GETTEJO STUDIO

A few artists I know refer to their paintings as their "children."  If you really think about it, you can see how

completing a painting could be compared to conceiving and raising a child.

Here are some of the ways I feel they are alike:

As a human child is initially conceived through the union of a man and woman

 


 

 

 



Recently, I heard about an artist who has never sold her beautiful works of art, and does not plan to do so.  Before then, I had spoken to an artist who said he had alternative plans for his art - which he refused to divulge.  Hearing this made me think more deeply about how we tend to assume that all artists define success in the same manner, and that we desire to travel the same route to realizing that success.

    In a discussion group that I participated in several years ago, most of the artists said they wanted the money and fame which comes with being a successful artist.  A few others mentioned the desire to reach their highest development of skill and creativity in the work itself.  Still, others simply wanted to sell enough work to make a decent living.  Working the gallery circuit, achieving notoriety beyond the regional and retaining wealthy patrons were the most common and coveted routes the majority spoke of in terms of realizing success.

    Having held all of these previously- mentioned views during the early years of a promising professional art career, I have had to redefine my goals for success - as well as my personal definition of success- more than once.  This was largely due to extremely challeging, unforseen life circumstances which caused derailments and eventual rebuilding.

   In defining or re-defining her view of success, an artist must first acknowledge the various venues (aside from the gallery circuit) available to pursue in the field of art.  After that, she must decide what she needs to achieve in order to feel successful.

   Success might be landing a job doing custom design for a theatre, creating home murals for an interior design company, doing free-lance digital art, illustrating children's books or many more art-related endeavors.

   At this point in my life, I have finally honed and established my personal definition of success.  I'm busy working on my objectives and goals, some of which I'm willing to share and others which I'm keeping to myself.

 

Gette Jones.  All Rights Reserved   Painting: "Three Spirits"/ Copyright 2015 by Gette Jones



I believe that it is only during the art process that an artist truly  owns the work.  Although he might retain the finished material work for a while before either selling it, giving it away or storing it, this is the only time that he experiences the conception, the varied emotions and the closeness of "carrying" the work, then finally "birthing" it through completion. 

Once the work is gone, it no longer belongs to him in the same manner as when he was working on it.  

Although one of my goals is to share my work with the public through sales and other forms of exposure, my primary reason for painting is to experience the supreme satisfaction which accompanies the painting process.  When I am painting, I do not think about how others will react to the work, whether or not it will sell or where it will hang.  My goal before beginning to paint is to love the work.  This is my only goal.  And it is a goal that I have had to grow into by maturing from previously painting for applause and only applause. 

Even though I love the applause, it is crucial that I love the process, which can sometimes be exhilarating to the extent that it's only you and the work in the studio.  When I approach art, that is what I am striving for.  I call it being in the throes or the zone.  Whatever you call it, if you're an artist, you know what I'm talking about.

To end, I will say that not all finished work gives these feelings during the process, even if they turn out fine.  Sadly, I cannot say why this happens.  There have been times when I have done work that I only loved when it was completed, not during the process - sort of like carrying a baby who kept you sick all the time, but arrived looking healthy, beautiful and charming.

 

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You have an idea for an ambitious painting, but you need to expand it by thinking aout how to best create it.  For weeks -perhaps months- your inner visions regarding composition gradually evolve into numerous sketches until you finally have imagery matching your original idea.

Using artistic knowledge, skill, creativity, wisdom and love, you bring your  masterpiece to life and post it online, where it is shared several times.

Several months later, you feel dismayed and choked with anger when you see your composition copied exactly - except for the colors.

Around this same time, an artist friend tells you about the outstanding color palette of another artist which is so inspiring that he wants to use it in a different manner by adding another color and adapting it to his own personal painting style.  Because of the two different painting styles, he knows it's okay to proceed.  When the painting is done, the artist who did it is satisfied with the results, which look like a better version of his own paintings.  Likewise, the artist whose work was the source of inspiration is proud that his unusual palette was used in the spirit of creativity.

The difference between these two scenarios is that the first is stealing - a calculated move to take what belongs to someone else, usually for the purpose of personal or financial gain, as well as attention.  Stealing shows a lack of integrity, an indwelling character trait in the realm of the conscience.  Some artists steal the work of others because they have good technical skill, but no ideas or vision.

Regardless of why they do this, no artist likes having their hard work stolen by another.

The second scenario is only one example of inspiration, where an artist becomes influenced by the work of another artist.  Usually, there is one element in the other artist's work which he desires to personalize and/or expand upon.  Most artists have been inspired by the work of other artists, particularly historical ones.

In Part II of this blog, which I will post next week, I will share with you some of my true experiences regarding copying and inspiration. I will also share other examples of inspiration as well as some reasons why it's important to retain a copyright lawyer if you are serious about being a professional artist.

 

**Note:  My original collage, "The Man in the Tower" was completed three years ago.  It is done with my own hand-painted paper on canvas;  The vertical strips in the work were inspired by horizontal strips used in a magazine collage of nautical subject matter.  Most of my current work is inspired by images from my nightitme sleeping dreams or actual events in my life.




 

As this country collectively celebrates the birthday of its independence, I individually, inwardly and silently celebrate my freedom to continue being an artist who is also an African-American female artist.

