Thursday, October 13, 2011

Whatever!


I received a funny kind of gift this morning that made me think all day. I debated sharing it, and finally decided, if nothing else, maybe some of you have had the same experience. It's long, so if you have a minute ...

Posting these silly faces has been a big leap for me. Heck, doing them has been a leap. So when I received my first comment this morning on my first post, I had some pent up anticipation. It said "I think your foray into funny faces is misguided." I like to think I'm a strong person, but deep down I am enormously sensitive. So my first response, one minute after trying to laugh it off, was to cry. Because, of course, it is my worst fear that this is a terrible mistake. And this confirmed it exactly.

As the day wore on I went through a series of emotions. Maybe stages of grief? At first I came up with all the reasons this person was wrong and I was right. I was angry at anonymous - I mean who did they think they were?! And how cowardly to post such a thing without a name attached! And then I became incredibly depressed - what if I have to paint apples and only applies for the rest of my life?! The whole time I felt incredibly sorry for myself.

And then, hours later, I thought, ok, so one person thinks this is stupid, and they happen to be the first one to speak up. And maybe lots of people think the same. Maybe everyone does. That doesn't change the fact that I was inspired to do this in the first place, and have wanted to for a long time. And I enjoy it.

Here's my reality. I've been doing still life almost exclusively for five years. One almost every single day. I got to the point, right before the fire, where I was drawing a blank in the studio. A BIG one. I decided I needed a break, and a hobby. So I started making jewelry, just for fun, on the side. In fact I was in the middle of a beading party with my friends when we evacuated. So in addition to everything else I lost all my jewelry making supplies.

Right after the fire everyone asked "so when are you going to start painting again?". But I didn't want to, so these questions just made me nervous. About a week later it suddenly occurred to me that I could paint something different, if only for a little while, and the first thing that popped into my head was silly faces. It's an idea I've had countless times before. I figured it would give my apple brain a break and time to get re-inspired. I was finally excited to paint again!

The reason I called this anonymous comment a gift? Because it made me think about ME for a change, and what I need. I need something new, a change of scenery. However, it also made me think about my family. Starting over is expensive, so I have to keep an income flowing in for us. So I decided to keep doing the faces, as a learning experience, for me, not for sale, but do still lifes too (as soon as I get my new heavy duty tripod and shadowbox - a couple of weeks), and maybe some other stuff as well.

I figure, the faces can only get better. And maybe someday I can sell them. I am already learning a TON! I will be happy to share what I learn and will gladly accept tips from those more experienced with this subject.

The moral of this story? Don't let the opinions of others discourage you from trying new things.

181 comments:

Linda Popple said...

From the beginning I thought this was a great idea. I've learned an ENORMOUS amount from painting mug shots. I've had a couple of negative comments, too, regarding who I'm painting. I think this is going to be a great series and I'm looking forward to seeing each one. I'm happy you came to the decision to continue. We'll all benefit from it!! :-) Keep up the good work!

Staar said...

WOW...Carol thank you for sharing your experience and feelings, I really admire the way you decided it should turn out, good on Ya! I think 'Silly Faces' is a great idea and I look forward to seeing more and hearing about your learning curve.

Last Cup Of Coffee said...

one man's misguided is another man's genius. just like the impressionists - weren't they 'misguided'? I personally can't wait to see what you do next. I was actually thinking about sending you a photo - and I don't send no one no photo! I would even BUY it - and I'm cheap!!!!!! not to get all mushy - you are a leader - not a follower - I'll be waiting!!

Diane Ellerbeck said...

Don't let this anonymous critic (who doesn't have the courage to say who he/she is) stop you from following your heart. Your composition is great (as usual), your colours are vibrant (as usual) and the face is wonderfully expressive. Who cares what one nameless person (who probably wishes they could paint as well as you) says anyway. Keep 'em coming, Carol. It's supposed to snow up here in Canada this weekend, and your paintings always warm me up. One of your little pigs is hanging on my great-nephew's bedroom wall and he loves it too.

Lisa Payne said...

I love these faces! I am excited to see what will be next! Don't stop -- they make my day!

Sue said...

You're wise beyond your years. You know best what's best for you, and it just makes sense to do what your heart tells you. Everyone has their own opinions about what they like, and that's fine, but what others like or don't like is only opinion - not truth. The paintings that you produce bring pleasure to so many...it is because you are creative as well as talented and skilled. It's a rare and beautiful combination you've been blessed with. Please keep on keepin' on. I look forward to more silly faces - in fact, I check every evening to see if there is a silly face posted! Love and best wishes to you, Carol.

Helen M said...

I totally support you being you. If you wish to paint upsidedown salt shakers, you should do it. It will take lots of time for you to heal from your recent journey. Amusement can only speed the trip! I will love watching and learning with you. Helen Moreda

Carrie'sCreations said...

I think we all go through the same thing Carol, for every 100 great comments we get it's that 1 stinker in the crowd that bogs us down and shakes us to the core. I love the resolution you came to. I was watching Oprah's life class yesterday and a guest she had on said something so profound, she said that the things that people tell us are just an opinion and it's what we do with them that impacts us. We are in control. I think your faces are fabulous and I'm sure they will have their own audience and collectors.

Linda said...

You go girl!

liz wiltzen said...

Right on sister!

AnneMarie Blackmon said...

Carol,
I look forward to your post everyday, but I have never written to you before. I am happy to see you branch out a bit. I know painting as beautifully as you do takes a tremendous amount of practice, but frankly, if I had to paint apples and forks and cups everyday for 5 years I would go absolutely bonkers. In fact, I did. I had the same art teacher for 3 years in high school and she made us draw and paint the same old bottles and pinecones everyday and I forgot why I loved to do art. I'm still creatively "stuck" at 48. And personally, I think painting silly faces is a lighthearted way to tackle the most difficult subject of all -- faces. You've been through so much. Do what makes you happy and fulfilled as an artist. Light and love from Baton Rouge.

