A few weeks ago I submitted two totally different paintings to my first juried exhibition in Hawai’i: Art Is Healing. One of the paintings was a loose representation of a landscape using bright colors, and the other was a pure abstract in neutral colors. Which one do you think made it into the show?
My reasons for creating the experiment were simple:
As a brand new arrival to the Big Island of Hawaii, I was curious to find out how my neutral abstracts would be received. From what I had observed, the art scene here seems to cater predominantly to tourists. As a result, there is an overwhelming abundance of paintings done in bright colors, beach scenes, and traditional Hawaiian lore.
I also wondered if the advice I had been receiving on several fronts, to paint representational landscapes because: “they would be a better fit here”, was true.
The results confirmed what my peers had been saying: The painting accepted into the exhibition was the representational landscape, not the neutral abstract. For a brief moment, I wondered if these results foreshadowed a future of painting volcanoes, lava, and Pele’s hair.
However, my time spent in this line of thinking was brief and the answer was simple: If I had to paint something inauthentic, I might as well go back to my corporate office job. Both of these activities require a disassociation from my heart’s true calling. I was reminded that the most important reason I became a full-time artist, is so that I can do what I love everyday.
My point is this: Your heart will not lead you astray.
Navigate with your own compass. Indulge in what you love. Spend lots of time there and share it as often, and with as many people as you can. Do not allow yourself to be tossed to and fro by trends or by well meaning advice. We live in a great, big world, and we are more connected than ever. I promise you that you will find others who see beauty and value in what you do.
This blog was created to share my belief that the art-making process is a catalyst for transformation and personal empowerment. I am living proof.