My husband tells me that I'm no longer a beginning artist. So then why does my art look so amateur, with the strokes of a novice? Ok. Please don't answer that question. I've taken the path less traveled in terms of learning the art, and as they say, we usually are critical of our own work. My question is this: How do I get out of this slump?

I've been going through an "ugly art phase," which I confided to some friends about when they showed the preference for some journal pieces that I had made (with teacher direction) eight months ago. I've painted about 10 paintings while in this phase, and maybe 15 journal spreads also. I've done my best to keep a positive attitude. But since I am a student of Päivi Eerola from Finland, ugly art doesn't much matter. I decided that this phase won't keep me from practicing, this ugly phase.

Päivi has her own theories about breaking rules, making messes, creating fabulous and interesting backgrounds and then restoring order in the end. But when it comes to the Art of Making the Most of the Ugliest, magic happens. Check out her blog. She's a master. Another blog, Messy Backgrounds? How to Create Art on Them is also inspiration for any artist. She offers so many possibilities!

This makes for a fascinating art. I'm not there yet. My pieces are still messy, and I hadn't seen the possibilities, until today.

Fine Artist? Paintings and more practice are on the agenda. Today I had an epiphany. The thoughts came into my mind, and I took action something like this:

  • Thought: Day four of very unstable electricity in my house. Hmmm.

  • Action: Take in my spiritual power (prayer/meditation.)

  • Thought: Struggle to stay positive while finishing my morning routine.

  • Fact: Computer is off. No electricity.

  • Action: Call electrical lineman. I'm doing art.

I pulled out my tubes, brushes, pencils, water bucket, art journal, and began. The whirlwind started, and I felt good inside. Like a runner who has found her pace. But this isn't a race. This is a struggle to put down on paper or canvas inspiration using art medium.

Oh, this is looking ugly and I don't care, I said to myself.

And so when I felt resolved that this "phase" will soon pass, I felt a sense of power, or confidence return to me, to surrender to the process—to the internal Muse, who guides me and provides me with information.

As I began to write this blog, my skype phone rang. Thorsten from Germany. Nice. We haven't spoken for a while. I gave him a tour of my most recent work. He said that it looked like the works of German painter Emiel Nolde. Awesome...I think. I had to look him up.

Wikipedia lists Nolde's bio as:

  • A German-Danish painter and print-maker.

  • One of the first Expressionists.

  • A member of Die Brücke.

  • Considered to be one of the great oil painting and watercolor painters of the 20th century.

That is one of the nicest compliments I've ever received. Flattered.
Of inspiration, creative puppeteer Jim Henson wrote,

I don't know exactly where ideas come from, but when I'm working well ideas just appear. I've heard other people say similar things - so it's one of the ways I know there's help and guidance out there. It's just a matter of our figuring out how to receive the ideas or information that are waiting to be heard.

Yes, help and guidance. Yes, figuring out how to receive the ideas or information that are waiting to be heard (or seen.) Well—I did sit down and quiet my mind before doing art.

This fascinates me, what makes an artist render such a quality of work that, were it drawn in other ways it wouldn't have been "it." My teacher tells us to keep working even when we want to stop. In my mind, I translate this as to give your art piece that last bit of energy.

As a former athlete, I'm reminded of running towards a finish line, and one has to push, to give it every last bit of power required to do one's best. I have to admit that on some pieces if I had quit earlier, it wouldn't have had a special charm to it.

Today, when I posted a work in progress photo of that journal piece (a class assignment) that I started today, one of my classmates commented,
Glad you have your power on again."

Really, it doesn't matter if you are an artist or a fine artist. Keep thoughts positive. Stay in action. Get your power on, and I mean spiritual power.  
I'm in action. Yes, power is on!