Carol Beckx said...

I can understand how such a negative comment would have such an effect, especially coming after all that has happened recently.
Maybe the funny faces will be only be an interlude, maybe they will lead to more serious portraits - who knows?
The most important thing is to keep painting and a new direction will present itself.
I admire your courage and determination.

Toria said...

Good on you Carol!

Maybe anonymous is just confused because they don't want to hang it on their wall like a 'safer' still life, so they obviously don't have a sense of humour. Which I find funny because I am usually not that into still life paintings, but I love yours for both the way you paint and your funny, quirkily anthropomorphized stagings and titles.

I am more interested by portraits, and love the square format, close cropped portraits most of all. I am very excited to see you tackling portraits, your expressive, concise brushstrokes, your handling of colour & light, all combined with my favourite subject matter & format.

And the funny faces? BRILLIANT! More fun to paint, more interesting to look at for people who don't know the subject, everyone (artist, subject, viewers) will worry less about if it is "flattering" so that won't be holding you back, and with such mobile expressions you will learn so much more quickly about how faces really work and move, more than the traditional bland expression.

I am really enjoying the series so far and looking forward to it's progression. And I am sorry that I didn't say so earlier. I have become spoiled, sitting back and having your emails land in my inbox for my viewing pleasure every day. I'd forgotten that you are not an invincible artistic superhero, and are a real woman at a particularly vulnerable stage in life that most people never experience.

I am a woman around your age, my son is a few years younger than yours. I would love to be a portrait artist "when I grow up". You are such an inspiration to me in so many different ways. And your post today made me think it was about time I told you so and thanked you for it.

So thanks Carol, and keep up the amazing, enjoyable, adventurous work.
From a wannabe on the other side of the world.

drawtheline said...

me too! i think it's a great idea! i know an artist who got popular in calcutta twenty odd years ago for his charcoals of bulls and horses but every time he tried doing something different the market would make a demand only for the charcoals and so he gave in. twenty years later he's still stuck there with the same compositions and i'm sure still unhappy. great you're taking this leap and it's a good that you will keep at the still life's too. love your work, how much you share and look forward to lots more. all the best with the move and the change in direction : ))

adebanji said...

You are my hero! Simple and short! I have learnt so much and I am still learning from you!
Whatever you do! However you do it! In whichever way- you ALWAYS will and still make my day!

Lane Aldridge said...

Wow, Carol.... even if you hadn't taken care of it already, all by yourself, all these comments certainly would've taken the sting out of that one early rude and thoughtless remark. Particularly Toria's comment--I think she said so well what probably all of us feel. Well, maybe except for one. :-)

When I saw you starting with the Silly Faces I thought it was not only a good and fun idea, but, to tell the truth, I thought it was a fantastic counterbalance to the seriousness of what has happened in your life lately. And as a viewer, they serve that purpose for me, too: there's so much seriousness and ugliness and difficult change affecting our lives these days that it is a relief to be given grins, wherever and however they come.

Your mastery of composition and color and brushstrokes are present, no matter your subject matter. What's not to like and enjoy?

Misguided? Quite the contrary! As you said, you listened to your inner self and are doing what you WERE guided to do. You are the artist, the vision is yours; we are voyeurs and students: whatever you show us we can learn from. I may not be painting again yet, but, still, you--and your work--are major inspiration for me. I thank you for that, and especially for sharing your gift with the world.

P.S.--I hope the person who made the comment had a profile pic of some sort with it, and I hope you'll take it and paint the silliest ******* portrait you can muster!!!

Karin S.A said...

Carol , you are such an incredible painter with a " gift " for really seeing life ..and now with your new series showing us that you really see people ! I am sure there are thousands of artists who are inspired by you and your works , like myself , but we do not necessarily comment on your blog , but just greedily read it and soak it up ! You truly are my " find " of my life ...and I am 53 ...so DO not let any one person discourage you from your journey and from the amazing inspirational person you are . ...not anonymous-Karin from south Africa your new fan

Sarah Bachhuber Peroutka said...

LOL! You inspire me!

Paolo Puggioni said...

I didn't get what the Anonymous meant, though.
Was he arguing about the choice of subject or the execution?

As soon as I saw the face I thought "ahah wow that's brilliant", unfortunately there's a lot of people with a complete deficiency of sense of humour, and for some reason they're always the ones more willing to voice their disapproval. Too bad it spoilt your day, but I think next time you'll be quicker to shrug these kind of comments off:)

Kathleen Owings said...

Oops - I am new at this and I just tried to post my comment, but didn't check the correct option (name, etc.) - Kathleen, here! Hope it came through...

Lee Smith said...

I love your blog, and I love how you're open about your journey as an artist. I think the most rewarding thing about painting is discovering new things. We benefit by your sharing these new discoveries. You can find a single person or object to paint and find infinite beauty and infinite ways to represent it. You kept notes about little nuances of painting still lifes. Maybe do the same with portraits. Eventually, you will master anything you love enough to paint. The journey is the reward, not the money, or some anon's opinion of what you do.

Bruce Bingham said...

Bravo! These are refreshingly ugly! I mean that in a good way. Pretty subject matter can be pretty boring.

I'm so happy you could come up for air and get your head out of the kitchen cabinets for a while, expore a larger slice of life with your paints. Kinda scary, but feels kinda good too doesn't it?

How cool is it that you've completely reinvented your entire life? New subject matter only makes sense!

I'm working on a series of faces myself(in between other things) and capturing personality is the goal. The perfect portrait is perfectly dull.

