I admit. I love American Idol. I've watched every season. It's one of only a few shows that I rearrange my activities around in order to watch. Just recently, I've made an interesting connection to art. Kind of an "AHA" moment.
Every year, the judges critiques include comments like, "I don't get a sense of who you are or who you want to be as a recording artist." It's clear that many of the contestants just do what they think the judges will like or want them to do. My favorite contestant this year is Chrystal Bowersox. I love her because she is not the usual contestant you see every year. She does not seem to give in to all the hype, glamour, or apparently the pressure to do whatever the judges advise her to do. This past Wednesday night, Ryan said to her, "Kara is telling you to put down the guitar, Simon is telling you to keep the guitar, who do you listen to?" and she replied without missing a beat, "me." End of story.
I believe that the same is true for art. It's so easy to get caught up into what you think galleries are looking for, what people tell you is marketable, or what will sell quickly. But if you don't paint what you enjoy, what's the point? I am a firm believer in painting what you're excited about or can't wait to create. I think that will show in your work and soon others will feel it too.
I recently saw this quote on Katherine A. Cartwright's blog
"Don't try to paint a good landscapes. Paint canvases that will show how interesting the landscape looks to you-your pleasure in the thing." And another that said, "don't paint the pig, paint the squeal." Those really resonate with me as I struggle to find my voice and express who I want to be as an artist. Gotta go find that squeal...