I got an email from a BFA student in Washington this morning. She asked me to answer some questions, and I got pretty into it, so I thought I would share.
1. How has your work changed since you were an undergraduate student?
When I turned 30 last year I did a self portrait. I had done one in school when I was about 20, so I thought it would be fun to do a meaningful self portrait every 10 years. In comparing the two pieces, my technique has improved immensely, my painting has become so much more refined. But, my style and my ideas are so similar. That was a fun discovery, I was and am still so me. My ideas change as my life changes, with kids and responsibilities etc., but my approach to resolve, express, and share my thoughts and feelings remains the same.
2. Have you ever been in a “slump“? If so, how did you pull yourself out of it?
Hmm.. it's been a while. Painting for me is all about momentum. Once I get going the ideas come faster and faster till they are piling on top of one another and I feel I might pop. I have been working so consistently for a few years that I haven't had a slump... probably since the last time I took a long break after a big show 3 years ago. I was so exhausted, I painted a mural in my girls' playroom and did other projects, when I got back to painting I had to work to get back into the groove.
3.(If yes to number 2) Do you see a change in your work after you’ve been in a slump? Is it a positive or negative change?
Always, and always positive. There is a song that says, "This is a time in my life when everything is falling apart, and at the same time, it's all coming together." A little identity crisis might be uncomfortable and take work to get through, but I think it is a necessary process, pondering what you are all about, to create honest work.
4. Being an artist is very time consuming. How do you balance your personal life with creating in your studio?
Isn't that just the question. It is really hard to balance, being a mom of three and running a household takes a lot of work! I am constantly trying to find balance, every time I think I have it, something comes along and throws it off. I will keep trying. But, I'll tell you, if I didn't love to paint with all my heart and soul, I sure wouldn't do it, it is dang hard to find the time and keep up with life.
5. What are your inspirations and how do you keep them strong in your work?
My three little girls inspire me a lot and my relationship with them. I think my biggest inspiration is a search for answers to all the things I struggle with. The previous question is a good example, I have done a few paintings that are a search for balance and resolution in family vs. art. I work things out in paintings, come to terms with things that frustrate me, try to appreciate elements of my life that I know I should appreciate, express explanations for things on an emotional level that can't just be explained with words. I get a lot of healing and sanity from my art.
6. What advice do you have to an emerging artist on getting representation and exhibits?
Enter everything you can. Always remember that art is subjective, just because a judge didn't like it doesn't mean it isn't good. It's good if it feels good to you and that is the only judge to go by. So, why subject your art to the scrutiny of others? You've got to get out there to reach others, and it will push you to be a better artist. Take criticism with a tough skin, listen to advice, but most importantly, always stay true to yourself.