Alaskan Artist - Elise Tomlinson
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05/17/2006: "Where do I go from here?"

I'm having another existential crisis. This happens a lot after finishing a show, basically I have all of these clean white surfaces in front of me, and I realize all the different directions I could take and it makes me crazy. Part of me wants to continue with what I've been doing, figurative work in landscapes, colorful stylized compositions, peaceful and beautiful (at least to me) and yet...

I'm not feeling peaceful or beautiful. I'm feeling angry. I'm feeling a lot of political angst. I want to express it but I'm not sure I have the visual vocabulary to do it (can anger be cadmium yellow?). Plus... I don't want to come off as a preachy self-important illustrator (and no I don't have anything against illustrators!). There's no one saying I have to do all one or the other, but it helps me to think in terms of a body of work, individual pieces that speak louder as a whole.

Another idea I'm having is to do hundreds of very small, intimate pieces (6x6 and smaller)...or...(as I say all the time but never do) get back into mixed media...print, projection, video...sometimes having so many possible directions to go in can be absolutely stifling. I just had a long conversation with one of my high school friends, my dreamer friend who always encourages. Having someone who motivates and excites you is so important; now I have all the inspiration I can handle, I just need someone to tell me what to do with it.

Replies: 10 Comments

on Wednesday, May 17th, Judy Vars said

How about doing a moody, stormy landscape, twilight sky, with a weary sad nude. The body language will say it all. She can be a part of your previous body of work. Your statement "individual pieces that speak louder as a whole" makes me think in a different direction about a body of work. My art is all over the map as one critic put it, and I have trouble focusing.
Yes I think anger can be cadmium yellow.

on Wednesday, May 17th, Elise said

That's a pretty cool idea Judy. I could start with a few pieces similar to now, but have the landscapes (as well as the figures) get slowly more dark, worn, torn, eroded, and generally downtrodden....ending with a crinkly old mummy in a barren desert landscape.

on Thursday, May 18th, RR said

If you want inspiration on how to do moody and dark full of angst - have a look at eric drookers site

on Thursday, May 18th, RR said (sorry think it got cut in half) Look at the graphics especially. Get angry :crazy:

on Thursday, May 18th, Elise said

Hi RR, I've always liked Eric Drookers, but I guess that is the kind of work I'm trying to avoid doing, because it is more illustration...written on many of them it says things like "industrialization vs. nature" and stuff...which is what (political cartoons?) are supposed to do but I'd like to not be so...obvious.

Don't get me wrong, I love his stuff for what it is, it's just not exactly how I want to work.

Does that make sense?

Oh, someone whose work is sort of similar is ... Kathe kollwitz ... one of my favorite artists of all time!

on Thursday, May 18th, RR said

yep makes perfect sense and the kollwitz are really good. I should study them as they might give me some help for working on tones in my 'life' class - I hate charcoal!!!! ....but beginning to work with it a bit better :rolleyes:

on Thursday, May 18th, Jackie said

E: I'm sure you'd have to tone down your color pallette to reflect your current mood - or change some colors totally. Maybe you could take some photos when the weather is dreary - rain/fog/wind. I bet you could make some of your dancers even look dreary in a dreary landscape...
That, or add a few zombies! (heh - just kiddin').
When I create dark things, I tend to use symbols/archetypes that one associates with darkness. Skulls, people who look tortured, monsters, alot of black and red.
Basically, my mood/mind set are reflected in what I'm creating at any given time - so I guess it's good if you make peaceful/joyful paintings - you're really not depressed at heart! :D

on Thursday, May 18th, Elise said

Hey RR, I'm not a fan of charcoal either, though I do like vine charcoal, (do you call that very fine porous charcoal "vine"?)

And nude zombies in an alaskan landscape!

on Saturday, May 27th, berry bowman connell said

Well, I got here just in the knick of time!
No, not really. On the
other hand, Goya is a good
one t'study. But, know
this, artist buddy o mine...
he had a sense of humor that knew no bounds.
He painted that terrible picture, that horrific thing, I think it was Jupiter Eating his children,...
He had that hanging on
the wall behind him as
he ate dinner, and
would have guests come to
visit then....

on Saturday, May 27th, Elise said

Ah yes Berry, Goya is one of my heros too. I got to see some of his work up close and in person at the Prado in Madrid. Was a dream come true.