It is a freedom evolving from a personal journey which has sometimes been lonely, long, uncertain and not without criticism and failure.  It is a journey in which I have created art in the most challenging circumstances, including raising three children alone while working a full-time job and embarking upon an art career late in life without any mentors - these later appeared from the most unlikely sources.

Thankfully, my love of the work has kept me going, binding me to it regardless of circumstances or the disappointments often inherent in being an artist.  I feel fortunate in having learned this lesson because it has allowed me to continue producing art when it would have been easier to simply give up.  Had I done so, a part of me would have died and I would not have known the joy of expressing my truth (however unpopular it might seem to some) while attracting an audience who understands what I am saying.

For me, the primary freedom that comes with being an artist is that I will continue to celebrate in my paintings those subjects which matter to me, and which span a broad scope spiritually, culturally and universally.  Given that I most enjoy my work during the painting process, I think it is only right to paint what I want to paint.

Freedom begins in the soul, emanating outwardly.  As an artist, I will continue to express this freedom and give thanks to the universe for being such a wise and loyal co-partner in my continuing journey as an artist.





 

 

 

The sky of Magritte

Sighing surrealism

Lulls a blue daydream

Of deep imagination

Places to forget oneself

 

The red horse is mine

His thunder bones coveted

His gentle deep eyes

We will ride eternity

Captured in fine paintings

 

Imagining worlds

The artist then loads the brush

Opening broad doors

Entering cobalt landscapes

Lovely as a laid lover

 

Like most living things

Paintings deserve a naming

Following their birth

Is only right - logical

Untitled just won't do

 

Copyright 2011 by Georgette Jones.  All rights reserved

 



 

 

I created the  above Certificate of Authenticity by hand several years ago when I had seriously placed myself in the marketplace.  It was one of several forms that filled my file cabinet.  Although I am an imaginative person who enjoys creating art, I am also aware of the business aspect of being a professional artist.  If you don't pay attention to this vital part of being in the marketplace, you might find yourself in a snare.

Creating art can be a kind of elixir unlike any other.  As you continue to grow as an artist, ideas begin to frequently flow through your imagination.  Also, by this time, you have learned that when the art "speaks" to you during the painting process, you enter a place called "the zone."  I have found that it is here that you run the risk of becoming addicted to your work, binging on it as any junkie might.

However, if you are serious about being a professional artist, you will also learn that the business of art often requires as much attention as the creation of it.  If you are fortunate to have a secretary, assistant or agent, blessings to you.  But if you are like many of us, you have to attend to this vital function and its demands yourself.

There is a studio to run, with all forms in order.  These should include blank contracts, signed contracts, commission forms, artists statements, biographies, mailing lists, gallery lists, networking lists, supplier lists, order forms and receipts, letterhead, exhibitions, applications and more.  There is marketing to attend to and there are online venues to pursue. to name only a few.

I know of which I speak because I recently went through a period where all I wanted to do was paint. While this is not necessarily a bad thing for some of us, for me it means that something goes lacking.  Waiting in my "q" was a resume that needed updating, a few galleries I needed to contact, some supplies I needed to order, an overdue printing project, some order forms that needed purging, two works that needed framing and several marketing strategies that I needed to pursue.  Whenever I thought of completing all these tasks, I would simply lose myself in my work.  Sadly. if you're serious about running a business, you don't feel as good about the work if you neglect other important tasks.

I am happy to say that I have come through that period and have regained the discipline necessary to being a professional artist.  For me, this means dividing my time between creating art and the business of art.

I have done this by allocating one day a week for administrative tasks only;  by quitting each painting session while my mind is still bright as opposed to exhausted;  by reassuring myself that my art will get done;  by keeping all forms and notebooks in order;  by getting enough sleep and by resuming my habit of morning meditation.

 While there are still some areas that need working on, I know I eventually will get to them.  The business of art is neither boring nor unpleasant - but it is not the opposite of these either.  It simply is.

 

 





Throughout my life as an artist, I have used practically every medium available.  After using #2 pencils throughout my teens, I naturally took to oil painting in my twenties and thirties.  Painting family and celebrity subjects on large canvases in the same classic style of many young artists of today, my ability with the medium of oil flowed as though I was a painter from another lifetime.  However, I disliked the slow-drying property of the medium.  I also disliked that my paintings looked like so many others I had seen.

After moving on from oil to colored pencil, charcoal, watercolor and gouache, I eventually found my niche with acrylic about a dozen years ago.  Learning to use it did not come easy for me, and I am still making new discoveries about it.

For the longest time, I used it in mixed media with colored pencil, liking the results well enough, but longing for the purity of a single medium.  I did not know how to render flesh tones in acrylics until I decided that its versatility to mimic watercolor would not only match my subject matter, but might give me some proficiency in this area. 

Sales of my work began to increase as my confidence in using acrylic increased.  Many patrons initially asked if my paintings were done in watercolor.  They were surprised whenever I told them it was acrylic.

I like using acrylic because it is versatile and easy to clean up after a painting session.  I like that it can be mixed with water to perform in the manner of watercolor, or mixed with white acrylic paint to look like gouache.  I like that it can be used thinly and layered multiple times to give a final lush finish with light shining through.  I like that it is a good companion in mixed media, particularly in some of the acrylic and collage pieces that I occasionally create for a change of pace.

There are so many other reasons to enjoy using acrylics.  If you haven't tried them yet, give yourself a treat and do so.


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