Friday, July 18, 2008

True Confessions...

I was drawing a blank as to what to write about this week. Feeling under the gun I flipped through my composition book marked "brain storms" and this is what I found...

The following passage was created during a 15 minute free write purge on my "art." I was wrestling with myself as an artist and what it all means. I hope you will find it interesting, I admit it is self indulgent introspection, but it is real and it was how I felt at the time. I hope some of you will be able to relate. Here goes...

"A lot of the time I completely discredit my art. I think it is lazy, and I feel that I "whip" paintings out too fast at times. I don't use the "right" materials, and when I do, I don't use them the way they should be used. I don't have a sink in my studio, and I use foam brushes most of the time. My "studio" is just the attic of my house. I blot my paintings with paper because I don't have the patience to wait for my paintings to dry as I am in a hurry to get in and get out of my studio. Painting can seem like an obligation like everything else. Some days I am not sure I would even paint if people didn't expect it of me. It is just tube paint, water, oil, pencil, charcoal, shapes, textures. My art does not contain my secrets, or a political or social commentary. Sometimes there are no concepts, sometimes I feel I just know how to make "ART." I know the quality of an artist's line, I know what colors go together like a puzzle. Is that art or is that a design project? Do my paintings really have the feelings/meanings that people including myself ascribe to them? Am I just too close to see sometimes? What do they mean?

What if they just mean "lovely?" Would that be enough? I will always compare my work to other artists. I will always compare my prices to others, and I will always worry about sales. It used to be about creating something and now it is becoming more about money and acclaim and moving up. Will my work ever be in ART FORUM? A girl can dream...

While some love my work, I feel it really can't be anything that new or special if I am not toiling over it everyday.

But, when I work, I WORK- I produce an insane amount of work each year. What if it is okay that some of the paintings don't fight to be assembled, what if they are easy? What if I am just lucky, would that be so hard? What if I considered myself as lucky and accepted it, rather than thought less of myself and my work?

I used to paint only for me. I am intuitive, connected, and I am no fool, I know what people will respond to and I create that work. Why do I feel guilty for knowing "the code" so to speak? Why can't I see the glass half full?

I have always had an obsession with being "real" and convinced that I wasn't. That I was always acting for people, to be liked and approved of, to entertain and make other people happy and comfortable. Am I a "real" artist? Are my paintings "real" if they are just colors and knowing how to connect the dots, and then knowing how to "sell" them as art? I know I am a sales person- can I be a "real" artist and a sales person?

And why does everything have to be "real" anyway...?"

You made it through and lucky you! It is time for the third Friday paper painting give away!! This is a larger piece than usual, painted on a 9x12" sheet of 140 lb. Arches paper, and painted outdoors in the summer sun. The painting is pictured above so you know what you are commenting for this time around! Leave a comment, tell me to get over myself, whatever you see fit, here on the blog Friday-Tuesday (by next week at midnight), and you will entered to win the painting pictured in this post. I will announce the winner next Friday! I ship anywhere in the world! Previous winners are eligible, and if you want to comment but not be entered to win just say so. Good Luck! This painting is REAL!


  1. It might have been a quick write but I really appreciated reading it. I've been giving a lot of thought to my art, my surfing and my life in general over the past couple of weeks - thinking about what it all means and what is really important to me and where I go from here/now.

    There is not a single one of your posts that I haven't enjoyed reading and there's a few of them that have been much, much more than merely enjoyable reading. Some have given me new ideas, new inspiration and renewed enthusiasm.

    As always, thankyou Megan for sharing. Your generosity is beautiful.


  2. Give-away or not, I love that you post your thoughts here in this way. Many don't have the same courage. The sense of so many artists by outsiders is that they have it all together. Revealing what you do here shows us all that we are not alone in discrediting the art we make which others like. It's as if we don't feel we are worthy of the interest by strangers.

  3. I'm not an artist, I'm a writer. What I enjoy almost as much as your art is the way you use composition books and the blog to articulate the process, to inspire, to work through a problem or celebrate. I spend a lot of time encouraging students to reflect this way, so I hope you don't mind if I use your blog as an example for my creative writing students.

    There's a lot to be said for an honest, self-reflective journey.

  4. Oh Wow. you have no idea how this post touched every anxiety swirling in my lil head. I always feel like a fraud everytime I sell a piece.
    I can never understand why. Why did they chose this, why mine? I've always painted for me. so when they sell I get kindof slaped in the face. bewildered. What is this? why is this? Whats going on?


  5. This seem like an awfully brave post, to me, and a necessary one. I often have times in my writing life when I fall into questioning myself and my work. Thanks for putting this out there, Megan!

    (Monda, great to see you here! I hope all is well for you.)


  6. Okay, that should be "This seems...." Nothing like a typo in the first sentence. Yikes!

    (Don't count this one, Megan!)


  7. I like what Monda said, "There's a lot to be said for an honest, self-reflective journey."

    I have a quote in one of my journals, attributed to Socrates(!), that is similar:
    "the unexamined life is not worth living"

    That you share this process is amazing, and that you produce an "insane amount of work each year" just makes me smile!

