The art that pays my bills is made with a computer. It’s great. I love what I do. But Blue Kat Studios isn’t just about making a living. It is about creating life. I’ve said in previous blog posts that I can not be limited to one form of creating. I have been asked if I build furniture for other people. I’ve made gifts in my workshop. Painted paintings for friends. But the only art I sell is my graphic and web design. So when I was asked to do a painting for my local church it was a bit of a mind puzzle.
When I do work for myself, I am the only one I need to please. If it take 2 hours or 2 month, if it is perfect or flawed, it does not matter. The process is joy. Life should be about the journey more than the destination.
Now here I am with a “commission”, of sorts. They aren’t actually paying me but it’s my church and my contribution. I want to get it “right.” I don’t want to disappoint. And all of a sudden it’s not about the journey. And the joy just slipped away. But the truth is, won’t it be nice if we always focused on the journey and let the pressures of getting it right just slip away. I don’t need another painting in my house. But others might, like my church. It took me a week or two of wrestling with myself. The good news is to avoid working on the painting I made an easel.
I’d been meaning to build the easel and, admittedly, it is helpful with the painting. But, if I’m honest, I was just avoiding the painting. What I needed to remember was I was asked to do the painting because people love the results of my process. My process includes taking my joy in whether it is perfect or flawed.
Updated March 30, 2017
I did end up finishing that painting a few months later and it hangs in the collection of First Congregational Church, Greeley, Colorado. And, I love that easel I built. I still battle with my process and embracing the fact that painting should be about the process not the finished product. That said the church was thrilled by the product. And here it is:
I think an “artist style” is more about what impressions life has left on them. What you see on the canvas are reflections of what they have seen, who they have loved, the emotions they have felt, all through the lens of scares life has left on their cornea. What is wonderous about painting is how it reflects things that can not be said in words.
This painting is called The Weathervane.
It was painted as a gift for a friend whose influence has lifted my career to new heights.
What was fascinating was the distinct style that emerged while this painting came to being. First, I realized my style of work is slow. This is an 8″x10″ painting that took 2-3 months to complete. This was the pace that made the process relaxing. Painting should never be stressful. The resulting style delights me. I see the reflections of my happy yet moody mind. It has a surreal quality that seems to speak to the truth of the reality in my head. I loved how it turned out and I hope my friend does too.
I have this room in my house. It had a desk, a bookshelf and a closet. When I moved into my new house, I called it my office. The truth is it wasn’t an office. It was a place I stored my desk, my bookshelf and stacks of paper I no longer cared about. It was a lonely and, dispite the white walls and windows, it was dark.
But, then something magical happened. This summer I was inspired by the work I had done in my backyard. After 15 years, I started to paint. I don’t remember why I stopped painting. It might have something to do with my eyes being glued to computer screens. What I do remember about painting 15 years ago is not what I experience now with a brush in my hand. Perfection was my goal then. If it didn’t look like the thing in front of me, it wasn’t worth the time. Now, it didn’t matter. Some where between 25 and 41, the question stopped being “does it look correct?” and became “does it look cool?”
And something else happened, I wanted to paint and I needed a place to do it. That’s when the office became The Studio. Can a room be lonely or sad? Because when moved in my paints and an easel, the unfullfilled room became bright and beautiful. The desk is still there and so are the bookselves. But now, it is the brightest, happiest, room in my house and I have yellow bathroom walls that are brighter than Seasame Street’s Big Bird.
The Eye was the first painting I did in my studio.