My journey is digressing a little from its usual path. I’ve been asking people for their opinions on my art. Up until now, I staunchly refused to hear anyone else’s thoughts on my work. My fear was that I’d stop creating to please me and start creating to please someone else. I think it’s a fair concern. I do get swayed by the opinions of others and that does influence my art. My journey, however, is showing me that there can be a fun, playful, raw, and honest interchange between the art maker and the audience that is enriching for all involved.
I’ve started asking my husband what he thinks about my work. I felt vulnerable at first. I still do, to an extent. I’m learning that this is a good thing. I used to hold back on sharing this important part of me with Craig. I kept it to myself. Now, he knows me more deeply and I have welcomed him into my private, creative world. I was withholding from him, and myself, an opportunity to share part of my identity: something pivotal about me. Now, Craig’s feedback is part of my creative process, and that’s a really good thing.
Craig is no art critic. In fact, he’s careful not to push his opinions. I’ll learn what he notices when I ask him to comment on a piece. He might talk about how he might do something differently. He does it gently. I’ve found a safe person to welcome into my private world. Also, Craig’s feedback is thoughtful, provocative, and damn good. I may not do exactly what he suggests. Sometimes, I ignore him all together. Most of the time, he gives me something that pushes my work more towards where I’d like it to be. It’s not a question of right or wrong. His advice could work terribly for someone else. It could work even better for another than it does for me. We all need to find our safe places to share, learn, and grow. I’m glad I’ve invited Craig to join me on my art making journey.
The collage, below, was posted on social media. With the only difference being the placement of the orange and green embellishments over the swirls, I asked people if they liked the top of bottom better. Swirls or no swirls? Most liked it without the inclusion of the orange and green objects. People preferred seeing the swirls: not having them covered up. Many weighed in with their thoughts. It was fun, non-judgmental, and informative.
What I’m learning, on this journey of creating and asking, is that I’ve been hiding my art. Even in publishing my work, I’ve reluctantly shared. I’ve written whole books about my art and then tucked them away from most. I’m now discovering that art is made to be seen. I do fear that others will think I am self-aggrandizing, but I’m coming to see that this is not right thinking. Imagine if all artists hid their work so others wouldn’t think they were self-promoting. What a waste. The creative journey is meant to be seen. Everyone is part of the process. Art is much about the exchange between the creator and the responder. I’m ready to more bravely share my journey on canvas. Tell me: Swirls or No Swirls?