An artist's journal.
Here you'll find my paintings and musings, where the featured subjects could likely cover just about anything.
The last 4+ years I've been caring for my best buddy B during his courageous fight to live through cancer and it's complications. I'm tickled to report, he's getting better and I'm finding small bits of painting time again.

Looking forward to a daily celebration of life's gifts by using the brightest, happiest colors in the box!

Visitors looking for 'B's Journey', click here.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

'Strawberry Roan' 2005
24 X 24 X 1.5" 
Acrylic on canvas
Wingate collection, Tucson AZ
This is 'Shortcake, the strawberry roan'  ©. She is one of 3 horses I created in 2005. She, along with 'LaLa, the appaloosa' ©, and 'Firefly, the grey Chincoteague' ©, have always shown up in my equine paintings since then. They are the horses I never got to have as a kid.

Today I seem to be stuck. Mired. Motionless. Blocked. I simply can't paint a thing I like and I'm pretty sure I know why. Today I find myself caught up in the dreaded comparison trap. 

"You shouldn't compare yourself to the best that others do." unknown

That's the first line from 55a note I posted on my 56th birthday summing up some of life's lessons that I've learned while having the privilege of spending 5.5 decades living on this marvelous/perilous planet!

You shouldn't compare yourself to the best that others do

I find that if I start to compare my paintings with the work of those artists that I'm most in awe of,  I open the door and invite in for a spell, one of an artist's worst enemies, the self-doubt monster. And while he's visiting, his influence on my painting is paralyzing. The faster I show him the door, the better. By allowing myself to be inspired, not intimidated, by the the work of my favorite artists, I come away lighter, free to let myself explore where I fit into the big picture.

How boring if all artists painted exactly alike. I have a friend whose paintings hang all over her own house. She does beautiful landscapes. But her palette rarely changes, her style stays consistent. While I'm visiting, I find myself looking for that one painting that's a bit different. Her paintings, when hung with other artist's, stand out. But walls and walls of just her stuff leaves me searching for something.

In this big old art gallery of a world, there's plenty of room on the walls for all of us. Explore! Learn from others. Be inspired by others, but be careful not to put out your creative fire by comparing your work to the best of the best.  We all have something to offer!

Ahhh..sometimes, just putting things into words helps. So now, if you'll excuse me, I've got a monster who needs to be shown the door.


cinderkeys said...

I love your work. I love your colors. If I could paint like you do, I'd never compare myself to anybody. :)

Jenna said...

Susan, your nice comments are much appreciated. I get spurts of self-doubt now and then, but always manage to wrestle my way through them. I guess we artists can be our own worst critics at times. Did you design the cover of your CD? It's awesome!

cinderkeys said...

Hey, thanks! I took the photo for our CD; however, the typesetting, cool desaturation effects, and artful cropping were done by someone else. I had been working as a designer for less than a year at that point, but this guy was a much better one. :)

Jenna said...

I love that photo! You gave the designer a great foundation to build on.

Bev Koldon said...

Jenna,when I read this post it was like you were reading my mind. Seems like that self doubt visitor makes himself at home with me sometimes. I have recently tried to put even my practice stuff up on the blog. Hoping that someone will give me a thumbs up or down. Hope it's an UP.

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"There are days when I feel I could've painted the Sistine Chapel and, then, there are the days when I'm not sure I could trace a stick figure.... the only difference between these days is my state of mind"~ Jenna Millward Corkill