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I have been in a blogging slump lately. I have not posted for over two weeks. I just haven’t had anything to share. The most inspirational thing I can provide you with today is this photograph of my dog.

Why? I’ve been in an art slump, too. As soon as one project ends and before I begin the next, I face the inevitable slump. The next project or piece is exciting, I am entering new territory, and…I’m terrified. That first brush stroke on the painting is a commitment, and once I begin, there is no turning back. It is much, much easier to hide from that commitment than to embrace it. That’s right where I am, caught between my excitement to start a new body of work and my fear that I will ruin it. It takes a lot of motivation to work up the momentum to get over this hill. Any suggestions?

image by Sara Gossett

As I’ve said before, you never know when inspiration is going to hit. For me, this early (as in, not yet 6am) Wednesday morning, it has hit during the precise hours I wish to be sleeping. I sat in my studio all day yesterday, staring at my materials, willing them to speak to me, and produced very little. I tucked myself into bed tonight, and suddenly the ideas would not stop coming. Eventually I stopped fighting it, dragged myself out from under the covers, and got to work. As I am currently wide awake and feeling motivated, I’m going to consider it more of a blessing than a curse.

(image by omae)

Yesterday I discussed my thoughts on 2010 and came to the conclusion that I am ready for more, more, more. Here are a few goals I have for 2011:

  • More shows. Last year I outstripped my goal of ONE gallery show by three. This year I hope to do even more. My real dream, which is scary to even put into words, is to have a solo show by the end of the year (gasp!).
  • New website. Work is already underway on building a professional portfolio website to house my artwork. I am really thrilled with the design so far and cannot wait to share the finished product.
  • New body of work. Last year I hoped to work more sculpturally, and, while I did some 3D work in 2010, I don’t think I am finished pushing in that direction. I plan to take my work to another level stylistically this year, and that will most definitely involve breaking out of the 2-dimensional plane.

So it looks like 2011 will be filled with most of what comprised 2010…just a whole lot more.

Four days into 2011, I am a bit late in wrapping up my thoughts on the previous year, but I still think it a worthy exercise. So here we go.

In October of 2010, I ran a marathon with my mom (yes, she is awesome). To put it simply, that was hard. It was also really great. When I think back on the past year in my artist’s life, I feel pretty similar to the way I felt that day in October. Of course it took everything I had physically to finish that race, but I ran across that finish line (very slowly) due to the passion and drive that kept me going. The same is true for my pursuit of art.

2010 was a big and full year for my art career, and at the end I look back in amazement. I see endless days (and nights) in the studio scrambling to meet deadlines. I see frustration over my inability to execute what is in my mind. I see promises and opportunities failing to materialize. I see hours and hours of work with no payoff. And it is so worth it. Because I also look back and see how far I have come since January 2010. In the past year I have moved into a studio at the Harrison Center, shown my work in four gallery shows, participated in countless Open Studios and art fair events, had the pleasure of discussing and sharing my art with Indiana art patrons, and received the 2011 Beckman Emerging Artist Fellowship Award from the Arts Council of Indianapolis. I would say it was a good year. So, just like after finishing the marathon, at the end of 2010, this is how I can sum up my feelings:

The effort was exhausting, but I’m not tired. I’m ready for more.

Tomorrow I will be back to share my goals and dreams for 2011. Happy New Year to you!

Art speaks to people in different ways. Some like art that is beautiful. Some connect with art that makes them feel something. Others want art that serves a purpose. I have been thinking about what I look for in the art I view, what draws me in, and I thought it would be fun to share what I learned.

Woven Branch Arch by Andy Goldsworthy

My favorite materials. Beeswax, wood, paper, fabric, string, books/text, found objects. I am immediately drawn to art using natural, earthy materials like beeswax, wood, and dirt.

Emanation by Beth Dary

Questions, not answers. As much as I am drawn to art that “says something,” I don’t want to be hit in the face with that message. I want to come to my own conclusions about a piece; I don’t want to be handed an agenda at first glance. I want to look at art that makes me ask questions, art that engages.

Seventeen is Sharp by Rebecca Ward, electrical tape and vinyl adhesive

Every day objects. I love seeing common items like tape, straws, pebbles, toothpicks, etc. transformed into artwork by the use of repetition or by removing them from their assigned place. Seeing an artist take objects unassociated with art and turn them into art inspires me to see the potential in everything around me.

Rain Cloud by Stephanie Imbeau

Originality. More than anything else, I enjoy seeing the artist’s creativity at its highest. Old materials used in a new way. New materials brought into ancient methods. Mixed media. Art that makes you laugh. Art that plays on expectations and defies preconceived notions.

But everyone is different. What do you value in art?

I want to be an artist when I grow up. I quit my job to try it. I will chronicle the results here.

To purchase artwork visit kbean.etsy.com.

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