Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Daily doubts-the art process

This is my daughter, Becky, my muse and model for many years, graciously submitting herself to my less than professional photography methods (easel set up in our tiny kitchen with a piece of black fabric draped over cardboard behind her). She makes it easy to get great shots, a natural model. She is wearing one of my necklaces. With any sort of art venture, if an artist wants to sell work, they must wear a couple of hats. Being the marketing department is one. I was dreading setting up an Etsy store for my necklaces and just this past weekend FINALLY started in. Etsy is a fantastic art lister's site that pretty much does the hard work for you as far as setting up a web store-you as the artist just "decorate" your shop and list product.

Still, there are a few issues...photography is one. It takes me forever to photograph product. The shots can't just be ok. They have to be great. They are the only link between your unique product and the buying public, very important people for an artist. I wanted to do this and was so proud of myself for even getting a profile done. I also had to develop a banner for the site. In Illustrator-so add to photographer, graphic designer. And set up PayPal. Add to graphic designer, savvy financier. Ok, setting up PayPal doesn't really qualify one as savvy. But for someone who knows NOTHING at all, I'd say, throw me a bone.

It was a long weekend and I have to go back to my day job today. It is three in the morning and I can't sleep. I didn't do any actual artwork over my break. By the time evening rolled around, even after getting all this work done, I was melting down. I posted myself by the boob tube with bag of cookies, watching re-runs of Project Runway. It was the season of Santino, so I got to see a designer diva having tantrums or just being a butt. And doing great impersonations of Tim Gunn. What I also had to watch was these people killing themselves for their art and never being sure if they got the job done. Those awful questions, "Why am I doing this?", "Is my designing something that will endure?", "I hate myself", lol, (only because after doing the absolute best you can, you can still feel like a no talent amateur in a second-I totally understand, sitting there, munching cookies I don't need, feeling like crap after the most productive weekend I've had in forever).

Well, I finally quit the sugar blues and moved on to classic movie land. And TCM was playing "Portrait of Jenny" starring Joseph Cotten and Jennifer Jones. A strange, otherworldly offering based on an American short story about a girl who keeps appearing to a struggling artist, and every time she does she's older and he begins to find success in his life because she inspires him so much. The musical score is taken from The Girl with the Flaxen Hair by Debussy, haunting and so beautiful. One of my favorite pieces. And we see Mr. Cotten as a creative person questioning his work, feeling his life has no purpose only to have the one thing he needs appear out of time and space. Jenny keeps telling him, "you have to have faith". Well, yes, that what you need will appear out of time and space, that it is worth it after all, that art has its own reasons, and you cannot give up. Got it.

I have to say, thinking about where I've been and where I am, people and opportunities do appear-I've had some things happen, and I know we could all as human beings and artists share stories-things that seem to be aligned by the stars, acts of God, never expected, totally amazing. I need those things, and little things, like receiving email responses and blog comments, knowing a few people are out there who care, just a little reassurance for today to be lifted over those waves of doubt that keep ebbing and flowing. The boat does still float but some days I just have a struggle with the oars.

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