Up to this point I’ve pretty much posted a bunch of blogs that are kind of wading around in the art world, or at least they’ve been posing as profound in some way. Poseurs.
Today that changes.
I’m just here to say that I love Stardew Valley. I mentioned it in an earlier post. It’s what got me going in the direction of this daily blog. I’m persuaded that regular contributions to a pursuit will yield results. So, by regularly contributing to the virtual world of Stardew Valley, I’ve yielded some small amount of work ethic, oddly enough.
Anyways, this isn’t about me. This is about virtual me. My character has a cat named Gingerbread, two chickens (Babs and Bev), and two moo cows (Darla and Marla) on a small ranch that has harvested many a crop of cranberries and chili peppers. These fields are also home to several scarecrows and “rarecrows” (rare scarecrows – collect them ALL!) which are doing a great job of getting those demon-eyed crows out of my veggies. I’ve been fishing a lot and even won the fishing competition this year. My crops were so out-of-this-world stellar that I took home top honors for my display at the yearly fair. Me and Penny are starting to get closer because all she cares about are the diamonds I find when I’m adventuring in the nearby cave. It’s a good time in Stardew Valley.
Art is a loaded word.
Is it pretentious by default?
Or do you picture crafts and crayons and kid stuff? Or old person stuff?
It probably depends on your experience with art.
Personally, I think of art in terms of emotion, but not in a lofty way that raises it up above the “common man”, which is such a condescending term. It’s just that I think “art” no matter where you find it or even if it affects only you and nobody else, generates emotions (happiness, joy, sadness, longing, frustration, pity, love, etc).
I’m trying to redefine the way my mind reacts to the word.
Idea guy. Problem solver. Abstract thinker.
Lacking action. Procrastinator. Unrealistic idealist.
These are me. My ideas can often just stay ideas.
What is the difference between a person who just sets out and completes something and a person who struggles to follow through?
I can relate to all of these reasons to some degree or another. I will explore these ideas more fully in future blog posts, but I just want this to sit with you for a second. Do you fit these descriptions? Why do you think these plague you? Or maybe when you have struggled in the past, what were the reasons? What helped you?
Life has seasons. We don’t really see many of them coming and often they can whirl around and overlap, change quickly, and mix together. Sometimes an afternoon can feel like a different emotional or spiritual season than the rest of the day. Personally, I can sometimes fixate on the idea that things used to be less jumbled and confusing. That there was an “old normal” in my life that disappeared at some point, giving way to a more disjointed and complicated reality which feels more burdensome or overwhelmingly swift.
Honestly, there might be something to this. Age brings more responsibilities. Also, our awareness of the world and the problems therein are more pronounced. We’re more plugged in. We join society in a different way. But I think there are other things going on that, when addressed, can lessen the load.
- Yesteryear might not have been quite as rosy as you remember. Which means this moment you are in may have elements that would bring you joy, if you cultivate them.
- Busyness might be stealing your days. Find time to slow down. Eliminate certain distractions.
- Make time for people. But know your limits, because you should also…
- Make time for yourself – actual time to do things you want (and need) to do.
- Put the phone away. You cannot be present if your mind is residing on a virtual plane.
- Plan something. Something out of the ordinary. A nice thing to do for yourself or for somebody you love or for somebody who needs it. A date night. A camping trip. A time to be creative.
Give yourself and others grace.
How often in life has your gut feeling betrayed you?
Think it through.
I think circumstances can change; things can go from good to bad, bad to worse, and worse to better, but in spite of it all a gut feeling is something to be trusted or at least carefully considered. You might make a bad decision because you ignored your gut feeling, but what do you do now? Your brain might tell you one thing that is completely logical and it might stand to reason (especially biased reason), but what is your gut telling you?
In my experience, the gut avoids hurting others, cruelty, serving oneself, and being a generally terrible decision-maker. If that’s not the case with you, maybe your gut has ingested too many spicy and salty foods. Try filling it with stuff that will create health.
And occasionally give it ice cream.
I’m really beginning to find that the key to successful painting (or perhaps the key to success in anything) is the accumulating of experience. As a caveat, I think the value of experience will vary depending on important factors that are in the control of the individual. Here are my tips to get the most out of your experience:
- Have a vision for what you’re attempting. This means a short-term vision for short-term things and long-term vision for long term things. And I mean “vision”, not “expectations”.
- Experiment. Turn the dial all the way in each direction and see what happens.
- Read to inform yourself. Videos will teach you, but reading will bring it out from inside of you. There’s a difference there and I want you to find it.
- Embrace the idea that you will make mistakes. With a teachable attitude, this will grow your character and abilities more than success.
- Be flexible. You will have an off-day. Let it happen.
- Be gracious. You need your support through the process.
- Keep your facts and opinions straight. It’s a fact that fat-over-lean painting techniques have worked well for preservation, material bonding, and successful painting. It’s an opinion that you “have” to paint a certain way.
- Keep your head up, but your self in check.
- Always be patient.
We’re only given a short amount of time on this earth, so occasionally take stock of your life. What are you giving too much of your time to and what are you ignoring that would feed your soul? Do others need your time more than some of your favorite distractions need it? Give yourself some grace in the process. You’re not alone.
If you don’t already know, white has a tendency to lower the vibrancy of hues. Most amateur artists use it to lighten colors, but it can create an overall deadening effect because it can suck the life out of your painting. Three tips:
– Titanium white is cool in hue and dominates colors.
– Zinc white (mixing white) holds colors more, but has a lower tinting strength.
– Experiment mixing your colors with lighter non-white hues to see if they will give the effect you want without the side effects of white.
Just know that white will always be one of your most used paints, regardless of your techniques.
If you haven’t felt inspired in a long time, maybe it’s because you’re rushing around too much. Find one of the things that speaks to you, rejuvenates you, something you feel you’ve needed for some time and have chosen not to do, maybe because it doesn’t always sound as appealing as something easier and more distracting, and do it for a little bit. For me it’s just a little outdoor silence, maybe sitting at the park, maybe reading and reflecting. For you it could be something completely different, although you might need to do something that lets your mind wander or find a sense of calmness, like a balm for the constant. Schedule that time, if you have to. See if it helps.
Writing a blurb is challenging. I guess it’s appropriate that this is my first entry in this series, because it’s the one that brings both the least pressure and the most pressure, causing me to second-guess what thoughts I announce to the world and how I present them. I’ve run through quite a few ideas:
-how comforting a creek is
-how not to write a blurb
-what kind of art advice could people use?
-maybe something about hearing my neighbor singing while doing the dishes
Ultimately it doesn’t matter. This is really about getting the ball rolling, which could, of course, be profound in some way, if I didn’t draw attention to it maybe being profound. I think that might be a key to art. Undersell what you’re doing and hope that somebody reads into it. Or maybe put an idea into it and see if anybody can find it without you pointing it out. Both of which I’m struggling to do here.