I didn’t know that making progress could be a scary thing. I’m ridiculously proud of how my artistry is developing and I’m at the point where I look at the things I’ve recently done and feel proud, and feel like I captured what I intended to capture.
It’s wonderful, and yet, almost paralyzingly scary – I’m afraid that I’ll forget, or that it won’t last, or that I won’t remember what it took to get here, or that I’ll peak here. I know none of these are founded…but I realized I think I’m at the point where if I were to list a bunch of new things, they would actually have a better chance of selling. I feel like I’m capable of making a handprint, and I’m scared to – scared that maybe it won’t evolve or be able to change, and I don’t know what to make.
This week, I’m going to try and finish my art books, and start painting again. I think the only cure, at this point, would be to keep making better art and keep improving in addition to the improvements that have already taken place. I think that’s the only way I’m going to dispel the fear of losing “it”, and continue to find my voice.
Some people say that the best thing to do when you want to learn – is copy someone you like or inspires you. This will help you start doing things, and start learning, while simultaneously discovering your voice. My interests are wide, varied, and occasionally unrelated. I struggle most with deciding what to focus on at any given point. I find it better to decide that I’m going to dedicate one month to doing ____ and then change topics. With the start of my web-series KieryGeek, I have a schedule for the first half of the week but once that’s over, I get confused and need to figure out something else.
The inspiration for creating my own web show and the courage to start doing all of the things that I’ve been doing – web design, acting, art, traveling, etc… stemmed from a few people. First, Alex – because I live with him and if he weren’t constantly cool with or “pushing” me to do the things I want to, I would never have the gumption to do anything in the first place. Secondly, Chris Hardwick and Felicia Day – because they do the things I want to do (mostly) and they started by just doing things.
It took me a long time before I understood the advice (and, dare I say, value) of imitating to learn. Mostly because I was applying it only to painting, and I physically find copying difficult – I haven’t figured out why.
After reading The Nerdist Way, reminding myself often of the words of Ira Glass, and this phrase I decided to just start.
She decided to start living the life she imagined. She believed she could, so she did. She replaced her fear of the unknown with curiosity. She looked around, and life was pretty amazing. – author unknown?
I started believing (or, like Neil Gaiman pointed out – pretending) that I could learn and do all the things that I wanted to, and do them well. Maybe not at first, but eventually.
So, “I did”. I started creating. Tomorrow is the 7th episode of my web-show, and on the 10th episode (June 15th) I’ll be selecting a winner for the giveaway that will be fully announced the week before.
I’m a harsh critic of my work, and I always wonder in the back of my head if I’m just really lame and people are just being polite. But I’ve realized that slowly progress is being made. Tomorrow’s episode has an amazing introduction. The first episode with an introduction actually, and I plan on taking a hiatus in July to work on making improvements.
The gap in my artistry is slowly starting to become bridged. I realized this a few days ago while art journaling, yesterday while drawing, and Monday night while writing. Slowly I’m getting to the point where what I’m creating is closer to what I envision. The feeling is intoxicatingly horrifying, yet immeasurably exhilarating. It took one fearless moment paired with one unusual decision: just start.
Every so often art, technology, and entertainment are made to be some kind of new evil. Articles, emails, and teachings are produced – mocking and and devaluing the art and the industry that is a large part of our world. Many good things have fallen victim to this, and many people (myself included) have spent years being mislead by organizations with a specific agenda. Organizations that use lies, misinformation, and bad reporting to keep everyone from engaging in something they personally feel is not worth engaging in.
They want to live in a world where everything is monitored, judged, and valued on a scale of what messages a given story contains, how it fits into the company’s worldview, and if there is anything that could remotely be imperfect (or above G). A lot of parents seem to want this for their children too, and thus buy into the world that these organizations purport. It comes from a place of love, naturally – that weird protective instinct all parents seem to inherit and have to try very hard not to over-do.
The problem is, that so much focus is going into the “value” as rigidly defined by various organizations that the real value and the point of being entertained is lost. A large part, I believe, is due to the fact that the idea of entertainment ala Focus on the Family, The American Family Association, and others, is not really considered to have any value at all.
The idea of relaxing, and watching (or listening, or looking at, or playing) something for no reason other than it is interesting and appeals to you just doesn’t even compute. Because for something to have value in my ex-world, there has to be a higher reason. I had to learn to listen to music, because I thought the only value in song was lyrics. I learned to appreciate a good story, because I, like many others, was taught to believe that movies and books carried secret messages and we had to be careful to expose ourselves to only “the good ones” so we wouldn’t be influenced wrongly.
This adds a lot of work to being entertained that doesn’t need to be there. Being entertained is not a mental exercise, it’s a connection; the best things connect to you on a deeper level and that’s when art is created.
What attracts you, or what “messages” you find, may be the things that you were reaching for inside. Other people may not see that, or may find things they needed; more might just enjoy it for the quality of the sound, the stage, the storytelling, and find nothing deeper. Are any of these wrong?
Do people have to find the same thing that stirred within you when you read Lord of the Rings for it to count? I don’t think so, I don’t think anyone really thinks so.
This is what is so powerful about the art of entertainment: when done well, people from all walks of life can appreciate it on so many levels – each one just as valid as the next.
What did I do? I ever so reluctantly found good stories, and fell in love with them; not because of any scale of value, but because the stories were good. Which opened up a wonderful world that I had missed before. If you want to be a writer, an artist, or a storyteller, it helps to appreciate the art of being entertained, develop your unique taste, and find the things that inspire you by exposing yourself to new things.
Read the kind of stories you want to write, watch the movies you hope to create, listen to the music you want compose – then expose yourself to the opposite. Be entertained for the sake of being entertained and appreciate the art and the effort that goes into it.
Been busy in my head lately, and it’s been wonderful. Sadly, neglectful of my little corner here, which (also sadly) is one of many corners of the web I assign my name and soul-print to.
When I took on my book and dropped a lot of other things, this got dropped, and that’s sad. But I’ve been enjoying the time in my head and finding my way back to center. A sense of clarity and a thrill is back and it’s wonderful. read:The Nerdist Way (gooood book, not done yet, obviously, but dude, read. it. if you consider yourself a geek), The Art Journaler, twitter, the analytics on my channel. taste: Coors Light Silver Bullet stuffs. So good. adding that to my new drink list. Also, THE MOUNTAINS CHANGE COLORS. Everything should change color. (I shared it 2 hours ago, I’m tired, not tipsy, I swear). see:
smell: Fresh air, because the windows were open all day!
touch: furry cat and dry hands.
think: I need to think, but I’m too tired. Sometimes I just need to listen to people instead, and give my brain a rest. But I have a show to make, so I need to round up my material. Got to get into a pattern because I’m loving this new thing so much, and also, I want to make a 3 (or 5) piece Star Wars set of paintings because I have a Star Wars pillow in my living room. Well, and a Darth Vader candy dispenser…. feel: My wisdom tooth has been acting up off and on all day. Also, sinuses and headache. But I get to wear cute clothes and it’s warm(er), so I feel satisfied.
I’ve wanted to be an art journaler for a long time, but every time I started I’d stop. I think it was because subconsciously I never really felt good enough. I loved other people’s art journals – in books, with loads of paint, or collages. But I’ve never really been able to do that (I can’t bring myself to write in books) and I wanted my journal to look cool too, so I sort of just got hung up.
A few days ago, I discovered The Art Journaler and their April prompt which somehow made it okay. Then, yesterday, I was hunting down a letter to tape to my journal-journal with another letter and I stumbled across some of my old notebooks from 2009 on. As I flipped through them, with the rambled notes and illustrations in the corner I realized, I’d been art journaling before I even realized I was an artist. And it wasn’t perfect, and it wasn’t collage-y or dedicated (I had business ideas, math, sermon notes, and random marriage notes in with my thoughts) it was mine – and my art has improved a lot since then.
Which somehow made me realize something. It’s just a journal, and I don’t have to compare it and it doesn’t have to be like anyone else’s and it doesn’t have to be worthy, because it already is, because it’s mine. So lately, I’ve been toting around my pentalic recycled drawing book that I got on vacation last summer, and my sign pen markers I got for christmas; and drawing, coloring, and writing whatever prompts me, whatever thoughts I have in my head, and whatever I feel like I need to get down before I lose it.
