Thursday, May 15, 2008

Searching For Answers....

A few days ago I talked about how difficult it is for me to do art that is messy. Is it still art if it's neat? Or is it something else? I have a difficult time being objective about what I do so please be truthful about this. I love doing these detailed doodles but is it considered art?

These are so easy to do that I really wonder if they aren't something akin to drawing a box or a ball. Everyone can do it.

I spend a lot of time looking at other people's art on their blogs and on flickr. I'm always comparing myself to them....I know I shouldn't do that but I do! If we're honest I bet lots of us do the same thing. Sometimes I'm inspired by something I see and other times I look at something and think "wow, I can never do that" and I just give up. Again, I know that's not good, but it's how I feel at times.

I have a difficult time figuring out who I am and what I like without being influenced by others. When it comes to art I like so many different styles and so many different mediums that to decide where I fit in is almost impossible. I know I've talked about this before and if I'm boring you I apologize but this is the only way I can work through this. I flit from one thing to another always hoping to find that one place where I belong. That one area where I excel. I try everything. I own so many art supplies that it's almost embarrassing....and most of them have been used once or twice at most.

Searching for my true self is exhausting! When I was 30 I thought I would find myself soon. Same thing at 40, and again at 50, and now I'm fast approaching 65 and I still have no idea where my niche is or what I'm good at or what I want to be when I grow up! I read everything I can get my hands on about this subject (creativity) and it seems clear when it applies to someone else but when I try to put it to use for myself I fail. What is it I'm missing?? Where do I belong in this world of art? Is it just this art funk I'm in that's making me question everything? Do others go through this, too?

I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this subject.


  1. When I took painting classes in college I was always critisized by the teacher for being too neat and not "letting go" - whatever. Janet, there are just too many things you do well do decide on a niche, too many styles and genres that appeal to you. I say just do what you feel like doing and others will be drawn to it as well. That's more like 4¢ worth, isn't it?

  2. Oh I question myself all the time! And when I tell people that I'm an artist, I still feel a little foolish. I mean, come on, who am I kidding? I've never sold anything I've created, why should I call myself a real artist. Right? But then, I remember that being an artist is not about a style or making money or being neat or messy. Being an artist is a state of mind. A way of life. It's who I am, deep inside. It's who I've always been. And if you don't know where in the art community you fit in, just call yourself a mixed media artist and you cover all the bases! LOL

    I think this is my longest comment to date! Could be a blog post of its own! LOL


    PS You _ARE_ an artist... no matter what "they" say.

  3. You style, if fine! Wonderful in fact! Erte and Peter Maxx are not messy (there are hundreds of other examples...just those came to mind!) If your drawings are expressing you then it is art. You have done this long enough that this is your style...["they" say to keep painting and your style will evolve]....accept where you are, enjoy, if things still change over time, thats OK too....I don't guess we are ever through evolving!

  4. ooops, I am so good at typo's..."messy" artist that I am! I meant to type "is fine"...not "if fine"!

  5. I still question myself all the time-what am I and what will I be when I grow up. Hello! Sixty in roughly a month or so.
    You shouldn't be so hard on yourself and don't stop those wonderful b&W drawings-they are wonderful and evocative of Beardlsey drawings and art deco. I love them.

  6. LOL I do doodles like this one! They draw me in as I do them, feel hynoptic, mesmerising, relaxing....

    Definitely art. Look at Escher. Now he was neat. And mesmerising.

  7. Well, I am feeling good because I am on a roll again and hope you will be again soon. You create wonderful art. Never doubt that. I Think we are ever finding niches in art that we are comfortable with and we should keep on doing them. Because I am considering joining the local art community, I too wonder where I will fit in? Will they be snobby and think I or my art is not good enough? Then I realize I cannot think that way. I have to have more confidence in myself, my abilities and my art. I would love to make money at this but don't know where to start. We all have a slumps and funks. Some times it takes longer to get out of them.

