Welcome to the New world

So, another year ends.  That always brings a variety of thoughts and emotions to people.  For some it's just another day and for others it's the first day of the rest of their lives (or the first few weeks of effort).

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It's been a difficult year for me personally and for the first time (and last) I'll touch on exactly why.  Heavy stuff: this is the year I accepted my marriage has ended and the family I fought to give my best to didn't make it through the challenges we've been given.  Truthfully, I couldn't have given more of myself or my efforts and upon that realization I hit the wall. I found love had a boundary.  We all have a boundary but sometimes we don't know where it sits and we continue on even with the challenges' pains until we find it hurts too much, until it awakens us and forces change. 

2017 has been about managing emotions, accepting the end of a passionate marriage spanning one and a half decades and restructuring my life's plan because starting over at midlife wasn't in that plan.  I could be angry (and I was for a little while) but I think the best lesson here is sometimes people grow apart and to truly honor the another person and the self is sometimes to set each other free.  If you cannot grow together you must grow apart or you will wilt. 

Sometimes the best answer is the one we don't want but need.  In marital vows we tend to hold on to the romanticism, our history and the commitment's dream of the story rather than face the reality the story truly offers.  Life is a twisty-turvy adventure that society manages to fuck up with its straight arrow views.  It's all a damn roller coaster ride: life, marriage, family, parenting.  Nothing prepared me. And that's the perhaps what makes life so interesting. How boring would the straight path be?  Depends on what adventure and life mean to you.  Everyone's story is unique but the generalizations are all the same: love, health, finances, spirituality.  What did I miss?  It's always different than "they" say so listen to yourself and follow your intuition.     

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Michael and I were a beautiful love story led by passion and intuition and with that I know it was right because it led me to some fantastic experiences; however,  unexpectedly we had a time limit and thus this love story turned into one volume on the shelf of my life's library. It took a lot of grief and growth to get to that simplified and elegant sentence. I'm clearing rumors and offering my words on the matter. The unique story is mine and I will not share it perhaps ever, but on the generalizations, I am maritally separated and a divorce is imminent, just like a good number of friends of mine at this stage in their lives. We can view that as a sad mid-life reality or we can view it as an empowering new journey, a gift. 

My main focus is raising my youngest child well and to continue evolving as an artist and person.  I've honestly struggled to keep focused on the painting this year, very disappointed with how much I didn't do but keep in mind that I did accomplish a lot and I did finish all the art for my Back It Up art show and my exhibition at the Erotic Heritage Museum this summer. Plus, I drove cross country and connected to the beauty and misery of what America is.  I'm very grateful I took such a journey (thanks to a great friend who joined me) because it altered some of my views and opened up my mind and I think it helped bring me to a solid place despite an uncertain future ahead.  I expect these elements to turn up in my paintings.

This year I managed to keep myself as happy and positive as possible despite the major life changes and I didn't give into the "quit" seductions whispered in my ear by fear itself.  Honestly, it's hard to get right back on the saddle of artistic creation when something so big and consuming as a big art show and marriage are over, (that almost deserves a "duh") so we'll see how I regroup and refocus and perform artistically in this new year.  I see greatness ahead and I'm happy the holidays are about over so I can focus on what must be done.

So, to continue on a positive note, this is what will keep me going in 2018:

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-    I've been developing some very awesome art pieces in my mind, a bit different from what I have been doing, much of it dictated by storytelling and the influences Savannah has had on me and I'm feeling very compelled to go there but apprehensive at the same time. These new paintings will challenge my skills because the backgrounds would need detail work. That's usually a big wall for me but I think it's time to climb over it. My cathedral painting that I'm still working on in its grisaille layer and that can be tracked on my Instagram, was an exercise in how I could deal with detail work and keep focused. I'm doing well enough to keep going.  I don't love it but it's part of the story so it must be there.  The paintings I dream require it.  

-    Also, I've come to the direction of the new erotica collection. I had several ideas swirling for months and it began falling together - kind of suddenly so I know it's time. I'm excited to see how this paints out. Of course, this means I have to research images. Not sure I can do it.  I haven't looked at porn since late spring so it's almost like going back into the muck to find the pearls. ;)  

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-     The work in progress art piece to your left will probably be the first  of the new collection.  I'm struggling with the peacock feathers but the title "Showtime" feels right. I had hope to have it done by the New Year but that didn't happen so the new timeline is mid January.