Enjoy, you deserve it, plus you'll become a better painter while you enjoy yourself. Bonus!!!

PS- I'm mentoring artists that are stuck or uninspired, if anyone wants a little help:)I've been there.

Edward B. Gordon said...

I think they are great !

Don Gray said...

Carol, here's a few quotes I've always liked:

"I'm not going to limit myself just because people won't accept the fact that I can do something else."

~Dolly Parton

"Artists must be able to fall...you must be able to step off the ledge and not worry if there’s rocks under the surface, where you’re going. And that’s the only way that you’ll actually go forward...you just go on faith, blind faith."

~Bill Viola

"And the day came when the risk it took to remain tight inside the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."

~Anais Nin

Diana Marshall said...

Just because somebody has an opinion doesn't make it true.
I think you have had a brilliant and unique idea (and they are hard to come by!)
So after thinking it through you came to conclusions that will make you stronger, trust your instincts and follow your dream, good for you, you are stronger than you think and you have an enormous following to support you too.

Marilyn R Miller said...

Please, keep following your inspirations!

Dianne Hague said...

Carol,
thanks so much for sharing your feelings....I love silly faces!

juli said...

Great advice! I love the silly faces :)

Leonardo Climaco said...

Pinte o que tiver vontade e não dê a mínima atenção para o que os outros pensam! Assim estará sendo sincera com você mesma, e com todos os seus admiradores, é impossivel agradar a todos!
Seu trabalho é belíssimo, e você tem o direito de passear livremente pela temática que lhe vier a cabeça.
Sucesso Sempre!
Greetings from Brazil
Leonardo Clímaco

Leonardo Climaco said...

Pinte o que tiver vontade e não dê a mínima atenção para o que os outros pensam! Assim estará sendo sincera com você mesma, e com todos os seus admiradores, é impossivel agradar a todos!
Seu trabalho é belíssimo, e você tem o direito de passear livremente pela temática que lhe vier a cabeça.
Sucesso Sempre!
Greetings from Brazil
Leonardo Clímaco

Nora MacPhail said...

You've inspired a huge number of people! Every time you put your brush to canvas, it's worth it, even if it's just to learn! Having creativity in your life is a blessing... it's important!
DO YOUR 'THANG' AND DON'T LOOK BACK!
Happy Painting Carol

Nora MacPhail said...

Hey... Anonymous actually wrote "fumy" faces?!?! Perfect! You can call your series FUMY FACES!!!
p.s.
Super excited to see the rest of these!

Sandy Graeser Haynes said...

Carol, thanks for sharing your experience with all of us. We (me, anyway) tend to think that you never have any struggles, and that you never second guess yourself. I guess it's sort of refreshing to see that you have doubts at times, too. But, even more important than that is the fact that this was a "life-changing" moment, to be a little overly dramatic, on my part. It was at least an eye-opener, for sure. These times are IMPORTANT in life... it's kinda like your fire gave you a new start that you otherwise would not have taken, and that might turn out to be a very good thing...life is funny, I guess. something that you thought was bad can somehow turn into something so GOOD and valuable.... rock on, girlie !!and keep in mind, Tuscany-2013 !!

Chris Lally said...

Carol, I can't offer any tips on painting, but I can offer this piece of advice that's taken me years to internalize. I quote someone more articulate than myself:

"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary."

Steve Jobs, excerpt from his 2005 commencement speech to the graduating class of Stanford

graham said...

People laughed at Wayne Thiebaud for painting cake and slices of pie too...and.. I'm glad you are getting back on your horse. You've through a traumatic experience and the entire time you have remained positive and had an outlook that life was opening a new door for you. Your attitude has been an inspiration to me throughout your recent journey. Stay strong and continue to use the not so positive comments to help you grow.

Sandy Graeser Haynes said...

also, Carol... I have jewelry supplies that I was going to list on craigslist last week, ( I'm never going to use them again) I'd love to send them to you, if you want to email your new address.... my email is
sanso46@yahoo.com

Btbo said...

Thank you for having the courage and generousity to share your faces and the emotional journey behind them. I'm just learning to put brush to canvas and the opportunity to study and examine your works is manna to me; and how often do such gifts from the heavens fall?

Kathy Weber said...

Carol- you're so incredibly honest. I enjoy everything you paint, and the faces are really fun. On the other hand, I've always said that there's no end to the amount of jewelry people will buy. So, don't let one blog comment ruin your day- if you knew who wrote it, it would probably amaze you that you gave him/her so much power over you.

Kimberly Santini said...

I feel sorry for Anonymous.

They didn't have enough belief in their opinion to sign their name or start a dialogue - they just felt the simple need to bully, then run away and hide.

How on earth will Anonymous ever find the courage to take a risk? how will they find the strength to follow a conviction in their own life?

Being a daily painter - and teacher - is insanely difficult. And draining. You are always giving of yourself, Carol. Always. It's far past time that you give yourself a gift - paint these silly faces like mad and make the idea your own, just like you have with the apples and still lifes.

You've gotta push the envelope and keep growing as an artist, and I applaud you for it. And for having the integrity to really think through what Anonymous said, instead of dismissing it.

Anonymous said...

Hey Carol, Just keep doing what you want to do. You will not get everyone's approval. Yes you are generous sharing your life here, but you need to be here on this blog for yourself first and foremost. The person making this comment is coming from her personal view of what she wants not what is best for you. Actually, I think you should do more exploration. Destroy your boundaries or any limiting thoughts. You're the pheonix rising out of the ashes, but you still have some dust to shake off.

Kathryn

Virginia Floyd said...

I'm so glad you wrote this, Carol. Gosh, I know you've been through a lot. That anonymous post was like a slap in the face. I'm glad you were able to work through that and make something positive of it. Just look at all the positive comments from fellow artists. You are respected and admired and like by so many! Keep painting!

