Friday, March 5, 2010

Progress, little by little

15 x 20 watercolor

     I finished this painting last night. I have literally been working on it for about a year. It was one of those paintings that I couldn't wait to get started on. I loved the light and the way the horses heads were all together trying to reach each other. I loved the contrast between the grey horse and the two appaloosas (wow! spots!) and the dark bay horse on the right. When I started painting it I had a lot of fun, at first. Then I started comparing it to other equine art I had seen and I kept wondering, what makes this painting, the one I did special? I couldn't really answer that.
      Honestly I don't try to be so negative on these blogs of mine, but for some reason every time I type up a post, I always end up questioning myself and comparing myself to others. I know that is not fair or productive and is probably making for some very grim reading. But I think that's one question I'm trying to answer for myself on this whole creative journey of mine. Why do I paint? Why do I feel so compelled to pick up a brush almost every day and spend hours creating something that most likely will have little to no meaning to anyone but me? I was talking about frustrations with my "career" with my husband the other day, trying to figure out how to stop getting so discouraged. He said something that has been running through my head ever since. "If the reason you're painting (or writing) is to be 'successful' you're going to be disappointed a lot of the time. But if you're painting (or writing) because you love it then you should be happy a lot of the time." So, before this post reaches epic proportions I'm going to re-commit myself to paint because I love to. And only work on those things that I really want to, because they inspire the artist in me. Not because I think they will sell better, or because it's what I think a judge would like to see. I'm feeling like my posts are awfully repetitive, and I know I've written something like this at least twice before. So forgive me for being so self indulgent, but maybe sometimes you feel the same way? Maybe we could work on remembering why we want to be creative together? Because we love to, because it's a part of who we are. Regardless if we end up with the commercial success we want to have.
     Anywho, on a lighter note :) In the mail yestereday was my latest issue of the Artist's magazine! Yay! Happiness!! I love it when I get magazines in the mail. This issue is all about portraiture today. There was some inspiring work in there. Some of it literally stunned me it was so beautiful and moving. I found a new artist who is inspiring me lately, his name is Casey Baugh. He is AMAZING! And he's only 25! I looked at his paintings and just couldn't stop! They were stunning. So, if you have an interest in portraiture go check out his site, I promise you will not be disappointed. And my musical inspiration lately is 30 Seconds to Mars. The songs I keep listening to over and over while I paint are 'Kings and Queens' and 'A Beautiful Lie'. And my kids are inspiring me again, my beautiful, beautiful boys. I look at them so often you would think I would be immune to every feature on their face, but no. Yesterday again, I was captivated by my youngest (18 months old), his soft cheeks and bright blue eyes. How the shadows across his face when he looks out the window are a light, light violet. Such a lovely color that I have not yet managed to capture completely.
     Focusing on what inspires me reminds me of all the good things in my life every single day. I am way to prone to being depressed and negative to not take the time to do that. Here's to a happy weekend everyone, and let me know what inspires you!


  1. Thanks for a lovely blog. I enjoyed reading your thoughts. The picture of the horses is gorgeous. I would have your paintings in every room in my house. They are that beautiful. I really admire your talent, Crystal. Have a wonderful weekend!

  2. I really like this painting, and I think the contrast between the two appaloosas and the grey and bay horse is wonderful.
    My husband is in seminary and we had to watch a series of film clips about vocation and one of the key things that the speaker talked about was, does the thing you are doing bring you "joy." Not does it make you happy, or if it makes you a million dollars, but the key is if it brings you "joy," because whether or not you feel happy that day can depend on so many things, how your hair looks that day, what someone else said to you that day, if your grandma is sick, if you got a parking ticket, if you burned your toast that morning, etc. You can't always be happy because there are too many factors to that, but if you still find "joy" in what you do, that is what matters. Two of the other factors that the speaker talked about were, are you good at doing what you do and if there a need for it, for instance he said, you may be a very good shepard but if you live in NYC they don't need many sherpards there as there are no sheep. From what I can tell, you are a great artist and painting brings you joy and seeing how some of your work hangs in a museum, I would say that there is a need as well, so I think you should keep doing what you are doing....esp. if it brings you joy.

  3. I love it. The shading is buretiful and the colors attrach my eyes!

  4. Put a link from my blog to yours because I admire a gal that can paint and take care of kids at the same time is to be commended. Your husband is wise in his advice, only paint the subjects that you love and it will show in your work, don't paint to be "famous"; then we try to paint too much like those we admire and the paintings lose something. Love the painting.
    (LDS too)

  5. Roxy, thanks so, so much! It really makes me happy all the kind things you say about my work :) Because you are just the nicest and the coolest :)

    Rachel, thanks :) what you said really made me think, and helped me feel better about my whole discouraged, happy, joy thing. You are too kind, and yes it does bring me joy, why do I forget that sometimes?

    Swimmer thanks so much! Sometimes I think I go a little crazy with the color, maybe I watched too much Punky Brewster as a kid. Am I way old now, does anyone even remember her? But I'm glad you like the colors, me too :)

    Susan :) :) thanks so much. I came to your blog and just loved it, and I really admire how you aren't afraid to try new techniques, very cool. Kids and painting sometimes don't mix, I need to paint, but I need even more to be a good mom. It's hitting that balance that always throws me, where is it? Anyone know? Glad you love the painting :)

  6. Love this post and the painting! As someone who's been a self employed artist for 10 years, it's a delicate balance; painting what I love and what inspires me and painting what I think will sell. When I try to paint something that I think will sell, I'm usually disappointed.
    It's tough!
    I too love Artists magazine and the new issue is wonderful. I liked the pastel artist that puts herself in all her paintings. i must look her up.

  7. Jennifer, I find that to be a difficult thing to balance, and am always going back and forth. But I agree with you that it's the ones I think will sell that don't, and the ones I don't think will sell do! What is up with that? I like that pastel artist too, her paintings are amazing. And she has a horse too!

    Sarah, so glad you stopped by! Thank you for the compliment :)

  8. Crystal, What a great painting. You did a wonderful job on it. I like what your husband told you. He is very wise in what he said. And when you start painting out of love for what you are doing-it will show in your work.
    Thanks for following my deer painting and your comments.

  9. Thanks so much Gary! I think my husband is pretty darn wise too :) I love seeing your work emerge Gary, and yes I believe the best way to paint is to paint what you love, even if I don't always follow that advice. I'm working on it :)

  10. Hey Crystal, yes very wise words, when you really enjoy painting something it shows in the work. I think people can tell.
    I just love this piece, the richness of colour you have got is fantastic, the background really sets them off.


Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment they really do mean so much to me! Because not all bloggers have their email enabled so I can reply directly through email I will try to reply here in the comments. If I don't please forgive me, life must have been hectic that day! :)) Huzzah!!

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