week 4 in lilla's make art that sells class

tammie bennett's mixed media piece jumpokay week 4 in lilla rogers' make art that sells is wall art.  this is one of the markets i am really interested in.  each week lilla gives a mini assignment on monday which we will then use to create our main assignment given on wednesday.  (such a brilliant way to work!)

this week she assigned different color combinations for each astrological sign.  i'm a pisces and i got pink + purple.  yay!  and gag!  i have enough hot pink art supplies to fill a store, but purple.....not so much.  quick side note about purple :: i really really don't like purple.  but i will confess to being the president of the purple lover's club that i created in fourth grade.  i put up a poster in the lobby of our medical resident housing asking for members.  no one showed up.

wednesday's assignment was to do an abstract collage type piece.  we had to include at least one word and at least one floral image.  it had to be a square and she wanted us to use some traditional elements such as paint as opposed to a strictly digital piece.  i was super pumped.  and also scared because i haven't painted or done collage in months.  for me, painting and collage has a way of getting rusty and unfamiliar without regular practice.  heck, i find painting really hard on some days even when i've been doing it daily.

i set out to just. create. marks. on several canvases.  i work best doing 3-5 works at a time.  i can paint on one while the other is drying.  and many times i have a sudden flood of images in my head and they don't all work together on one piece so i spread the wealth among my canvases.

i am going to a memorial service for my dear uncle this weekend, so i knew i needed to post my assignment on thursday rather than sunday.  therefore, i  worked on small canvases  (8x8) this week so i could finish them in time.  i did start a few larger pieces that i will finish when i return.

i went through many ugly stages.  (some of my canvases are still in the ugly stage waiting for me to paint through the ugly).  i went through stages where i loved the piece but knew it wasn't done yet and felt afraid to mess it up.  so i'd put the piece aside until i got the courage to add more marks.  i kept telling myself "you can always paint over it. nothing is permanent." i went through stages where i told myself that urban outfitters or anthropologie would never buy these pieces.  so i painted them until i knew i would buy them.

but completely outweighing those fears was my utter joy.  i painted for over seven hours yesterday.  (thank you chris for taking the kids and giving me some art time).  i wanted to paint for seven more but i was starting to get a little loopy.  there were a few points where i would find myself singing at the top of my voice to a song, fingers (and pants) covered in paint, and feeling like i was lighter than air.

why, oh why, have i let my painting habit slack off? sometimes i talk myself out of it by focusing on how long it will take to clean up the mess afterwards. or i'll remind myself that i like to work uninterrupted which is close to impossible when you have 3 kids at home for the summer. but the feeling i get when i'm creating a mixed media piece is so amazing.  it's something i can not let myself forget.

tammie bennett's mixed media art piece shebegan

a note about the two pieces in this post :: the first one i love so much it makes my heart throw up.  i love it and i'm putting it on my wall.  but for the purposes of lilla's assignment, i felt it didn't "pop" enough.  lilla makes a good point when she says art directors / buyers may only see a thumbnail of your work and it has to pop and standout.  of course you want your art to standout from the wall and i'm not sure the first one does that.  so i created the second one.  which i love, but not as much as the first one.  it brings me to that age old question artists everywhere have faced.  do i make something i love even if it may not be the most commercially viable, or do i make things i know will sell.  i really do think you can find a balance in there somewhere.  if you make something you really love, there will be place for it somewhere.  as lilla says, "people buy your joy."  for an interesting experiment i posted both images on the class' facebook wall asking which people thought i should post.  so far, the results show people like the first one.

p.s. i learned so much about how to let loose and have fun in my mixed media pieces from sarah ahearn. she does amazing mixed media pieces and teaches a fantastic class.  if you ever have a chance to take her class, do it!