Friday, November 2, 2007


This is not finished

and I don't know when it will be.

I have been commissioned to paint this for an old friend. It is a portrait of his daughter; a gift for his wife's birthday. Her birthday is not until December, so I have more time to struggle with it.

Lately, I have been a bit shameful posting photos of my paintings. There are artists who view my blog whom are more advanced than me. I feel that my still life paintings are sophomoric.

My non-artist viewers ooh and aah.

But isn't that the response every artist strives to receive? Truthfully, it's one of the reasons I created this blog in the first place. We are programmed early on when our so called masterpieces get haphazardly arranged on the refrigerator door. That is our pat on the back for a good dog that only aims to please.

Sometimes if I am feeling overly confident, I like to present a new abstract to this non- artist audience. I find it amusing watching them squirm to respond. They know how I yearn for that "atta-boy". They usually try to make sense by finding objects-I see a face or I see a fish. This is funny to me because my abstract work is purely formal. It is non-objective which means no objects in case you didn't know.

After 9/11 my agent decided I should only paint still lifes and hold back on the abstracts. It was safe. Safe art didn't confront and confuse you like my abstracts did. It was a crucial time when people wanted something to come home to that made them feel safe like a bowl of fruit or a vase of flowers. Something they could relate to. Gradually, I have been able to return the work that I prefer.

There is a huge part of me that feels that I don't measure up as an artist. Unfortunately, I define myself by my inability. The real stuff is very challenging to me. I love working abstractly. It seems to make more sense. I also enjoy its elitist nature by communicating to such a small audience. It's like a special secret.

This audience is growing smaller and smaller thanks to the negative media surrounding the petite Picasso(whom I won't go into right now) and the elephants and chimpanzees who miraculously yield brushes to produce paintings

that sell for thousands.

But it is this new product that has me seriously considering relinquishing

all my brushes to Schatzi and Sienna.

Maybe they won't find painting real subject matter as challenging as I do.


88heather said...

hey MaryBeth!! I am so behind on your blog.. life has been busier than normal lately.. but i'll put that to a stop!.. hehe

Ok.. I'm gonna have to shake my finger at you... how in the WORLD could you EVER think you aren't good enough.. I soooooooooooooooooooo look up to you!!! I feel like you've been my mentor.. and I so love seeing your work.. I'm a big FAN!!!! :0)

ps.. I suck at abstracts.. and I soooooooooo love them!!! your abstracts are wonderful!! wish I had your talent!!

thorngren said...

My first atta-boy or rather atta-girl. Thanks Heather.