Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Ho Hum...

Ever get that feeling that if you keep pushing through the jumble of drawings that just aren't exciting and inspiring to you, that you'll finally hit on something that reminds you of why you started in the first place? I'm seeing sparks of things, but I'm not quite where I want to be.

Outside of the projects I'm hired to do, I've been working hard on my own, struggling to find some sort of solid voice that is mine. I guess I'll keep plugging away. My thought is that if I can narrow down my work to one or two styles, then I can get so comfortable with that style I'll only have to worry about the emotion and content in a drawing instead of all my energy going into the execution/draftsmanship of a drawing. If I could get it down to where it turns into pure poetry with even the simplest of spot illustrations, I would be a very happy artist. Now if I could just get my mind to agree instead of flitting all over the place. Ha.

Yet another library fee that sucked the wind out of my lungs, recently--ouch. I'm going to put a giant piece of paper in my studio with current library book due dates written in thick red marker. I'm all for contributing to the Library system but my goodness.


Laura said...

Hi, very interesting question, I think about this very often too. I'm nearly convinced of suffering a kind of artistic schizophrenia. When I try to imagine a way of representing something I can see it in many different styles, and the things I finally put on paper look like the work of different people. The same for colours. I dream of bright oranges and lime greens and then fill a spread with dusty grays and sepias... And the artists I admire, they have nothing to do with each other in style. I don't know if it is a matter of personality or a phase in your creative development. But I try to think about it as something positive, that keeps your brain moving, even if it is annoying when trying to put together a portfolio or material for an exhibition, you know, those situations where you are supposed to be consistent so other people know who you are and what you do. In any case, I'm sure that even the artist with the most clearly defined style felt something like this inside. Or think about Picasso who reinvented himself so many times. Isn't that great? Maybe the important thing is to feel that what you do today is really 'you', no matter if tomorrow you'll be another one.

And the image in the previous post is brilliant, congratulations.

Alicia PadrĂ³n said...

I think what you are going through Paige might be due to the fact that you have talent.
What I see is this. You can work different styles and work them really well. In my opinion you are one of those few artist who has the advantage of being able to HAVE several styles.

Of course you could always work and practice and finally decide which is the style that you will like to keep, and just have a signature style. But you can also work on having several styles and honestly, I think that choice could make you happier. Your hand is already telling you to go that way. Why not listen to it?

I think the key is not to develop x number of styles but to know when to use a particular one over the other.

Instead of trying to come up with "pen and ink style" and "watercolor with outline style" etc.. I would try to come up with "witty style", "style for little ones" or even "sensitive style" that way depending on the text you are working for you will know which one will fit best. You know what I mean?

For example, the illustration of the kid below, Dad's boots (I really love that one btw! :o)) to me is really sensitive. You can develop a whole style around that piece and use it when you think is appropriate.

I think we all go through these kind of questions and struggle with similar things on our careers. You are so talented Paige and such a hard worker too, I am sure you'll get wherever it is that you want to get. :o)

lil kim said...

Hi Paige,

I look at your work and I instantly think (first of all) how amazing it is, and then also how it is all very YOU. I think no matter what style you are trying it is always going to come from your hand and be distinctive. (Even the post where you showed all of your hard work imitating other artists - all still very you.)

It is a struggle for all artists to "find their voice" - the eternal quest I think! And a very elusive one because I think your voice is always changing, evolving. What you wanted to say or express 5 years ago is very different to what you want to say now, or in another 5 years.

We can usually see where we want to be.. then once we get there we want to be somewhere else again. But I think that's good. Evolution is good, otherwise your art gets stagnant. It's a hard thing to accept though that you're never going to be 100% happy with what you're doing!! But that's what makes a great artist, like you, always striving for more...

Do keep it up though Paige, you are truly inspiring to all of us! Big hugs xoxoxo

ps. loooove these last illos of yours - the talent show is a beauty!

roz said...

Embrace who you are, Paige. I think you would be bored if you didn't explore and play with different techniques. And like everyone has said, they ultimately still look like you no matter what. They all have your essence and charm.
This is your process.
I have the opposite problem. I bind myself with rules and have a very hard time allowing myself to try different things and have to push myself to do so. xo

Jessie Lilac said...

This has opened up a really interesting discussion, thanks Paige :). From another person's point of view, all your work has the look of your hand about it. I know when it's your own work it's impossible to be objective but you really shouldn't worry about having different styles - you don't. All your pictures are yours; sweet, charming, sometimes funny, colourful and fluid and always engaging. Stop worrying! :)

Ginger*:) said...

I had at one time too many Library book "very overdues" and then I started working in a used book store. Now my fees are limted to the fifty cent to 2 dollar purchases I make and the huge bag full of picture books and reference material I drag home on Fridays. The beauty is that if they won't fit in the bookshelf and I want to recycle them I can donate them back to the library who will place them into the used bookstore...etc etc and round and round.
HOWEVER.. I love our library and spend a lot of time with their books as well as the newest ones in our little bookstore where you can also sit and read. Oh, and then there's the used books on AMAZON .com. for .01 I got a book I loved as a child and the shipping came free with my amazonprime membership.

Sorry this got so long..... ( just a little longer..okay?)
about style and that never ending search It is like rearranging the furniture in your house or studio.. you always search for the perfect fit or arrangement and just when you think you have it.... something nags at you to change it. I think style is like that too, and it can be a good thing. You definitely have a wonderful style and I am always excited to see what you will do next. If I were you I would just keep on keeping on..your work is astounding!

Paige Keiser said...

Hi Laura--artistic schizophrenia! That's perfect, I couldn't have described it better myself. Thanks for your thoughts on this, it's nice to know I'm not the only one. I guess finding your voice as an artist is pretty much universal. I've been yearning to narrow down my style for years now, and somehow that never happens. There's the question of should I momentarily force myself too no matter what, just to see the results, or go with the flow of how my mind wants to stay. But somehow I'm just not happy with having so many styles. To put it mildly, having so many stresses me out - a story gets offered, and it's sleepless night after night figuring out which style would serve the story best. It's draining. Time can only tell, but we shall see. Thanks for the comment on the Talent Show post. I'm not sure I like it a whole lot and almost didn't post it, but since others seem to like it I guess it has something going for it.:)

Alicia--Thank you:0) Maybe you're right about letting things go as they are? But again I have the situation I described above that drives me crazy. And to be honest I don't feel I do several styles well. I can pull something out of the hat here and there, but it's a huge struggle. You should see the hideous stuff that doesn't get posted lol.

Hi Lil Kim thanks very much for your kind words on my work. You are so right about art becoming stagnant. I definitely don't want that and hope to always struggle - because without it there's no growth as an artist--and that's pretty boring both for the artist and the viewer! So you're telling me I'll never be one hundred percent happy? Never? Haha I agree.

Hi Rozzie! Yes the ever frightening feeling of boredom while working on a drawing. That truly is the worst. I'm hoping I can pull this off without getting bored. And if I DO start to get bored, I'll be right back to my multi-style style. Now, can we trade problems? Yours is equally difficult but I'd love to have a different one for a while lol.

Thanks Jessie! But worrying is my second profession lol. I'll give this one or two style thing a try, and if it doesn't work I'll go back. Nothing ventured nothing gained, right?

Paige Keiser said...

Sorry in advance for the lack of punctuation on my comment about lol. I can't go back and edit it apparently --ack!