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On Making a Start

June 12, 2012

Red, Black, White – Acrylic on Board, 5×5″

I am in the full-summer mode of juggling my art, gardening, and family time. It can get stressful some weeks, but I wouldn’t trade the artist’s life for anything. And I include gardening and preparing food with the artist part. After all, when you get right down to it, everything begins in the same way: What If?

One thing I’ve learned through trial and error is the willingness to take risks. Build a little bed, throw in some seeds, add water and compost, nurture them, watch them, pull weeds, and see what happens. If nothing happens, repeat as necessary. See what would happen if you tried making your own sourdough starter, or real dill pickles, or a few pints of raspberry jam. All of them require attention and observation. Some batches turn out better than others.

It’s the same with paper, fabric, and canvas. If I don’t start, I’m guaranteed nothing will happen. If I do start, I will have something to build on. If it still turns to mud, or worse, at the very least I’m building on experience. Nothing is gained by not risking. Nothing is lost when I try.

The image above is a scan of a piece of matboard used many times over as a squeegee. What if I used it as a study for a 6-foot painting? Would it make a stronger statement on a large scale? Just everyday questions an artists asks herself inside her head.

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. June 12, 2012 12:45 pm

    Love the post. Very encouraging! I also think this painting in 6 ‘ version will be stunning.

  2. June 12, 2012 3:49 pm

    Wisely put, Martha. If you don’t start you don’t have experience to build upon.
    I enjoy your blog and your art.

  3. June 12, 2012 4:25 pm

    Good advice. It’s not easy juggling life and art – but as you say, very worthwhile.

    • June 13, 2012 3:42 pm

      Myfanwy, I hope you are finding some time for your art right now. It can be very healing.

      • June 14, 2012 7:34 am

        Yes, I’m slowly getting back to it, Martha, but life is getting in the way. I’ll get there. Thanks for your concern.

  4. June 12, 2012 8:42 pm

    I admire you so much! I enjoy getting An Artist’s Journal in my inbox, it is so motivating and encouraging. Thank you!

    • June 13, 2012 3:43 pm

      Lisa, that is so nice to know. Sometimes I get lax and so many other things get in the way, and then I get a message like this. It’s what keeps me going.

  5. June 13, 2012 2:31 pm

    This post is inspiring, it makes me want to leave work early so I can get started on a new painting. I stumbled across your page a few weeks ago searching for something completely random, and I’m happy to say that you definitely have a new fan up here in Montreal 🙂

    • June 13, 2012 3:44 pm

      Sandra, I appreciate that nice comment. The best thing of all is when we inspire each other!

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