Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Keeping the spark alive- by Beckett

I've been doing some research, looking at what's out there in the world of on-line sketch journals and blogs. Let's just say there are an infinite number of them, and a lot of them are really, really good, fun to read with great, fun drawings. I find my taste in illustrated blogs is different than I would have expected; the serious, fine art style blogs that have lots of well drafted travel sketches just don't hold my interest as well as ones with lots of color, funny, quirky ideas, a mixture of photography and drawing, lots of ideas to go along with the drawings. I crave some writing along with their drawings to give glimpses into the artist's life and viewpoints, though some of the sketchblogs can keep my interest pretty well with regular sketch pages of things going on in their lives. I guess I crave that personal touch.
Location sketch in oil pastel; Union Square
One result of surfing around looking at other people's art is that they can really inspire me, make me want to try new things (in my copious spare time, yeah, hahah). To be honest  though, more often blog surfing can quickly make me rather depressed at my own mundane or meager art efforts. I suspect the sketchbook blog surfing is something best done in moderation lest I start thinking too closely about pitching my computer and my sketchbooks all out the window.
That comparison game is always a dangerous way to go, though, regardless of what medium you work in; there's such a fine balancing point between looking at the work of artists who are way better than you are; you can learn a ton from it, but let's get honest here: it can also plunge you deep into the depths of despair over your own abilities. It's hard to see your own work with clear vision, whether you're overly self-critical or whether you're too emotionally attached or whatnot. So do you go look in moderation, try to learn and be inspired, and then try to pull up, pull up, before it's too late and you go into a nose dive?

So I got to thinking about what things I do to try to stay productive and keep going. Debbie and I were doing a regular sketchbook for awhile (until my schedule got too crazy and I dropped the ball). That's actually great since it keeps you honest; having a buddy who's checking on whether you're going to do it is great incentive.
I used to do a lot more regular drawing, now with my crazy schedule and all the other projects I have going on I find that more difficult to keep up on. But other things seem to fill in the gap; photography has stepped in as a quick and immediate medium of creative vision, certainly. I'm addicted to my camera and what I can capture with it. It's a different sort of creativity, certainly, but very satisfying. I'd never want to give up either drawing or photography, actually, since they feed different aspects of that craving to create.
Then of course there's the crafting, making books and sewing, knitting and other goodies. Those all fill other creative cravings and which ones I want to work on changes frequently. They all feed my soul, to use that old cliche.
My point here is to explore and try new things, go and look at other people's creative efforts, but try to avoid comparing yourself with others. Seeing others' work is such an important tool for getting knowledge and new ideas, but at some point you need to just go and create for yourself and let go of thinking about what anyone else will think. Just let go and enjoy yourself. And I guess if you choose to share it on your blog, have fun with it and don't be too serious, which is advice I am giving to myself. ;)

1 comment:

  1. You know grumpy guy there?
    Umm, I think he comes around to visit me and kick the tires a lot too...