Reflections on a Body of Work, art in 2018

 “Floored”, oil on canvas, 2018

“Floored”, oil on canvas, 2018

A terribly difficult year is about to end and I couldn’t be happier. Not that I need a New Year to refresh my perspective but this year my changes need a good, solid reset button.  Why not add the champagne?

When I went over the art works I completed this year and I about fell over in self shame.  I won’t discuss my personal disappointment with low production.  I’m certain my recent challenges are justified in such failure but in competing with myself, 2018 was a downer. There will be no December show this year.

However, other good things will come about instead.  I’m going for a February show instead but not specifically ART PORN themed because I won’t be able to make enough paintings for it.  I posted some new works on my website recently, some of which will be included in the new show unless I kick ass here soon and create replacements. I also have two large paintings I was working on this spring and haven’t been able to return to them so I hope they will find themselves on a wall completed by February as well. Lastly, I am currently working on a new piece I began this week- because I just had to. I had an idea and needed to get it down before I forgot or lost excitement for it. I boxed up the oil paints that had given me so much trouble this year and pulled out my acrylics and I’m truly loving having my artistic process back, something familiar and somewhat comfortable. My process just doesn’t work the same way with oil paint. What an interesting and frustrating discovery.

While I attempted to continue in my ART PORN vision for the next show, I found it difficult to produce those images this year.  I didn’t like any of my results for my ART PORN themes and that’s awful, when the artist doesn’t like their own work.  In frustration I simply painted what I felt driven towards even when it didn’t make sense – and a lot of it didn’t.  However, when I look at the totality of what I created this year, I see what I needed to see and feel this year wasn’t meant to be a show for others but rather a display for my own eyes.

When living and creating through intuitive processes, the level of self-trust required is elite and it’s just plain difficult, I won’t lie.  In my case, I give myself a gold medal because it was excruciating not succeeding in creating any ART PORN paintings to completion while knowing week after week that I was in no way going to be able to create the show I wanted to because I wasn’t producing enough good work — and, I can’t really explain why they weren’t good enough other than they felt off.  Trusting the creative process when the direction you’re going isn’t making sense is the most difficult thing to surrender to.  I really tried very hard to go into the ART PORN direction but it didn’t work.  Every painting was such a struggle and a place of negative emotion that the paintings and the process itself just wasn’t satisfying on any level.  I had to stop. Instead I followed other visions, an intuitive voice rather than my “this is what I’m supposed to do” voice and focused on how art needs to make me feel rather than on how art needs to feed my goal based objectives. That is, in fact, the original source of ART PORN’s creation back in 2015.

I’m pleased with the results of this year’s paintings both individually and as a body of work for the year but I didn’t finish too much so I can’t show them and there isn’t the kind of cohesiveness you know from me. What is most bold and delightful however, is seeing the large technical improvement in my art skills. This lends me to further exploring my creativity.

 Dec 2018, “Dangerous Woman”, oil on canvas, 12x16 inches

Dec 2018, “Dangerous Woman”, oil on canvas, 12x16 inches

Only when I surrender to this strange inner pull (or slap) and take the time needed for my creative process does my art come out beautiful to me. That process requires as much thinking/reflection time as it does research time as it does painting time. Ultimately all that equals alone time and too much alone time in the middle of managing life’s unexpected traumas is a recipe for bad mental states. I found new survival skills to cope this year but they didn’t involve a lot of personal art time, which usually is my personal savior.

I spent the majority of my days this year teaching art and running life drawing classes while taking as many workshops as possible. This allowed me to not dive too deep internally and focus on the surface areas that needed improvement. As a result, I’ve been bathing in art, just not “mine”. That’s about to change!

Since I have grown as a person, I’ve also grown as an artist.  I definitely feel a shift in my artistic direction but not a drastic one.  I think I’m in a place where I will hone my vision. It’s a good goal for 2019. That and more completed art work! :)

- TvT