Wednesday, July 15, 2009

100 in 100, Day 44

unfinished self portrait
pastel, 9x12 inches
(a slightly more color-accurate photograph, taken this morning*)

unfinished self portrait
pastel, 9x12 inches
(photographed last night*)

*the truth is somewhere in between

I had to take a break on this one last night to put the girls to bed. I know it will lose some of the energy that I like about it if/when I fix the eye. It reminds me of another unfinished self portrait I did some years ago. So I'm posting it like this for now, and reserving the right to change it later! In fact, I reserve the right to change any of the drawings (especially since I think I am going to try to find a way to have a show of all of them when I reach 100, and there are a few clunkers). It is interesting how committing to the 100 in 100 project and posting my art -- and actually having people see my drawings and comment on them! -- impacts my process of creating. I was thinking about this as I started to write a comment to this post by Rowena. When I got too wordy, I thought, "Hmm, blog post!"

When I decided to join Rowena in trying to make a work of art everyday for one hundred days, I wanted to focus on drawing and painting, because it has been ten years since they've been a part of my daily life, but my intention was just to give myself permission to make art everyday, even if that meant counting a beautiful photograph of a japanese eggplant in my garden as a work of art.

It is.

Of course I had to run out in the middle of writing this post to photograph my eggplants.
It's not the most artsy photograph, but it's a lucky snapshot of a bee gettin' busy!

a better view of the bee

When I started with a self portrait on the first day, my brain immediately started to try to organize and plan my path. I thought, Oh, I'll do 10 portraits, then 10 tree studies, then switch mediums, blah, blah, blah. When it turned out that making the time to draw a tree outside everyday was too difficult, and I was ending up making my art time after the girls were asleep in the evening, I continued with self portraits. Seeing all of my self portraits lined up in my facebook gallery, I appreciate the sense of a body of work, as well as the clear evidence of marking time, a hundred days.

This has made me reluctant to include artworks other than self portraits in the 100 count. As Rowena points out, we are making art with the Wreck this Journal project. I have even made some self portraits, but I haven't included them in my 100 in 100 count because they weren't done specifically for it. I feel like I am adhering to whatever arbitrary rules I have set for myself that way. However, there have been a couple times in the series when I missed a day or two, so I then sat down and did three drawings at once to make up the numbers. Though that feels slightly like cheating to me, I permit it because my ultimate goal with this challenge is to have completed 100 artworks done specifically for this project by the end of the 100 day period which began on 1 June.

If I allow myself to include other works, it will make it too easy for me to walk away before I get to 100. I am also aware of how including those other works would change the look of the self portraits in the gallery. In the past ten years, I'm sure I've made some kind of art everyday. In fact, one of the best compliments I ever received was from a five year old boy several years ago. He said that when he grows up, he wants to be an artist, "not an artist who is rich and famous, but an artist like Ina, who makes beautiful things wherever she goes." While I treasure that life lesson, when I call myself an artist, I mean... uh oh... I'm about to quote wikipedia...

The visual arts are art forms that focus on the creation of works which are primarily visual in nature, such as traditional plastic arts (drawing, painting, sculpture, architecture, and printmaking), modern visual arts (photography, video, and filmmaking), and design and crafts. Many artistic disciplines (performing arts, language arts, textile arts, and culinary arts) involve aspects of the visual arts as well as other types, so these definitions are not strict.

A changing concept. The current usage of the term "visual arts" includes fine arts as well as crafts, but this was not always the case. Before the Arts and Crafts movement in Britain and elsewhere at the turn of the 20th century, "visual artist" referred to a person working in the fine arts (such as painting, sculpture, or printmaking) and not the handicraft, craft, or applied art disciplines. The distinction was emphasized by artists of the Arts and Crafts movement who valued vernacular art forms as much as high forms. The movement contrasted with modernists who sought to withhold the high arts from the masses by keeping them esoteric.[citation needed] Art schools made a distinction between the fine arts and the crafts in such a way that a craftsperson could not be considered a practitioner of art.

...well, it looks like I mean a "visual traditional plastic artist." Band name or album title?

I needed this challenge to force myself to focus on consciously creating works of art, within a specific time frame. When someone at the tavern inquired about the asking price of one of my drawings, I realized that I hadn't been thinking about these works as products at all. Part of why I ran from making art years ago was my inability to create a monetary equation between the value for me in making art and the value for others in owning my art. The fact that people have been seeing my work for the first time in years, and offering comments and compliments, has made me much more aware of them as products than I might otherwise have been. While this has made some of my battles with my inner critic even bloodier, it has helped me to acknowledge that I can't call myself an artist if I don't actually make art. It has also encouraged me to accept my art as it is. Each day. Even the ones I refer to affectionately as "clunkers."

Well, all of this rambling doesn't seem to have gotten me any closer to what I wanted to say to Rowena after reading her post this morning! So, instead, I'll quote my favorite witch, Hecate, "It's all real. It's all metaphor. There's always more."


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