Weekly roundup

Mal | Resources,Roundup | Saturday, May 2nd, 2009

Studio Corner Sneak Peek

What I worked on this week

Out there in Blogland

Some Challenges/Swaps to consider joining

 Recent comments you should read

On What to do: Kill your darlings, there was some good feedback about editing your work. 

Lainie takes me to task and gives me my favorite phrase of the week:

I’m ambivalent – not because ruthless and unsentimental editing isn’t necessary, but because we’re not always our own best editors or judges. I’ve thrown paintings (and ideas) away only to have someone else rescue them, and later these became some of my favorites. Maybe we should put our darlings in the rest home for a little while, so to speak, and check back for signs of life before pulling the plug.

Arlee wisely suggests:

I regularly go through my UFO languishers and CANNABALISE them—if *i* worked on it, there has to be parts i like, or i wouldn’t have done them to begin with, so why not just use them elsewhere?

On Life in the Shadows, many responded about what makes a “real” artist.

Cynthia (no blog) says some of the things I wish I would have said:

From the quote you’ve given in Julia Cameron’s book, it looks to me as if Ms. Cameron is a purist. There’s nothing wrong with being a purist in your own life, so long as you don’t put other people down when they don’t (or can’t) abide by your precepts.

I particularly keyed in on her sentence, “Remember, it takes nurturing to make an artist.” It also takes instruction, whether one on one or in a class (which takes $), time–to develop one’s skills to the professional/mastery level (living expenses during those years), and supplies (which take $). Many “artists” (vs. “shadow artists”) also feel that, unless one has a dedicated studio (more $), whatever one creates cannot be art, but is craft. And, of course, in the “pure” art world, craft is just…craft.

Yes, it would be wonderful if we could each follow our path of artistry in our dedicated studio and earn a living doing it. In reality, very few people can do this relative to the number who would deserve to do it based on their level of skill. Was William Carlos Williams a “shadow” doctor or a “shadow” poet? Given Ms. Cameron’s requirements, he wasn’t a full doctor OR a full poet. Hmmm…

And, lest we forget, those composers of yesteryear, like Mozart and Beethoven, died in abject poverty. Music was the only way they had of earning a living. If they didn’t have a patron to cover their living expenses, then that period of their life was very difficult, since even Mozart didn’t earn a decent living, much less a comfortable one, strictly from his composing, performing, and conducting activities. Even when he added tutoring and his wife gave private vocal instruction, Herr und Frau Mozart lived in very straitened circumstances.

And what about writers like Jane Austen and Emily Dickinson, who lived as single women with their families but never earned a living with their writing? In Dickinson’s case, she wasn’t even known to have been a writer until after her death! I suppose this is OK with Ms. Cameron: so long as the artist lives in abject poverty but is pure, that’s OK. Or, in the case of Austen, so long as the artist is denied a full life (dying, ill and single, at the age of 42, never able to lie on the family couch because it was her mother’s “place”), she is a pure writer.

There’s something wrong with this kind of mean-hearted analysis. I leave it to others to determine exactly what.

Judy is going through a struggle that is close to many of our hearts:

Personally, I am wrestling about whether to give up something that I’m good at and that people want to buy (painting) and go with something that I love to do (sit and stitch). When I see ancient and folk textiles covered in hand stitch in museums I am overwhelmed by their power – this emotion is what makes me want to go with the hand stitch and leave the painting to others who are more passionate about it. The fact that I am a music teacher – well as well – I don’t even consider. I just do that like I make dinner for the family. My heart is in my hand stitch.

On Getting back to it, I asked what people do to motivate themselves out of creative slumps.

Lots of you came out with great advice about how to get the creative wheels turning again. My favorites are from Elizabeth (here), Emma (here), Stacey (here), Rebekah (here), and Leslie (here).

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