Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Keeping The Vision

I was sitting on my bed, as I do every morning, writing things in my journal I am grateful for.  I looked up and saw this miniature hut hanging from a hook on the wall that my boyfriend at the time had bought me while we were on a trip.  I don't think he realized it, but it's significance to me was huge. To me it represented being true to myself and my vision, and I felt that he was in his own way recognizing that.

Yes, I know, female circular logic!  But the reason for that - and the reason I keep the miniature hut in my bedroom is because I want to remind myself of the lesson I learned while painting two rather large hut paintings.  I had come home one night after a really fun date - and painted two huts from just what was inside of me.  I didn't use any reference material, I was just going with my feelings, and remembering some huts I had seen in Hawaii on the Big Island.

When I took the paintings into my painting class, which was filled mostly with women, I was told the huts weren't realistic because of their roofs, and that my islands looked like tree branches.  They joked that I was painting bird cages.  On and on they went.  So I changed the paintings, to try and address some of the outside criticism I was perceiving.  And subsequently, hated those two big paintings.

A few years later, a friend of mine came to my studio and bought a small sketch of one of my huts.  A sketch I had done that first night before putting paint to big canvas.  He loved it.  It really connect with him.  And I realized that he was connecting with my original vision.  After he left, I took those two big hut paintings out and painted over them - this time sticking to my original vision. It was a very freeing experience.

And the funny thing is - since then, those two paintings and similar images have resonated with a lot of men.  

So I learned two things from those hut paintings: 1) stay true to my vision in my art; and 2) not every painting is right for every audience. Just because one audience doesn't "get" it, doesn't mean the piece won't resonate somewhere else.

For another look at the making of art see Being In Flow