Friday, June 12, 2009

Return of the Artist's Statement

I'm sharing with you the artist statement that set off the last perfectionism crisis. That sounds like a negative, but it was a powerful and positive experience.The first time it started to come together I was so excited I was shaking, and when I got close to the end, I cried. Seemingly random elements all had a reason. It validated my work for me and clarified where where I want my art to go. It was my lack of patience, wanting to be at my vision right now that was the real problem.
"My paintings tell the story of our journey through an internal landscape with the human as the subject and the landscape as metaphor.
Trees offer sanctuary. They have a complex system of roots that keep them nourished and grounded. Set as the destination, they illustrate moving toward our intentions and looking for a haven.
This takes effort, even struggle and that is why three is chosen. Three is at once tension and resolution.
The square is a symbol for stability and mortality. I've used it to show what we count on for guidance during our journey and as a reminder to search out the extraordinary."
I may end the last sentence with something simpler, like "live with purpose" so there may still be some tweaking, but that's one thing I like about the statement. Alyson Stanfield said in I'd Rather Be in the Studio that the statement should be "organic." That means it doesn't have to be perfect, or set in stone and that it's good to change it. I like that. Both the statement and art are a work in progress.
The above painting was fun. It's my 'make a mess, do what I want, this isn't going in the show' painting. A big help with the perfectionism roller coaster was to figure out what my bad habits are. The top worst habit is finishing a piece up to 95% done, then leaving it. Just knowing that I do that has been a big help and I'm enjoying my work again. Two more of my favorite posts that I've read that have practical help with perfectionism are Art Propelled's post on Anahata Katkin's "Five Stages of Creative Expansion" and Creative Every Day's post "Do Art Not Dishes-How to Stop Avoiding Your Art Supplies in Four Steps."


Binky said...

I like it. It sounds great. I would, however, leave off the line you are thinking of putting at the end.
We were taught, right or wrong, that you never tell the viewer what to do , feel,think, or say.
It's all about the art.

Shayla said...

Good point, Binky. Thanks!

Regina said...

This painting shows your passion and I really love it.
I got to paint today! (mini painting for my bro's wedding tomorrow) I'll use anything for an excuse to paint.

Leah said...

Thanks so much for the sweet mention, Shayla!

I love the statement you've written. It is very organic and describes so well what you do. I find it so hard to write those!

Liberty said...

Wow Shayla! I'm so blown away by this painting. If I went to a show of your work, I'd LOVE to see it there! It flows for me and calls out to me. What it says I'm not sure yet but it feels so real, natural and unplanned. It has movement which, being always there in nature, makes the painting feel more immediate to me. (if that makes sense LOL).

I also find your artist's statement very deep and real.

What size is that painting?

Thanks so much for sharing this :-)
If this is an example of your work when you have fun and feel less pressured, I'd love to see more!!!
I love all of your work that I've seen but something about this one feels really different - maybe it's that fun aspect? That permission to yourself to flow even if it seems 'messy' or not perfect.
Life isn't perfect or tidy ;-)

Jeane said...

sounds like a huge breakthrough for you - I really really like your artist's statement - it doesn't feel forced or contrived - congratulations and so happy your are enjoying working again - I've always thought perfection is for those that stop growing, after all, one must do a bunch of horrible to get to the good!

picciolo said...

wow I love your statement and the fact that it is open to change, I think it can only be a positive addition to your work
: )

Leslie Avon Miller said...

"lack of patience" rings a bell with me too. Thanks for this.

postcardsfromwildwood said...

Hello Shayla, first of all thank you for visiting (and appreciating!) my Duetto buffo post. I've been looking around your blog and I love your artwork and your honesty. Your tree pieces are so beautiful in their simplicity and you seem to be able to turn your hand to anything!

nancy said...

i feel your soul in this piece,
just beautiful!

Shayla said...

Regina, thank you so much. Yay! Sounds like you needed to paint. Going too long can make us cranky.

Leah, I found it difficult to write too. It took me a year- not non-stop- but it was necessary to go slow. That article you wrote was meaty, with lots of practical tips and sorely needed reminders. Thanks!

Liberty, yes- true. "Life isn't tidy" is it. Thanks for your generous comments. I'm touched and encouraged to try more "fun" paintings :D This one is 8X10.

Jeane, what a beautiful thought. Instead of calling them "mistakes" to call them "growth". That's a great compliment to say you don't find it contrived. Thank you. I'm all pink and smiley :)

Jane, thank you and good point. Having it open allows the work to grow.

Leslie, hello. Thanks, It's good to know I'm not the only one.

Janice, hi. Your duet cracked me up :D Thanks for coming to visit and for the generous feedback.

Nancy, a big thank you for your special words. One of my greatest thrills in creating is connection. You made my day :)

Tracy said...

Your mission statement is pure and from the heart, Shayla... I admire how you've used words to convey the deeper meanings also revealed in your work. There is much playfulness and freedom in this enjoyed yourself here, and it shows. :o) And I think it very show worthy, myself! Since your post last week about perfectionism, I've been thinking a lot about my own relationship and ideas on the subject. I have a mission statement for my shop...but perhaps a statement for my artwork in general would bring some clarity... I appreciate how you intertwine art and life here. As always, thanks for sharing :o) Happy Day, my friend ((HUGS)) Off to look at those links...

M.Kate said...

Beautiful painting and words Shayla.

MiKa Art said...

Beautiful painting - it is mysterious and deep...

I really appreciate that you share the difficult moments, thoughts with us. You are very brave and wonderful!!

kate said...

Hi Shayla,

Your post is very timely for me. I, too, struggle with perfectionism and avoidance. It's an ongoing battle. Recently, I read Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking, and it was quite motivational. Stresses the importance of making bad art as a way of learning things so eventually you will make "work that soars". Takes the pressure off a bit:) Here's a link:

By the way, I like your painting and your artist's staement.

Shayla said...

Hi Tracy, clarity is a surprising benefit. You're great with words. Wouldn't surprise me if you find it to be cathartic.

M.Kate, thanks for your kind words.

Mika, you are such a sweetie! Thanks for the encouragement.

Kate, I'm so happy to see you again! Thanks for visiting. I've heard that book was good, now I'm dying to read it. Thanks for telling me what you thought of it and for the feedback.

Robyn said...

You've done so well, Shayla! Trees offer that.I think I would really battle to write my statement. In fact I'm getting hot under the collar thinking about it.

Robyn said...

Oh and thanks for the blog mention. Anahata's Five Stages continue to help me too.

WildCherry said...

Catching up belatedly as I said I would! Both your painting and your statement are inspirational. In fact I've just had a stab at writing mine. Thanks for the prompt!
I find that even writing an 'outcome' for a particular piece or series can help me get over my perfectionist tendencies - giving me something specific to focus on achieving rather than 'the perfect painting'. Here's something I wrote that explains it a bit better: