The shadow side of being an artist.
Yes, I know artists have a reputation for riding emotional roller coasters and getting swallowed by their demons. I’ve even done that on occasion. But, that isn’t what I’m talking about.
I’m talking about the stacks of paintings that I keep hidden in my closet and the cardboard box in my basement filled with old drawings, tedious still-lives and way too many self-portraits. Some failed because they believed in some ideal of what art should look like and lost authenticity. Others took too many risks with color and got stuck in the mud. Some were just unlucky and had unfortunate encounters with sharp objects. All seem too worthless to show, but too precious to trash.
Even the paintings that line my studio walls, with their bold color and swirling shapes, have a beauty that casts a subtle shadow. I’ve poured my soul into the weave of their canvas, but they’ve become objects that ultimately belong in someone else’s world.
I’m stuck in the middle of loving them and wanting them to leave, because that’s the only way I can continue to be an artist. I bring them into existence, then beg them to feed me. It’s a cycle of making and surrendering.
The making is a joy and the surrendering is a labor…
A labor known as the business of art. It’s keeping my fingers crossed that the light is perfect when I click the camera, or after spending hours with the same finger hovering over a mouse. I’d rather be holding my brush. I need to make images of my paintings so they are sharable in the digital world, so they can become tangible in an art collector’s world.