Thursday, September 27, 2018

How to stop being exhausted from new routines



No matter how hard I try to convince myself that I'm flexible, in actuality change scares me, irritates the crap out of me, makes me uncomfortable. This time of year is especially difficult with the setting of new routines, let a lone a new space, a new set of priorities. 


I walk over to boil water for my tea and realize I can't locate an outlet immediate vicinity. I try to use my melting lamp and the extension cord won't reach, my easel breaks, I don't have enough enrollment to feel comfortable enough to pay my higher rent.

It all seemed so effortless last year and once again I beat myself up for dropping the ball with marketing, for daring to dream big, for reaching higher and higher. Rejections again from every corner - art fairs, online courses, live students. I keep telling myself that it' all for the best, that in the end all works out beautifully, but my ego is not convinced. How can I believe in myself if everything requires two steps forward and four steps back?

On days like today it's especially comforting to revel in the little familiar actions, like the mixing of a harmonious palette, the balancing of a composition with the drips, the rewarding discovery of new color combinations. It's soothing to sit in solitude and allow myself to be sad, scared and apprehensive.

"Only know you've been high when you're feeling low" are the lyrics in one of my favorite songs.
The good days will come, but only when I give in to the blues and let myself experience them, be kind to myself when I'm in this phase, as opposed to reverting to my customary self deprecating, self-criticizing self.


Monday, July 30, 2018

How do you appease stress levels?

There're days when you sit in front of a computer, trying to get things done quickly, before the kids are back, and all you get is a compounding headache.
You get so overwhelmed with the noise of it all, with the distractions of the outside world. In these moments I get an almost animal longing to head into the studio. My body knows that it needs to step away, to let my mind rest, to let that other part of the brain take over.
I feel like I'm fleeing this daily routine on wings, propelling me to pour all my frustrations onto canvas. On these days I know my time in the studio will be very special. It's when my inner voice will rejoice, take control, lead me places. I know that if I don't go this almost physical pain of withdrawal will make me even crazier. It will make me stir-crazy, irritable, impatient with everyone around me.
Even my dear husband knows at those moments that I am dying on the inside from that feeling of overwhelm, and he knows that he needs to let me be, to let me go.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Do you have too many loud conversations?

I watched a podcast by an artist not too long ago, Nicholas Wilton, where he spoke about the importance of value in each painting. There was one phrase in that talk that really struck a chord with me. It went something like this: "You can have multiple conversations within each painting. They just can't all be loud." This rang true to me on so many levels.
There should always be something in one's life that is of utmost importance, a main theme. You can have sub-themes, lots of them: your job, your daily routines, what have you. But there's always one thing that is overarching and no, it's not your family. It's you: your sanity, your balance. If I don't take care of me, then I'm no good to my family. I'm slowly realizing how important and difficult this feat is - to think of me first...kind of like when they tell you to put an oxygen mask on yourself first in an event of an emergency.
I wanted contrast in this work but I also thought that light was truly key - that was the main idea. It's about gates into the bright void, a hopeful future after the passing of winter. It wants to be bright and airy, abstract, full of possibility. Did it succeed?
I would love this clarity of value to translate to my book as well. Currently it's full of parent/child traumas, romance struggles, work issues. But it needs to be about art, about how it weaves through this life and helps solve all these dilemmas, large and small. All of these other conversations can be subdued, toned down. I'm almost done dumping all my ideas and am about to move into the first edit stage. I can't wait to start sharing it with the world!
If you'd like to be part of my inner circle and start getting more glimpses into the book, as well as 20% off your first piece, I invite you to join my insider's list at http://www.dianastelin.com/jointhemeltingcrew.php 

Thursday, March 8, 2018

How to be today's Van Gogh

This is my latest work in progress, a 40x60 inch canvas, which is just a few inches shorter than me. I am doing a one hour blitz on it. I know I don't have much time but I need to get it out - all my emotions piling up over the last few weeks. The energy is pouring out of me. It's a positive force fueled by my success and recognition, by confidence in where I'm heading, by all the support I've gotten.
In my numerous conversations with people who resonate with my work, I heard that it reminds them of Van Gogh. Whereas before I would shudder at the thought of resembling another artist, about being categorized as an Impressionist, about being labeled in general, now I'm ecstatic. Yes? If you think I'm Van Gogh, then why should I be afraid to experiment with the curvature of my line? Why can't I be bold with my color?
It will be a variation on Van Gogh, sure. But it'll be my variation. I'll be the contemporary version of him, be it kitsch, be it too sweet or too straight-forward. I'll just pick my four or five colors and I'll experiment the hell out of them! They'll dance in all kinds of combinations, playing off of each other, seeing their most favorite partner in crime peek at them from across the canvas, approaching them from an unexpected angle.
These canvases will have tumultuous personalities. They'll be happy one day, shining with the warmth of the sun. Another day it'll feel like a storm is approaching. They will be me, all the layers of me, all my complexities, naked in front of you. I won't hide behind the screen. I'll learn to love all these battling emotions, striving for a balance.
Just like in my daily life where I love my kids for their whole selves, I will attempt to be kind to myself on my good days and my bad days. They make up who I am, create my ying and yang. Are you kind to yourself on a bad day? It's so easy not to be, to beat yourself up, to be your worst critic...

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Do we need to let it go in order to succeed?

I think this is a good ending point for the book. I'm done with about half of it by now and am thinking more and more about the main theme, and the sub-themes.
My drips are for emptiness. They’re an antidote to the busy world I try to populate in each new piece. They create the much needed reprieve from the craziness. They introduce abstraction, they move me from my regular status quo. 
They’re an answer to my traditional upbringing, to my fears of rejecting the mold, of letting go. If I completely give into them, they will be me letting go completely. 
But I can’t give up the line. Its piercing musicality is very important to me, its contrast is absolutely key. I don’t know if I figured out form yet, but the line is certainly there to stay. I still can’t tell which forms speak to me and which I’m able to forego. Is it a triangle shape or a semi-circle that is my favorite? A combo of various sized cubes? Do I absolutely need a horizon line? I’ve already gathered that less is more when it comes to color: maximum of two different juxtapositions plus an accent color. But I don’t want to stick to the same palette, do I? I know I need to break it down to get to complete abstraction, which would mean something to me. But how? And do I need to get to abstraction? Maybe this is a constant conversation - a chat between inner and outer reality, between abstract thoughts and practical sides of me?