Friday, December 17, 2010

The Creative Process

The Creative Process is not one size fits all.  I remember writing a paper in middle school.  My desk blotter was my outline, my notes, everything but the final piece. My teacher reduced my grade because I couldn’t show him a “proper” outline.  As if that was the ONLY way one could properly draft a paper.
After this - I tried to make my creative writing process fit with his - years later - I was still trying to come up with an outline.  And since my brain just honestly does not think that way, I started using colored notecards, that I could then arrange into thoughts - and then type up the stupid outline required for professor or teacher.   Because they didn’t get how my brain worked, they wanted me to create in the way their brain functioned best. 
For years - and years - this is what I did.  Tried to smoosh my creative, right-sided thinking into left-sided school and business worlds.  And it worked.  Scarily well, actually.  I had everyone thinking I was just like them, amazingly left brained.  When in fact I was the opposite.  And it was exhausting.  All to get that little star on my paper, or the top rating on my corporate reviews. 
Now, maybe my life is a little messier.  But it is a lot less exhausting - because I finally allow myself to just be.  To create (writing, drawing, painting, photography) all how my brain works.  And I hope that when I teach, I allow each student to do their own thing.  And to not conform to what I do - because there is no one way to creativity.
I think one of the things I have learned on this creative journey is that in the creative process there is no one right answer.  Period. 
So ironically, the only time in the creative process where the answer one size fits all is this truth: THERE IS NO ONE WAY.  The paths to creative development and creation are many and varied and each should find their own way.  Trying out of a few paths for size along the way, and creating a process that works well for him or her. 
Has anyone else found this to be true for them?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Painting Away The Angst

Started painting today, as I normally do - with some warm up paintings. (These end up becoming 5 x 7 originals that I create cards out of.) Not every painting makes the cut - the idea is to warm up, maybe try some new color schemes and get focused on the task of creating. Some might call this "getting in the flow." I think of it as shifting my brain from thinking-left-brained mode, to creative-right-brained mode.

Well, today I was just all over the place. I wasn't in a good mood, and it was translating into my work. So I definitely needed to paint that out - in order to be able to paint with intention and intended emotion, instead of with the all over the place emotion I was feeling (which would have resulted in ruined paintings).

So I began to paint hearts - all drippy. Normally I wipe the drips off, but in the beginning today, I did not.

As my time in the studio progressed, I was still not feeling like if I put paintbrush to canvas I would do a good job, so I continued to paint hearts. I finally started to feel in the flow. And in the end this is what progressed.

Although a few still managed to keep some of their original drippy nature. But hopefully with slightly more hopeful overtones.

Of course, now it is time for bed.  Guess the portraits will have to wait until tomorrow. But at least my brain has stopped fighting the process and work should progress much easier.

Anyone else have a way of shifting their brain and getting into flow or state?

For another look at the creative process see Keeping The Vision

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Step Away From The Paint Brush!

People always ask - how do I know when a painting is done. Well... sometimes I know instinctively. Sometimes I think a painting isn’t done and I come back a few days later, and see if the painting is showing what it was meant to show. And sometimes a friends comes over and says wow - Love It just as it is. And sometimes, I just know that it must be done because I have done one or more of the following:
  1. completely mess up a section that was working well, and then mess up another section the same way
  2. take the painting to the mirror, flip it around and see if anything stands out - For ex: is there a color that is too strong in one area and not present in another?
  3. look at the painting from a distance in a different location
  4. repeat any and all of the above, and finally LET GO...
This particular piece, I had trouble letting go of the idea that it was not done. I think because it is a little more raw then I initially planned for it to be. But every time I fight the process, I know from past experience, I will ruin the painting. A painting in some sense, has a voice of it’s own. And to ignore that is to risk taking a beautiful piece and overworking it.

I have two theories as to why a painting can insist on being what it is, instead of what I want. First, there is a belief, of many creative people, that we just let things come through us. A lot of times, when we are in “the zone” we have absolutely no idea how what occurred on the canvas happened as it did. Yes we understand the mechanics of it - but the actual creation, sometimes that happens in spite of the artist creating.

And second, I create my intentions in spite of myself. My objective for this piece - was supple and beautiful. Both of these things are apparent, and I think that is what this piece has created. So by getting out of my own way, the painting has maintained my vision, just not in the way I had imagined when I started.

Has anyone else had similar creative struggles?

