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

August: moving onward

I've been lying low since March, when my stepfather passed away suddenly. It threw life into perspective.  A lot has changed and much of it deep so it's hardly in anyone's view. Some things have to be dealt with alone.  I had a pretty good blog written as a synopsis of the past few months but it didn't save and quite frankly, who cares about the past anyway?  We end up as photos to sell or photos to save, and a few stories to the ones who remember us. Perhaps if we are lucky we leave a legacy but most of us end up dust like the ashes I buried with my mom. I'm not sure what life means from the matrix world we all have to exist in, but from my little island, life means time just got that much more valuable and precious to me and that's a game changer.

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To move forward, we move backwards: this week happens to be the one year anniversary of my showing in Las Vegas at the erotic museum.  I admitted on Instagram that I failed in my attempt for a new show by now, a promise I made a year ago. I figure divorce, death and debt are good justifications for the lacking output but I am going to give a huge go attempt for a small show in December in Savannah.

All the really difficult stuff of loss is behind me so I am itching to get lost in painting instead and recharge. That I have a few days a week I can dedicate a good solid 6 hours of painting on a regular basis for this next season is like handing me a little pot of gold because I've not had much of that since March and I miss the artistic state of mind, plus I have a great new pair of high heels to break in before I wear them in public. :) (I stand and pace quite a bit when I paint.)  

Refocus: I have three paintings almost done - not for the erotica show unfortunately but still, three works that need a few hours each and then I can begin posting.  I have one painting finished for the show but I can't reveal that one yet because it may or may not end up in the show.  The ideas are still building and commitments are tough at this stage.  I know. Artistic angst is so crippling.

I have a couple weeks before I begin teaching weekly so I'm planning lots of heavy painting time til then.  Being so out of practice for such discipline, I may have trouble sticking to this but you know, want it, do it. That's what it's going to take to catch up and still have time to do extra paintings for the ones that turn out wrong, awkward or loose the flow.  It's like an insurance policy; plus, sometimes paintings you thought would work in the final flow of a show just don't. 

When there's a deadline, there's a line between getting it done and doing it right so pacing oneself is super important.  I work on drawings between paintings to decompress from color mixing and practice weekly life figure drawing to improve my skills. I really don't feel like I get enough done.  I want to be 18, under my parent's care, in art school -- on solid birth control.

life drawing sketch

life drawing sketch

charcoal portraits

charcoal portraits

life drawing sketches

life drawing sketches

Thanks for your patience and checking back to see what's going on with my art.  My devotion to it in February took an unexpected turn in March so I didn't get very far.  My 2nd attempt at painting devotion has basically begun and will continue until l have enough pieces for a December show. Exciting stuff!  Thanks for following along.

See the latest on my Instagram. - T

New Art: "ShowTime"

I’ve finished the peacock painting I've been working on the past 3* months. I'm happy she's done and I can finally post something new after too many months of nothing.  I worked hard to not compromise her quality for wanting to get her done before December's end. 

"Showtime", acrylic on canvas, 24" x 30"

"Showtime", acrylic on canvas, 24" x 30"

This painting developed when I was sketching out some possible ideas from photo references.  I was in the beginning of reigniting my erotic zone of thought and vision for a new show. I wanted to begin with something simple (it wasn’t), approachable and mostly, something I could use to promote the subsequent work which would most likely be banned from most social media and marketing options due to (intended but not necessarily promised) pornographic content. So far I've not painted a cock just peacocks. 

The peacock feathers were an attempt at establishing a representation of "The Look", a concept from Being and Nothingness by Jean Paul-Sartre.  I've been fascinated by the concept from the moment I learned about it in college philosophy class. It's turned up in my art over the years and I keep going back to it.  It's simply the object-subject dynamic. There will always be an object to look at as there will be a subject to look and then there will be an emotional response. Think voyeur-exhibitionist or audience-performer.  Sartre goes on to describe how when we become conscious of the fact that we are being looked at, we become aware that we are in fact, objects to the other.  This, of course, affects the way we view and thus behave for ourselves and the other. Very simplified version there.

I don't follow into Sartre's depths of existential despair but this concept of looking, observing and the interaction of the object and the subject has often caught my attention and intrigue.  We look and pass through momentary changes of emotion based on that "look" of and by others all the time.  I am mostly intrigued by the performance - the "show" -  and the willful exchanges that come with that more than the peeking voyeur exchange and emotion.  I think Sartre sits in that domain more, the voyeur peeking through the keyhole and the "subject" and "object" getting caught and the emotion aroused by that catch.  I'm more interested in the examination of a willful look exchange.

When it clicked that the peacock feathers looked like eyes, I thought it would be the best representation of this look concept surrounding this nice, latex shined ass, which is the objectified focal point.  Within that objectification space, it is valued (or judged) by the subject.  The value is relative to the development of the subject's psyche but the act of placing a value on the object is human nature. The moment we look, we emotionally respond. That can be a mighty moment. 

Looks like "Showtime" to me!

 

*correction from 2 months. i went back to my records and I began her early November. why is time so quick in hindsight?

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.