    I think Misskoolaid had it right.

    Don't give up. Hang in there. I am in my 50's and just deciding that I am an artist. I can't say I haven't be paid because I have. I am a starving artist who wants to be paid! LOL Just keep on creating. PLEASE!

  8. Trust me Janet I can't do doodles like you do-mine look like a drunk fly has wandered over the paper--and I think you are one heck of an artist.
    I may do great things with fibers etc but what you do with pens and pencils is truly unique.
    Don't stop doing what you do my friend--you are an "Artist"

  9. It's definitely art and YOU are an artist! Don't doubt that for another minute, Janet. Art is a way of life and, as far as I'm concerned, there is far too much snobbery in the 'art world' of today. Be yourself. Be the artist that YOU are and say phooey to the rules and standards! A lot of the wonderful art techniques we use today are because artists experimented outside of 'the rules' in the first place. Go for it, Janet! My daughter is doing Zentangles now and it's all because YOU inspired me to try them!

  10. I'd just like to add that, to me, zentangles connect us with the right brain...our creativity within. Who knows what wonderful ideas may come forth because you have taken the time to make that connection. I, for one, LOVE your Zentangles.

  11. Anonymous5:33 PM

    What a wonderful post Janet and you don't need to appologize when you post something. This is your blog you should post what you feel you need to.We are all there for you. I go through the same thing every day!
    I've thought about this and
    I think anyone can do something when they put their mind on it. The thing is doodling is an art that artist's will continue to do and love doing. Some can do it but just don't want to and don't love it the way that we do. THAT is what makes it an art! That is what makes it special! Some can do it but don't feel the need to.

  12. Anonymous7:22 PM

    This is indeed art...the doodles are art.

    I struggle with this too...exactly what you're feeling.

    A big revelation I had was that in order to make "art" you don't need a gazillion supplies..I stopped buying them and I am just fine and dandy without the big bills! I also learned how to achieve the same effects seen in various projects with substitute "on hand" supplies.

    I think everyone goes through a funk once in a while..I know I am. How about changing your creative environment?

    Finally, I think your doodles are REALLY good. Maybe try them on some new surfaces?

  13. Absolutely Janet! I think every artist is like this or at least has moments like this. I agree with vallen. You have way too much talent to lock it all away behind one niche. I think those doodles as you call them are amazing! They have so much detail I can lose myself in them and dream. Go for it!

    Hugs! Nancy

  14. Your questions have inspired a blog post! My comment was way too long!

    Hugs Sherrie

  15. Janet - so often I find I can empathise totally with your self-searching and insecurities. This is a case in point.
    Funnily enough, I've just now read your post having spent half an hour clearing up the mess that my workroom had become. As much as I've enjoyed playing with paint over the last couple of weeks, I found myself yearning for the cleanliness and orderliness of my papercrafts, like cardmaking. That's where I'm heading back.(For a while)

    Yes, of course your doodles are art. They come from within. They are your style. Your thing. Don't think that just because they are easy for you to do that they have less value. Plenty of others would not be able to achieve such satisfying results.

    I've always flitted from one thing to another, my enthusiasms wane with the moon! You are not alone.

    Maybe you could do some cardmaking too - a great way to share your work. How about doing your doodles with different media. All things are possible. Hugs. {{}} xx

  16. Oh Wow Janet, this sounds exactly like what I would post. I mean I get so excited seeing something new then I go out buy the materials to try it and fail at it and then give up. So like you, I have art room packed with supplies that I have only used a few times.
    I do think jewelry making is my favorite and then ATC and Altered books.
    I do truly believe that your doodles are a wonderful form of abstract art. I try to doodle and it looks like a bunch of scribbles and I am not impressed my doodlebility. Yours are awesome. I have finally decided that this is just the way I am and at 46 years old I just don't think I will ever change! But accepting it is a little difficult but I am gradually doing that too.
    I do think we are both artists!