Note: This piece has been censored, so that sites such as Facebook might not find it in violation of their guidelines. For an uncensored version go to my website

For another look inside the making of art see Walking the Creative Tightrope

Saturday, August 21, 2010

How Long Does It Take To Paint a Painting?

This is probably one of the most common questions someone will ask me, or most artists. This is a tricky question to answer. We really aren't trying to be evasive. It just depends.

Yes, I know "it depends" is what we were told to say to just about anything in business classes at school, but in this case, it really does! Take today - today I'm in the flow. But yesterday - yesterday was a struggle of crazy proportions. My brain would just not let the right side take over and make things effortless. So as a result I couldn't "see" what it was I needed to paint. And so nothing was working. This went on for hours! And the normal tricks I use to loosen up like grabbing my Starbucks or dancing in the studio were not working. Finally at like 11pm at night, my brain finally switched over, stopped fighting, and I was in the flow.

So when we say "it depends" it really does. It depends on our inspiration, on our ability to be in the flow and also our ability to let go and trust. Any artists out there have similar days?

For another look inside the making of art, see What is an Artist's Medium?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Love Yourself Gorgeous!

I paint in part to show that women's body are BEAUTIFUL. In an attempt to show women that THEY are BEAUTIFUL. Because, unfortunately, so many women think their bodies are not. There are a lot of reasons for this - social pressures, the ridiculous amount of air brushing that occurs on just about anything you see in print. The absolutely fabulous lighting that accompanies any professional photo shoot or on-camera interview these days. Past sexual abuse, verbal insults from middle school or high school, or thoughtless comment from a former lover. Whatever it is - many women struggle with self-image issues.

Ironically, even I, knowing better, still fall into that trap of not always honoring and loving my body. Of at times beating myself up about my body. Like this week, I was looking at this painting - called Shadow Play - and caught myself thinking negatively about my body. Cause - OK for this one, I was the model. And I was looking at the stomach on this painting and thinking - "Damn, why did I not suck it in for that photo?" And "Damn - why did I not paint that stomach flatter and skinnier?"

When I use myself as a model, it's not a vanity thing, it's a I need a new painting and it's 2 in the morning and I'm my the only model available, kind of a thing. So I have taken pictures of myself to use as reference at the worst possible times likes during my time of the month or right after my miscarriage. But hey, I had the urge to paint something new, something my previous reference pictures weren't showing, or to finish a story I needed to tell. So I did.

I suppose I wish for myself, what I wish for all women - to love yourself, curves, "flaws" and all. I promise, most men and any man worth his weight, will look at those seeming imperfections and LOVE them. So give him a head start, and love yourself first.

Monday, July 12, 2010


People always ask where I find inspiration. I guess I find inspiration all around, when I'm creating a new piece of art. But when it's like day 5 of painting on something, I sometimes need to be re-inspired. That's when I head to one of two places, or sometimes both at the same time. For some reason a Starbucks Latte and a trip to the beach works every time.

Where do you find inspiration?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Anything Can Happen In the Blink Of An Eye

I was looking at my photo cards recently, because I am working to create more - of various places I've visited around the globe to go into the new online shop my Mom and I are starting together. And I came across the ones from my trip to Greece.

Greece was always this amazing place in my mind, that I would "someday" go. I didn't even put it onto my 5 or 10 year plan, because I felt it was that out of reach. Then one day, someone I was working with asked me if I would like to go to Athens in his place, to do new manager orientation for the new european managers. Of course I said yes, and within 2 weeks, I was in Greece.

That experience was amazing for many many reasons. And I grew a lot, both professionally and personally. I was in a foreign land, spoke none of the language, and when I took the time to travel, was traveling on my own. But as always happens in Europe when traveling, I met many friendly people and had a really amazing time. Made all the more incredible, because a few weeks earlier I was in the States, nursing a broken heart, and feeling like life was heavy and sad.

So every now and then, if I'm feeling a little down, and thinking nothing I'm doing is getting me from point A to point B at quite the speed I'd like - I look at my pictures of the Athena Temple in Athens - and relax. Because you never know, things can change for the better, for the wondrous, in a few seconds. That's the beauty of life.

For another positive post see The Power Of Time Off

Friday, June 4, 2010

Lack of Intention

Like most things in life, painting is better when done with intention. Take this painting I just started. I wasn't feeling it. Partly because while I do love men, this is the first full male booty painting I've done and I'm feeling a little unsure of the whole booty thing. But mostly I think because I allowed that nebulous feeling to invade my normal practice of setting an intention when painting anything.

