Wednesday, May 30, 2012

"FOMO" - Art Style

In case you were wondering... Women's Health Magazine is the only non-art related publication I subscribe to, simply because, by the end of the day, I've worked so hard and been so immersed in my art that I need something light and inconsequential to help me wind down. However, an article in the latest issue (June 2012, pp. 106-108) really caught my attention. The article was titled, "Are You a Slave to FOMO?" It's not considered an actual disorder, but FOMO ("Fear of Missing Out") is, according to Huffington Post's Annie Stamell, "an epidemic sweeping our nation".  In the article, one psychologist states, "FOMO happens when we invalidate the experience we're having because we're obsessed with the ones we're not having." This often triggers a great deal of self-induced stress, guilt, envy, or insecurity. Not only does FOMO invalidate your experiences, it causes you to want to "inflate" the experiences you are having so that others will envy you. For instance, you might tweet, "Sand between my toes, a good book, and a cold drink. This is paradise!" when really you are sitting in your backyard sipping a coke, doing your taxes, and slapping mosquitos away. Okay, that might be a silly example, but I think you get the drift.

Why do I bring this up? Because my little art-wired brain recognizes FOMO as something I'm seeing far and wide in the art world, particularly because of Facebook and other social media. I've experienced it myself. I'm suddenly remembering all those hours I spent in college framing and finishing last-minute pieces for my senior art show... my friends were all out partying, and I was experiencing FOMO. Or, when many of my art friends attended a certain art event its first year running... and then the second year, and the third year... without me... I experienced FOMO. It made me feel like I wasn't good enough, and that no matter what I was doing here at home, it would never be as great or as exciting. Or even this past weekend, at the Portrait Society of America conference, I conked out at 11 every night and missed out on the late-night festivities and conversations. Uh, hello... FOMO. As I continued believing I wasn't one of the "cool kids," self-doubt set in, among other unhealthy emotions.

Quite honestly, this is ridiculous. As artists, we should be accustomed to long hours alone in the studio, where nothing matters but creating excellent work. Yet we can't peel our eyes off of what the rest of the world is doing, and consequently, waste valuable hours of our lives in envy and regret.

Here is my solution to dealing with FOMO in the art world.

1) Limit your time on Facebook. Post when you have something relevant to say, or a new painting to show, etc, but don't spend hours stalking your art friends and envying what they are doing. I also have a policy that when I start feeling envy set in, I will think about why that person is really great and deserves the wonderful things that are happening in their lives. Then I write an encouraging comment (i.e., "Amazing work!" or "So glad you got to experience that!"), to validate their experience.

2) Whatever your reason is for missing out on something, OWN IT. For example, when I missed out on all the parties before college graduation because I was framing art and finishing paintings, I was happy to say that I never suffered from a hangover, AND that all the hard work paid off. I sold many of the pieces at my show! Even if you can't attend a workshop or conference, or go to lunch with a famous artist, or travel to Europe every year to paint... don't worry about it. Do the best you can with the circumstances you are in and make the very most of that time. Your work (and your happiness) will improve exponentially.

3) Enjoy each stage of your career, while applauding the successes of others. This is a tough one for me, because my tendency is to always look ahead, while missing out on the present. Being an artist IS about the journey, not about how many publications you get in or how big your studio is or whether or not you become famous. It's the journey.

That being said, I would like to applaud all of the incredible artists who were finalists in this year's International Portrait Competition held by the Portrait Society of America. I would also like to praise the efforts of the 15 Face-Off artists at the conference in Philadelphia, and everyone who gave of their time and energy to help with this event. Samuel Adoquei said, "The best artists are givers." That is what I saw at this event - knowledge and talent being poured out by artists so that others could learn from their successes and mistakes. Hopefully as we are inspired by others (and not hampered by FOMO), we will take what we can use for our own personal journeys and simply leave the rest. We've got painting to do!

Rose Frantzen and Mary Whyte at the 2012 "Art of the Portrait" Face-Off


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Heading out to Philly!

I have over half a dozen commissioned works in progress sitting around my studio - I'd love to post pictures of them, but most are "surprise" gifts that are going to be presented for birthdays, anniversaries, etc. So... to be safe, I'd better not post those! :-)

Life is good right now - I am back to painting, VERY carefully, of course. All the pins are now out of my finger, and at least for the next two weeks I'll continue to wear a splint before starting physical therapy. But, it's nice to not have to worry about those tiny metal pins catching on things...

I'm actually headed out early tomorrow morning to Philadelphia for the Portrait Society of America's annual "Art of the Portrait" conference. This is my fourth year attending, and my first year as a state ambassador. I'll be   volunteering throughout the course of the weekend, but in my spare time, I'm very excited to visit with other artists, including my former painting professor, Sam Knecht, and some recent Hillsdale graduates who--like me--majored in art. On a side note... I hope that someday I'll be able to provide a scholarship for promising Hillsdale art majors who want to travel abroad. When I got the opportunity to study in Florence back in 2006, thanks to some generous scholarship donors, it really changed my life and my art.

This weekend in Philadelphia will hopefully be just as impactful. It's always an amazing and humbling experience for me, where I get to learn from the best of the best.

I will post more about the conference as it's underway. Until then, here is what I worked on today... sometimes I need a break from commission work! And... it's probably about time that I finish this one! I've invested hours in the bookshelf. Well, it's getting very close... :-) I still have some more work to do on the arms, legs and hands, as well as detail work in the rug, many of the books, and the bust of David. Actually, I'm thinking about getting rid of David. He's a little distracting. I could glaze him down so that he's darker or more in shadow. What do you think? Opinions welcome!

"The Letter" (in progress) - 54 x 36" - oil on linen


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Frankenfinger No More!

A month and a half after my bizarre injury - following two surgeries, two casts, and a whole lot of prayer - I am finally seeing a light at the end of the tunnel! Today the doctor took out two of the pins that were holding everything together; there is still one going through the two bones, making it impossible for me to bend that last joint on the finger. And I will be wearing a splint still for at least the next three weeks. Don't look at these pictures if you are easily grossed out... but if you're curious, here it is, before the two side pins were removed.

The GREAT news is that I am now back to painting comfortably... in fact, yesterday I finished a painting I had been working on off and on at the Society of Figurative Arts - a fun and unusual pose with a nude model. Granted, it took a lot longer than usual, but I don't think my work has suffered from the time off. :-) If anything, I'm stronger and more determined than ever.

"Bone Necklace" - 18x14" - oil on linen panel

Additionally, taking time off from painting was good for me in that I was able to give 100% to some of my volunteer activities, particularly, my job as Texas ambassador for the Portrait Society of America. Last Saturday (May 5), with the help of SoFA's Michael Mentler, I was able to host a get-together and demo for Texas portrait painters, featuring the wonderful Kay Polk as our demo artist. We had a great turnout and the event was very well received. Given that event planning is not my forte, I thought it went very well. Here is a panoramic photo from during the demo, and a group shot, from the event.

I am back to painting and working up a storm - keeping busy with portrait commissions, but also planning a brand new large-scale figurative piece. I'm very excited about it... but you'll have to wait a few more weeks before I reveal it to you. :-)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Check out my latest portfolio! You can visit Blurb to purchase a hard copy, or download it for your iPad or iPhone! 40 pages full of my latest and greatest artwork!

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