in short, a lot of question marks and ifs and buts. Which is highly probably not a good thing to cultivate on the long term, even though now and then they will open new doors where there were none. In the midst of this mental down I must admit to have neglected my 365 project photography lately. I think I have a one week gap :/
I must say I have come a long way since embarking on this journey. Looking back, I think it started last August with the sudden death of my paternal grandmother. She's always been the artist in the family, she worked as an art teacher for her whole life and once she retired became an artisan. I'm lucky enough to have quite a few jewelry pieces and scarves made by her, including my wedding jewelry. She learnt to work with glass about fifteen years ago, and explored many new-to-her art branches with it. I always adored her style, and was very very lucky that she gave me some private art lessons over the years. She's the one who taught me the basics of perspective, drawing the human body and metal engraving.
Over the last few years I had been neglecting my drawing and painting a bit. I'd created things that were still quite close to works of art - historical costumes, interactive freeform roleplaying events - but where the primary focus was not on making "art". My grandma's unexpected passing away started a reflexion that slowly drove a point home : I could no longer ignore my longing to create, especially graphic works. I needed them. Sewing or developping plots and characters was too long a process, with too many strings attached (historical references, fabric availability, sewing machine failures, players' satisfaction...) to satisfy the creative craving I had inside of me.
So back to the drawing board I went, and dusted of the vague project I had to open up a shop in the virtual world. I knew just creating for the sake of it could not get me any further than it previously had : some nice pieces, a lot of unfinished ones, some voluntary custom work that wasn't quite satisfactory. There have been times in the past where I drew a lot, but the outcome wasn't very brilliant, nor was my personnal progression as an artist because what I created did not really matter in the end. It had no impact on my life, so it didn't really matter that much to me, and when I drew for someone else it usually was in such an amateur context that they took whatever my first suggestion was because they just needed a picture, and which one they got didn't matter that much either.
If I wanted to go anywhere with my art, that needed to change. Opening a shop on the web isn't for me just a way to turn my creativity into money. It's a challenge to myself. It's a way to push myself further in what I make, to make the outcome matter, to force myself to go as far as I am able to go with my art. I can't satisfy myself any longer with knowing that this piece has a good potential, that the composition in that one is good, and that the color in the third is pretty good. I need to create something that works as a whole. I have to make a rounded, complete piece of art. In the end, I need to put up a cohesive line, something that says "me". I learnt a lot of thigns about this "me" lately.
I don't think I've often been so graphically productive as recently. I have discovered my inspiration works well in series, and I enjoy the self-imposed limitations they imply (the love of self-imposed boundaries is not new to me, the series thing is). I previously showed pieces from the Domestic Wonderland print series, I have three others in the early sketching stages. I think the Pendragon Tarot should also be considered as one.
Another thing I learnt is that I love children's art, and childhood inspired themes. I still go back to fantastic elements I have been inspired by in the past, but the focus has shifted a bit. This might of course have something to do with the impending arrival of our first child. It might also be related to moving a little bit further away from comics books and closer to illustration. The comics style and way of working is still a very strong influence, but I've come to detect this influence more frequently, rather than just accept it the way to work.
And so I have come to change the way I work, little by little. I have been forced to look for other ways to work around my limitations, to think around color and composition. Those steps are of course needed and pushing me forward, but not standing on a firm, familiar ground is scary. Working with Lady Fi and Argyronete has helped immensely - although they are a bit quiet on this blog and very busy in other areas of their lives right now, they are my creative soulmates and the ones I turn to when artistically in doubt. I am thankful I can find my path with such amazing friends and artists by my side, their work and styles never fail to give me the right insight to get back to my own sketchbook with a fresh eye. Thanks a lot, girls, see, even typing this long-winded post made my mind clearer.

2 commentaires:

Jessie a dit…

I enjoyed reading this and feel the same about 'turning corners' in my art and having goals. Your drawings are lovely and very inspiring to me. :o)

Green Martha a dit…

Thanks a lot Jessie ! It's good to know I'm not the only one to feel this way !

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