The funny thing is I love a guy with a butt. It's actually one of my requirements. Guy's got to be able to fill out a good pair of jeans! But unless I'm giving a massage or knocking boots, I don't spend a lot of time getting familiar with that part of the male anatomy. And let's face it, sometimes not even then.

When I was in New York City, a gallery owner said that he tells all his artists to know WHY they are painting that particular picture. Because if you don't know why, your audience won't either. He recommended sitting with the reference picture and really feeling the feeling of what it is we want to express - then begin to paint. This advice has been priceless for me, especially when I get lost, overwhelmed or a little out of my comfort zone.

So going to go back to my easel now, sit with this particular reference photo and remember why I picked it in the first place. Write down that feeling and intention on the back of the canvas bars (to remember later) and hopefully paint a beautiful, sexy piece that fits nicely with the male torso series I've been working on lately.

PS - I think I've got it now. Something that made me smile like the Cheshire Cat as I sat down at my easel....

For another blog on intention when creating,  see Keeping the Vision

Monday, May 24, 2010

History Repeating ... Enough Already!

Every once in a while I look around and see a pattern in my life I don't like. For example, repeated irritation at people for basically the same types of things. And I think - well, the common denominator here is me. What is up with that? : -)

These past few weeks seem to be full of lessons created by me not trusting my gut - both personally and professionally. And reminding me of the old adage - When someone shows you who they are, believe them. And I might add - believe yourself and your instincts.

Professionally I am untangling myself from a relationship that I went into knowing that the person wasn't always forthcoming and upfront. I knew this, but I told myself, it's OK - as long as I know this going in I can prepare for that, and it will be fine. .... Um, I'm "fine" - but I'm also really irritated at being lied to and having an agreement in place that was not completely upheld. So my commitment to myself going forward - don't go into business with someone who you have doubts about working with because their idea of integrity and exchange are not close to your own. They will do what they think is fair and right and you will just get really irritated with what you perceive as their lack of exchange and/or lack of integrity.

I have had similar feelings of wasting my time and extreme irritation with two men I've dated recently. However, if I'm honest with myself, I knew in my gut that both of them weren't for me long term. One I thought, it's OK we are both just friends who are sort of dating, so we won't run into relationship expectation issues. And the other, I just kept trying to see if it would work because he seemed like a nice guy, my friends all liked him, and he seemed to want similar goals as me. But I knew immediately when starting to date each of them that they weren't really present with me, and that they were very comfortable with keeping things on the surface.

This isn't wrong, but it isn't for me. I need a guy who can be and is comfortable being present with me and who is OK with establishing emotional and mental depth. So inevitably, their lack of presence created situations that made me feel they were being rude and selfish; and their unwillingness to create emotional and mental intimacy caused me pain. I'm sure they didn't mean it. I knew we didn't match up, but I kept dating them anyway, hoping that something would change or that it wouldn't really matter long term.

So here's to starting the tail end of May with a renewed commitment to be true to myself. And to not allow myself or others to talk me into entering or maintaining professional or personal relationships that I know in my heart are not aligned with me, my life and what I need and value in a relationship.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Double Standard?

It's a funny thing really. On one hand we have magazines like Allure, and Maxim showing women completely nude (with fabulous lighting and airbrushing of course). And on the other hand we have people who complain when they go to an art festival or art gallery and see a painting of a half-draped (partially clothed) woman hanging on the wall. Really? What is this about?

Since when did the female body - or any body for that matter - become OK to flaunt in public, on TV in commercials for lingerie, on the beach, or in a main stream women or men's magazine; and yet NOT be ok to see in an Art Gallery or at an Art Festival?

When I put paintings in restaurants, I always make sure that there is no nudity. But the fact that I sometimes feel the need to censor my own art when hanging it in an art setting is a little ridiculous. I generally hang paintings of half draped models, or paintings where the nudity is implied. But this still isn't enough, someone will always complain. And still others will look at a painting of a partial nude, or even of a draped model, and because she's not wearing a turtleneck call it "disgusting."

Nudes have been part of art for a very long time. My work isn't porn, it's art. Is there a sexy side to some of it? Sure. But that doesn't make it bad, wrong or inappropriate in an art setting? Absolutely not.