Kelley Carey MacDonald said...

Yeah, I HATE life lessons like this. Someone says or does something hurtful, and you go through all those (he/she's an *ss! ... Maybe he/she's right?... It doesn't MATTER what they think...) until you come out the other side, finally, strong in your convictions, because, Carol, in the end, it's YOUR direction. Not theirs. Skip the still lifes for a while. You are the QUEEN of small still lifes - look how many 'Carol wanna-be's' there are on the blogsphere!!! You stick with the faces. I'm picturing them clustered on a wall - you couldn't see it without smiling. (((hugs))) to you. Typing this without my glasses I'm so ticked off.... Love you, girl...

Cathy said...

Carol,
I LOVE this idea for funny faces. Your first two are great and I can't wait to see the rest. It's going to be a fun series and I'm sure they will evolve. I have really enjoyed your figure paintings. I know there haven't been many, but I love them as much as your apples. I'm excited to come to your blog and see both.

I really think it's wrong that anyone with such a strong opinion should stay anonymous. I know you have had a few regular anonymous critics for a while. I don't understand that. I usually skip over those.

Thank you for sharing your story. This is something I worry about and it's kept me from posting any of my paintings. This is going to help me be brave!

Cathy

Fay Terry said...

Carol, I was so happy to hear your thought process regarding that comment. You wrote a wonderful piece about it and once more shared a deep part of yourself with us. Thank you so much. It just goes to show that we know ourselves better than anyone else does, especially when it comes to our art. Your funny faces will take you to a great place on your wonderful journey and gives much comic relief. Fun, fun , fun!

louise said...

Carol,

I also enjoy your paintings every day but never comment. How selfish of me! My only excuse is that I am busy but I wanted to take a moment and say that I'm glad you decided to ignore 'anonymous' and follow your heart.

I admire your skill so much and enjoy stopping by your blog every day.

Keep up the great work - and know there are tons of us who enjoy it every day but don't comment or one reason or another.

Chris Carter said...

For me, it was a great relief when I saw that you were painting people. As much as I enjoy your still life paintings, I couldn't understand how you could repeat the same subject matter without going absolutely crazy. I was afraid that you would, at some point, stop growing as an artist, always being the teacher and not stepping out of the box. Hooray, for the funny faces. I applaud you and I can stop worrying about stunted growth.

Page Railsback said...

RIGHT ON CAROL..YOu are an inspiration to all....It can't be all about money..thanks for shaking it up

Paintings by Patricia said...

Thanks for your thoughts, Carol. I love these faces and so much can be learned from them. You could even put them together in a big tile.

Maggie said...

Thanks for being yourself and being true to what you believe in. Annonymous can just go take a long walk off a short pier for that comment. Personally, I'm rather tired of classical themes such as wine bottles, brass pots, apples, grapes, roses, nudes. Give me the fresh new stuff like candid camera shots, crushed beer cans, rocks in stacks, iPods, and silly faces!

Susie Gregory said...

carol - i just opened the comments under your elvis...already knowing what anonymous said...and it stung! - as artists, we are all so sensitive to what people think..we shouldn't be, of course, but the sensitivity goes along with the rest of it...
i love your spirit, your confidence, your humor, your humility and your amazing talent. i loved it when you introduced figures into your work and now faces...good on ya - just follow your heart and know that there are a whole bunch of us out here who are rooting for you!!!

JanettMarie said...

Wow, I understand completely... how do we let one bad out of so many goods get to us? There are so many goods. Collect your hugs and kisses and do what you love. Thank goodness for all of the support I just read in all the comments above. Like Linda said "You go girl!"

-jM

Bennett said...

I love waking up in the AM and seeing your silly faces. I even sent one in ;) Thanks so much for sharing your journey through art and life. It encourages me. I look forward to the next face!!!

Cyndi said...

Thank you so much for sharing this, Carol! I am delighted to see this new subject matter in your work! You are inspiring, as always.

I was inspired by reading how and why you are delving into a new subject but a bit sad that the blog entry seemed like an apologetic because no apologies are necessary!

You rock, Carol! *hug*

DSM said...

You'd only be misguided if you stopped caring about your creativity.When you're good, you're good. You could paint anything you set your mind to. Anyway, it's just color and form/ cherries OR sunglasses.

I admit I pared down my blog reading list recently and am re-following yours again to watch this unfold.Go get 'em, Filbert.

Karen Matte said...

Carol,
I have always enjoyed your paintings and posts and hope one day to take one of your workshops. Recently I have been bowled over by your graceful handling of the fire-- an event that would have sunk most of us --and your ability to find a new approach to your art
while you settle in. I still love your still life paintings but also am enjoying these new ones. Your note gave me pause and is inspiring me to think about what and how I am painting. I wish you all good things, in your journey.

Judy-Joy Bell said...

I was going to reply to you via email, but thought no, on the blog is best!

You go girl, and don't ever take anything personally!!!!!!!

I try to live by these 4 agreements.

Be impeccable with your word

Don't take anything personally

Don't make assumptions

Always do your best.

I thank Don Miguel Ruiz for writing those agreements, and the books that go with them. It is a great way to live.

I love the last agreement, Always Do Your Best. Your best changes from moment to moment, depending on your health. He says, Under any circumstances, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgement, self abuse, and regret.

Hugs JJ

From Edge 2 Edge said...

I like the funny faces. It is also confirmation for me that just because I do art in one area (fiber) that I can also learn something new. By doing art in another area to expand my techniques I can add to my main art. You cannot grow without stretching.

Trish C.

Debbi Smith Rourke said...

