Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Finding my Artist's Voice - Chapter 5: Do What's In Your Heart

That sounds very trite doesn't it?  It may be trite, but this is the idea that brings me back to the beginning - my award from the ISSA.  This may sound silly, but I was nervous when I submitted my pieces to the ISSA show this year, nervous that they might not actually be accepted.  The ISSA is a new society with the main purpose of promoting scratchboard as a legitimate and separate medium of fine art.  Therefore they have to be specific about 'what is scratchboard'.  You can't promote a distinct medium if there are pseudo-scratchboards or things that might more rightly be classified in a different category in your flagship show.

Would my newer stuff still be considered scratchboard?  I mean it is on ClayBord, and the main technique used in creating it is scratching (reductive) which is the definition... but there are other elements too.  At the end of the day it doesn't matter if ~I~ think it's scratchboard, it matters if the Society thinks so.

I struggled for awhile over this - after all this angst over what direction I was going with my art, what if the thing I'd decided on ended up not being acceptable as scratchboard?  I guess I had a bit of an identity crisis.  It was a good crisis though - because I decided that even if it were deemed to be not 'scratchboardy' enough it's what I wanted to do, and what I was going to do, and that was that.  

I submitted my pieces.  And lo... I WON the bronze award!  There was some AMAZING work in that show, I know my piece didn't win based on the rendering of the dog himself - though good, that part wasn't better than other pieces in the show.  The judges had to have chosen it at least partly because of my style, not in-spite of it.
Detail "A Dog Named Davinci" (c) Pam Boutilier
I could have told myself that my fears had been unfounded and it was dumb to worry about whether my new work would be acceptable to the scratchboard community, and pretended I'd never had any doubts.  Instead I was really glad I had those doubts and worries, even though they ended up being unfounded.  I saw the (imaginary) barrier and I decided to plow through it.. that decision was hugely important to the further development my Artist's Voice.  I not only love the work I'm doing now, but I love that looking through the ISSA catalogue my entries stand out with their brightness of colour.  I'm more proud of what I'm doing with my art right now than I have been for years - and that is worth everything.  That is what compelled me to post this series of blog entries, on the off chance that someone else is where I was last year and might benefit from my experiences
Detail "A Dog Named Davinci" (c) Pam Boutilier
So get out there artists and find your Voice.  Or if you already have it then be grateful you know what you love, keep working and don't take that knowlege for granted!!

1 comment:

Nicole F said...

Hi Pam- just stumbled across this series of posts. So interesting! I really love hearing about how your art is progressing and how you are pushing yourself and discovering new things. I need to take some of your advice (says my left brain:))