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Being good enough

February 12, 2011
small abstract sketch of trees in ink

I love this quote by Garrison Keillor: “I was afraid of living an ordinary life…and it [this life] is good enough” (from a documentary produced in 2009).  He was describing how he feels based on his expectations of life.

As an artist I want to be true to myself, but I also don’t want to be ordinary (yikes). I think I need to keep reminding myself that being true to myself might just be good enough. When I look at the paintings I create or the collages I make, I want to be able to nod my head at the final outcome. That the colors, the surface, all of the ingredients are working together for me. That doesn’t always mean that somebody else will like it. And that has to be okay. And somehow I think this might be a little bit harder as an abstract artist because sometimes people feel they are being duped by art that is nonrepresentational.

For me abstract art is more about direct experience that is not filtered through a comparison with how real something looks. It’s about “do I like this color? how does this texture make me feel? what does this remind me of?” And that’s what I’m thinking about.

oil pastel sketch of grove of treesSome more thoughts about process…

I draw and write in a number of different sketchbooks that I keep going at any given time, and I flip through them often to see if some of the ideas are still interesting to me.

oil pastel sketch of trees with two-color backgroundI have had a long-standing fascination with groves of trees (I’ve included some doodles from my sketchbook). I think it ‘s the repeat pattern of the trunks that I like…so I’m still messing around with them, and they tend to show up in some form in my work.

 two studies of trees, one in pencil, one in oil pastel

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