Alaskan Artist - Elise Tomlinson
Home Artist Blog About Me Life in Alaska Purchase Site Index Speak
Home » Archives » June 2007 » What's wrong with staying the same?

[Previous entry: "Loooong Alaskan Summer Nights"] [Next entry: "Iím painting again!"]

06/27/2007: "What's wrong with staying the same?"

So, I've been trying to get into the habit of taking at least one photo everyday (to train my mind to view things more critically) and it's working pretty well. I have hundreds of cool new photos to share and I've been waiting to write in this until a time I could edit and upload some of the new photos...but that just takes too long. So, I thought I'd write to say that I have finally started working on the show I have coming up in 2 months. That's right folks: 2 months.

I was supposed to have my first live model studio session last night with fellow artist Rob Roys (who has the coolest studio in Juneau IMO)...but our model apparently came down with a case of "Sun Fever" and didn't show. I was also having terrible back pain anyway so it probably wasn't the worst thing in the world that she flaked on us. I did prepare about 15 thumbnail sketches of the poses I wanted her to assume....and all the amazing landscape photos I've taken lately should mesh quite nicely.

I've realized that my work is probably not going to undergo some kind of revolutionary transformation in the next couple of months so I'll probably just return to doing what I love to do the most: paint figures in an Alaskan landscape.

But I ask you: If you're painting in a way that appeals to you but doesn't show "growth", is that such a bad thing? I mean, is it so wrong having your work stay the same if you think that the work is solid and you're enjoying doing it?

Replies: 18 Comments

on Thursday, June 28th, Kasia said

There is nothing wrong with the things staying the same! Think of the great artists of the Renaisance - was there a revolution in Michelangeloe's way of presenting people? I don't think so. Growth doesn't mean changing and evolution is so much closer to me than revolution. :)
I am heading to Paris tomorrow so c ya soon!!

on Thursday, June 28th, Elise said

Hi Kasia,
Thanks for the words of encouragement...have a wonderful time in Paris. Do you speak French? Anyway, I'm very jealous!

on Thursday, June 28th, dad said

honey you haven't lived long enought to experance too much change :D it will come, enjoy the process

on Friday, June 29th, Daniel said

Andrew Wyeth has done fairly well painting his seemingly mellow interests; then again the fact that he snubbed his nose at the last century of artistic change may be revolutionary in it's own rite. I have to disagree with Kasia, however, I believe any study of Michelangelo will prove he was a revolutionary... his early exactness for the creative process was really only matched by Leonardo anal-retentive tendencies; I believe "Mics" famous quote was "what I do here destroys all who come after me".

One has to step back sometimes and view their body of work from the perspective of future history. Was evolution allowed to occur during the course of a creative lifetime? Sometimes a long period of continuous evolution (no matter how small) can lead to a revolutionary body of work over a lifetime.

on Saturday, June 30th, allison myers said

I am a struggling artist, trying to make it without spending a lot of money- but I found this really cool site that just launched- it's called -- check it out- it's a cheap great way to get your name out!!!!!

on Sunday, July 1st, berry connell said forgot the "easy model" advice I gave many moons back.
(I dunno how many moons y'all have up that-a-ways compared to how many we have down this-a-ways....)

Restaraunts, malls, bus stations (except if there are gritty lookin' jerks there) and some public parks...
All good places for live models, and

'Course, almost always also quick sketches, but, trust me on this, reality movin' along while yer sketching it is a great adventure!

(and don't ferget the best part....

on Monday, July 2nd, Jackie said

E: I think when you feel the need to change, you will change. You are still exploring subjects near & dear to you, and still captivated by them, so you don't have a reason to change. I'm so glad you have another show coming up! I really wish I could pop on in...but a trip to Alaska isn't in the cards for me this summer. :(

on Monday, July 2nd, Elise said

Thanks dad...but, I have been around for quite awhile now!
And Daniel, I think looking at evolution over the course of a lifetime is a good way of looking at it...rather than trying to "force" change, just keep working and see what happens, and try not to let fear of failing keep you from trying new things...

