Beth Meadows

What's Essential?

Beth MeadowsComment

I'm writing about the following, as I often to, to help me come to a solution. 

I can't figure out what art I should be making. I have ideas for at least ten different types of work. I keep having to ask myself what's essential.

I've even gone so far as to visualize being 80, thinking back on what makes me proud that I've accomplished. I think about the end so I can figure out what I'm supposed to be doing now.

Right now, the reality of my life is that:

1. I am trying to focus on my health- physical and mental.

2. I am trying to focus on income so that I'm not destitute the rest of my life.

3. I'm trying to be self-employed, which I truly believe is my calling, but giving up, at least for now, that it would be completely art-related income. So... trying to start a different business. 

4. Trying to give myself more to healthy relationships in my life. Trying to foster intimacy with a tiny amount of people- something that has been lacking in my life. Art is important, but people are the most important. My good relationships are the most important. 

5. Service to those who need it. 

Then after all that's done- I make artwork. And I think about artwork. And I want to make everything I think about, but there's not enough time to do it all. I can accept that.

So What's Essential? What do I have to make?

Here is a list of ideas:

1. cat cut outs

2. Folksy, spiritual, dark paintings

3. small fashion collages

4. fashion drawings

5. heavy cartoons

6. large narrative paintings

7. large fashion collages

8. these collage text works I have ideas for

9. geometric/ abstract found object works

10. small narrative paintings

11. more little wooden cut outs

12. large scale animal collages

13. wood cut out pet portraits

This is a pretty comprehensive list. 

The narrative paintings keep bugging me. They are hard and laborious and elusive, but they keep bugging me. I know I have to make them, but what if they take up all my extra time? What if I can't make cat cut outs?

The cats don't just serve the purpose of being cute. I practice technique and color combos. They help me with larger works. They are adorable, but they are important. 

I know I will make time for what's essential. I have cut out many things- and now I'm getting to the nitty gritty- I'm cutting back on alcohol and excess food (distracting myself with feeling full to the brim). I am cutting back on Netflix and social engagements. I wake up early to create. I create on the weekends. I am not exhibiting as much. Exhibiting takes up so much time. 

I observe from the list above that I can combine many of the things into each other. I've gotten stuck on this path of making small quick things. I want to sell work. I want to have price points that are low. I love the business side of art, so the small, quicker work allows me to play in that game, which I enjoy. 

But I fear it's keeping me from something deeper I'm wanting to make work about. All the small products symbolize large chunks of time I could devote to larger, more intricate works. 

I also like how small things have an end in sight. When I make a larger work, I don't have a good idea about how long it will take me. I get stuck along the way. It's not as easy to see the next step. But that's really all that it is. One step at a time, over and over, until it's right.

But I've gotten near the end of a large work so many times, and not been happy with where it's gone. You can't hit Undo. You can't use the Paint Bucket to fill in the wrong color. I don't like that aspect of the large works. If I need to change one or two things, it will take hours and hours to fix. 

Is there a way to avoid that? Or is that a part of it? I have a painter friend who says that's what he enjoys most about painting. The editing. I do only when it's small. 

And then this gets me into another subject. Sometimes I feel like I am more a designer than an artist. If I don't like the process of editing... I want a map that shows me the way, directly and in the shortest amount of time. I don't want to waste time, materials, or money. I am thrifty. I don't have a team to help. It's just me. 

 

 

 

Ok, I will let these thoughts rest for now...