I Never Wanted To Be An Artist

Boy drawing

Fact is, I never knew what I wanted to be.

When I was in elementary school, I’d answer with something that I thought sounded acceptable to grownups. I think my favorite answer was an aeronautical engineer. Very impressive!

Of course I had no clue what that entailed, but I had to have some kind of answer and I liked to draw airplanes.

Secretly, the idea of a mad scientist sounded very appealing to me. But being an artist never crossed my mind as a career path as far as I can remember.

I do remember in 4th grade when we moved back to the US, there was some kind of art project where we were free to make anything with colored chalk. Of course my creation got put up on the wall with everybody else’s, but I remember my teacher didn’t know what to make of it, and her reaction really crushed me. Not because she was mean, because she wasn’t but I could see she was just being polite.

I felt so shut down. Clearly I wasn’t up to snuff in the art side of things…

So although I loved art and admired the artists I met, it never occurred to me that this was a path I could follow. Still, I kept drawing. And drawing.

All the while I still had no idea of what I was going to “be.” I thought kids (and certainly teens) were supposed to know that.

So after I dropped out of college and failed rather spectacularly at being a big time rock musician, I met a neighbor who was an artist. He saw some of the things I was drawing out of depression and frustration with my lost (and mostly imagined) music career. He encouraged me, gave me some lessons, and I became obsessed.

I finally got the idea that maybe I could actually pursue art as a career.

And although music has come along for me in a very surprising way, my wife being an incredibly talented songwriter (we’ve now recorded 15 CD’s together) art became my career.

A career I never thought was available to me. (Come to think of it, an artist is kind of like being a mad scientist…)

Isn’t it funny how life can take you in the most unexpected (and sometimes wonderful) places?

 

If you’d like to support my work and truly partner with me to keep me painting, it would mean the world to me:

patreon.com/SpyderWebb

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They Ripen By The Light Of The Moon

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So there they were, all gathered together —  waiting, one by one, for the moonlight to shine down on them.

And although Moon loved them all equally, she loved every single one — well, one at a time. They were all the same in a way, they all grew on the same bush, but each one was different in its own way.

And then there it was — even though a soft light shone on them all, there was also a special bright ray that gently touched each heart in its own special way.

But the hearts (being young hearts and not fully ripe yet) sometimes didn’t like it when Moon shone down so strong on one of the other hearts. Oh yes, and there was one special heart who thought he was more special than the others…

PS: I was thinking of those families where there are more than one child or maybe even a classroom situation — anywhere that young ‘uns may be (in their minds, at least) competing for attention.

An original signed 8″x10″ acrylic painted with love on 140 lb watercolor paper with a Certificate of Authenticity and printed StoryStarter for you and your special young ‘un (or maybe just you!). Introductory price: $24.99 (shipping included US only). Includes printed StoryStarter & Certificate of Authenticity.

If you’d like to support my work and truly help keep me painting, it would mean the world to me:

patreon.com/SpyderWebb

SpyderWebbFineArt.com

When you’re done you’re done (even if you’re not!)

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I see a question like this pretty often on some of the artist boards: “Is this painting done?”

Same thing applies to writing books though, or putting on your makeup, and of course you do have to stop shopping at some point whether you’re really done or not, if only because you’ve run out of money or the stores are closing.

So at some point I have to stop working on a painting, because when it’s done it’s done.

Even if it’s not.

I almost always think I should’ve done this or I could’ve done that and it would make it better, but this is just another version of paralysis by analysis.

Art is a body of work, composed of individual art pieces, and art is a work in progress. At some point I just have to let go of each piece and move on instead of endlessly tweaking the last thing I did. I try to remember some of what I shoulda woulda coulda done and then do that on the next painting.

And the next. And so on.

It doesn’t really bother me much any more. When I sign my name it’s done for better or worse and I move on. Of course I’ve tried to make it as good as I could while I was working on it, but a painting will never be perfect (though some are more perfect than others!) and I just need to get to the next one.

Some paintings will be good, some won’t — so what? Just keep painting. If I don’t keep painting, the good ones will never have a chance to see the light, and the bad ones will naturally fall into oblivion (that’s good!).

