My Vision: What keeps me awake

A Time For Firsts
One of the first paintings where someone said, “Chrissy I knew that was yours because of the style.”

Never permit a dichotomy to rule your life, a dichotomy in which you hate what you do so you can have pleasure in your spare time. Look for a situation in which your work will give you as much happiness as your spare time. – Pablo Picasso

As I said – as an artist I love my work.

I don’t mean I love what I do – which I do – but I love the actual end result of what I do.

The outcome and not just the process.

I love the work – from my minds-eye to canvas. When using oils on canvas, with a nod towards vintage imagery and feel, my works demonstrate a life-time of disciplined commitment to developing my style and my brand. The result is when someone walks through an art fair or show my style stands out as mine.

For me it is the result of a disciplined commitment to the work. A discipline that demands time, time, time and more time.

People don’t always understand. I’m not even sure other artists understand. I’m not sure I understand but sometimes understanding is overrated.

My job is to be a fine art painter. On a good week I spend 30 hours painting on four or five canvases. On a great week I spend 50 hours.

All to often people think that painting is some magical skill you are born with.

That’s silly.

If you want to be a painter paint. If you want to be a writer write. If you want to a singer sing. If you want to be the starting goalie for the Blackhawks…well you get the idea.

Learning the foundation of my painting style took up thousands of hours and thousands and thousands of drawings, sketches and paintings. Each one slightly better than the one before. Each one slightly different. I was in my thirties before someone said to me, “Wow! Chrissy, I could tell that was yours because of the style.

That is the kindest thing anyone can say to a creative person. I was no longer seen as simply emulating but was truly creating a work that was mine.

It is the reason my original paintings sell for $7,000 and prints for as much as $500. I could sell $35 prints and $60 originals but that is not my work that is someone else’s work. Not that there is anything wrong with those works it is just wrong for my works. I know the sacrifices, the commitment and the time I’ve made for my works. Loving my works means giving it the attention it deserves such as working on a painting for over a year. Each work needs a different amount of time but they all receive equal love.

I don’t paint for money. A concept that is very confusing to people in this modern culture. As I said, I’m a painter. And as such, I’m not going to cheapen my works or take technological shortcuts just to sell one more.

Beer Cans
I worked on this technical piece for over a year. It is 40 inches wide and 18 inches high.

If I did, I would only cheapen my works, my Vision and most importantly myself.  Instead I paint something because my Vision tells me to paint it. I’m blessed to know I have a Vision and although many well-meaning and less-then-well-meaning pushed me to compromise on my Vision I’ve refused.

Some people call that arrogant.

The people who know me know it is simply love – love for my self, love of my work and love of my Vision.

Proper self-love…seriously go and read that link. It is very interesting…I’ll wait…

Anyway, proper self-love is not arrogant, narcissistic or prideful it is actually a source of power and humility.

I love my children and encourage them to do what they need to do to learn and grow (maybe not what they want but what they need). I hope they have a Vision that wakes them up at night. I love my friends and tell them the truth when they ask me.

So then, why is it arrogant or prideful if the love for self tells me the truth? I need to paint.

Why is it selfish if my love for self tells me to paint? To learn? To explore? To make a move?

Inspiration exists,” said Pablo Picasso, “but it has to find us working.

…and in truth, my Vision loves me enough to give me inspiration because of this commitment to work on the work. The more I embrace my work the more my Vision gives me in return and the freer I’ve become.


6 thoughts on “My Vision: What keeps me awake

  1. Great post, Christine! “A Vision that wakes them up at night” resonates with me very literally today. I began the day being jolted awake an hour before my alarm was set to go off by a vision of my next piece! When you dive into creating art for the sake of your vision, it will wake you (or keep you awake) until it is realized. I won’t sleep well until this piece is finished, now that I have my vision. Good timing since we’ll be welcoming a newborn home this weekend!

  2. Lost concept indeed. People keep asking me why I don’t “try harder” to sell my paintings. Well… because I’m not trying to sell them. Right now it’s just not about the money, it’s about what’s inside. It baffles people, there is more to this life than green paper. They say it takes 10 thousand hours to be an expert in something, I’m 3/4 of the way there but at 10k hours spent I will still have much to learn. I feel like my work is an ‘escape’ right now and until that changes I won’t be trying to market, only to share. I hope to someday be where you are right now, not in terms of price tags but just for the ‘love’. It is artists like you that bring me closer to that period, I thank you.

  3. I’ve heard that too..Why aren’t you selling your photography. It’s just not the focus. I’ve worked as a commercial photographer on a daily basis doing portrait work for a 5 year period. There comes a time when you want to just branch out and experiment with other subjects and editing processes. All things in time.

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