-     I've been looking at the calendar trying to see when I can realistically put seven to ten paintings together for a local show unless I reach for something bigger, which feels daunting actually.  I'm months off track for this already.  There's no real hurry but there's momentum and when that's lost it's extra difficult to step back up into it so I'm looking to set some ambitious yet realistic deadlines to keep myself going. I know the moment I choose a date, I'm committed and you know what that feels like, don't you?  Commitment?  It's when the adrenaline hits.  

I haven't made any resolutions other than "Do what must be done and do it everyday". As a goal oriented person, I'm always making new "resolutions" and modifying them through the year.  I am always aware where I am on my journey.  What must be done is different than last year or the year before.  What must be done will be done and the results have to show it and that's what you will see.  End of story.  

I'm wishing you all a wonderful New Year and all the good things life can bring. I'm moving forward into a new mindset this year which is both frightening and exhilarating and I welcome you to follow along in this new stage in my life because I think I'm going to some good places.  I'm stepping it up mostly because I cut my own strings, found self love and got into the driver's seat of my own life not just the car. Through that view, 2017 has been very successful indeed.  Perspective is everything and perspective is what we can control.  May you control yours and thus yourself.

A very Happy New Year to you!

Tatiana vT

Silence and Passion: golden advice

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When I paint, I usually do so in silence.  I love silence.  I usually only listen to music when I begin and there's not too much pressure on me yet; when the strokes are gestured and flowing and relatively instinctual.  I continue this way until I finish with the under painting, though my method is a bit different than traditional under painting. Nonetheless,  I’m surprised how anyone could paint an entire painting with music. Amazed actually.  

Music in the background is extremely distracting from my thoughts because eventually it takes over and I begin to sing and/or dance with it and then I mess up on the painting OR it begins to transform in sound from enjoyable tunes to nail scratches on a chalkboard, wherein I become irritated and mess up on the painting that way. This happens with soft relaxing tunes as well, though I can handle those for several hours before I go crazy.  I'm the same when I write.  I need silence to think and process. I don't like other people's "stuff" in my mind for too long. It’s therapy time for me too in a way.  

I find painting a constant push and pull of “I love how this is going” to “omg, I hate painting”.   Of course I don’t hate painting.  I hate the mirror of seeing how not good enough I am compared to how good enough I keep trying to be.  I think this is a lifetime problem so I don’t dwell on it but use it as a way to keep working on getting better. 

Someone once told me that silence was golden.  I liked silence then but really didn’t get it.  After 20 years of raising kids, I’d like to announce that I understand what “silence is golden” means.  Golden means “fucking amazing”.  When it’s paired up with painting time, I could think of no better way to spend the rest of my life, each and everyday.  My paintings keep me going when nothing else does, even when I’m frustrated by their progression and want to give up, because I really don't.  I just want the painting process to flow, that's all, and I can't control that so there are many life lessons in discipline and commitment here too.  No one can make my paintings but me.  No one.  So I have to step up or quit. That’s pretty awesome and valuable. 

Speaking of valuable… I offered some valuable advice to a fellow artist recently that I’ll share with you.  It can be adapted to most anyone facing fears of being vulnerable “out there”:

"Stockings" from Back It Up collection

"Stockings" from Back It Up collection

I had an artist write me asking advice about dealing with being an erotica artist, the judgment, shame and vulnerability, etc. He mentioned how he had found passion for this type of painting and wanted to do it but he had to hide his paintings at night and work on them secretly.  Yep, I know. Been there, done that. I told him he just had to get used to it and pursue onward.  

Jumping out there and showing an erotic art collection in Savannah was pretty bold and daring but in my gut it felt like the right thing to do because if no one knows I make this art, success isn’t going to knock on my door and success isn't exactly selling paintings.  Success is broad. So I followed that feeling and that’s the kind of stuff you need to do if you wish to succeed at all, in any way, in the erotic arts or any arts I would imagine.  Everyone will judge you. Everyone. Get used to it and move onward. Their opinion doesn’t count because they have secret fetishes they either do behind closed doors or wish they were doing behind closed doors or they haven't had sex so long, they forgot what it was like to exist behind closed doors; so basically, these opinions come from unhappiness, thus they don't count.  Your work and your commitment to it is what counts and eventually that will be noticed because you stuck to it. Most people don't stick to it but I think you only truly stick it out through the hell when it's valuable enough and that's where passion itself is the gold.  Only passion will really get you through and you only discover it's a passion when you sit on the quit seat and would rather eat root vegetables for dinner then give up.

