SO I've stared at this new blog page blankly for a while now, on and off...my brain-face isn't playing nicely today and I all the words are sitting in a big, moody, tangled clump of unhelpfulness so I've looked at the blue, sunny sky, the pretty garden flowers, taken a deep, cleansing breath....and poured a lovely long glass of peach schnapps and lemonade which suits the day and will help untangle the grumpy word ball a bit.
Here's a thing that happens - whenever I get around to telling a person that I "do art" (saying "I'm an artist" still makes me feel dodgy and sheepish), the first thing they inevitably say is, "oh, what do you draw?" Now, it's a perfectly natural question to ask, but I find it a tough one to answer really. There're generally a good few "um"s and a smattering of "err"s surrounded by inarticulate snippits of sentences and some foofy hand-waving.....sort of thusly:
"Oh, you know, well..err. um, kind of a bit of everything, sort of? I mean - not really anything IN PARTICULAR, just sort of, um, well I suppose mixed media? Um, yeah? No, well, er, well, yes I do draw but also use, um, well anything I find that looks or feels right? Hmm? Oh - er, sort of nature-based things, but also people, and I like different styles and ....no I don't really do pet portraits... Eh? Oh, no, thank you - I don't want to paint you really, I hope you're not offended haha? Err.. no - oh really no, don't be...I don't really find portraits to be inspirational...No - I don't mean that you're boring...GODS no! Where are you going?............"
......and so on....... It would be SO easy to say "I paint flowers" or "I draw cats" but as soon as I try to describe what, to me is an abstract set of ideas and how I translate them into an activity I go into mumble mode. Maybe I'm trying to avoid sounding like a self-important art lecturer, or like one of those late-night art forums - like I'll burst into flame if I use the word "concept" or something. Maybe it's just me? Maybe every other artist can pin their art and expression down to a simple phrase or sentence which can be easily understood by anyone? I dunno. Anyway - if I've not driven a person away in disgust by not wanting to paint their children's portraits then the follow up question (which would clarify things for them and give me an opportunity NOT to sound like an arse) is always: "So, what would you say you're an expert in then? Oils? Watercolours? Hmmm?" Again, unfortunately, my chance to be all interesting and superior sidles furtively out of the room because, see, I don't consider myself an EXPERT at anything.
That's just how it is. I have a butterfly mind and the attention span of an easily distracted goldfish...I have a REALLY low boredom threshold, which means that I tend to learn a lot of things JUST enough to add to the art-brain-file-collective thingy but I don't spend enough time with each thing to be able to even stand next to the 'Expert' badge, let alone wear it. But see - it works for me....I kinda LIKE that way of doing things.... It's not for everyone, I know, but it just fits like a comfy cardigan - the one with the holes in and the soup stains on that makes you feel better when you're ill, happy when you're sad...like being at home curled up on the sofa in front of the fire and tv with a cup of hot chocolate when everyone else is stuck in the ice cold rain with bags of shopping and uncomfortable shoes.
It's hard, as an arty type, to clarify and justify my art to others - it's a part of me, and when it's perceived to be 'done the wrong way' it feels like a criticism of self and it's sometimes hard to say "you know what? Stuff it! This is how I work - you may not understand it, and that's no one's fault, but I love it, it's who I am and it makes life better for me every day. Now, take your costumed children and your primped, posed pedigree dogs in gold lame trousers and be gone!" ...or some such... Think I might be working out a bijou demon-ette or two there....
So, EXPERT I am not - nor would EVER profess to be. The thought of knowing so much that I couldn't learn a new thing every day scares the spaghetti outta me. I'll continue to faff about and dabble and play and have FUN - 'cos without the fun, what's the point?
I'll go do some unravelling of thinky word pile so I can do another post - probably about inspiration journals. Or something. Umm........ Till then - hugs and summer sunshine, Shroo :)x