Ellen R.

It was helpful to do a skills assessment as well as develop a wish list of skills. I won't bore you with that part, but I do feel it contributed to knowing myself as an artist. Thanks Jane!

So what does perfection look like to me?

1. Commitment to Content - the heart, as you say. Work that addresses recognizable themes or topics that resonate within the individual pieces, and amplify within bodies of work. I'm inching my way there. Social justice or political themed work always just seems a little gimmicky to me, and easily dated, so I gravitate to more abstract/universal expressions that hinge on capturing a feeling. 

2. Distinctive visual/technical style. This is developing. My work is already fairly distinctly mine, but it still doesn't look quite like I want it to look. My style is currently very graphic and bold, uses a lot of black and white, and divided compositions. I would like to soften my work somewhat by incorporating some subtle "drawn" line effects - essentially stitching - and I would also like to bring more color into my work.  I don't think in color yet because I am too drawing/design focused. I think taking a painting class might help with that, so that is on my list.

3. Technical mastery.  This is last for a reason because I don't feel mastery makes or breaks a piece. A wonky piece that exudes heart can be magical. Content trumps all, but when all three of the above are present and compliment each other, then perfection and the ultra Wow is near at hand.  I've got quite a ways to go in terms of technical mastery. If it takes 10,000 to master any task, them I've got at least 7,000 hours ahead of me.  But I do think it is important to not limit myself by some mastery milestone. I really can't wait that long to work toward my dreams. Unfortunately, I'm way too old for that!

I missed posting in Open Studio for last week's lesson on Really Big or Really Obsessive. I just wanted to share one tardy thought from my journal entry for last week that I hope others can gain from. Basically, I believe that every artist falls in love with a certain combination of scale, materials, technique, and content that just “feels right” to them, and it is pretty hard to "be who you are not" as an artist.  Scottish tapestry weaver Lynne Curran once said that trying to explain to someone else why she has chosen to weave small format tapestries is like trying to explain why she fell in love with her husband! I love that analogy! I venture to guess that we all understand that ‘je ne sais pas quoi.’  Whether you gravitate to really big or really obsessive, it all comes down to commitment. P.s. you can see Lynne’s work here: http://www.lynnecurran.com.

Have a great week, everybody!