Several times a week I post new original paintings in my shop!
Just for you, of course, and because I love to share!
——-Child, in this case, refers not to the small human beings I’ve been charged with, but rather instead to paintings with issues. Do not use tactics recommended below for said “problem children” on real live people or you may have mixed/volatile/incarcerating results.—–
With the increase of production in my studio efforts I have noticed an equal increase in problem children. I am learning that just because you make more work, doesn’t mean everything runs smoother. It is so much more about finding a rhythm and how you move past the bumps in your path. I have been practicing a few methods to keep going during these frustrating impasses. They are not set in stone and vary depending on size and/or the nature of the problem I’m facing. I will list them in no particular order and some days I employ them all:
**Throw it away. . .(I don’t love this, but some pieces are unredeemable and not for viewing.)
**Paint over it. . . (My favorite! I love to take panels I have wrestled over for months/years and simply repaint right over the top of them. It’s a little addictive and should be done with confidence. It also saves money and time prepping new panels. With space at a premium in our home, this is the only way I can keep making work without taking over the entire house. It also ensures me that I don’t have to keep work that I’m not crazy about. When I surround myself with a body of work that I’m not proud of I sink into despair and loose my focus.)
**Turn it upside down. . .(This only works for me when I’m struggling over the composition of a painting. . .but you can also look at it in a mirror or take a photo of it to change it into two dimensions. . .all of it is supposed to encourage a new perspective.)
**Put it away. . . .( I do this an awful lot as well. Especially when a piece is becoming frustrating and I can’t solve it. It helps me cut the umbilical cord. . .separate from the work for a while to regain fresh eyes, it gives my mind a break from a circular thought pattern and opens me up to new possibilities. . .then I can ask more objective questions like, “Is it communicating what I intended?” or “Do I like it?”)
**Ask a trusted friend (or kid). . .(My kids offer opinions constantly, surprisingly they hit the nail on the head when it comes to problems. . .I just need to step back enough to hear them. I highly recommend a trusted critique group. I encouraged caution with receiving advice. Remember to stick with your gut. Too many times I have without conviction brazenly changed something in a painting to please someone else and been horrified with the results. Your initial instincts can be trusted, so give advice time to season(if it’s not helpful) or sink in(if it rings true))
**Put in in a different room. . .(This is similar to putting it away except in that you can “live with it” for a while and see what working. I currently have a piece I’m doing this with and I found the other day as I glanced up at it that I really love this one section, it was all the stuff around it that was driving me mad. After I eliminated the crazy-making areas I saw it in a whole new light.)
**Sleep on it. . . (Sometimes I wake up and find the problem was in my imagination, hanging out with all sorts of riffraff. Sleep scrubs the brain.)
**Work on something else. . ( Love this as well. . . maybe I avoid problems like the plague, but there’s always something to work on whether it’s other pieces or more domestic projects. . . a little distraction does wonders.)
Retain a bigger perspective: The real thing to remember in all of this is that yes, you’ve poured your heart, soul, energy and time into this or that work, but if it doesn’t work out. . .it isn’t a reflection on your character or even your skill. The experience you’ve gained, the things you’ve gleaned along the way. . .that’s the gold at the end of the rainbow! It’s all in the journey.
One last morsel of advice I remind myself of often is to keep growing. Being one-dimensional is boring and produces boring work. Don’t just live for the artwork. Love someone, read some fiction, learn about something new, laugh, open your eyes to the big wide world around you. This is what life is about. . . discovery, joy, finding hope, struggling through, paying attention. You cannot produce meaningful anything when you spend your every breath on one thing. I highly recommend a good reading of the Psalms for healthy dose of realignment to that which truly matters, eternally speaking.. . this is something I do need every day.
**Painting is Night Flight (a problem child that survived, amazingly!), by Shawna Gilmore
We’ve got chairs(like those above), birds, clouds, critters and prints of original paintings. (I’m super excited about the prints! They turned out so well, I can’t even tell the difference between them and the originals.)
I opened My Etsy** Store to provide quality, original art at affordable prices for everyone. I know purchasing artwork is an investment and in belt-sinching times like these it can even be a sacrifice. So I’ve tried to offer a variety of price points ranging from $18-110.
