What You'll Find Here

I post daily (photos of my journal pages, things that inspire me and personal bits and pieces) to inspire and encourage others. I have always believed that if I can do it, so can you.

You'll find resources (my favorite supplies, books, slideshows of my art journal pages, favorite bloggers, etc...) listed along the right hand side of my blog.

I've been teaching both in person and online workshops for almost twenty years now. You can find out more about my classes by scrolling down along the right hand side of my blog. I strive to make classes accessible to everyone (both beginner to advanced).

I love teaching and truly believe that deep down inside everyone is an artist, capable of creating something. There is power and knowledge in the act of creating something with your own hands, made from your own heart and head.

If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at EGorey99@sbcglobal.net

Thanks for stopping by!

-Kelly

Friday, March 26, 2010

8 March 2010 journal page and Musings on doing the WORK in art

Some Blog Love-
One Artist Journal
Made By Girl

My friend Tracey is selling some goodies here. She's trying to raise some funds to take a workshop :) (I love Tracey. She gets uber super excited about taking classes so this will help to put a big smile on her face.)

*****
I've been mulling over a subject that seems to keep coming up lately. I have to talk about it, or else I'm going to go crazy!

Let's say, "Billie" wants to be an artist. Billie sees amazing art online, in books and magazines and thinks "I want to do that, too." So, Billie goes out and buys art supplies. Billie takes the art supplies home and plays around with them a bit, but gets discouraged after a few attempts and thinks that things aren't "working". So, Billie decides that she needs to take an art class. Billie takes the class, but Billie doesn't like everything that she did in class. She's still new to the art. She doesn't understand why her work doesn't look exactly like what she sees in the books and magazines. Why? So, Billie beats herself up over it and puts away her art supplies and decides that she's not an artist and that she can't do it.

What's wrong with this story? Why did Billie "fail"? Was it because she gave up? No, though, that's part of it. It was because she didn't realize that she needs to do the WORK in order to make it work. Billie didn't realize that she has to learn technique. Billie didn't realize that she needs to learn what works and what doesn't in order to make it work. Billie was overwhelmed with all of the pretty pretty out there and didn't realize that in order to succeed as an artist, she also has to fail some times.

I've noticed that a lot lately. People compare their work to this person or that person. People take a class or learn something and immediately want to master it. They don't realize that, just like with everything else in life, things take time and they take hard work and dedication. How do you succeed as an artist? You WORK. You learn everything you possibly can learn. You take the techniques and ideas and you make them your own! You do the WORK required. You make good pages and you make crappy pages. You make pages you love and pages you hate. That's the beauty of working in a journal. You can go back and see how you've changed over time. You can go back and see what works and what doesn't work. You can see what you like and what you don't like. This is why I'm a huge advocate of working in a journal and leaving everything IN the journal and not ripping things out.

So, don't put down your paint brushes. Don't throw away your glue sticks. Don't give up. Do the work. Do some more work. Push and prod. Keep at it. Do messy pages you hate. Finish the page and turn it, move onto another page. Don't look back. Look forward. When you finish a few pages or the book, then go back and assess what you like and what you don't like. Stay positive.

You can do it. If I can do it, you can, too. Just remember, it takes hard work and a lot of effort, just like everything else, to be an artist.

23 comments:

Tracee said...

This must have really been on your mind to post it at 4am. You just MUST be talking about me. I tend to give up...but I leave my supplies there and I go back and try again...searching for my own style.

donna!ee said...

know that you are greatly appreciated & supported...what you offer to this artsy fartsy newbie is immeasurable, thank you much! ;)

Terri Kahrs said...

Awesome post, and Ohhhh so true! Practicing technique and hard work are the keys to becoming a better artist. They also help you appreciate other artists' art too. Hugs, Terri

Dawn D. Sokol said...

WELL SAID, Kelly! I went through that kind of thing, too. I finally realized it takes time and I just needed to learn techniques and play in my journal as much as possible. And I LOVE many other journal artists' work, but why would I want mine to look just like theirs? You should be OK with art that looks like your art because its YOURS. It should be unique like you! If you don't like your art, that's OK! You will eventually!

Sandy said...

Love your page and agree with your musings.

I also think that people should juat make their art and stop caring what others think or if their art looks like anyone else's. It's not about that. It should be about expression and about getting things out on paper that you feel. Or at least that's the way I interpret it to be.


Sorry this is frustrating you, it would frustrate me too and so glad you got it out.

Raine said...

Thanks, Kelly! I guess you just have to keep reminding me. I'm a little thick sometimes. Why do I keep making the same mistake...NOT doing the WORK?!?!?!?! My skull is very thick...and I have the X-rays to prove it! I haven't done much art this year. APAD really kicked my ass in gear last year. But I should be motivating MYSELF after relying on YOU for a year. Not YOUR fault...totally MINE! I own that. But I must say that what I HAVE done this year I really like. My little collages are a blast and I really enjoy working on them. Some I haven't even journaled on...I just like the collage as it is. In fact, on most of the ones that I have journaled on, I didn't use your prompts, I let the collages suggest what to write about. Other times I knew what I wanted to write about and collaged with that in mind.
So...I guess I AM doing SOME work! I just need to be more dedicated and do MORE.
Thanks again. You are a great mentor and friend.
Lots of Love and Hugs.

crimsoncat05 said...

thanks for this post! as a "somewhat-reformed" perfectionist, it's always good to be reminded of the fact that art and creativity is as much about the process as it is about the final product. Another thing I have to remember when looking at books and magazines is that trying to copy someone else's look or style may also lead to dissatisfaction-- working in someone else's style is sort of uncomfortable for me, like wearing shoes that are too big, if you know what I mean-- it just doesn't feel right. I have to figure out what my OWN style is (still working on that, too!), and go from there.

