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”:
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. :)
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.