“I don’t think that there is anything that is really magical unless it has a terrifying quality.”
Ok, going personal this week. Tomorrow is my 51st birthday. Talk about terror… going into the next century of my life and I have realized it is going to look a lot different than the last 50 years. I was in church a few weeks ago when the pastor talked about this phrase from the Bible, “Be not afraid.” He said life sometimes is a leap of faith. Our goals, environments and desires will change, and sometimes we have to go with our gut and change with it. The photo above is of my keychain. I have had this quote on it for many years as a nice reminder to live life a bit fearlessly… the quote is from Alice in Wonderland. I always figured I could do anything I set my mind to, but let’s face it, we all have fears.
Wyeth talked a lot about the purpose of creating art for the sake of creating art. In fact, he shunned the world for quite a while and wouldn’t go out – not for shows, not for awards. He somehow didn’t care about the “Hey, look at me, I am good!” syndrome. Yes, he was successful and sold artwork for millions, but that came later, the work came first. I think his quote above is in reference to his belief that having a painting a bit out of control can be a good thing.
Wyeth also said, “Artists today think of everything they do as a work of art. It is important to forget about what you are doing – then a work of art may happen.”
I am trying to live by this quote more…
A year ago I posted about turning 50 years old. I got a tattoo of my “swan swish” – how I sign my paintings. It was my way of saying “this is who I am at 50” … Little did I know how much of me would change a few months later. Now I am embarking on a whole new world of self-discovery for both myself and in my art. I am now single, love yoga, am teaching oil classes and have started building a new Artist Guild as a haven and networking forum for all Pittsburgh artists working in all media. I will have 2 kids in college soon, (so I don’t need to buy out Costco anymore) and I now live in a town where I can walk to everything. Even to the Art Center where I am now on the Board changing the direction of the Center, and have even invited nationally-known artists to come and teach with me.
(If you want to know more about those workshops, click here… the Master classes are listed in more detail on page 30.)
I am finding my way… I don’t feel 51. I don’t even feel 30. My grandmother in her nineties used to say, “How did I get here, Chris?” And I would say “one day at a time.” Lame, I know, but true.
So I guess my art is changing and aging one day at a time too.
My past fear is now being confronted and hopefully channeled into good things. I used to be terrified to paint in front of people- will they see that I am a fraud? I used to labor over my photo references while constructing commissions. Will they not like it if it is not “perfect?” I am not thinking like that any more. Now I am seeking an element of almost recklessness in my work. Almost like I don’t care. Last week I painted the painting below in one sitting lasting 90 minutes. No labor-intensive planning. And I think I like this better than most of the work I have labored over for many years. Linda is in my current oil class and I “thought” about her and her friendly, almost manic personality and then I painted that. Boom, done.
So I am changing the way I work. I knew I would. My commissions will only be head shots from now on… while I practice and practice working in a more deliberate, immediate way. Ideas are churning, models are being booked, workshops are being scheduled. I am trying to be fearless. I am trying to learn from Wyeth. I am trying to follow my keychain… “She believed she could, so she did.”
So no images from Wyeth this week- I didn’t dare put my work and his into the same blog. We will get back to his images next time.
Next Week on May 16th at 7 pm I am painting a live model from life at Sweetwater Center for the Arts as part of their “3rd Thursday” lecture series.
I will paint and talk about interpreting a head from life. Will it be a good likeness? A cool painting? Who knows. I sure don’t, but I believe I can do it so I will attack the fear. And I will happily share what I can about what I do… that’s all I can promise.
I hope you can attend.
WOW Christine! wow! wow! Thank you for sharing all your news and awakening into a “new life” – so powerful and positive as you move forward after (terrifying) age 50! Wishing you the best in everything!
thank you! thank you!
You are so much like me !!! I got divorced at 50 and my life kept changing …i have been in a personal funk though for almost 2 years…with myself and my art ….i need to embrace and feel alive again .just like after the shock of the split and then when i was devoted to working on myself…it was a very healing and healthy time. .you are doing exacly what you need now for you and you have all the resources right there for you …yay ! I hope we meet someday ….