And Hi Berry! FREE is good, I'm not that fast and also I feel like people get weirded out by me staring at, it's hard to get random strangers in the park to take their clothes off!!!
:cry: :laugh:
And Jackie, thanks for the good wishes...I'm worried because the show is so soon and I'm still trying to get my ideas together...eeeks...hopefully I won't embarass myself too terribly!
Oh, and maybe you'll be able to come next summer? I have another show in July of next year!

on Monday, July 2nd,">Cody said

From what I understand, Elise, that if you don't make your yearly growth quota, the muses will strike you from their inspiration list. :P

on Tuesday, July 3rd, Elise said

Hey Cody...don't even tease about that's my greatest fear!!!

on Wednesday, July 4th, berry connell said

ah yes...nudity in public DOES freak some folks out...

So, the next place to go look would be at the beach.

How many beaches in Alaska, anyway?
And, do folks wear a jacket there, too?

(Y'know, I'de love to paint you nude, but, I'de have to leave my socks on so I can wipe my brushes on something....)

How about "boyfriend"?

Is he willing t'help out? Or is he like my ex-wife....
"no. I don't want anyone to see and recognize me naked."
"honey, " I say, " you don't have to worry...
I don't paint that good."

ok, enough funny.

I heard Matisse had some trouble on occassion getting good models, too. A case of more artists than good models.
Then again, I wonder what kind of response you would get from an ad in the local paper?

on Thursday, July 5th, Cody said

Elise: Sorry about that. I was only kidding, of course.

I could be wrong, but those questions strike me as rhetorical, like you've already made up your mind and wish to seek approval.

I don't mean to sound insulting or presume too much; it's a behavior I find myself indulging in from time to time. If I do it, then it must be okay. :D


on Thursday, July 5th, Cody said

However, I'm an idiot. I pressed submit before I finished my thought.


Anyway, I believe the answers to those questions are entirely subjective.

Like others have said before me, if you feel happy with what you're doing, then keep doing it. Whatever growth that happens will happen when your mind and accumulated experiences reach a tipping point.

If anyone says otherwise, stick your thumb in their eye. That'll shut 'em up.

on Friday, July 6th, Annie Patterson said

Hi Elise,
I really enjoy your blog and artwork. I am an artist too and worked at the library in Barrow for 5 years.
You brought up a good question.
I agree with Cody,
I think that as long as you are enjoying creating, that's what matters. When you feel like you need to change, then it is time. I'm going through it now, after 10 years of working only in watercolor and painting Arctic subjects, I felt bored and that is such a scary feeling when it comes to my life's passion. I made a decision to try new media and different subjects and I feel inspired again, which is such a relief.
But yeah, as long as you feel inspired, it's all good and your art will grow with every painting whether or not you can see it.
Looking forward to seeing your new paintings!
:D ~Annie

on Friday, July 6th, kridl@tx.rr.colm">Kimmie said

I was attracted to your paintings because of the feeling you create. I don't want them to change, but I am being selfish. However, I am a writer. I write for me. I fall in love my with characters and dive head first into the scenery. But alas, my words invoke the same feelings over and over. Should I strive for a different mood? I think not. Then I would not be writing for me.

on Sunday, July 8th, Elise said

Hey Berry, as far as the BF goes, I think he'd be willing and I'd love to paint him but I'm working on a show where I'm doing all female figures. I have taken photos of his hands etc. for some of the new pieces...I'll say, can you sit like this...etc. and it works pretty good although he has true "man hands" so I have to fem them up a bit.

And Cody, I know you were teasing me and the question is rhetorical to an extent...

HI Annie! I just checked out your site too and it's great...thanks for the comments, I hope the new paintings don't stink.
And thanks for that Kimmie! Writing is a similar process.

on Sunday, July 8th, berry connell said

did you know that this here "bloggin' stuff isn't always so serious?
(probably you noticed I usually wander over here with m'sense of humor under my arm)

For example, today I downloaded a video of painting a pair of goats...
"tagged" you.

on Monday, July 9th, Elise said

Ah shucks Berry, hope I'm not being too serious all the time. As far as being "tagged" goes, what do I need to do?
:crazy: ;)