Go for it! Follow your heart. An idea is your inspiration telling you what's next. You have to follow it. I Love the Elvis Impression best so for and so admire your spirit and bravery. So sorry you also lost your jewelry supplies. That is a fun hobby too! Sending you lots of encouragement in this time of change when you continue to define your remarkable self!!

Suzy 'Pal' Powell said...

Carol, I am sorry that i didn't comment on your post yesterday. i started too, but had been at dentist, blah blah and was worn out.but i loved it! and am looking forward to seeing your silly faces.
i was looking forward to your new one.

i don't understand people's rudeness. when i started doing the torn paper collages, i sort of had a couple of comments...are you EVER going to watercolor again, etc. but i am stubborn enough to do what i feel my creativity is calling me to do! way to go. and i love your answer to that person who is scared to add their name.
Keep being yourself, and don't let people depress you! I have thought of you and your family so often. i can't imagine losing everything to a fire. looking forward to tomorrows face!

Roxanne Steed said...

Some people lead, others follow, and some (anonymous) should just get the heck outa the way! I am really enjoying this series of faces- and in times like these that we are all currently living in, light-hearted expression like this is actually pretty uplifting. I say go for it - continue on the path of YOUR choosing...I'm looking forward to seeing where it leads!! :-D

Pam said...

Of course we all must "go down to the market." As you said, you have to produce work that sells to take care of your family. But as an artist, you also have to grow and explore. The Anonymous poster just doesn't recognize that, when art becomes "re - creation", the artist stops growing. Maybe no one will buy the silly faces, but they are a great way to loosen up and explore. I commend you. (Do you need my commendations? No. But may one more voice of approval doesn't hurt.) Keep going!
Pam Coulter

Marilyn said...

"Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become." - Steve Jobs, 2005

Sounds like your right on track, Carol.
: )
You and your family have been through a traumatic experience and perhaps this latest series is your inspiration helping you heal - and in the process delighting us all. How wonderful is that?

What I find extraordinary about you (and David) is your ability to see and act on the positive in any given situation. That sensibility comes through in your work and it's an amazing gift that you give to so many of us everyday and I am grateful.

Amber W said...

Carol - I have been reading your blog for a few years and have greatly enjoyed your artwork but also your honesty and generosity in sharing it. You make other painters (like myself) feel like they are not alone and aware that successful artists struggle too. New ventures are always difficult in the beginning and you are brave to start a new journey. I think staying safe is more risky in the end. Everyone thought Pissaro was crazy to try pointillism and Monet's landscapes didn't win him any prizes (or money) when he started. Forge ahead with your funny faces. Thanks, as always, for sharing.

Kathy Cousart said...

Jeez, I miss your blog for just a few posts and look what happens:) First off, I am so sorry that someone posted anonymously and hurt you. I am also sorry that you had to experience such a myriad of emotions after all you have been through lately and all in the same day! So proud of you to come out stronger after all the soul searching and continue on the path that you really had been thinking about prior to the fire anyway. Please know that we all learn from you no matter what you choose to paint and support you. Please remember this is YOUR journey and art career and blog even. You paint whatever your big ole' heart desires and have at it. I love the faces series because it is fun and different and a chance to see how you tackle other things also. Adore your still lifes- you are incredibly talented at those- but love to see you changing it up because I know you like that too. We just want you happy and healthy and having fun...If I could I would give you a big bear hug and a silly face to paint too:)xo

Jan Jennings said...

Hi, I'm coming from the complete opposite direction. I have been selling portraits on ebay and through my website since 2005 and I am burned out on them! It's weird, I have wanted to do portraits all my life. I guess that anything that you do for years can cause burnout.

What happened with the negative comment doesn't have anything to do with you. People don't like change. They feel more secure when things stay the same; like small children and pets. People project their reality on others. They pigeon hole others and then get upset when that projection is challenged.

For years I have expressed to others that I need to do work that is looser, more abstract. It seems to go in one ear and out the other and people keep going back to the portrait thing. They see me as the "portrait artist" and won't accept the new art that I've been doing.

Hang in there and follow your heart. Do what is needed to heal.

Elaine Hurst said...

Thank you for your courage to share all the emotions surrounding your critic. I would have been right behind you with those emotions! Painting is such a huge exposure of our inner selves put out there for the world to see. You've been through SO much lately, that this sounded like it pulled the proverbial rug out from under you. I can completely relate to that! But you've turned it into a positive, and taken a wonderful lesson from it. WooHoo for you!!! Funny how some of those tough lessons are the ones we learn the most from. Rock on, Carol!!

Joanna said...

Carol, you and your blog inspire me everyday, you are kind of "American Idol" to me - in artist way, not only but one of the specials!:-) I am looking forward to see your more funny face paintings in the future. I believe that whatever you are trying to do is to develop and improve yourself. You are an artist, not a politician-don't have to please everyone!

Cheryl Wilson - O'Pry said...

Eh. I don't really understand their comment. Misguided? For who? Anyway- who cares what they think. I think their hilarious and funny and if I had all the money in the world I would commission you to a do a series of my family and frame them all together in my living room because it would make me laugh everyday and laughter is the way to true love! And, you obviously like doing them and that, my friend, is all that matters. :) Happy Friday to you.

Barbara Pask said...

Hi Carol, I'm sorry this person chose to be negative about what you are doing. We are very sensitive as artists. It is our personal decision as to what we choose to paint. I remember when you posted that portrait of yourself making that funny face and I loved it, made me laugh. You have been through so much and I'm glad you hear you are going to continue on with this. I think you should put them up for sale as you go if you are interested in selling them. Most of us look up to you and aspire to be as skilled as you are and have your success. Is anonymous jealous? Perhaps

Kim said...