If it’s a passion, the lack of money and reward from the outside shouldn’t discourage the process of being passionate and continuing in such painting genres, or any artistic endeavor.  If it is money or reward from the outside that drives the passion, “stop” because the judgment and tomato throwing gets harsh and you will eventually give up or break apart. (you might not but it's tough out there)  Certainly there are those who value what I paint, specifically the Art Porn collections, but those are few and out of those, buyers are even fewer.  If you want to paint your passion you have to prove it’s worth caring about.  You have to find your voice and that takes time, effort and many failures.  And lots of judgments.  Get used to them and move on. 

How this relates to painting in silence?  It doesn’t intentionally. Though, I could tie it in with how silent painting for me is what meditation is to a mind.  In that silence I have found myself, my voice, my soul and the self-nurture I need that I can't find any other way.  Not a bad tie in to what was simply a stream of consciousness offering today. :)  

painting in progress

painting in progress

Okay, I’m going back to finishing my painting with peacock feathers, which I really am pushing to finish before December’s end.  The feathers have been challenging so I've been taking a lot of breaks and working on other small works to rest my eyes. 

Keep up with my latest on my Instagram.  Currently I’m counting down my 25 Days of Gratitude – because I need a reminder, and I’m sure you could use a gratitude reminder too. We all can. 

When the Leaves Fall, the Trees Show Themselves

In the Midst of Fall

In the Midst of Fall

As I process the past three year journey of painting (which primarily centered itself around Art Porn), reflect on my being a small business owner of an art school for two of those years, as well as life changes revolving my family, I have entered a bit of an overload where everything is fuzzy enough to make me scratch my head: "what now?", really is my question.

I've been drawing neutral tone portraits in charcoal. The black and white drawings settle the information down into a smaller spectrum for me so I can focus on other details than what painting in color allows. It's going back to the basics and reviewing what you thought you knew but now you know better so are your results begin to show it. That's how you can really see improvement.

I haven't been able to focus on art making. I try but other priorities take over and I find it difficult as an artist to do my self appointed job while balancing all that's on my plate to meet the needs of family and general life. 

Keeping disciplined to make art is up there with going to the gym or keeping up with the yoga membership: you must be truly committed and that's the fork in the road. I keep taking the path that leads to making art a priority no matter how derailed I get. It's so damn difficult but I'm not a production machine and I have to remember that.  

Through some personal force to create something fun, I've begun a new sexy painting that might go into my next erotic collection, something I've not had desire to create since the Vegas show ended, or actually, since my last painting "Back It Up" back in June.  That's a depressing thought right there: that's 5 months of no sexual or erotic art making. I've been drawing faces and a cathedral, all in charcoal - shades of grey, black and white. (I'm just following intuition on that one) I felt though, inner pressure to break the colorless eroticless momentum if I even wanted to think about making another erotic art collection for the upcoming year, which I do.

Often there's a rubber band stretching act between the needs of the inner artist and the needs of Tatiana's reality. It has to be sorted before the snap.  Winter couldn't come at a better time to go inward for creativity and answers, new paths and ideas. In these months I produce the most art. Hopefully by spring I'll be pretty in pink with new great work to show from the fall and winter inspirations. 

A happy autumn to you all. I am prepping for hibernation painting and channeling my energy into the right places of thought and creativity.  I can only try my best to make some good art as I move forward. Follow me on Instagram for the latest snippets of art I create. 

Speechless and Zipless

I don't have anything to write about at this time but I feel the need to pop up from the beginnings of my winter hibernation before I am gone too long.  It's autumn and the need to hide out at home painting is a primal one for me. Safe. Stocked. Comfortable.  

The entire Las Vegas experience, along with its tragic events of the mass shooting recently feel like a surreal whirlwind of really heavy emotional shit.  The season is just right in its hibernation seduction.

To break silence and offer something I think you might enjoy, I thought I'd introduce you to one of my favorite albums, Vanessa Daou's "Zipless" (below).  I have always found it very erotic music.

It was first introduced to me in my early twenties by the sexiest and most erotic man I had ever known.  Being I was so young, the time table of experimentation in that "known" department was rather small but he set the stage for my search for eroticism in my life versus sex in my life. Through this early erotic relationship down in South Beach back in the early '90s I got my first dose of mature erotic seductions. Who the hell wanted a halo and wings then?  I wasn't in line.   

A current painting I'm working on - well, still in its drawing stage and I don't have a photo momentarily - was developed in my mind while listening to this album lost in that mental freedom one gets in a zone out mode.  So, since real life leaves me currently speechless because I have so much to process right now (and the holidays haven't really even officially started yet), let's listen to good sexy tunes and forget the real world.  I like the words as well.

The first song sets the mood well for the rest of the album. I've been listening to these tunes for twenty years.  Enjoy.