Oh yes, and just to clarify - this is an actual nude! ;-) 

For another female inspired post, see Honoring Ourselve as Women

Monday, May 10, 2010

What Makes A "Great Artist of Our Time?"

Saturday I was at the Orange County Museum of Art's Art of Dining event. Sidney Felsen was honored for his work as the co-founder of Gemini G.E.L in Los Angeles. In his introduction they said he had worked with "some of the great artists of our time." Which got me thinking - What defines an artist as great for our time?

I'm sure if you asked 10 different people you would get 10 different answers. I think the short answer for me is, intention, marketability, longevity and ingenuity & consistency in execution.

First off intention, because if an artist does not have the ability to create an intention with their art, it's very unlikely that their art would elicit an emotional response from the viewer.

Second, being an artist, and meeting so many talented people, I know there are some incredible artists out there, that the world-at-large has never heard of. And so - while some artists I know are far more talented than others getting accolades or fabulous world press, the "great artists of our time" must by definition be those "our time" has heard of. Therefore, in this day and age, they need to be good marketers, or have someone who is a great marketer behind them.

Thirdly, I also think longevity - artists who are artists until the day they die. Someone who's work we can see grow and change and yet still in some ways remain constant throughout their lifetime. (ex. Alexander Calder)

And fourth, artists who either have their finger on popular culture (ex. Warhol) or do something before everyone else, or better than everyone else (ex. Pollock).

I realize nowhere on my list did I say technical abilities. I think this is because in order for art to speak to people it needs to go well beyond simple technical execution, and be able to emote some sort of emotional response when being viewed by the viewer.

What do you think?

For an answer to another esoteric question, see What Is An Artist?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Musings of a Single Gal

Recently I was on the phone with a girlfriend who was lamenting being single. This got me thinking. I don’t begrudge my current single status. Do I want to be happily married with children? Yes, I do. But am I sitting awake at night worrying about this? Not at all.

As Patty on The Millionaire Matchmaker recently said - “You are 1 date away from a boyfriend.”

Since my last long term relationship I have been: to Greece (on my own); to Hawaii (with my Mom); to Vegas (with the girls); and had numerous overnight/ weekend trips to San Diego and Palm Springs (on my own). I’ve had 4 marriage proposals: one insulting, two sweet, and one Oh My God I Had No Idea. I’ve had my heart re-broken by my ex. Broken again by my most recent lover. Been asked by countless men to be their girlfriend. And oh yes, had at least 50 first dates - some hilarious, some excruciatingly painful, and some nice, warm and fuzzy.

I’ve met some really amazing, incredible, bright, talented men along the way. Some of whom are now true friends of mine. And I’ve gotten to know a lot of women I now call friends as well. Women I didn’t know before my last relationship.

Come on! What isn’t to love about this adventure called single life? The grass can feel greener whichever side of the marriage line we are on. In my mind, how I choose to live, I’m just going with it. Storing up the memories for when I’m one day in the future running on 3 hours of sleep, have 2 toddlers getting into everything in the house, and wondering when was the last time I had a minute to myself.

Right now that can sound like bliss. But I can tell you, listening to my girlfriends on the phone with their screaming kids on the other end, sometimes my life looks pretty good too. Like when I tell them on the weekend I got up late, or took myself to dinner with a good book and ordered a nice glass of wine. And of course when I say I met a great/ sexy guy and my stomach got butterflies.

So single? Relax. Enjoy the ride. It can be an awesome time in our lives, if we just let it be so. 

For another female inspired post, see A Creation Myth

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Sometimes Size Really Does Matter

A few months ago my Mom and I went to Hawaii for vacation. I took lots of pictures of fish when I was snorkeling and now I'm painting a few. The problem with fish (creatively) is that they have a lot of tiny angles. And for some reason I decided to paint on smaller canvas than I normally do. Which means - I can't use my normal set of large brushes.

I know some say it's not the size of the tool, it's how you use it. But so far, I have not been able to figure out how to use a large brush to fill a tiny precise corner of canvas. Its like trying to hammer a tack into the wall with a mallet - it just doesn't work.

So now I'm sitting at my easel all hunched over, trying to work these tiny brushes into tiny corners. It's still kind of driving me crazy because I hate to work that tight and tense. But - I am making progress, which is fabulous. Guess I just needed the right sized tool for the job. Sometimes smaller really is better. ;-)

Monday, April 5, 2010

Happy Mistakes

I have a friend, Greg Martin, ( who is also an artist. He has a concept which he shared with me called making a "happy mistake." This idea initially came up when something went wrong with one of my abstract paintings. And he said, maybe I would learn something or create a new type of art, now that I had to fix my mistake. At the time, it definitely made me feel better, but I didn't actually create anything new and unique from my "mistake."