If it’s particularly lengthy though, I have my shiny “live free” notebook my sister-in-law gave me for christmas that I’ve turned into my journal-journal. Pretty notebooks make good journals.
This week is cyber week! like cyber Monday except all week. So I decided to do something for it this year.
I’ve launched four new paintings, relished some of the favorites, and….get this, free shipping! All of the new paintings are only $50 and if you follow @kwhimsy on twitter, or like the page – there’s a special discount ^.^ Alex even made me a header and profile image just for this, so check it out (and support artists)!
I didn’t mean to be gone all week without posting, but sometimes life decides to take over and give you…a life, and blogging gets moved because of this weird thing called sleep and exhaustion.
– Monday and Tuesday I tried to just take it easy, I didn’t do the whole wake-up-and-exercise-thing because I wasn’t sure if I was coming down with something, and with a trip on Wednesday I didn’t want to overexert myself. I did, however, carve pumpkins on Sunday night and walk around town like someone from Harry Potter on Halloween.
-Wednesday (what I really want to get to) I, and a bunch of other artists/groups from Maine went down to Worcester, MA for the 10th “Idea Swap” put on by NEFA. It was my groups’ first time going and there were three of us in the van with a bunch of other Maine-ers. I didn’t really know what to expect when we got there, but the experience and mingling and finding out what kinds of (preforming) art other people from all over New England were working on bringing to their communities was great.
It was also very interesting to get a sort of “inside look” at what it takes to feasibly bring events, and people, and ideas to New England, and that’s kind of what NEFA helps with (to the best that I understood it). And also to find out what kinds of things people want to bring – some of the ones that caught my attention were Silents are Golden, A Tribute to Benny Goodman (and the guy who presented that brought packets with CDs ^.^), and one that is a multi-media piece of art that has dancing and film and…everything, and can be displayed in galleries *and* preformed (as I understand it) – the name of that one is currently alluding me.
Another important aspect that the meeting focused on was the level of community involvement that would be brought as a result of having the artist/groups come, and the various things that the performers themselves could do for and with the community/area they were showing in. Silents are Golden goes to schools and I believe does segments on silent acting and/or pantomime. I found this intriguing because aside from the obvious commercial part of bringing acts to New England (getting people to come and pay to see the various things) they’re trying to bring it into the community in a more hands on/educational way. I’m not sure how standard that is, (because for me, it was like sitting in on a board room or business meeting where most of the stuff goes way over your head, but you try to take in as much as you can and get the general idea of what exactly is going on) but I imagine it’s not particularly uncommon either.
It was really quite fascinating, and the people themselves were great to talk to. We sat with some really interesting people who try to bring art/theater into the more…ghetto-ey? (for lack of a better term) areas of Boston, and it was just amazing to talk to them and hear their story and goals (I really hope that it all goes well) too.
Last night I went to an artist panel hosted by the local creative arts association that I just joined. The topic was basically how we write ant talk about art, and how we *should* be and what ways are helpful to engage the public. We had a journalist, historian, and a director from a gallery that works in tandem with MECA.
We talked about how art is a business and how culture/art and the economy go hand in hand. Art festivals are great because people who wouldn’t usually go to a gallery will come and be exposed to the arts. We talked about how the arts in Maine are changing and picking up speed, how many people really do care about the arts even if their not vocal about it, and we talked about how there are so many opportunities to learn, or to teach and make it all accessible.
What struck me
We talked a bit about how to know what good art is and how a lot of that is subjective. How people today have advantages to “build their eye” because we can see everything on the internet. Not just art, but subconsciously, design. How the biggest thing we can do to develop our “eye” is to keep looking. everywhere. cartoons, internet, books, galleries, fairs. Art is everywhere and becoming more and more accessible. We can learn anything we need to with the tools that we have at our fingertips (not to discount classes…). But, we need to start a dialogue. We’re not used to having honest discussions about art, and we should be having those conversations.
