4/23/11

free

isn't so freeing when you labored and obviously still was attached to something....
i really messed myself up giving that piece away.
what a messed up day i had.  one of the worst in a long long time.
back to how to sell/get rid of art in a hurry in order to survive, have space (and desire to then make more art of a different ilk ie my small/functional stuff that now sells) and be ready for the inevitable move to a small place. 

the only good thing about giving that piece away was how much this woman loves it and would never buy something like that.  she lives out of town, as far as i know doesnt have people over...and i doubt anyone will ever see it and think wow i want to buy something too!!!!  this was truly a gift that has no ulterior motives or energy behind it.  i think i have learned that its better to throw away the art that you love and no one buys than give it away and feel anger and pain and fuck with your head.  pieces that you slave over and love.  pieces that were your biggest triumph.  better to silently suffocate them.  i have done one big head trip on myself by giving more art away yesterday that you guys havent even seen the light of day of.  it made me feel even more deathly.  i know some of you give give give....and i myself have given quite freely this last 9 months...albeit $20 or $30 vases not $800 or in this case $2500 pieces of art.  anyhow.  i was making what i felt good money on etsy, having a good flow of energy and it just felt right sometimes.  but i gave because i had way extra, my heart was big....and i wasnt in desperation mode.  giving is really a weird thing.  really weird.

i remember when i was a born again christian. i was in my 20's.  i was broke and struggling but i was also drinking like there was no tomorrow.  i got a dwi and had to go to classes.  i had fines to pay.  this was back in 1982 so nothing worse happened to me than that. thankfully i didnt hurt anyone either.  i got a job once again (for like the 3rd time since i was 16) at mcdonalds and met a woman who was a christian.  she was into health as well so i got under her wing.  started going to church....next thing you know i'm speaking in tongues and giving the church every damn dime i have.  giving them my 'rare coins' (obviously not that rare but you know what i mean...that stash of coins that could be worth something and was already worth something by dint of how much i had).  anyhow...they were too happy to take my money.  each week they took my money.  what they gave me...well i got support from my friend and i got to disappear into a fearful congregation of people who seemingly had no mind of their own.

i never forgot that.  that you CAN give give give and not properly look out for yourself and no one but YOU can monitor that.  i mean the church didn't care.  what was i doing giving all that money to them (not god but in my mind i was led to believe this was 'for god') when i could barely pay rent?  borrowing money when i HAD MONEY that i was giving to the church.  were this not almost 30 years ago i would be embarrassed to even tell you about that because i feel like a complete FOOL.  my life didn't get better by the way.  i gave it a year.  i sat in my little apartment praying like a banshee.  i spoke for hours in tongues.  i did it all.  i moved on.

another story, i digress.  i guess i'm just not in a good place.  my art is everywhere.  lucky tod he got away from it.  i'm here, stuck with it.  loving it, needing to sell it and feeling like a child in school trying to get those damn story problems.  i dont know what to do with it and i feel it should be obvious how to figure it out.

would ya tell me if i'm being blind? an idiot?  no one can do my life but me.  obviously nothing has felt right yet.  having a few pieces for an even lower price on etsy feels better than starting at $99 on etsy.  thankfully it is just wall art i want to get rid of  the reasons i've already stated.  it still messes with me that you...that i...that it...is devalued.  and that people will expect deals forever. that people who have bought wall art from me will be mad at me.  fine line between doing what you have to to survive.

i just want to make art again.  get back to my flowers.  and my head says what the fuck are you doing???? making more art?  i sat down last night for an hour to work on 2 flowers that needed to be assembled and fine tuned so there was no 'real creative' energy needing to happen.  i dont make good art when i'm angry or sad or tired so it felt right to work on something already done.  that was the first time my head relaxed.  that i felt peace.  but the thoughts come back saying 'you shouldn't be doing this... you are avoiding.  you must this and that.  you must.  how can making another $30 flower save you?  how can that pay your rent?  did i tell you that since tod told me he is leaving all my sales save for friends, have stopped?  how ironic is that?  now i'm not even making my original half of the rent each month.

am i destined to sit in a tiny room and doodle.  drool.  die.