A month or so ago, I decided to try gold leaf on a painting. Gold leafing is a 3 step process. Sealing the gold leaf is the third step in the process. Well, the sealant for the gold leaf had dried up, so I couldn't use it. I looked around my studio, found another form of sealant, and put it on the gold leaf. The next morning I came back, and realized that some of the painting and the gold had tarnished. At first I was a little irritated, because gold leaf in pristine condition is so pretty. But then I realized, that from an abstract painting point of view, having variations in the leafing was actually better. And is something that makes the paintings very unique and original. With no way to exactly replicate one, even if I make multiples of the same basic concept. This was indeed a very "happy mistake."

Have any of you had similar happy mistakes?

For another look at the making of art see Step Back

Friday, March 26, 2010

Lovers & Haters

Had an art show tonight at Gallery 104. I love interacting with everyone and getting to know their stories. And of course I enjoy seeing people's reaction to my art. It's very enlightening and can be quite fun - especially when people find something they feel is unexpected, and tell their friends.

I honestly don't care if someone doesn't like my art. That's fine, my art doesn't have to be for everyone. But I do care when someone is bitingly and intentionally horrid about it. Which happened tonight.

I know that generally when I have these types of hyper critical encounters, it's with someone who inside is an extremely frustrated artist. But understanding does not make it less of a sting. Luckily tonight, after that encounter 5 people came up to me and said they liked or loved exactly what the other person had criticized.

I know as an artist, I shouldn't "care" what people think. I paint for myself, and I hope people enjoy what I bring into my work. However, let's be honest - art is incredibly personal. Every painting I do shows something of me in it. At the very least the emotion I was feeling at the time. And often my thoughts or feelings about life, love and the world at large. So when someone so expertly attacks my work, it hurts. And having people give another, more positive opinion, does help ease the sting.

For everyone who came to the show tonight, I appreciate you. And for everyone who is supportive of any artist - know your support is at times more welcomed than you may realize.

For another look inside the making of art see Keeping The Vision

Monday, March 22, 2010

Flip Side to Blasé

It occurred to me this morning that there is a flip side to feeling blasé about something that I use to be really excited, or at times kind of overwhelmed about (like standing in line for the art show submission). And that is - I have successfully stretched myself and my comfort zone. Making room for new things to feel excited about, and new things to make me nervous and possibly even a bit overwhelmed about.

Which is a good thing. Because it assures me, that those things I am now feeling intimidated about - like calling people I don't know in an industry I don't know to see if they would like to have my art in their business - I will one day be blasé about those things as well. And have moved onto living in an even bigger world than I am currently in. And that is pretty awesome.

For another look at the art process and art shows, see Cheeky

Saturday, March 20, 2010

In Line For An Art Show

Standing in line today to put in my submission for Laguna Beach's annual Art That's Small At City Hall show, I realized how far we'd come. A year ago, we were excited about being in this show. And it is a fun, amazing show - something to be excited about. But today, as my girlfriends and I stood in line, I realized this year we were a little blasé about the whole thing.

This is because we have all been in a lot of shows since last year. And we all have at least one showing a month - so it isn't like WOW a SHOOOOOOOOOOW. Like we use to be.

This is good - it means we are getting that "exposure" artists are always looking for. But it's a little sad to think we no longer have that shiny new car feeling every time we do a show. It reminds me of an interview I saw with an actress on the West Wing who said that acting every day took the "preciousness" out of acting. At the time, I didn't know what she meant. Now I do.

That said - Art That's Small is a great show. I'm always amazed at the talent shown there, and how some artists can do so much on such a tiny amount of space. If you are in Laguna Beach anytime between now and April 29th I highly recommend stopping by Laguna Beach City Hall to see the show. For more info go to

For another look inside the mind of an artist see Flip Side of Blasé

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Walking That Creative Tightrope

I've been working on a new design. Because I decided to create something specific for inside the home, the design process included talking to people to see what they would like to see in this type of art work. Last week I started hating my sketches. Then I realized it was because I had somehow lost my vision in the midst of trying to give people what they wanted.