Oh Carol, I hear you! Except I get restless within months - not years - so I'm extra impressed with your stamina. Explore! A curious artist is a strong artist. They will find their market. "Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground." ~Rumi
p.s. If people can't attach their names to something, maybe they shouldn't be posting it!

Carol Jessen said...

Anonymous didn't even give you the courtesy of telling you WHY it's misguided! With all you have been through, it was an incredibly haughty and insensitive comment. I like it when you branch out from your still lifes (although I'm still taken with your shoe painting a couple of entries ago!)but I think any artist who doesn't follow their gut is just a commercial hack. Good for you to paint what interests you!

Leslie Bishop said...

Wow, Carol. You are so much more mature than I was at your age! From an older perspective, I can say that your openness to accept what is, and to be who you are makes it so much easier for God to lead you to the next blessing without having to drag you kicking and screaming in resistance to what it might be. And BIG blessings follow BIG sorrows like you've been through. It will be so exciting to see what's next in your life!

You are a a fabulous painter, a true inspiration, a very dear and generous person, and a lovely young woman. And you've blessed an entire worldwide community of people by sharing your talents, struggles, successes and knowledge. Surely you must feel deep in your heart all the love that so many have for you.

Hang in there! And paint whatever you please. Your subjects cannot help but reflect who you are - and we know who that is, because you have been brave enough to let us accompany you. Thank you!

And by the way, jewelry sounds fun!

Julie said...

Thank you for sharing your feelings. As artist we always want our work to be accepted by everyone. This is never going to be possible. It is more important to paint what inspires and motivates us. So keep painting what inspires you, because you are always an inspiration to us.

Claude said...

I wonder if the person who made the comment could paint at all? I think not! Keep painting from the heart. You are an inspiration to me and love your work. I am looking forward to seeing your brillant paintings. Best wishes

Terri said...

I was sent this profound quote just yesterday, and it seems appropriate. "People often say that 'beauty is in the eye of the beholder,' and I say that the most liberating thing about beauty is realizing that you are the beholder. This empowers us to find beauty in places where others have not dared to look, including inside ourselves."

Mimi Torchia Boothby Watercolors said...

Good lord, Girl, you're a fantastic painter, and you can paint ANYTHING you want. I have been really looking forward to seeing you start painting.. FACES (maybe mine? maybe my Dear Hubby's?) but I know that every one you paint is going to be amazing and now you've painted two and did not disappoint. Bravo, keep going.
In the greater scope of things, there isn't that much difference between painting a lemon and painting a face... except there's more human interest. LOVE IT!
ps if i haven't already said so, welcome to the Northwest!!

Timanager said...

Well, I guess the votes go to more funny faces - hooray! And you decided to do 'em anyway, before we all wrote, even better!

Funny faces - it worked for Picasso. Oughta work for you, too.

Kathy said...

Go Carol, hang in there! You know what you're doing and you do it so well.

Marilyn M. King said...

good for you! if you begin to see some postive things about the changes in your life the fire has forced, this shake up in your artistic direction is most surely one of them. it has given you "permission" to do something different even if it is temporary. it will open up new creative avenues and besides that it was necessary under the circumstances! don't be so hard on yourself and realize that your emotions are currently on the surface. love to you dear

Cheryl Sameit said...

Thanks so much for the inspiration and reminder on trying new things! I struggle with that but do it (for myself) anyway. Keep up the awesome work, no matter the subject :)

Lynne said...

Carol, WELL DONE on getting through that ridiculous criticism. You rock.

Artists tend to attract such negativity by misguided people who think they should be in control of an artist's actions and work. So watch out for them.

What you do as an artist is of very great importance to the society. If we fall under the control of anyone else we suffer.
(Don't have to tell you that!) So
blow it off and continue with whatever makes your artist's life work for you. I salute you.

Penny German said...

Hey Carol. As the owner of this face (it takes a lot to admit that!) I want to say.....wow. I recognized myself immediately and know that anyone who knows me well would too - even with the gerning!
That said, you are so right to follow your heart. It doesn't matter what you paint only why! Apples can get mighty tedious and we're all painting apples waiting for the next idea to pop into our brains. Well yours did and it's yours to keep.............right, I'm off for some serious dentistry!
x Penny German

Karin Jurick said...

The wise Eleanor Roosevelt once said 'Do what you feel in your heart to be right. You'll be criticized anyway.'

Paint on, my friend.

Tracey Mardon said...

Dang, wish I'd had the time yesterday to comment 'cause I would have said Thanks for the great start to a day!

Shannon said...

I usually just read through my blog-roll and admire everyone’s paintings, including yours. I think you are so talented – it almost has intimidated me out of painting! Your post today reminded me that I should speak up when I really like a piece rather than admiring it in silence because we all need encouragement and acknowledgement, even artists like you who are so skilled it’s crazy. Everyone’s opinion will be different regarding art and that’s the best part for me because it means that there will always be someone who likes what I create even if it’s just my mom. But I am sorry that I haven’t posted to thank you for sharing your work more often. I would hate for one negative critique to leave you doubting yourself. You’re so brave to try a new direction. Keep posting please because I’m learning so much from you!

Debbie Shirley said...

Hugs, Carol ;-)
I LOVE the faces - I'm glad you decided to stick with them. They make me smile to get them in my inbox. Kudos to you for trying something new!
I also can't help but think how fabulous a whole WALL of these faces would look displayed together - a fantastic funny face mosaic - how much fun would that be?!!

Amber L. Bailey said...

Carol, there are pieces of yours I love, and some I just kind of like...but one thing always stays the same - i think you're amazing. You're an inspiration, and reading this post while sitting here in a cubicle at work lifted my spirits - just to hear something honest. I LOVE the silly faces idea and it's similar to the subject matter i like to paint so I'm sure I will learn from this new venture of yours! Cheers!

annette said...

