self teaching

Backstage Pass

I have always been hesitant to write about my life outside of art. I enjoy having an air of mystery about myself along with a professional veneer, however, as this year begins to bloom I feel the need to be free of that conjured image. Additionally, with all the wonderful people I’ve been lucky to meet, I’ve grown a desire to connect on a more personal level to those who enjoy my work. As an artist, I’ve come to learn that the best way to fill a canvas with emotion is to pour my heart out on it with honesty. This blog entry serves to kick start that break away from pretending to be a carefree artist and dip into the deeper feelings and consequences of having such lofty goals.From the very get-go, I’ve been making an uphill trek as I pursue my dreams. When I decided to become an artist, I began with pretty much nothing by my wits and talent. That may be enough for the movies, but in real life it just makes things super hard. The past three years have seen me bumbling about at conventions, with commissions, and dealing with people who are quick to disappoint and take advantage, all while keeping a serious full-time job. Keeping my head above water sometimes felt like doggie paddling in the ocean while a storm raged.That feeling of drowning in life’s ocean is still ever present due to my constant lack of time (or lack of better time management skills). Art has yet to prove profitable or to be a source of financial stability, so I must keep a full time day job in order afford supplies and pay bills. This may not be uncommon for an artist of any sort, however, it’s still stressful to live out. Due to the nature of my job, I am allotted just three free days a week. In this time, not only must I manage to get work done on art pieces both for myself and commissions, but manage the business side to my art career, and find time for normal life stuff too like household chores and spending time with my dogs.The business side of things has been the biggest surprise I’ve encountered so far and the biggest challenge too! It still amazes me how long it can take to build a website, manage social media posts for promotion, and keep track of the financial aspect of things. (These are all things an assistant would be wonderful for!) Did I mention I do all of this learning as I go? Yup, in my pursuit of being an artist, I’ve also had to wear the hats of numerous other professions. While I generally don’t mind being so hands on, there’s always a voice in the back of head nagging me. All the time spent doing these tasks takes away from making actual art. Hell, updating my website alone generally eats up an entire day if I’m lucky not to run into any problems. That means in the course of an average weekend, I may spend one day doing website maintenance, one day taking care of life stuff, and if I’m lucky one free day to work on art pieces. There are some weeks I am far less pressed for time and get to paint and draw more, however, those weeks are rare gems.My ever present lack of time is also a factor behind my weakened confidence, as I feel I do not create enough, and without enough practice I will never reach the level of skill I aspire to have. As a self-taught artist I have always viewed my talent as raw and unrefined, and have always feared I will not be taken seriously within the art community because of that. I practice sketch when I can (even during breaks at the office I call my day job) but with time constraints, I generally move from piece to piece learning as I go. Screwing up due to inexperience is especially frustrating as it costs both time and money. Equally frustrating is knowing how 100% necessary messing up is for talent to become stronger.I have been earnestly hiding the struggling artist, the girl grasping at dreams, and the artist who must keep a day job in order to eat. I have been hiding the unglamorous side of trying to make a mountain from the stones of my life’s passion. I have pretended such integral aspects of my life don’t exist, and gained nothing positive for it. Instead, I rob my artwork of emotion and my hard work the recognition it deserves.So there you have it! In between artworks, posts, and smiles, there’s a lot of artwork not getting done, time escaping, and some frowns. And that’s all a-okay! Nothing to be ashamed of, after all that’s how dreams get accomplished.My journey may not be a glamorous one, but from this moment on it is an honest one.

Life is like playing the piano, you get out of it, what you put into it.

So, I have this amazingly grand master plan for busting out into the art scene. One aspect of this grandios endevour is to compose my very own musical score (and play it!). For someone with musical talent, this probably doesn't sound too daunting, however, I don't actually have that...well, at least if I do, I'm not aware of it yet, lol.Ever since I was a little kid, I have always liked the idea of music. I would pretend to be a conductor and guide my invisible band as I listen to classical music, sing my own made up songs in the back yard with the really misplaced idea someone would hear me and give me a record deal, and I would compose my own mixed up scores on a mini toy piano my mom gave to me. If you're thinking this is going to turn out to be a "I knew since I was four this was for me!" kind of story, you are wrong...and didn't read the first paragraph, haha.Actually, my parents, bless thier hearts, didn't see me as a little muscian. Instead, I was their little girl making way too much of a cacophony, especially since of all things, I absolutely can not sing. My singing voice is pretty horrid, unfortunatly. Basing muisical talent on the abilty to sing left my parents hopeing this music thing was just a phase. Over the years I took music less and less seriously. I did try learning the guitar (I sucked) and I did manage to stick with the clarinet for five years (I blew...hehe, get it?), however, hope of beating the odds was dwindling.Just as I was about to lose all hope, my thoughts shifted back to the days when I was a kid banging on piano keys dreaming of becoming the next Beethoven...and that's when it hit me. The piano! The clarinet and guitar were never my first choice instruments, but the piano has always been my dream. Even when I started band at school, the clarinet wasn't what I really wanted to play. The clarinet was my second choice becuase they didn't offer piano and I had Kenny G fresh in my mind (yeah, I realize that doesn't make much sense, but I was like 10 at the time so my decison making skill were kinda off). Anyway, I figured, (and this probably doesn't make much sense either, not that it really matters, lol) that if I was capable and able to teach myself how to type on a keyboard, then surely I could teach myself how to play piano keys! I pretty much had the idea that the movements were the same...And I was actually right! Apparently, the typing lessons I learned from (a book I bough at a second hand store when I was 12!) tought me hand positionings and arm movement that is very similar to how one correctly plays the piano. To add even more to my head start, I can also read and understand musical notation thanks to my five years of band.With that baby step ahead, I now begin the journey of a million miles! I'm very excited. I'm borring my cousin's keyboard and I found some youtube videos by the wonderful Andrew Furmanczyk and actually feel like maybe, I don't entirely suck at music. Which was really the whole point of this post...to say to you, my dear reader, never give up! A good gambler knows when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em, but never does he completely give up for good! I'm glad I didn't let my past failures discourage me, becuase I really do think I can succeed at the piano and with music with hard work and effort.With that said, I am still very much a beginner, but hey, even Beethoven had to start some where. xDP.s. Check out Andew's website at: http://andrewfurmanczyk.com/ . He has links to his youtube video and stuff. I highly recomend him if you want to try learning the piano too. :]