Once I backed up, realized that, and started sketching again I was able to incorporate what people said they would love to have with what I wanted to create. Magic! And totally awesome. :-)

Always interesting as an artist when I accidently lose my voice or choke it in order to give others what they want. I'm much better at avoiding this particular pitfall than I use to be, but sometimes I still get pulled under.

I know some say creating art should be all about the artist. And a lot of the time, I would agree. But I find that at select times, when I chose to court public opinion, or do a custom piece, I come up with things I never would have thought about without their input. (Like the painting my sister asked me to paint for my nephew's nursery.) And those creations are some of my most favorite and fun pieces of art to create. Because when done with my voice in tact, they help me grow and stretch my creativity in ways I wouldn't have found otherwise.

Any other artists or crafters out there ever have a similar story?
For another blog about creating see Creation, Destruction or Both

Friday, March 5, 2010

Change You Creative Block, Change Your Construct

What I realized, sitting on my couch recently, after being highly productive in my studio, is that the BEST cure for creative block is a date or time spent with my guy. In that down time after the date, I have created some of my most original pieces, and effortlessly come up with the solution to creative problems that were bugging me for weeks.

When I was in college I decided that my art suffered any time I had a boyfriend. This is because every time I had a boyfriend, I would stop sketching. But what I now realize is - I stopped sketching, not because I stopped wanting to create - but because I was worried about what he might say about my art. (Which of course speaks volumes for my taste in men at the time.) I had been carry around this construct - that it was either art or a boyfriend - ever since.

So happy to have come to a different conclusion - and now that I think about it - better guys!

For another blog about the creativ process see Being In Flow

Friday, January 8, 2010

What Is An Artist?

I was recently in a discussion about what a "true artist" is. One of the others in the discussion insisted that a "true artist" has no business sense, and creates only what they need/are compelled to create, with no care for what other people think or what will sell. And was that once an artist takes into consideration what others might want, they are no longer a "true" artist.

I disagreed for a couple of reasons. First off I think this runs dangerously close to the idea that any artist who is commercially successful has sold out. And second, to label only one type of artist as a "true" artist is discriminatory. I would agree that an artist by definition will continue to create whether or not their work is sold. But, there is nothing wrong with hoping he or she connects with an audience and makes people happy with their work. And in doing so, actually grows creatively by helping to fine-tune their creative voice.

I am not suggesting an artist give up their own personal drive to create by following the latest art fad, or by copying someone else's work to be a success. I have found that most artists who do this, die a bit inside. And for the most part, their art dies as well, because they themselves do not know why they created a piece. Therefore, there is no emotion or feeling behind it, which translates into "dead" art. And as with all fads, doing work this way is generally not sustainable. Another fad will come along, and so keeping up with them can be exhausting.

I am also not suggesting that an artist create only what she/he thinks other people will want or approve of. Because again - this work will generally not resonate. Such art lacks the creative spirit, and emotion associated with art that has been created by someone who knows WHY they were compelled to create it. Art created out of a need for approval will not resonate with the audience, because in truth, it did not resonate with the artist when she/he was creating it.

However, I do think it is perfectly acceptable to fine-tune your voice as an artist by listening to what your audience has to say. This can help an artist better tell his or her story and share their vision. For example, I started painting male torsos after multiple requests for such. And I love this new direction. Creating with an audience in mind can also lead to new shifts in work that better resonate with your audience. I love doing commissions because I always learn from the additional points of view, and a good portion of the time my art will be enhanced by that experience. I have had completely new lines of work spring from a commission request. Always in a manner that I am excited about, but that also broadens the amount of people who are excited by my art.

We grew up in a culture that has told us since pre-k that "You can't make a living as an artist" that "Artists don't work" and that "Art is not a real job." So to put an additional restriction on an artist of "true" is burdensome. Anyone who has overcome listening to the many objections about their career path and fearlessly calls themselves an artist IS an artist. It doesn't matter if their work is "good" or "bad, " "successful", or "commercial." These are all outside labels. What matters is that an artist creates, that they follow their muse. And if, in the process, an artist also wants to connect with a wider audience, and allows in some way for that, it does not necessarily make for commercial art. It does not have to equate to loss of creative voice.

Finding and keeping our creative voice is a balance, and we each find our own. To call one person's form of balance wrong, and to declare there is only one true path, is not something I agree with. Especially in art.
For another look inside the making of art see In Line for An Art Show