Yeah! for Carol follow your heart!
..love those silly faces!

Andy Dolphin said...

Misguided? How? Unless someone else knows your intent and ambitions with every piece you do, how can they conclude that expressing yourself in any way in art is misguided?

If you want to do funny faces, do funny faces.

Patti Mollica said...

RIGHT ON, Carol. You're the best! Patti

Jennifer Newcomb Marine said...

What a brave and brilliant post! And what love I see in these comments to you....

Anonymous said something just vague and insensitive enough to throw most creative people into a tailspin.

Vague because "misguided" suggests there is some mysterious right or wrong way things *should* be -- and you've obviously veered wildly off-course, thereby dooming yourself. (A lie.) And insensitive because it looks like they didn't put a whole lot of thought into what hurtful effect their comment might have upon you and that's just not nice! I would also add fear-based to the list, as I'm assuming they probably don't give themselves permission to explore new styles and subject matter without harsh internal criticism.

So you're right. Their words WERE a gift!

But only because *you* allowed yourself to go through all those different stages of emotions and realizations, until you finally came down to that nugget of truth. Yes, painting is a business and that has its own set of drivers. But you also have the right to paint from joy and it sounds like you're reclaiming that.

That can only set you free, no matter how the market responds. But usually, when you create in alignment with your heart, it all works out... I see many good things for you ahead.

I'm happy for you!!! And sending much love. :-)

Andy Dolphin said...

Can I add that there's a lot of art out there that does nothing for me and I have no doubts whatsoever that my art does nothing for a lot of people (some people who I know aren't too shy to tell me so!).

But I don't care what they think unless they're being constructive - in which case I'll listen, but only if I have some reason to appreciate their criticism.

Karen Boe said...

Carol, I have to agree with Anonymous' disapproval of your painting "fumy" faces. Who wants to look at a portrait of someone emitting noxious vapors? Better stick with funny faces. :)

Chris said...

what a wonderful sensitive post-your honesty and openness is one of the many reasons you have so many followers. That and your incredible talent and spirit that will allow you to go anywhere you want to go. Be fearless and follow your instincts. You inspire us and give so much of yourself to so many...we've got your back.

Amy Hillenbrand said...

Dear Carol, I think the fact that this is what popped into your head is important and that you said it has reoccurred in your mind many times before. We all need to listen to those whispers. I'm excited to see where it leads to. Maybe anonymous doesn't like change, they may be used to seeing the fruit and cups and this change has blown their mind.
Your face on this pink background is too funny. I always admire when artists can create the skin on the face with many colors and brave strokes as you have done here. Teeth and gums must be the hardest thing to paint on the planet and you did it.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, I so admire how you keep going, you didn't have the lightbox etc. so you looked around and found something you could paint without those things it is very inspiring. Makes some of my excuses seem pretty lame. Virtual hug coming your way. Amy

Sheila Tansey said...

Change is hard for us humans...for you, me, everyone...including anonymous. Anonymous identified you with your still lifes most likely...probably the faces seemed like a stretch into the unknown for him/her...out of that comfort zone. Good for you for stretching out of yours! And you are a great role model for sharing! You've showed me that the seasoned artists get stuck and...unstuck!

kiki said...

Some people enjoy being negative and spreading it around. And it is a coward who hides under 'anonymous'. As an artist myself, I would've responded the same way you did initially... cry! My husband says I am too sensitive regarding what others, especially strangers, think. So thank you for sharing your emotional response! Makes me feel so normal!

Joanne S said...

Yes, a comment is just that, a comment. An opinion. I enjoy the apples but the cherries are my favorites.

I think the funny faces are wonderful. They make me smile first thing in the morning when I open your post. Keep it up. The joy you feel as you paint shines through.

Frank said...

Hi Carol.. I have to admit that at first I wasn't crazy about this idea. I think it was the funny face part that I resisted. Maybe it reminded me a little of clown paintings.. I hate clown paintings! heh. But portraits are a great direction to take your art. I think eventually you should get into serious portraiture. It is a respected genre and there are big bucks to be made by someone of your great talent. You could be hung in the White House. That doesn't sound right but you know what I mean.. But for now, have some fun!

Connie Nobbe said...

Carol, I’m a very sensitive person too, and I have spent most of my life trying to shrug off the negative things people have said to me or about me. I’m finally getting a little bit better at it, at age 45.

One time, my supervisor, in a yearly review, showed me my peer evaluations. Most were very positive, one or two was negative. She could tell that I was hurt. She took a pen and put a tiny dot in the middle of the page, and said and held it up. She said, “if all the white represented positive remarks, and the black represented negative remarks, which are you going to tend to focus on? It’s natural to focus on the black dot, but you should try to focus on all the wonderful white area.” That helped, but I can still quote those negative, anonymous comments.

You know when it’s important to break out of the box. It’s harder to do when your creative life is made public and you have thousands of followers. But do it anyway. The world is fickle, and attention fleeting. So follow the same heart you started painting with in the first place, before the world knew your name. God will provide.

Dianne said...

Maybe the turkey was an apple grower? Or just envious because they can't fly, you do.

Tracy Szekely said...

Carol, isn't art a form of personal expression? No one talks about the same subject over and over, so why should we have to paint the same subject over and over?
I was excited about your new project, and I really hope you continue to explore painting anything that inspires you.

Gwen Bell said...

I cracked up at both yesterday's and today's paintings. They are absolutely delightful and so wonderfully painted. Keep 'em coming! As for Anonymous, take Celo Green's lead; "Forget You!"