I wrote a lot more in my notebook that makes sense to me, but I can’t translate it into a coherent post separated from the context in the ink strokes. I write in lines, and when I see them I understand the context and the subtext on a subconscious level, but getting that out of the lines and ink and into words on a screen takes a while of chewing and musing and letting the words create themselves.
Shortly after my meeting in August I went through my old notebook and wrote down a few things about my art – what movements I identify with, what I’d like to improve/want to see, and what I need to do.
my art is inspired by:
idealism – art is imagination, psyche over body
mannerism – perspective less important, idealized figures
romanticism – authentic, intuition, non utilitarian
post/impressionism – not telling morals, follow own vision, emotional
aestheticism – art for the sake of art, subtle moods/color
post/modernism – exploration of vision, noticing the world changing, art is imperfect
futurism – new and vital, celebrates technology
to have more depth in my figures so they look less flat. To learn how to create more convincing backgrounds and how to create glowing effects/more luminosity. To learn how to shade better
to practice and research everything I want to get better at and understand.
It must be a weird thing, because I trust my ability to find things on the internet more than my ability to find what I’m looking for in a book. I think my biggest fear is: a book, is a book, it’s there, it’s not changing or updating, I could find a book that could be erroneous or horribly outdated and I wouldn’t really know. I could get an art history book that’s huge, but might have less accuracy because of the time and viewpoint of it’s writing. So I’m weirdly more apt to trust a google search and look at multiple sources and hope that I get a more whole view. The problem is finding out where to start. I did a search on VanGogh last week, I guess I’ll just search for things as I feel like I should learn about them and when I’m inspired to look up particular topics.
Anyway, after the meeting I feel a mix of self conscious in my creating and validated in my quirky methods (cartoons/tv + internet). I’m still very much trying to bridge the gap and everyone in that room has been creating for years, and I presume, have closed that gap. Although, I suppose, I shouldn’t assume that. Then again, I was the youngest in the room, and I’m pretty sure I’m the youngest in the group. I have so much to learn, and honestly it’s a bit intimidating. Doesn’t help that I have this thing where I jump between different things, which is great for me because then I learn a variety at once, but hard when I need to figure out what to start first. Maybe I’ll make a list of things to research and then go through that. It might be easier to do if it’s not “RESEARCH ALL THE THINGS!”.
If you’ve made it this far without being bored from my rambling, thank you. With that I’ll leave you with a bit of something I wish I remembered more often. From Pinterest.
If you’re reading this on the blog right now (and chances are, you are), you’ve probably noticed a major color change. I missed having a custom theme ( had one once, a long long time ago) so I thought I’d make a custom background for my current theme, so it’s still a bit more me, and less boring looking, while still keeping all the wordpress functionality that I need.
I spent several hours on colourlovers making patterns and palettes and colors and so many things. At first I made a bunch with the pink color that my logo had in it, and I found a striped background and created shades of pink, which looked fantastic and fit with my logo well. But there was so much pink. Don’t get me wrong, I *love* pink, but truly, blue is my favorite color and I had a thought: Why am I even using pink if I really like blue? So I decided to go back and edit the header on my blog and change the color to blue, and then make a blue background, because I love blue!
…Then I decided that while I was at it, and since it’s the same logo I use on etsy – I’d go ahead and fix the colors there too.
I liked the pink, I really did…but I’m a blue girl – so I figured, why not just go with that?
That’s not the only thing that’s new or changed though. I found an article on Mashable (from a friend) about the new Facebook profiles that will be rolling out in October and how to activate it early. So, as I had already had a developer profile thingy from something that I was working on earlier (not web-dev…I think it was the new twitter thing needed an app or something) I just updated an existing thing and joined the new open graph profile early. My favorite feature is the cover image, and I really love the picture I put up and how all the new features look and am generally just really psyched about the full integration of it. So I thought I’d post the picture that I have up there (it’s brilliant – you can put up your couples picture, while still maintaining your face for your profile, ha!).
I love the way the archives (there ARE archives!) work too and the streamlined profile. It’s pretty neat. Now all that’s left is to change the colors on my fan page for Kiery’s Whimsy and get back to drawing the rough illustrations for The Balloon Lady 2.0!