Saturday, March 19, 2011

Artistic Role Models

 Because art purchases are very personal decisions, I can't imagine trying to market myself without an artist's statement.  When I wrote my first Artist's Statement, one of the questions I asked was who do I admire as an artist? At the top of my list are three names.  You'll recognize them but you may wonder why I have a musician and writer mixed in with an artist.  My top three are Bob Dylan, Henry Miller, and Georgia O'Keeffe. 
"Cure for the Common Sweet Tooth", a joyous experimentation
Bob Dylan paints and even has had shows but when I chose him as an artistic role model I didn't know about his art.  I chose him because he did not allow his fans to define his music.  He followed his own artistic vision even when his fans booed him for doing so.  Georgia O'Keeffe became a role model when I discovered her work.  I have since read her published letters to friends and biographies about her.  What I got from her is her independence and courage to carve out a life that met her needs.  Henry Miller was a controversial writer.  It is not his writings that flaunted censorship that drew me to him but rather his writing about creating art.  He was a watercolorist and he painted with childish glee.  He let passion overtake him and simply loved painting.
            My rules about art are simple.  I feel free to do whatever I want, however I want, whenever I want.  Now that is complete freedom!  If I love doing it, then I should do it.  If I don't, then I shouldn't.  I've combined qualities from all of my role models into my passion and pleasure for making art. 
            I'm not through finding role models.  There are some local artists I greatly admire.  Patricia Mayhew Hamm from Chetek, WI, is one of them. ( )I have taken three classes from her.  She is free and easy when she paints.  She combines symbols with abstract images.  She has greatly influenced my love of experimenting with technique not to mention that her classes were the most fun I have ever had in an art class. 
Another role model that is emerging for me is Michael Jackson.  When MJ was at his artistic peak, I didn't have time to sit back and enjoy him, I was busy working and raising my family but now I have time to watch DVD's of his performances.  In the DVD "This Is It" made after his death, he speaks to the cast and crew after rehearsals have finished before the tour --which never happened because of his death--and says, "Relax and enjoy yourself.  This is supposed to be a great adventure."  I loved that.  I am going to be reading and watching more of MJ in the future (not to mention my love of his clothing style, but that's another story).
"Three Zinnias"  I created a series of zinnia paintings using watercolors and thread stitching.  It was great fun to play with my favorite flower.
            I think it is important to think about who you love and why and how you want to be.  Of course, you're not going to be exactly like role model, you're going to put your own special spin on your work, but it's nice to have guideposts. 
            I'm loving every minute of my art career.  I decided when I began painting and discovered the magic and power of painting that I could do just that.  I could love it, love it, love it.  I didn't have to be serious.  I didn't have to paint a certain way.  I could move freely through mediums and style.  I put in my time being responsible in corporate America.  I worked very hard to be a good mother to my two beautiful daughters.  Now is my time.  I am going to have as much fun making art as I possibly can.  Each of my role models gave me a piece of that philosophy.  Much to my surprise, I've learned that when I paint with all of my heart and soul, totally immersed in the pleasure, people respond.  I no longer own many of those pieces that came from that place of light.  Someone else has them in their home and hopefully they are soaking up all that energy as they look at my art. 
"Sumac"  Here I played with a real sumac leaf.  I also used thread stitching.
I hope you take the time to figure out whom your role model are.  It is a powerful tool to help you find the path that is right for you.

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