I have this great quote on my wall from who knows who, but here it is:

“Art is making a thing, and then trying to make a better one, and you keep doing this until you die, and that’s a pretty good life.”

I like that.

How about you — does this sound familiar for something in your life too?

 

If you’d like to support my work and truly help keep me painting, it would mean the world to me:

patreon.com/SpyderWebb

SpyderWebbFineArt.com

Splits The Sky

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Splits The Sky swayed softly in the warm evening breeze. She looked up lazily from one side to the other. Then she started to look more closely. And she looked more deeply than she ever had before.

And that was the first time she saw it happen. The doggone sky split! Blue on one side, purple on the other. But why…?

So she asked a passing star, and the star told her to stop making up things.

And she asked a cloud, and the cloud told her to stop making up things.

Then she asked the distant hills and the hills whispered back, “You must not tell others you see these things. But if your heart is pure and kind, we will tell you. And we will will show you even more wondrous things. Do you want to learn to see…?”

 

An original signed 8″x10″ acrylic painting on 140 lb watercolor paper with a Certificate of Authenticity and printed StoryStarter for you and your special young ‘un (or maybe just you!). Introductory price: $24.99 with free shipping US only. Includes printed StoryStarter & Certificate of Authenticity.

SpyderWebbFineArt.com

patreon.com/SpyderWebb

If you’d like to support my work and truly help keep me painting, it would mean the world to me:

patreon.com/SpyderWebb

SpyderWebbFineArt.com

I’m In Love!

Image result for gamblin fastmatte oil paints

Yes of course with Tekakwitha (my wife), but I’m talking about my new oil paints. I haven’t painted much in oils over my career, and certainly nothing for decades.

But.

I’m using a combination of fast drying oils and regular oils and it’s a revelation. The paint goes on more smoothly, more opaque when I need it to be opaque, and with the addition of the fast drying, it’s dry in 24 hours or so — but I can take my time working it while I’m at the easel. I don’t have to wait a week or two or longer to put the next layer on as is often the case with traditional oils. I love the way it holds brush strokes, and it doesn’t have that plastic feel when I’m painting.

And speaking of plastic.

It turns out that artist’s oil paints are much more environmentally friendly than acrylics which are, after all, plastic. So if you’ve been following the news, you know that we’re in the midst of a massive global plastic pollution crisis. The oils, which are plant based, are biodegradable and much more energy efficient and far less polluting during manufacture.

So I’m experimenting and getting the hang of my new paints with a couple of larger StoryStarters on canvas. I’ll be posting them as I get them done, but I’m really excited by the possibilities.

Not to mention the fun I’m having with them.

Did I mention I’m in love? Oh yeah — I guess I did.

 

If you’d like to support my work and truly help keep me painting, it would mean the world to me: patreon.com/SpyderWebb

SpyderWebbFineArt.com

When Love Sleeps

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Love had been working hard all day. It’s not always easy being Love, and today had been especially tough.

First, there was cold cereal when she really wanted bacon and eggs.

Then, she had to wait outside in the cold a long time before her ride arrived. And then almost everyone had been grumpy and out of sorts.

It just wasn’t fair.

But she was Love after all, and she had made up her mind to be OK with whoever and whatever came her way. Even when she wasn’t really OK with it.

Resentment was pouty. Anger was rude. And Sadness just sat in the corner and moped dabbing those weepy eyes…

 

An original signed 8″x10″ acrylic painting on 140 lb watercolor paper with a Certificate of Authenticity and printed StoryStarter for you and your special young ‘un (or maybe just you!). Introductory price: $24.99 with free shipping US only. Includes printed StoryStarter & Certificate of Authenticity.

SpyderWebbFineArt.com

patreon.com/SpyderWebb

Play Without Fear

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I was watching one of those home remodeling shows and there was a brief scene at the end showing the family enjoying their new space. There was a little boy sitting at the coffee table playing with one of his toys, completely oblivious to the cameras and utterly unselfconscious.

