The Laws of Nature

Friday, October 30, 2009

Sheer Guts and Determination


One of the many things I truly love about artists is their openess. Let's face it: sometimes it's psychologically tough to put your work on exhibition. After all, it's a reflection of your internal self. More often than not, we artists experience rejection and indifference (even worse!). BUT - there are those golden moments when someone really "gets it", when the painting is juried into a major exhibition, wins an award, when we get a show, or even included in books. Sure, the external validation is an important motivator, but self-satisfaction with the work is more important. I say all this in light of the fact that some artists have a harder time of it than others and we need to keep things in perspective. For instance, Louise Nevelson - one of the greatest sculptors of our time. After decades of rejection marked by bouts of serious depression and near starvation, she was finally given an exhibition - the 1941 Nierendorf exhibition. What a triumph! That is ... until the reviews came out. Here's the review: "We learned the artist is a woman, in time to check our enthusiasm. Had it been otherwise, we might have hailed these sculptural expressions as by surely a great figure among artists." What a blow! But, she kept trying and through sheer guts and determination she succeeded. Of course, it takes more than guts and determination to be a successful artist. One also must skillfully execute a unique and meaningful work of art. However, if we engage in self pity, or even quit, we'll never "make it." I've read many blogs or heard from artists who hit a wall, who get discouraged. Think about what Nevelson had to endure and keep going! I'm rooting for you :)

11 comments:

Vicki Greene said...

Your "All Cracked Up" series is amazing. I have really enjoyed scrolling through your blog and seeing them.

Kathy said...

Thanks so much Vicki! I enjoy your blog as well.

-Don said...

As rewarding as the accolades that you mention can be, the most rewarding moment for me is when I'm sitting there with my work and see someone come into the room, glance over at my paintings, suddenly see something that catches their eyes, immediately move towards that painting with their mouth open, and then just stand there and stare. That's when I know I did something right. Not a word has been spoken or written in that moment, but the best compliment I'll ever receive has just been passed my way. -Don

Mary Paquet said...

Kathy, thanks for the historic insights that you bring to your blog friends. Tis hard to imagine a reviewer actually saying those words about Nevelsen. Today the reviewer would only think it and give a lukewarm review -- not sure that's an improvement!

Youur "All Cracked Up" series continues to intrigue me. Amazingly creative.

Sheila said...

I haven't had any jaw dropping incidents with my paintings but that a goal I can work for now.

hwfarber said...

I just found your blog and read a lot of your entries. Wow! Fibonacci, DeKooning, and the quote about Nevelson's work. (I read that story in Art in America, I think. I cut out the quote and tacked it on my bathroom wall.)

Love your paintings and writing.

-Don said...

To Sheila... You will.

Kathy said...

Don - what a beautiful way to state the most important accolade of all to an artist! Thank you.

Hi Mary - you're so right!! Thanks for contributing to this discussion and the kind words about my work.

Sheila - stick with it. You'll get there!

HW - thanks for joining us! Yes, I think that quote caught a lot of attention. Who could forget it???

Carolynn McDade said...

I love your egg work! It's so unique and fresh! I found your artwork yesterday. I just love it!

Thank you for visiting my blog, also! I had fun painting johnny depp - more to come (he's a great subject).

thank you for sharing your wonderful artwork! ~~carolynn

Tonya Vollertsen said...

Hi Kathy, I find your cracked up series to be eggceptional! LOL! (okay, that was bad) Seriously, your work is interesting and inspiring and the information on your blog is worth coming back for. Thanks!

Kathy said...

HI Carolyn, and thanks for joining my blog discussion. Would love to hear more of your thoughts.

Hi Tonya - Funny! Yes, for me these paintings are an eggsistential eggsperiment in the eggsageration of reality by imparting eggseptional luminosity to ordinary eggs. I'm eggsited by your interest in them! :)