M said...

Amen sister! When I started to work with collage about 8 years ago, my work STUNK.Even with a masters in studio art and 8 years of teaching art, I had a lot of learning to do. My experience was mostly in textiles, fashion and sculpture so i really needed to learn 2-D all over again.
I'm reading a good book called Art and Fear(9). I recommend it highly.
Marissa

oneartistjournal said...

First off dear Kelly, love the blog love...thank you for being so good to me.
AND!!! LOVE what you wrote about all the Billies out there....WORK, WORK, WORK...no ADD, no search for quick fixes, instant gratification. This phenomenon blows my mind...'Wanting to be good NOWWWW! I so agree with you. I've been doing this for a million years now (give or take ) and I am still learning and will forever learn, till the end of days.
LOVE that post...You are so good and real, I love that. Did I use the word love a bit too much? well, I mean it.
XOXOrly

Lisa H said...

"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like WORK."
Thomas Edison

High five for your enlightening post!

Commuter's Journal said...

I love what you said here, Kelly, and I agree. I have this problem with my writing students and have started to tell new classes that if they are there just to have fun, they need to do something else. Mastering craft always takes work.

I personally believe that art is never about the results and always about the process. If you learn to love the process, you will always make art. If you are trying to create a product, even if you master that product you will go no further.

Thanks for sharing your excellent insight, Kelly, and throwing open the discussion.

-- JeriAnn

Desert Mermaid said...

the work is the fun part, anyway -- making messes, puttering & putzing, paint up the nose & under the cat's pawlets, exploding glue bottles & AHA moments forever giving me the goosebumps! I'll take all of that over 'product' (outcome) any day. Hugs to you, Miz Inspiration!

Toni Brown

melle said...

"think about this a lot lately,"

hehe actually it seems to be on your mind more than just lately!

It IS bothersome though. In high school the most common annoying comment I would get was "ugh, I can only draw STICKMEN!"

And my reply was always "What hate do you got for stickmen???"

People beat themselves up to feel self pity, which is fine, whatever; they can feel as miserable as they want. But they don't realize that it's kind of insulting to people who spent an awful lot of time developing. People might be trying to say "I wish I was as skilled as you", but what actually comes out is "everything comes easy for you." And that's just not very nice.

PaperPumpkin said...

Here here, Kelly! This is what makes a good student at ANYTHING! I have to teach this perseverance to students in my classroom each and every day...and I have to follow this path everyday in my own life. We all do. It would be a shame if kids grew up thinking that everything comes fast or not at all. Effort.

Deb's Artful Journey said...

This is so true. We have this belief that some people are just talented as artists... that it comes easy to them. So if it doesnt come easily to us then we must not be artists. What we dont realize is that we have to work and fail and keep at it... like anything else.

Your son is fortunate because he will learn this lesson no matter what he wants to be as an adult.

Keep reminding us please! :D

Artzy Diva said...

You said it lady! It takes a lot of work.

Paula said...

Clapping here! I have learned so much from so many talented men and women. I hope I'm smart enough to realize that I should never stop learning. It's amazing for me to look back...some stuff I loved, I cringe. Sometimes i wonder what in the world I was thinking! I just wish that more of us would share the crappy pages we do...nothing like a visual to show people that all of us mess up...big time! The sharing of only pretty pages builds up some false expectations, I think, When we only see the good ones, it makes us wonder why we can't just produce them. It looks so natural...it doesn't look like work. I hope I'm making sense.

Kelly Kilmer said...

You guys have all said it! :)

Paula, that's EXACTLY the reason why I post my pages-ALL OF THEM. I don't like all of them, but they've all "said" what I needed them to say and I've moved on from them. :D I post my pages not to say "see what I did?" but so that you can see that you can make art about anything and that not all of the pages are something I'd hang on a wall-lol!!! BUT I am very happy with my pages in the sense that they are REAL. They are honest and they say/show what I need them to say! :)

Jeane Frizzell said...

Great post Kelly, I love when my kids at school are working on a project and say, "This is hard." I love to say, "Math is hard to but it makes your brain grow." Watching the light bulb go off in their head that art is not easy is the best!

jane eileen said...

Jeane's mom said...
4 am :)
Love this page.
I should have said this at least a hundred times before,but thanks for always hooking us up with such cool blogs you have found!
See you soon!

Carin said...

Love this post! And completely agree with it. As a beginner to art journalling, who talked about starting art journalling on her blog, I made a conscious decison from the start to show the good, the bad and the ugly (although I try not to class pages as good or bad or even ugly) because when you look at Flickr for example it is so easy to believe that everyone starts off great and just get better.

Seth said...

A great discussion Kelly. Thanks for that. And thanks for all the links in your recent posts. Tremendous.

sharon said...

great post kelly! something else about doing the work, putting paint on the page, whatever. it's only through doing the rigorous, day-in day-out slogging (sometimes dancing)through the WORK do we learn, not only technique, but who WE ARE as an artist. maybe another way of saying, "take the technique and make it your own." but more. only by doing the work do we find your our voice as an artist.

it's kinda like this...i like michael demeng's work, and i could produce assemblage in the style of demeng, but i won't, because i'm a minimalist. i don't like to produce cluttered, busy art; it's just not me. i like to make clean lines and a clear statement with as few distractions as possible in the piece. both styles have artistic value, but i would never have found MY STYLE if i hadn't done the WORK. does that make sense?