I will be adding to the collection on a regular basis, so I do hope you’ll stop in and check them out!
I’m deeply appreciative for your support and patronage over the years. Thank you!
**Not sure what Etsy is? That’s ok, not everyone knows :) It is a web-based marketplace where people around the world connect to buy and sell unique goods. Etsy allows me to offer my artwork to be purchased using a variety of payment methods, including Paypal and credit cards. But mostly, I just love the community! It is such a richly, inspiring place. . . many self-taught artisans as well as professionals. I love it!
**Apologies if you’ve already read this via my Facebook page (be sure to “Like” my Facebook page btw to receive all sorts of happenings and other things you’d rather not know)
Soon I will be relaunching my Etsy site(for those who aren’t familiar with Etsy it is an online storefront for selling my work ) with a bunch of new work. . ..stay tuned! Very exciting!
Before that relaunch I am currently taking your orders for Giclee fine art prints of any of my current work pictured here: www.shawnagilmore.com
Prices will range from $15-40 and can be printed in a variety sizes depending on the shape of the original painting. Message me [shawnaanngilmore (at) gmail (dot) com] and we can discuss options for sizes, prices, shipping/pickup, the weather, your fear of toenails or anything else you need to ponder.
Because it’s in my nature to analyze, ponder and connect the dots, this current stretch of artistic experimentation runs the risk of dislodging my center with it’s nonsensical whims.
I guess this is why I find participating in a group critique setting provides a wealth of benefit, by helping me narrow in on what’s working and what’s not. It is way too easy to live in my own bubble, going round and round in my head. . . which can be very entertaining at times, but does not necessarily propel me forward.
There is this clever balance between shutting off the voices to hone in on one’s instincts and opening oneself up to receive redirection or improvement.
Enter external feedback. If you are willing, helpful input can make the difference between getting stuck in a rut or finding your groove.
This happens to me a lot. The pressure of a longing to be met, matched with pangs of future regret followed later(sometimes much later) by intense gratitude.
by Li-Young LeeSad is the man who is asked for a story and can't come up with one. His five-year-old son waits in his lap. Not the same story, Baba. A new one. The man rubs his chin, scratches his ear. In a room full of books in a world of stories, he can recall not one, and soon, he thinks, the boy will give up on his father. Already the man lives far ahead, he sees the day this boy will go. Don't go! Hear the alligator story! The angel story once more! You love the spider story. You laugh at the spider. Let me tell it! But the boy is packing his shirts, he is looking for his keys. Are you a god, the man screams, that I sit mute before you? Am I a god that I should never disappoint? But the boy is here. Please, Baba, a story? It is an emotional rather than logical equation, an earthly rather than heavenly one, which posits that a boy's supplications and a father's love add up to silence.
Last spring there began a sort of surging in me to experiment, to push what I was relying on and try other formats and mediums. When I feel this sort of urging I’m learning to question it less and leap more. All summer I diddled, dawdled and gathered ideas, techniques and avenues to explore when the winds of the fall academic season allowed me more time and energy to pursue them.
Sometimes I don’t always understand why I feel so compelled to paint this or that or why I feel restless until I capture a certain image. . .There are times when I have no idea what I’m doing. . .But, what I do know is that when I give myself the freedom to fail I find all manner of understanding.
This gift, the license to fall down, is a process of letting go. Letting go of what others think of what I’m doing or of truly embarrassing myself and instead listening to the still small voice that energizes my weary muscles to do that which I feel utterly compelled to do. . .this is the space I’m learning to occupy.
After I relaxed into this acceptance, hundreds of ideas poured forth, more than I could ever create in a lifetime. Even better, as I continue to nourish this voice in my spirit, I can scarcely see the end to the possibilities. I heard a quote recently that speaks to this phenomenon by Karin Bergquist from Over the Rhine, “Sometimes you have to really work for it and sometimes they are like little gifts and you feel like. . . if your taking care of what I call your signal. . . that part of you, it stays open and you can just tune in and receive these little gifts. . . “
Here’s to open signals and enjoying yourself!
*Painting is my own, an in-progress shot of A New Way of Seeing