New Landscape Paintings and Some Thoughts on Comparison
Since the new year I have been working towards new goals for my artwork. The past year recovering from my pregnancy and James’ birth have been one of exploration and joy in finding a new medium, new skills, new inspirations. As my energy came roaring back, it felt like my body and hands were almost making up for the months and months of bed rest. Even though I was exhausted and grappling with two kids, my desire to paint was like a fuel and the moment they slept I was creeping up the steps to my studio, already mentally mixing paint colours.
I wanted to try everything! Still life, landscapes, portraits, I wanted to do it all. I still want to do it all! Ha! But slowly as my Christmas commissions wound down I could feel that I wanted to dedicate more time to a body of work. Maybe even a body of work that could be in a gallery one day. The last few months I have been working on landscape painting and it has been kind of wonderful to immerse myself in it.
Yet with the faint thought in my mind of applying for a solo show, suddenly I looked at my work with a more critical eye. Not that critically reviewing your work is a bad thing — it has many benefits and leads to growth — but in my heart I felt dissatisfied and discouraged. Combine that with some mindless instagram scrolling of other wildly successful artists and I suddenly felt amateurish and inept.
For a few days I stopped painting altogether. It didn’t seem worth it to keep trying. And then I walked by the portrait of my dad that I had painted months ago, which sits on our dining room hutch. He was also an artist, and not what I would describe as “wildly successful” either. I looked at the portrait and felt tears well up in my eyes. I could almost hear him saying that it’s the journey, not the end result. One thing he taught us was that we have to follow our dreams, even if it means sacrificing, and that the experience of following the dreams is the reward.
I honestly LOVED creating these paintings. The act of painting is so meditative and beautiful, and it’s fulfilling and rewarding. I just needed the reminder that THAT is why I am doing this. It’s not so I can be the most popular artist, or the most successful, it’s so that I am spending every day doing what I love to be doing, which is painting and stomping around gardens with my camera and laughing with my kids. It’s because if you love something and you are called to do it, you should do it, however you manage to fit it in.
So, tomorrow I am taking my gallery submission in. I might get a show… or maybe not. Maybe I will have to apply many many times to many places. Either way, I will still be painting!