I am currently at my studio listening to “The Essential Johnny Cash” and cleaning/organizing. Nothing new. I am just amazed how much stuff I have collected over the years – and get this, I did a MAJOR cleaning & organizing only a year ago (more like a rearranging now that I look back)
Anyway, It amazes me – I can hold on to some little tiny scrap of paper, some sort of intriguing image, a magazine, even an advertisement – for years, YEARS, and still think it is going to come in handy some day. “I might need to glue this handmade rice paper that I hand carried back from China by a commuter train, row boat, cargo bus, and three planes – in my ultimate masterpiece one day”
Listening to the great, but dead Johnny Cash got me thinking – If my studio were to go up in a “burning ring of fire” one day (which I think about often because the building is over 100 years old, needs to be rewired, and I don’t have content insurance, just liability) I guess I would just have to mosey on down to Walmart and/or Sherwin Williams to buy some paint and brushes. I could then go to Home Depot and buy some 1×2’s, primer, and canvas dropcloth to fashion a painting surface/canvas….and start all over. I think I could create the same work I am producing today – even with out all the mixed media elements, fancy brushes* and expensive art supplies. I would have to shop at those places because (A) I don’t have a single art supply at my house, (B) I live in a small town and the closest thing to an “art supply” is craft paint at Walmart. I would have to mail order the rest from Dick Blick. My whole point is that I don’t really need it!
Sometimes artists think they need every art supply imaginable in order to create – you can even use it as an excuse “Well I would be a better artist and able to do this, this and this – only if I had the most expensive R&F Encaustic paint…..” (which yes, I do drool over). But really you don’t need the excuses. And now days, with the Internet -the ability to mail order supplies, purchase any book imaginable, the learning capabilities, on-line art communities, web design, blogging, etc. There is no excuse not to be able to learn something new, better yourself as an artist, increase your audience, experience/interact with other artists, and sell your work. There is so much free information out there it is amazing.
As an artist, one needs to be a creative thinker, think outside of the box, become resourceful, live creatively, and push yourself.
I know someone that thinks he can’t write a novel unless he goes to the most expensive graduate school in the country to learn how to write and/or perfect his writing. So what does he do? Mope around, and play the victim. Last I checked they had books at the library (FREE!) to assist you in both the creative writing process, and developing technical skills. I think that he is making excuses for not even getting started because the actual failure and might be so much worse. It is actually easier to blame the system, blame your laziness – rather than admit that you really can’t write or create – that you suck. (I have been there!) If you really want something you have to work hard at it. Some people have things come naturally, others really have to work at it. Both are able to make it work!
So get after it!
* Actually I don’t even use “fancy brushes” because I never wash them out. I purchased a brush for $60 one time and accidentally set it down somewhere and left it overnight with paint on it – which can happen from time to time if your studio is as messy as mine things get lost in a blink of an eye). Anyway, it just killed me, so I just buy my brushes at Walmart and the Paint store from now on. And actually for a few years I just used my fingers – but that was more of my “abstract – expressionistic – extreme energetic” phase