  17. Janet,
    I agree with what others have said, first you are talented and an artist.
    And two follow your heart and kept at it…
    I adore the black and white detail works that you do.. It’s your signature style…


  18. Boy, do you nail me! I can't count the number of times I'd say to myself "you're so derivitive!" I'd see something I liked, and I wanted to do it, and it took awhile to make it my own. It's a catch 22, because you want to look at others' stuff, learn how. But I don't want to absorb it too much, because I want it to be me. I'll see something that gets me, get the supply du jour and discover that it didn't really resonate. I come back to cards and small collage, though I'm trying to get more into paint. But then there's all the other stuff - the knitting, the beads... sometimes I feel creatively schizophrenic -- and not in a good way.

    And the labeling is dicey. I think of myself as a writer because I'm paid for writing. Does that make me less of an artist because it's not my "job" or career? When I have sales, people buy things, so why can't I add that to my name with any conviction?

    Ultimately, it's what gives you joy. Your doodles are fascinating to me. They have movement and elegance and grace. Most of all, they come from you -- freely, without artifice or "model."

    I do love these discussions, but I go on way too long, don't I?

  19. Hey! Sweet woman Jan Jan!!! Look! YOU are an inspiration and YOU ARE an artist!!! I LOVE your doodles sooOOOOo YOU inspired me to do one myself today, it's not perfect but it was FUN!!! Thank YOU!!! Happy Week-end!! and YES! we all have doubts, I was in such a LOW Funk, didn't create a thing but now I'm back for a while! I do NEED my Blogging Breaks! tee hee Next week is going to be soOOOOO busy with guests coming in and then the wedding on Saturday, whisper a prayer for me my sweet friend!!! xoxoxox, Cinda

  20. Sorry, that first doodling pic didn't show up and also if YOU're LOVIN it(doodling) YOU should keep it up, that's what makes YOU happy and it shows thru your art then, your SWEET heART!!! <3

  21. Zentangles not Doodles. Doodles insinuates "wasing ones time away". But Zentangles means that the doing and the repetition of the doing is soothing the soul and the mind.

    This is def not a doodle.

  22. So many names for feelings on paper.
    I know that I am not a artist, but I am a crafter...does that sound like I am putting myself down, I hope not because I enjoy what I do. Right now it is a quilt for my niece, soon it will be something else. I just do what I do because it is fun, it is interesting.
    If you get a chance, watch the movie Mona Lisa with Julia Roberts...What is Art?
    Janet, you know how I feel about your talents... Big Hugs, Mary
    Now if I could just learn to spell!

  23. Whether we care to admit it or not - I think we all go through this feeling that what we do isn't "creative" or "art" or any of those other words the denote art.

    Your drawings are art - as far as I am concerned. I can't do doodles or anything near what you do! It is fun to look at - and I enjoy it.

    Creativity needs input - I think that's one of the reasons that we look to books, blogs, and other people to inspire keeps us totally inspired!!! Then we can continue on with whatever it is that we do in the artistic sense to express ourselves.

    I hope all that makes sense...

  24. I think all of us ask this at one time. I for one have my own definition of art, but if others choose not see what I do as art then that does not change how I feel about it or what I call it. If you think it is art, then it is. Andif it wasn't would that really matter either if you are happy? Too many labels...And for my few more cents worth this piece made me think - it instantly took me to a troubled ocean, so from my personal stand point it IS art.

  25. I agree with cattycat, you put yourself down by labelling your drawings "doodles" and thus diminish them. They are drawings, and you have a unique style. You say you are still searching for it, but it is right there, this is your style and who you are. The girl with the crooked eyes is a wonderful piece of art!

  26. oh janet at the age of 53 here, I am still asking those v same questions.... where am I with art, where do I go from here, will I ever think of anything to draw...etc. Exhausting and yet I still do this all the time. Off to read what the others here have to say about this!! Just dont give up, its the journey and NOt the destination!!


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