    You are sharing thoughts I'm sure we all have in one way or another, applied to whatever our passion may be. The benefit is that we acknowledge these thoughts. They are part of the whole.
    The idea that we all "see" a different kind of meaning in art (from 'lovely' to profound mystical truths) is the beauty of how a work comes to life. Isn't that wild, how a work or art, literature, etc, can have a kind of life of it's own? Someone buys your painting, hangs it up, and from there every person that passes by it and takes a moment to look, new and different thoughts and ideas, and meanings are applied.


  8. megan. i know exactly how you feel, being an artist myself. but you cannot pretend to know the effect that your paintings have on others. i was with my dear friend will boyd the day he received a painting from you- and we were all changed by the beauty of it. we choked back tears at your kindness, thoughtfulness, and at the way God uses you to show us his beauty- his creation. we all have to remember that we're vessels- and God will move us and use us in ways we sometimes know nothing about. So feel encouraged. You're doing far more than you realize.

  9. This is why some people get "real" jobs - where they plug away at an office or factory. How great would that be?! But I can't have a boss and I like creative people, in all walks of life.

    What about a little research into narcissism - not the elitist kind, but the necessary kind.

  10. sounds like happy accidents to me, the way your process evolved. this is a good thing. i think that is how we find our way, fumbling, stumbling and intuiting the way.

    and of course you are too close to your process, as we all are : 0

    thanks for your insightful blog, as ever. . .debra (from myspace who cannot for the life of her figure out how to leave a comment any other was but anonymus!)

  11. Maybe you're path is leading you to writing a book Megan. Your feelings seem to relate to most Artists.If I haven't already felt that... it's one I worry about feeling later...

  12. This is so felt. Thanks for that, and I love that painting and want it. Please. Nice hanging out with you.

    ps I like the book idea.


  13. great colours.
    art is never lazy.

  14. yes i want to win it!! :p

    great idea

  15. Wow! I totally understand all of those thoughts in this blog. I am pretty sure these are all things that I think about just about everyday. Especially since Mike has been in graduate school. I seem to question my work and what I do and why I do it more and more...

    Anyway, I realize that many many artists share these same feelings, but after reading this blog entry and seeing that you share these feelings too...well, it makes me feel a lot better :)
    So thanks for sharing this! I really appreciate it.

  16. Goodness me - your is heart on the page!
    I indentify with this with my songwriting. (I've yet to find this with my art - I am still discovering with my painting, and with it I have decided to leave expectations at the door of the studio as I enter). When I write songs though, I experience the same inner thoughts as you have expressed here. I know the secret code for songwriting and it makes me question the authenticity of it.
    For me its the constant struggle between right and left brain! Logic dictates work that works, and creativity dictates that whatever you do must come from the heart/soul. Maybe thats just the way it is....maybe we should just embrace it...
    Thanks for sharing such a deep insight with us.
    Debs x

  17. PS See...someone else thinks you should write a book! You have a lot of wisdom to share. :)
    (don't include this comment in the opportunity to win your art)

  18. Megan, I suspect that, rather than becoming some kind of evil manipulator, you've simply matured as an artist. It's natural and nothing to worry about.

    When you first start working on your craft (whatever it is), you struggle to find your voice, your technique, your audience. It makes sense that after 10+ years of making art, you feel in control of that stuff rather than letting its mysteries control you. Don't be ashamed to grow up. (:

  19. I just have to say thank you for all your thoughtful comments.. You guys are so great!
    You have given me a lot to think about. I am glad that many of you have experienced similar feelings and can relate, and I am glad that we can all share in this virtual community of artists, writers, and appreciators.
    I am thankful for each and every one of you.

  20. I love that painting.

    I think everyone feels like this- artists and non-artists alike. Am I doing my best? Am I being real? Can I live life now or only appreciate it retrospect? That last one is what worries me... how can I get so nostalgic about things that didn't seem so great at the time?

    I want the painting!

  21. Definitely something we all struggle with. The into to my second chapbook started with the reasons I hadn't published in so long. I said "The most obvious one is common - the fear of not-good-enough. I tell myself, though, that if this is what I'm writing, then this is what I write, and that's that."

    So, who knows if the greats, the authorities would approve of what we're doing. Does what you do make you happy? Then that's all that matters. Has one person come up to you and said "Thank you... you've touched me..."? Then that's all you need to accomplish.

    Thanks for sharing.

  22. wow... how about them typos... into should equal INTRO...

    Anyway, let's quote 311: "Fuck the naysayers coz they don't mean a thing - coz this is what style we bring!"

    (this comment no county)

  23. I love your paintings. Each one is full of mysteries and secrets. I want to stare at them until the layers unfold.

  24. thanks for sharing this side of the artistic process with us, Megan :-)...

  25. Thank you all for your thoughtful comments. You all really got me thinking, and I appreciate you support more than you will ever know. Comments are now closed for the paper painting give away. The readers above have a 1/19 chance of winning!! Winner announced on Friday...( where do these weeks go??)
    You may still comment if you feel inclined.
    Thank you again. I am honored by your readership.

  26. Hey megan

    I have just discovered your blog and I want to say thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on art... I was nodding the whole way though reading it...

    will be back to read more..

    thanks again