I always love your posts
hooray! A kindred spirit. I started going to yoga and wouldn’t you know it- on the wall was a quote saying we must let go of the life we think we need to live in order to find the life we were meant to live. Best wishes to you and thanks for reaching out! 🙂
Wish Georgia were’t so far away from you! Would love to come to
your 3rd Thursday! Continue to be fearless!
would love to meet ya!
I so love and identify with how you think and what you say. Thank you for sharing. It is hard for me to adapt to the fact that I am 30 years older than you are and still wrestling with the same fears. The joy,i guess, is all in the process. Love what is happening in sawickly. 💗
hi! you are welcome here any time. keep painting!
Dear Christine….I love your blog posts!!
They are so natural sounding, and real. Always something to learn or be inspired by.
I love that quote. It works as a reminder.
I use to always say..”Where there is a will, there’s a way.” I believed it. Somewhere along the way, I lost that belief.
I am often fearful. Probably much of the same thing other artists fear. Guess it is about coping with the fear.
It is difficult when one has never felt confidence in what they do..not only the art, but other things in life.
Having had panic attacks and anxiety…fear can be like a sudden Stop sign in front of your eyes.
You are young at 51, believe me….and you seem to know your best path to follow. Or at least well on the road to finding your best way.
So many changes happen in our life. Some that are very unexpected…and we cannot always be prepared.
I thought at my age (Much older than you.), I would be doing better with my art. But, it is always a constant struggle. I often think..I only have so much time. All my life has been about art even as a little girl. But, I look around and think….good grief is this only as far as I have gotten??!! Not like it is a race before I leave this earth, I know.
I have to be thankful for where I am in the present and keep studying, drawing and painting, and not worry about all the other crazy mixed-up stuff that gets into my head.
Anyway, Thank you for your blogs. The sharing is wonderful and helpful.
Best to you.
thank you for sharing so much. We all feel like that at one point or another. yes, keep studying. let it bring you joy. That is the most important thing it can do for you. hug! ps….you are my new best friend for saying I am young! 🙂
Christine. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself! I also got a tattoo…..Pura Vida… pure life! Lets go girl!
whoo hoo!!! 🙂
I thoroughly enjoy your blogs and posts. It must be that magical birthday of 51. I am in the same spot too, turned 51 in Feb. and am really trying to push myself and get better. Attending your mini workshop last month added another piece to my puzzle. My youngest is graduating this spring from HS and I knew it was time to get more serious about painting and creating to ease the transition to empty nesting. I would like to attend some of the Guild events now that the school year is almost over. I look forward to reading your next blog. Thanks for sharing your insights. I also really enjoy the fact that you post often about Andrew Wyeth. I find him very inspirational as well.
thanks! Yes, please join us for the guild meetings. we have Jeannie McGuire and her contemporary watercolor paintings on Tuesday, the day After Memorial Day this month.
I am so proud of you, Kippy!
🍋 LILY LILY 🍋
thanks my sista!!!!
You sound so delightfully joyful 🙂
I am so happy for you. Be brave in all that you create, it is part of you.
you bet!!!! 🙂
I’ve never had to face the personal traumas that you have had to endure this past year. Myself, I have been very happily married for 51 years. At age 78, you might say each day is a blessing, and it is (for both my wife and me). We don’t feel old, we travel, see the world (we’re not rich, just careful with our money), spend time with family and friends and enjoy life. We are very active. I enjoy painting religious icons and going to icon workshops in the summer. I’m not giving advise to you or anyone, really; I just want to say life is a blessing. Make the best of it.
yes, truly a blessing. 51 years is rare and a true gift. best wishes to you and your wife. 🙂
Christine, You are quite an amazing woman, and all the changes in your life are already propelling you on to wonderful areas of development. I appreciate your inspiration, and hope to attend another of your workshops one of these days.
HI PAt. I would love to work with you again. The only workshop I have this year is on July 25-27th. Intense study of light on still lifes the first day and then how it applies to the figure and portraiture the next 2 days. If you can make it I would love to have you aboard!