Alaskan Artist - Elise Tomlinson
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09/21/2004: "I finally did it."

No, I didn't lose my virginity, but I did finally send an email to the guy in charge of setting up exhibits at the KTOO. I should have done it a month ago, but I kept hoping against hope I'd have this surge of creative energy and be able to paint 6 paintings in a week and get caught up. That hasnít happened and the more stressed out I get about not painting, the more likely it is that I won't paint. Once it gets this late in the game it becomes agonizing.

I wrote him was that I wasn't making as much progress as I'd hoped and does he know of another artist who would be able to step into the December slot? I also told him that if he didn't, I could help him find one or I could organize a group show, for which I could contribute 4-5 new paintings. I also told him that if he preferred, I would stick to our original arrangement and just try like hell to finish in time but that it might not be my best work.

I haven't heard back from him yet but I'm hoping he'll understand; he seemed like an incredibly nice guy when I talked to him. I've *never* cancelled out of a show before, but I just honestly think that I can't do it this time. Ever since I was 5 years old I've felt compelled to paint (or draw or sculpt) people. No matter what the subject matter was supposed to be for the assignment, I'd try to squeeze a person into the composition. I had a watercolor instructor when I was 10-14 and she used to force me to paint still-life and landscapes and I hated it. I'd go home after lessons and do nothing but portraits or figure paintings.

This new series I've been "working" on are aerial views of low tidal flats and there is no way to incorporate a figure into them and it's killing me. I have to go back to the figure. At least for now. I thought I was in a slump always painting the same subject matter but I realize now that it wasn't a slump, but the one thing that makes me tingle as an artist. I want the tingle backÖbut Iím still worrying I made the wrong decision on this one.

Replies: 4 Comments

on Tuesday, September 21st, Jackie said

E: Congratulations - on making a tough decision! I understand how hard it is to 'make' yourself create when what you're trying to create doesn't excite you. I hate commissions sometimes for that very reason. The person ends up not being excited about the one piece I like the most...or they bug me about how long I'm taking. So the show at KTOO -was it supposed to be landscapes?

Good luck getting back in the creative groove...including figures! (BTW: I"m also addicted to figurative art. I always have to include figures or allusions to people in my pieces.)

on Tuesday, September 21st, Elise said

Hi Jackie,
The show at KTOO was(is) going to be landscapes. The funny thing is that I really like them, I just don't feel that inspired to work on them at the moment.

on Wednesday, September 22nd, Howard said

I think you could paint the human figure your whole life and not exhaust the subject. I wouldn't worry about it.

on Wednesday, September 22nd, Elise said

I agree Howard...I think I'm just afraid of getting to the point where I start to repeat myself too much because something sold well or whatever.

I think I might actually pay for a live model for my April show. It's expensive but I think it really does help to keep things fresh.