Thursday, June 16, 2011

Next time, paint a bluetick!

Yesterday afternoon, I went to my first Umbrella Market of the 2011 season.  I was mainly selling my upcycled fabric jewelry, but I also took a few paintings that are reaching their expiration date.  We only have so much room for painting storage here at Dragonfly Landing, and when canvases have been around for a year or more, I figure they're not going to be bought, and I paint over them.  Reduce, know the drill.  Painting has taught me objectivity.  This is a visual art.  The impact on the viewer is almost always immediate, whether it is negative, positive, or indifferent.  And the viewer will tell the artist exactly what he/she thinks.  Reactions like, "What the heck is that?" thicken the skin, and, happily, have helped me to become a better painter and a better writer.  I'll get back to that idea.

This painting
has been commented on over and over again.  If a viewer reacts to it, it is either to tilt his/her head to see if the painting is hung right side up, or it is an instant smile.  Light in the eyes.  Happiness just to see this painting.  That makes me happy.  And yet, the painting is once again hanging out in the lodge.  I have shown this at at least six different art shows, but it is still homeless.  It wins the prize for the painting that was almost sold. 

Last night at the Market, one woman said, "If only the dog's coat were a little darker.  Then it would look exactly like my dog."  Another asked, "So, you have a lab?  I have two.  They do this all the time."  Another, "Doesn't that look just like Jojo?  If you painted a bluetick like this, you'd have sold it."

Art in all of its varied forms is intensely personal.  While a painting or a poem may appeal to a wide audience, that audience may not "buy" it.  Perhaps the color is wrong.  Perhaps the words don't ring exactly true.  The artist has to step back and look at the piece without being personal.  I have to accept the fact that this painting of my beautiful Napoleon might be painted over.  The story of his life does not apply to hanging a painting on a wall.  A poem I write about people and places important to me might be deleted or left to molder in a pile of papers to later be thrown away.

Stephen King says that you must kill your darlings.  Be willing to eliminate that which you have created in your writing to make the story more compelling, more effective.  Good advice, I think, but I believe I'll hang on to this painting just a little longer. 


  1. i love that painting. as well as the Batman one :)

  2. Cool! I had no idea you were a painter. :)

  3. How true--how true. Art is intensely personal in all forms. Is it okay to say "testify sister"?

  4. Thanks everyone!
    @ Jennifer - Can I get an amen? :)