He was just completely wrapped up in his inner world and couldn’t care less about what anyone else thought. So much so that whatever anyone else may have been thinking about his playing didn’t even exist in his universe.

So…?

So that’s how I try to be when I’m creating. But of course I do care what other people think about my creations. So the time for that kind of thinking has to be after I’ve finished the work, not before or during. You can’t self-censor creativity at that stage and hope to produce anything authentic. It’s so easy to get into second guessing yourself and completely wrecking the flow.

And it’s scary — all you creative types know exactly what I’m talking about, because the deeper you go into that inner place where nothing exists except you and your work/play, the more of your tender inner soul is exposed to the world for potential criticism.

Which is why I think more people probably aren’t creative, or actually it’s more like they don’t think they are. Fear of exposing deep tender parts of their inner selves. It’s not that they’re not creative, it’s just that fear of being hurt. It’s self protection, and it’s completely understandable.

If you’re going to be creative, and by that I mean true to yourself, you have to be vulnerable, and that’s never easy. But it’s the only way the world will ever get to share your gifts.

And our gifts don’t have to be super important or significant, just authentic. Just a tangible expression of us having fun, enjoying ourselves, making something, even it’s just like something that’s been done a thousand times before. The fact is, we did that particular thing.

Like a child, happily saying “look what I did!”

Seeing others’ raw authenticity somehow connects us to our own, and gives us permission to really be ourselves. And I think that’s what we respond to when we encounter something someone else made — it’s not necessarily how polished or “professional” it is (although that can be part of it), it’s the unselfconscious honesty about it that gets us.

What do you think?

Heartfall

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It was fall in Heartland again. It had been a lovely Summerheart, with long warm days and sunshine and lots of time to play and run and love it all.

But now the season called Heartfall was beginning. It was that beautiful bright colorful time of year again.

Soon it would be Winterheart, the time of indoors and blankets and looking out windows and snuggling.

But before all that, there was so much of Heartfall to love and enjoy, and no-one loved Heartfall more than the children of Heartville.

Now Heartville was a friendly little ville, with no bullies and no rude people or trolls. That is, until the family from Ickytown moved in (no-one knew why)…

 

An original signed 8″x10″ acrylic painting on 140 lb watercolor paper with a Certificate of Authenticity and printed StoryStarter (the story above) for you and your special young ‘un (or maybe just you!). Introductory price: $24.99 with free shipping US only. Includes printed StoryStarter & Certificate of Authenticity.

Inside an Artist’s Head (not scary)

So somebody asked me — well OK nobody actually asked me it’s just me, but I have conversations with myself all the time, and I’m somebody so I guess somebody really did ask me. It was me.

Here’s what me asked me: Your paintings look like coloring book art. You’re not really painting, are you? You’re just filling in the outlines. The implication being that it isn’t real art. Not like Van Gogh or Monet or…

OK, fair enough.

But.

I drew the outlines. I used actual paint to fill in the colors. I added embellishments, and I had a lot of fun playing with the colors and shapes. Mostly with paint brushes, a little with very thin paint in a pen. So I’m good with it.

So I told myself to stop asking myself stupid borderline rude questions.

You see what it’s like to be an artist? At least this artist…

Sheesh.

The Fish That Got Away or The Curious Case of the Poached Eggs in the Meadow

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Oh, so you thought the bee was the one that got away. Well, no. What if the fish ate the bee and the bee stung the fish? Not good for either of them.

So things aren’t always what they seem.

Look at the poached eggs in the meadow, for instance. What’s that? Flowers you say?

No no no no no.

But they can’t possibly be the poached eggs that they seem to be, can they now? I mean, what would poached eggs be doing in a meadow?

Well it was all because of Fannie Farmer. Fannie had a hen who laid the most spectacular delicious eggs. So Fannie had this egg-cellent idea one day…

 

An original signed 10″ x 8″ acrylic painting on watercolor paper with a Certificate of Authenticity and printed StoryStarter for you and your special young ‘un (or maybe just you!). Introductory price: $24.99 with free shipping US only. Includes printed StoryStarter & Certificate of Authenticity.

SpyderWebbFineArt.com

patreon.com/SpyderWebb