I have a confession to make...
I don't share everything with you.
Today at work, while I probably should have been paying attention to typing, I was instead thinking about how weird it is that I can tell you all about my personal issues and plaster them all over the blog and it totally doesn't bother me at all. For all intents and purposes, every person on the face of the earth could read some of my most private thoughts...and I'm cool with that.
But in my daily life, I'm not really like that. Sure, I've got a few friends that I vent to, but I don't put it all out there like I do online. On a daily basis, I'm a relatively private person. I'll give you a moment to recover from the shock of that statement...
Don't get me wrong, I talk...a lot. And if you heard me talk, you'd probably think I had no boundaries what-so-ever...that whatever came into my brain just flew out my mouth without a filter. But that is just a grand illusion, my friend.
So then I started wondering if there was anything I didn't share with you...
I mean, despite all that personal stuff I talk about, there has to be something I hold back, right?
Not really. You get pretty much all my gory brain and heart details...
You know what I don't share with you, though?
When I make something really ugly.
For all the deeply personal stuff I tell you, I realized that I never show you my ugly art.
Is it kind of odd that of all the things I probably shouldn't be sharing, hideous pages are the thing I keep to myself?
Yeah, it's weird.
I guess I don't mind telling you the private details of my life, because your opinion on that doesn't matter. Sorry...
I don't mean it doesn't matter, because I like it...in fact, I LOVE it...when you care enough about what's going on to comment and I've gotten so much encouragement and good advice from you since I've been blogging it out. What I mean to say is that, when it comes to personal stuff, in the end, after considering what you've said, I am the one who makes the decision and lives with the consequences. I chose to accept or sometimes reject your opinions...just like you do with your friends and family (that's right, I think of you guys as my friends and family!).
But when it comes to my art...your opinion matters to me SO MUCH! Despite the fact that I've grown a lot as a person in the past few years, I still have a desperate ache for approval...for admonition...for other people to say I did something and it was good. It's not always a desperate ache, sometimes it's a teeny tiny little gnawing in the back of my mind...but it's always there in some form or another...
And there are days, not a lot but some, that if I got a negative comment about my art, I feel like it would break me. It would just crush me. And I know, knowing myself as I do, that the next day I would probably wake up and be fine. I would take that negative comment and use it as motivation to get better. I would get a nice big dose of "I'll show you!" attitude and make something totally awesome! It's just that first there's the crushing part...and I don't like the crushing part...
But during my mental conversation with myself at work today, I started thinking how unfair that was. When I started out art journaling, it was kind of frustrating to see beautiful page after beautiful page from the artists I admired. I wanted to see the ugly ones too...because it gave me hope. Hope that I had a chance to make something half as pretty as what they made.
Now I'm not saying that anyone admires me...and I'm not tooting my own horn about my art (although sometimes I do, when I make something I end up being super proud of!)...but I've worked really hard to get to the point I'm at! REALLY HARD! There were a lot...A WHOLE STINKING LOT...of ugly pages... One of the things that kept me going was thinking: 'if so-and-so (whatever artist I was inspired by at the time) can make an ugly page, then there's a chance I can make a decent one'!
And I'd like it very much for someone to say that about me one day...that amid my decent pages was an ugly one that gave them hope. Well that can't happen if all you see are the pages I am relatively happy with!
And so in the end, I thought I would share an ugly page...and what I did about it (sorry for the kinda crappy pictures):
|I don't know what happened here...this ugly gal has been in my journal for months, while I stared at her with hatred and disappointment. I think I tried to paint her using a big brush or only my fingers maybe? And then she was so ugly I just walked away.|
|I think I decided that the eyes were the worst thing about her (although she was generally pretty hideous...), so I started there. I fixed the whites of the eye, adjusted the size and shape of them, and made the iris darker. I also started adding some shading around the eyes into the nose area.|
|I decided I didn't like how dark the eyes were, so I blotted them out as best I could and went over them with a lighter brown. I added more shading around the eyes, nose, and chin/neck area and fixed her crooked nose. I also decided to try to even out her lips... with a red that was WAY to bright for the page...|
|Added more shading to eyes and chin/neck area, fixed the nose so that it was more even, went back in to fix the lip...with a less shocking shade of red, and started to fixing her hair...|
|Here's the whole spread. All in all, I am pretty happy with the way she ended up...especially when I remember where that poor girl started...|
I like making faces more than anything else I do art-wise. I think my girls reflect who I am and what I'm feeling...every single one of them. I'm not the best at saying those things out loud, sometimes...but my girls give me a voice when mine is too timid to speak.
I chose the quote for the page, because, like dreams, I don't have to share myself with anyone. My thoughts and feelings belong to me...in fact, they are me...
What I tell you with words, no matter how private the thing may seem, it's never as intimate as me sharing my art stuff with you. The things I say (or type) are like the edited version of the story but when I show the art, I'm giving you all the bits I left out. It's like a puzzle, I guess and the art completes the puzzle. It's the sordid details. I think that's why I rarely put clothes on my girls, because they are me, naked and exposed, unprotected and vulnerable. And when I make my art, it's the only time I ever feel safe enough to be that way...
And maybe that's the real reason I don't show the ugly pages...because I don't like to think of the ugly things I carry around inside of me. I know they're there, but I don't want them to be. I want to be ALL good, as a person and an artist. But that's not possible is it?
Like the girl I showed you today, underneath it all, I'm ugly too. And in the end, I'm just hoping that there's enough good to cover up the ugly. I think that's something everyone hopes for.