Thursday, September 24, 2009

Stamping and Snipping

On November first it will be two years since I started this blog. That occurred to me today as I was thinking about what I've accomplished. When I started, I was using colored pencil exclusively, and my work was selling. But my work with cp was boring to me. I got a lot of positive feedback, but that didn't make it more interesting. Because what I was doing with cp was copying photos. At least they were all my own photos and I wasn't copying someone elses.
I just felt there must be something else I was meant to do.

Fortunately, I had the time and enough money to try different mediums. So the pencils have been on the back burner as I experimented. The fact is that I've hardly sold anything since then. As I realized this, I had to stop and ask myself some questions. Do I have a body of work to show for the last two years? No, I don't. Have I found a medium I want to stick with now? No. Have I enjoyed my experimenting? Yes, definitely. Then I asked the most important question. Where am I going? I don't know. I thought I would feel more accomplished by now, I expected to be more successful at selling than back then.

This morning I was going to change directions and not even use the stamping and collage ideas I'd used all week. Then it hit me......I never stick with anything! Nothing gets practiced enough for me to improve with it. I get discouraged and try something else.

I realized that I need to make plans for myself. I need a loose structure ( is that even possible?) to keep organized with my work. I decided to work only with the Anne Bagby video ideas this week and see where that leads me. Then, if I feel I'm going somewhere, another week. This way I won't get off track and start another project.

Now, I still have those two miniatures due in a few weeks, and my cp portraits of the two little cuties waiting to get done. But this way I'll know that I'll give them exclusive time when I plan it. Does that make sense?


pencilportraits said...

This is exactly how I feel, if you follow one path it seems to restrict you, if you try others to diversify in the current climate, you spread yourself too thinly. The thing is you do need to become a master of one area and get known for that before you can try something new and your reputation holds it's own. Alas it seems to be common problem with many artists just starting out, and the competition is fierce. I understand your plight completely.

Lydia said...

I've never seen anything quite like what you are doing, so I hope you stay with the concept - at least for awhile longer.
Not being an artist I can't imagine having such a dilemma: i.e., the talent to work in more than one style/medium and have that cause indecision or angst! :)

Elizabeth Seaver said...

It sounds like you have become un-bored (!) in the last two years--a good goal--and your imagination is freed up to create new avenues for your art. You are set for the next adventure. Having a new plan is in order, and you are ready to puzzle it out.

I have no doubt you will find the right thing soon because of this two years of experimentation and blogging. I look forward to witnessing it!

alex louisa said...

Oh! I can see why you like Anne Bagby's work. Thanks for the link. I hadn't seen her work before, but isn't it fascinating?

I agree with you. Plans/goals are good. They're motivating, and you never know what might end up hooking you in. You sound so positive talking about the collage and stamping - so that can only be a good thing!

If I'm trying something new, I like to, say, buy a dozen of the same size board/canvas/paper to work on. Then, even if the pieces end up completely different, they still look brilliant all together as they are linked in their same sizes.

Plus, there's nothing like a stack of blank substrates calling out to you to kick in the motivation!

I'd just say give yourself plenty of time to play around with whichever mediums you desire, before you worry about selling them. Nothing sucks the fun out of art more than pricing/selling stress!

Uta said...

It took me four years of playing around and experimenting until I combined various techniques into something I was happy with. Now I'm tackling the selling bit :)

Deborah Ross said...

Thanks, Pencilportraits, it's reassuring to hear another artist understands what I'm going through. And your work is gorgeous and very accomplished, by the way.

Thanks, Lydia...I will stay with this awhile and I hope you stop back to check on me.

Elizabeth, maybe you can be my printmaking mentor???

Lexy, that is a genius idea about using all the same size supports! Luckily I'm already doing that with these pieces, but I hadn't thought about it that way.

Uta, it looks to me that you have it all down pat. You know I love your backgrounds.

Thank you, all of my friends, for your encouraging comments. They mean a lot to me.

Leslie Hawes said...

I can't give advice here. I can't even go into an office supply store without losing focus.
Do it ALL!!
One thing I have learned is, those pieces you 'love', no matter what the medium, are the ones everybody else loves.
And the pieces you don't love, are also the pieces everybody else loves.
So, I concluded, do what you love.

Linny D. Vine said...

Hi Deborah,

These are really wonderful, Deborah! They remind me of the french art deco (or is it art nouveau? of the 20's, 30's.
Is there one (or more than one) medium or technique that have you really, really, really loved working with?

Dean Grey said...


She looks fabulous! Love her dress!

I'm glad you're branching out and trying new things. Don't feel bad about jumping from medium to medium.

That's part of the process of being an artist!