Daily Prompt: Express Yourself! by Krista on April 5, 2014 Do you love to dance, sing, write, sculpt, paint, or debate? What’s your favorite way to express yourself, creatively?
Only non artists “express themselves.” Artists do what they cannot help doing and no amount of pressure from inside or outside will stop them. In a sense, I now feel there’s nothing LESS relevant than self-expression. Anything we do will express who we are, and in ways we probably don’t even understand. This painting, for example, of cornflowers. I seriously set out ONLY to paint cornflowers, still, they couldn’t have been painted this way by anyone else.
I sold it last week from my former Etsy store. It’s painted on a panel that sits on a box. It’s all very elegant wood, well finished. It’s an expensive painting surface. It is not meant to be framed. My listing described this, but I had only one photo of the painting and it did not show the back. The woman who bought it received it and immediately sent me an angry and actually abusive string of emails complaining about the “frame” and calling it “crap” describing it as “horrendous” and accusing me of sending her not the REAL painting but my “training.” I did the only thing I could; I told her to send back the painting and told her that once I received it, I’d refund everything. I haven’t heard from her since, but like a parent, I worry about what she might do to my work. B**** I then closed my Etsy Store, but not before (temporarily) posting this as my banner after I removed all my work. Etsy schmetsy.
I started my adult life (college) as an art major. The thing is, my mom strenuously disapproved of this and made sure it didn’t happen. I majored in English because, in my family, well, here’s the story.
Abstract Expressionism Christmas 1981. Denver, snow on the ground. Clear, still, silent, star-lit. Kirk and I take a walk after dinner. My brother is an artist living in the moment of grand opportunities. A visit to his apartment in Colorado Springs requires painting animation cells for a feature length fully animated film, Leafy Wanders in Space, Leafy being my brother’s two-dimensional alter ego. This year, his wife and daughter are having Christmas dinner at his mother-in-law’s house. His father-in-law hates him and once went after him with a shotgun, so Kirk is with my mom and me.
I’m a visual artist, too, something I was never supposed to bring up, acknowledge, admit to, or otherwise claim as an aspect of my identity. It is OK if I write, but if pencil hits paper and drags behind it a line that does not turn into a word, I have overstepped my boundaries. One summer afternoon my grandmother Kennedy upset everyone by proclaiming, “Martha Ann is the REAL artist in the family!”
Artistic vision is highly individual, but still artists can be competitive, and my brother is even though our work is completely different. He is primarily a cartoonist; his other work is illustration. He loves book illustrations of the ’30’s, the work of Howard Pyle and Disney’s cell animation. He believes in studying anatomy in order to draw the human figure then carefully rendering the proportions with a pencil or crow-quill pen on Bristol board. I believe in grabbing a conté crayon, looking directly at naked people and capturing the life behind the flesh in gleefully drawn gesture drawings on rough newsprint.
Earlier that year — much to his horror — I had a one man show of my paintings, mostly gouache on paper, flat paint, flat surfaces; figure paintings of headless bodies. I sold two before the show opened and more at the show bringing in a few thousand bucks. I thought that was pretty good for a one shot deal. It was more than I’d made from writing. “The thing is, you’re an abstract expressionist,” he says suddenly. I do not know what that is. Anyway, I had moved from painting to linoleum cuts. I didn’t have very good tools, but I use what I have and have a lot of fun. I am about to have more fun because, in the next few days, I will get better tools and my brother will teach me how to sharpen them. He smokes a pipe; it keeps his hand warm inside his coat pocket. His hair is short and curled; he is clean-shaven, lean and very handsome. He is my best friend.
The snow crunches as we walk. I talk to him about art and everything I am thinking. It was during those days that I got the idea that art and god were some how entwined. We laugh. “Well, Martha Ann,” he says, “if you’re looking for God, you need to play Black Sabbath backward at 78. And you need to get some emery paper, honey.” Hilarious and deeply profound. The search for god has always involved arcane and absurd ritual (like listening to Black Sabbath backward at 78) and the sharpening of tools, the perfecting of craft. Well, there it was.
Ironically (or is it?) I have made all of $150 from my writing. I’ve made several thousand from my painting and my work has been in several juried shows. Still and all, none of this (thank you mom!) has been done “for” money. The best thing she ever did was abuse me out of following my dream. Sometimes having a dream is more necessary to life, to survival, than living the dream. And at this point in my life, understanding that self-expression is inevitable, I try to express more than just myself. After all, part of my SELF is my relation to the world. Any real art is a journey beyond the self into a larger world. I’ve learned this in both my writing and my painting. It might be Ariadne’s thread.
- Freedom in a pen | MC’s Whispers
- YouTube Clips: Daily Prompt | ALIEN AURA’S BLOG: IT’LL BLOW YOUR MIND!
- Jamming | Knowledge Addiction
- Daily Prompt: Express Yourself! | The WordPress C(h)ronicle
- The Match (Part 5) 40 Acres | The Jittery Goat
- Singing All The Way | Knowledge Addiction
- DP Daily Prompt: Express Yourself! | Sabethville
- Write to Heal | From Hiding to Blogging
- Xi’an, the Place with Enriched Stories | From Hiding to Blogging
- Taipei – a Mesmerizing City | From Hiding to Blogging
- Broken Dreams? | Tale of Two Tomatoes
- Daily prompt – Express yourself! | myjourneyeveryday
- Daily Prompt: Express Yourself! | benjaminsolak
- Bed Talks | Views Splash!
- The Creator God and His Gift to Us | meanderedwanderings
- Express Yourself | Dragon Droppings
- Express Yourself | Lisa’s Kansa Muse
- Daily Prompt: Express Yourself-Is it Children’s Obligation to Take Care of Their Parents? | Journeyman
- I teach! | Purplesus’ Blog
- Quadruple Threat [Intimate Sessions] | She Writes
- [M.M.X.I.V. 95] The dancing feet | Never A Worry
- Daily Prompt: Express Yourself! | tnkerr-Writing Prompts and Practice
- Building Blocks of a Project | Photography Journal Blog
- More than an Expression…an Extension of Me | snapshotsofawanderingheart
- E Is For Expressing Yourself | My Little Avalon
- My Games… | from dusk to dawn….
- Creativity in pranks, viruses and retaliation: This week’s weird and wacky news « psychologistmimi
- Reach High | Flowers and Breezes
- Freedom In Expression | Coffee With Jesus
- Daily Prompt: Express Yourself! | seikaiha’s blah-blah-blah
- DAILY PROMPT: Express Yourself | Melissa Holden
- My dog doesn’t see the point of leg weaves |
- 8 things I have to say about debate | Never Stationary
- A Small Guest With a Box of Sweets | wisskko’s blog
- Daily Prompt: Express Yourself! | thechangingpalette
- Daily Prompt: Express Yourself! | I Just Like Doing Them | Shawn Daily
- Daily Prompt: Express Yourself | Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss
- Sunset Over India | Broken Light: A Photography Collective
- Daily Prompt Express Yourself : Joy | Angela McCauley
- Please Don’t Call Me A Writer
- Daily Prompt: Express Yourself | Words4jp’s Blog
- Therapy | In the Present
- Daily Prompt: Express Yourself | That Montreal Girl
- Daily Prompt: Express yourself | A cup of noodle soup
- Express Yourself | Kimmiecode
- Daily prompt: Express yourself! | Go, See, Live
- Express Yourself | The Land Slide Photography
- you keep me at varying | y
- No Such Thing as Self-Expression | Author Laura Lee
- Comin’ Through the Rye | Speculative Paradigm Shifts