my tiny little mind just has no clue.  its a turning point in my life.  and its the first time i've never really felt my usual old urge to scramble and make decisions that i have no idea what to make.  maybe its just denial...it feels like i'm waiting but i should at least make a flower while i wait.  or something new.  it still feels very real to me that my fateful day will come when i dont have rent and haven't found a place to live and i just have to walk off with nothing. leave it all behind and disappear.  thats where my sick mind goes.  while i keep checking in and know that all i want is to make art.  my fear is about having no space for my stuff and no space in my head and no space in my energy body to do that.

i'm struggling and only i can look for the answers.  i dont even expect a single thought from a single person on this.  in fact i know that all i can do is look, watch, listen...like an animal on the hunt, and JUMP when the prey walks by.  right now its a famine.  hear me roar silently in my mind. (or in my case...on my blog which is fortunate because no one has to read this if they dont wanna)

*five minute after thought
how can i be this old and so screwed up about giving and receiving?
i am very uncomfortable taking art for free.  i dont receive well.  i dont want someone handing me a check and saying there there paula....live life and enjoy!  i wanna work for it.  i dont want a grant  i dont want to win the lottery  ( i dont play so i cant win).  i just want to do what i love and make it.  its hard not to be an insolent child and brood.  its hard to expand and trust.
giving.....art or anything has to come from the heart and i know there are times and places but not entire bodies of work and not all at once.  i know i am impatient.  i know it.  i know i have some time and i could probably and will probably keep some pieces and try to sell them until the day i die.  i need to stop thinking.

30 minutes later...
i'm trying to learn here..
maybe the point is, giving when you feel abundant and safe...when you are feeling healthy and replete is best.  giving when you are fearful, anxious...uncertain and not stable isn't such a good idea.  giving is a peaceful thing not a desperate thing.  duh that sounds so obvious.

8 comments:

andrea said...

You and all your faithfuls are going to hate me for saying this but I think you need to take a break from making art for awhile. It will clear your head about all these issues, especially if you remove the focus for awhile and find something undemanding to pay the rent. Letting something lie dormant is actually very useful in returning perspective.

paula said...

i dont hate you. i wouldn't hate you even if you said paula its time to just clean houses and never make art again.
were it not for the fact not making art for this long is starting to make me nuts i would agree. only i know how good it felt to be back in my studio last night...and nothing else gives me that feeling. i laugh at the uncanny timing of you saying that as i've now decided i have to make art again as its the only time i have joy.

Karen Martin Sampson said...

You are in a sad and frightening place right now. Since I have been where you are I understand the fears and frustrations. I have no practical solutions for you (other than suggesting you find an "undemanding" job (as Andrea says) for a while just to keep roof overhead and food in tummy. I appreciate your courage in describing past attempts to find what you need in life. You were not a "fool" - you were and are a seeker. Pamper yourself when you can, make art when the joy is there but put it down if it isn't. Be with people, especially other artist types if you can. Remember, "this too shall pass."

NuminosityBeads said...

I'm not surprised that you're angry. In a metaphorical sense you just "gave" your relationship away for free that you'd put time and soul into and now your art, a double whammy if you ask me. (did you ask me?)
Anyhow, I hope that a perspective from a near stranger
is of some comfort. I can't imagine what you're going through. I wish I had more advise that could pull you out of this low spot.

xoxo KIm

Ellen said...

I wonder if it's hard wired into us to hold on tightly to material objects when we have so little. Maybe a lot of it has to do with how we identify ourselves as well.

'Wonder horse' is about the good parts of Vermont when your journey as an artist was newer, you had more money, no rent to pay and work in a nice gallery that solidified yourself as an artist. You're on a different journey now, a harder one in terms of place and cash and the loss of Tod, so it's hard to let go of reminders of better stuff. But you can't move forward until you do. I'm sad you feel so distraught about giving it away. Being hung up on the value of it all seems natural, but freeing up the space seems more valuable to me. And it'll gives you more time to make, smaller, more saleable pieces that you have space for and are more transportable, instead of focusing on getting compensation for past efforts. And it'll give you a clearer head to find some regular paying work to ease the financial panic, shitty as it. Doesn't mean you can't still move forward as an artist. Life is a million shades of grey, no black and no whites.

Nellie's Needles said...

I want to click the "like button" for the comment ahead of mine.

This quote brought your situation to mind:
"In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit."
Albert Schweitzer (1875 - 1965)

paula said...

love your comments everyone. thank you for taking time out of your life to read my 'stuff' and share your thoughts. it is very much appreciated. ♥

Thongbai Tatong said...

... and now take the pix of the flowers;) Wink Wink!