Tuesday, December 23, 2014

SmART School, and 2014

So, the last posted blog entry about SmART School was about two months ago. There's a few reasons for that, but the best summary is that of everything I learned in Rebecca's class, the most important one was that I was truly miserable in my current situation and trying to step up the artmaking resulted in me breaking myself.

I mean, I learned other things, too. I think Rebecca finally got the idea and practical application of a finished painting's polish through my skull, and we also worked on color, and shape-thinking, and edges, and pushing gestures and being really thoughtful and deliberate about composition. I did good work.

Sword of Justice, 11"x17"

It's really just unfortunate that the main thing I took away from the class was I needed to get out of Starbucks. I think I needed that wakeup call - I'm a creature of habit, and the day-to-day of work had kind of faded into the background - but I found myself spending my days bone-deep tired and flogging myself through paintings I didn't have the spare energy to care about. No amount of sleep was enough, no amount of espresso could perk me up, and since I was lacking the emotional capacity to engage in my art I was leaning entirely on rote-learned technique and Rebecca's paintovers and critiques.

This was the straw that broke the camel's back, but it's also forced me to look at the wider picture of what I've done with my art in the two and a half years since I graduated school, and it's kind of bleak: while I've definitely improved technically and gotten real milestones under my belt (Spectrum, a book cover, two group shows) I have absolutely fallen off the horse in terms of promoting myself.

There's so much I have to take a hard look at. I need to work faster, and improve on my color thinking, and figure out where the hell I lie in the commercial/gallery spectrum, and work specifically toward one of those two instead of doing my current waffling in the grey area, and promote in that chosen direction. I need to keep myself active in the art community instead of shrinking back away from it every time I'm discouraged. I need to reach back out to mentors who I've gone into radio silence on.

I need to get myself going. 2014 was a year of a lot of very good stuff and also a yawning pit of floundering and not doing much by way of pursuing my passion as if I had any intention of making it my career.

The first step is realizing it. The next step is getting one foot down in front of the other.

So here's to 2015: A new job, a renewed fervor, more skill and more knowledge than before. There are things are brewing; I just need to grasp the will to make them reality.