A Patchwork Fall

A Patchwork Fall
"A work of art which did not begin in emotion is not art." ~Paul Cezanne~

June 28, 2019


Do you know how to ride a bike? Did you ever have to pick yourself up, dust off your bruised and bloodied knees and try again? I still have gravel in my knees from many a crash in my youth. But, it is also a badge of honor! Proof that the effort I made to learn and improve paid off! And, now that I have the skill, I will never forget, no matter how long it’s been since I got on a bike.

Learning to ride a bike is a good metaphor for our art pursuits. Being an artist requires tenacity. It requires dusting ourselves off and trying again. It sometimes even requires my blood, sweat, and tears (literally)! But, over the years, I have learned not to take rejection too personally (although it still stings), and I have persevered - and this is something all artists must do! 

In 2003, when I joined the Utah Watercolor Society (UWS), I was anxious to “get going” with my art. I had no idea how competitive the art world was! I made slides of all my best pieces of artwork. I set up a studio corner in the dining room of my new house. I entered all the shows UWS offered (as well as several others across the country). I applied to all the art festivals I could find. I sent out envelope after envelope of slides full of my work. And, in return, I received envelope after envelope of rejection letters. For years!  

It took me two years to be accepted into my first UWS exhibition. YEARS! Two years after that to get into a Spring Exhibition (that counted towards my Signature membership). A significant amount of time after that before I got accepted to another UWS exhibition. Eventually, sporadically, I would get accepted to an exhibition here and there, both UWS and others. I made it my goal to work for UWS Signature Membership. It took me fourteen years to achieve it!  (Granted, there were a few years there where I wasn't trying - as I took time off for life events like marriage and babies...)

Self doubt, self criticism, and worry are common for us as artists. Continued rejection letters can either spur an artist on to continue to improve and continue to try or…to give up. Some artists are so afraid of rejection that they are afraid to try! Our egos are fragile. But what will you achieve if you don't try?

Wayne Gretzky (one of the greatest hockey players of all time) famously said, "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take." It's true in hockey, it's true in life, and it's true in art! I encourage you to try, and then keep trying!

Whenever the doubt starts to creep in, you can remember Wayne Gretzky...and you can think of Stephen King. (What?!) Yes, Stephen King! 

King is one of the most successful and prolific writers of our time. And yet…Stephen King started collecting rejection letters at an early age. He put them on a nail on the wall. By the time he was 14 years old, he had accumulated so many rejection letters, he had to replace the nail with a spike. Right before he published his first book, Carrie, he had decided to quit. His wife fished the manuscript out of the trash and encouraged him to keep trying. What if he had given up…right before the novel that turned the tide in his career? What if he hadn’t continued to write, to learn, to improve his skills…spurred on by each rejection letter? Whenever the doubts come, and as all the rejections continue to pile up, I remember Stephen King, and I persevere.

Sure, it still stings when a painting I love is declined for an exhibition, or when an art festival I have applied to does not accept me, or when a gallery does not want to represent my work. But, only for a minute. Then I bandage my bruised ego, I go back to my studio, and I keep trying. Like riding a bike, my balance gets better every time, my skill improves with practice, and I can go faster and farther the more I practice!

As always, thanks for stopping by my blog. :) 

June 12, 2019

New Studio and KonMari

Roses, Peonies, Iris

Summer is here! We had a wet, wet, wet spring (an unusual amount of rain for Utah). But, thanks to all that water, I have some beautiful flowers in my yard.

This year has also been my personal project push to finish the KonMari tidying and decluttering method to my home. I started KonMari in 2015 (long before the Netflix special)...but, I paused in the middle due to life commitments. (I accepted the nomination to V.P of the Utah Watercolor Society 2016-2017, then President 2017-2018, then Past President 2018-2019). 

With the 2019 UWS year closing out at the end of May, I decided I would push through to finish the tidying event in my home that had been on hiatus since 2016. I know, I know...that's not what the book says to do. "Tidy all at once, quickly, in one go." But, life happens!

So January 2019 came, and I said to my husband "We're going to get this done!" and we jumped back in to the Komono (miscellaneous) categories and just kept pushing through a little at a time, culminating in a huge yard sale this past weekend, and then two van loads full of donation items to the local Deseret Industries donation center after the yard sale was over Saturday.

Yard Sale

First van load headed to donation center

Admittedly, I have been a bit of a vegetable since Saturday after we got all the leftover stuff loaded up and hauled away and put away the tables, etc. But...there is light at the end of the tunnel now! My miscellaneous categories are done, and all I have left are Sentimental items and I will have finished my KonMari event. In the meantime, my house is so much less cluttered now and I can start envisioning a home for everything and everything in its home. (Like that's going to happen with two kids in the household! Ha Ha!). But seriously, my kitchen cupboards are awesome and I can walk through the basement without feeling like I am in a labyrinth!

During these past two months, we have also been moving my art studio from an upstairs bedroom that has been serving as studio/office to a downstairs room that will be a fully dedicated studio. I am so excited about this!! The combination studio/office space served mostly functionally for me for a couple of years, but I found that my painting and work surfaces always got overrun with "office" things (mail to be sorted, items that needed to be put away, etc.). Every time I wanted to paint, I would have to spend 20-30 minutes just clearing the space so I could work. No more! Now, my studio is dedicated space and there will be no filing encroaching on my work surfaces. Woot! My new studio room also has great natural light with a North facing window and an East facing window (not as good as the North and West that were in the upstairs room, but a close second) plus it is a larger room. 

My new studio used to be what we called the "junk room." It was the place where all things were stashed when we didn't know where to put it. Maybe, if our house were Hogwarts, it would be the Room of Requirement! Does your house have a room like this? 

"Junk Room" BEFORE
We actually did start our KonMari miscellaneous categories in 2016 and this room was one that we treated as a category unto itself because there were so many different things in here! My friend and her husband even came over for a few hours one Saturday to help me sort through things and move furniture around...and we made great headway in clearing out the room to be functional as a storage area, but there were still several items that were boxed up that needed to be joy checked later.

"Junk Room" AFTER (from junk room to storage room)

Preparing the storage room to become studio

All of the studio furniture is now moved down to the new studio and it is functional, though I still need to find a home for a few things that are boxed up on the floor. But, I have already created a small painting for the Utah Watercolor Society Small Works Exhibition that is coming up in July ("My Summer Rose" pictured below).
Work table

Stacking files & light table

"My Summer Rose" - watercolor - ©Jennifer Love

We are also moving the office downstairs (though NOT into my studio!) and my oldest son will be moving into the upstairs bedroom so each boy can have their own room. No more blaming the messy room on the other child! 

As I now have a functional studio again, and now that I am at the end of my KonMari decluttering journey, I will be able to get back into the schedule of painting regularly this summer and hope to be posting many new paintings and blog posts for you along the way!  

As always, thanks for stopping by my blog!