Wednesday, July 29, 2009

This post must be a short one as this is a travel day for me. I will return to the critical dissections soon, but they are really time intensive so I will not do one today. Above is the garden painting I started yesterday. It is so far a one shot 24 x 3o, after I write this I will take it out again. I read an article today on Fine Art Views written by Lori Woodward Simons. She wrote about artistic jealousy, you can read that excellent article here. If you go to that page and quickly read that short article , what I am about to say will make more sense.

I guess I do get jealous of another artist on occasion. Although actually I don't think it happens very often, But when I do it is usually when sales are slow and I am jealous because they are selling their art when I am not. But when I do feel a twinge of jealousy these are the things I do or think to keep it from being a problem.

  • I remind myself that whenever I see a a really great painting in a magazine I think, I wanna make that! Then I turn the page and see another in a totally different style and I think, I wanna paint that! It is just the form my excitement over another's art takes. I don't really want to paint like them. I have spent too many years becoming me. Sometimes I ask myself, would you really want to trade skill sets with this person?
  • I remind myself that no one I am jealous of is even close to being in the league of a Rembrandt, Inness or Sargent.
  • But this is most my important point, I like to tell myself and others this,
  1. What I mean is that I know that I bring something of value to the marketplace or forum. Others may bring something larger, cooler or whatever. But I am bringing SOMETHING of value. I am useful! Don't underestimate the power of that idea, people who are useful are almost always included. Even if you are not a star, you are well....useful.
  • I pick up the phone, or I e mail them and I TELL them what a great piece of art they have made. That really helps, it is constructive and then we can share their achievement. That makes it pretty much impossible for me to be jealous of them. I do this to ABSOLUTE STRANGERS! The next time we meet they are no longer strangers, incidentally. If you have never done this, I strongly recommend it. It is the best way I know of to deal with art jealousy.
The New Hampshire workshop is scheduled and there is a place to sign up here. If this blog has been instructive for you, imagine what I can do for your painting in a personal one on one session
at a workshop. I think that painting in the fall in New Hampshire is about as good as it gets, and people are beginning to sign up now.

See you tomorrow


Gregory Becker said...

I call people also. I find their phone number and call them right out of the blue. It's always a good conversation also. I talked to an artist in San Fransisco for 3 hours one day. We talked like we had been friends for 20 years.
I love doing that.
I like what you said about contributing instead of competing. I know from experience that when you try to emulate too much you end up chasing a rabbit you can never catch.
I believe that one can do another can do and better or worse. I like the idea of better. Now I am competing with my own ideas of what I am capable of. It challenges me. If I could do what other artists that I admire can do, I would be happy. That makes me happy for them because I know that if I dig deep enough I can do those things that I admire.
I do the same thing when I see artists work in magazines or hear good song. "I wish that was my work or I wish that I wrote that song."
Very honest post.
What else do you have planned for that painting?

Todd Bonita said...

This is too funny because in 2003 I called you. I was living in Philly at the time and was about to move back to New Hampshire and was looking for someone to study and paint with. After some googling I found your wonderful work and called you. You were very cool. I would love to paint with you some time...can't make your work shop this time but please let those of us who can't know of any future work shops. I've learned a lot and have considered the notion of how much more I could learn if I painted with you. Looking forward to it someday. Thank you for your wisdom.
Todd Bonita

Frank P. Ordaz said...


Great Post.....It was a pleasure speaking with you yesterday and now I know what painting you were working on.



Simone said...

Nice post, Stape. Don't be surprised if I call you someday.

I like the start to this painting. Could you talk a little about your approach to this type of subject matter? Lots of foliage is a difficult thing to simplify sensibly. Are you doing a dark mass and then painting leafs, stems and flowers into that? said...

Hi Stapleton,
On occasion envy gets me too. It mostly when it's someone's work that is badly crafted or truly trite and they sold it for lots of money. If someone is really good and they sell I see that as a good sign for art. I usually say "Congratulations thtat's a sale for all of us" (especially these days).

My problem is with an ex student of mine who does knock offs of my work's "look and feel" in acrylic and sells them really really cheaply. It's like having China in my backyard. I resent THAT. Not to mentioned an artists on the west coast who copied and sold two of my paintings. I came across them entirely by accident. Boy, was she surprised.I really really resented that.

Stapleton Kearns said...

I like the garden part. It has velocity, so I probably won't do much to that. The trees above need softening and simplification, maybe a walrus

Stapleton Kearns said...

I will set a place at the table for you every night and pretend you are there.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Hey Frank.
Go check out Franks blog at
Farnk was one of the earliest readers of this blog, and answered blogging questions for me.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Thanks, if the phone doesn't ring, I'll know its you. I will answer your question in tonights post.

Stapleton Kearns said...

I know what you mean about the feeling when someone sells an inferior product for big bucks. Its a broken world.
The student copying you? hmmmm let me think. I will get back to you on that.
I have been ripped of so many times, I don't really know how to stop it. The idea of private intellectual property has succumbed because it is now so easy to steal. Most kids these days have absolutly no sense that downloading an artists music, for instance is stealing.In fact they have come up with philosophical arguments for why they have a right to someone else s property. The confuse their wants with their rights.

Todd Bonita said...

oops, wait, that wasn't you I called, I think it was Joe McGurl.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Better choice anyway.