So, why have I opened a separate blog? This one is actually going to be the main one – the thoughts about life and general projects blog. When a project demands a blog of its own (like Project Sweet Sound), then I will open one. I need to feel like I have some sort of system for compartmentalising my life. I don’t know why. We can explore that here later, and if it becomes a very interesting exploration, we can then open it a blog of its own.
I spent some time painting yesterday. I finished a little frustrated, and have been feeling that same frustration all morning. I don’t love what I painted yesterday. I did as I usually do – I sat down with a blank canvas, and also all the paintings I am ready to paint over should I need a canvas that size, and then I get an idea, and then I paint. I very rarely set out with a plan. I don’t know how I feel about this method, but really, since becoming a mum 22.5 months ago, I have to just grab whatever painting opportunities arise as they do in order to actually get anything done.
Anyway, I was remembering bumping into an acquaintance a few months ago, and I asked her what she was doing with her time – as you do – but her response was not one I have ever heard before: “Oh, I paint on commission.”
I know plenty of professional artists, but I felt that this was a funny way of saying it. I have no idea what affect she actually intended her statement to have, but I sort of felt like she was saying, ‘I paint, but not as a silly hobby, people actually give me money to buy my paintings…‘
Fair enough I suppose, but still, a funny way of putting it. Yesterday as I sat on the floor painting (on the floor because it was too hard to dig the easel out of the store room) I pondered this girl’s statement. I’m sure it is very nice to paint knowing that someone is going to pay for your product, but I came to the conclusion that I like painting for fun.
As it happens I do actually have a fairygodmother type of character in my life who has first dibs on pretty much anything creative I produce, but I forget this often and still find myself holding onto the dream of really selling a painting, or getting a book or illustration or song published, or whatever it may be. I think that sense of hope-boardering-on-pathetic-desperation is a healthy and natural part of the creative process…to a point.
One thing I have noticed though, is that my best work comes after the desperate hope fizzles out, and at the place where I can honestly put my hand on my heart and say that it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks of what I am making, I am making it purely because I feel I must. This is partly a holy attitude of doing things for my audience of One, and partly because I do believe that if we don’t just get on and do the things we have been wired to do, something feels wrong. I hate feeling wrong.
I painted yesterday because I felt I had to, I am not overly excited about my results, but oh well. I had fun doing it and I’m glad I did.