You are such a sweet soul and it it pains me to think of anyone stomping on it. The whole point of painting is to enjoy the experience, right? As you have seen from your success with Still Life, when you paint what you love you WILL find an audience. I personally think the concept is wonderful and so much fun! Have you seen Suzanne Berry's floating faces? They are delightful as well. She has started doing mugs and t-shirts of them and I'm sure they sell like hotcakes.

And thank you for this post! I have been thinking of changing gears as well from Still Lives to Animals but felt stuck in the comfort zone (sells) of the demand for SL's. You have given me the courage to go ahead and follow my heart!

Big hugs to you!

silentwitness said...

Carol, this blog is SO helpful and provacative! I have three things to say, and I would not bother if I did not absolutely LOVE your work,and you! About painting the same things over and over: one of my favorite artists (Qi Baishi, deceased) who said that it was when he was ninety-something years old that he had developed a much keener "understanding" of the subjects he had painted his entire life, and could now capture that new-found appreciation. On painting new subjects: artists have at their disposal the same elements of design no matter the subject, but HOW we use them may change--it is a great way to challenge ourselves and to grow. Sometimes that sense of exploration and discovery when painting "new" subjects can jumpstart that same feeling when returning to our "familiar" subjects. Your faces are wonderful, and so are your other works. I admire that you are willing to stray from your comfort zone, although I pray that you never abandon the almighty still life! You bring them to "life" like no one else!

Daroo said...

The internet is great because it allows us to see your wonderful paintings and makes it easier for you to connect with collectors.

But it also allows people to comment without context or personal responsibility. To make matters worse, all comments carry the same weight in this format -- no matter if it is some kid whose hubris is born of naivete or an embittered adult whose mood is lubricated with liquid depressants. If people had to comment while standing in front of their own accomplishments -- I think their tone would be less imperious -- by orders of magnitude.

Consider that the comment was first and "haste" and "thoughtful" rarely go hand in hand. Keep up the great work!

--Dan

Crystal Cook said...

First of all let me just say that my protective instinct got all ruffled up when I read that this insensitve comment made you cry. *shakes fist at anonymous*

Forgive me for letting my mama bear instinct run amok.

Carol, you are an incredible person and an AMAZING artist. Regardless of the subject matter. I think you could paint a zombie and make it look beautiful. And I truly admire your courage and heart to pursue what YOU want instead of what everyone else expects of you.

I personally love the silly faces. I think they show heart and personality and they are strikingly unique.

I adore all your work, every single piece. I anxiously wait every single day for your latest post. I admire your courage to take that leap and I remain your number one fangirl.

Huzzah Carol! Bring on the next silly face. :)

Laurie Downey said...

A life altering experience is just that...life altering. If your painting brings you peace...then paint what you want when you want...it's YOUR journey. I've been dealing with stage IV colon cancer for 5 years...my painting has done quite a transformation over the last few years, but it's kept me sane and it's been my friend and helped me get to the place I'm at now...happy, peaceful...and in remission! Paint as many silly faces as you want!!! Laurie

Anonymous said...

Carol, I almost cried while I read your post. I have spent 60+ years of my life listening to other people tell me what I should be thinking, how I should be feeling, etc. I have only recently decided that I need to listen closely and see if I can hear my own voice for a change. I applaud your enlightenment - at a much earlier stage in life than mine - and I congratulate you. Paint on, silly faces, rocks, clouds, apples, whatever you wish and I shall be pick up my paint brush again after 20+ years -- with you as MY inspiration. Thank you.

Karen from Austin

Nita said...

I'm with everyone here, especially Toria. I'm a beginning painter inspired by the fun of these silly faces and enjoying seeing something different to remind me that I don't have to paint the "usual" stuff.

Your new faces make the point that thinking outside the theme box is a way to grow and enjoy the practice. I'm sorry that your first comment was itself misguided, in that it got too much power since it spoke in the silence of all of us fans who didn't post.

tess stieben said...

Life is about change and change is life. Nothing ever stays still forever.

You are an inspiration in more ways than you realize Carol. Todays funny face works especially well posted with the anonymous comment, made me laugh, and laughter is healing. I love the surety of your brush strokes and colour use. Big hugs and kind thoughts sent to you.

Jean Nelson Paintings and Photography said...

I agree with the outcome of your thinking process. The silly faces are just what you need at this time. For a change of pace from painting apples, yes! but also because of the terrible tragedy you and your family have experienced. These paintings are lighthearted and full of fun - just what the muse doctor ordered. Follow your heart and your inspiration.

FasiArts said...

I wish for your sake, that anonymous would have elaborated as to why the idea was misguided. Personally, I like the idea. I find it amusing. I did wonder, however, whether this would be as financially successful as your still lifes. Only time will tell.

Please don't let one 'negative' stop you from exploring new ideas, now or in the future. I too, have learned a lot from looking at your paintings. Your brushwork is inspired. I particularly like your landscapes. You are now in a very beautiful part of the country. You could take advantage of that. I disagree with your decision not to offer the paintings for sale, since you have decided to continue painting them. Clint Watson once wrote about an artist who painted a set of numbers from 1 to 1000 and sold every one. Go figure. There are multiple instances of artists becoming very successful working with ideas that some originally questioned. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. It just takes enough beholders.

Keep up the GREAT work.

Kevin Weaver said...

Carol,

I've followed your blog for a long time and I have to say I really enjoy your adventure into painting faces. They make me smile! And in this day and age with all of the things going on in the world...smiling is a good thing. Not to mention I think they are outstanding little portraits! I'm a director of an art gallery and while most people will make positive comments about the work, every now and then I get someone who makes a negative remark...sometimes they can be quite mean. I think of all of my artists as friends and family so its hard for me to not take it personal and get defensive. Over the years I've come to realize that there are always going to be those out there who are bitter and negative and its better to just rise above...which is what you've done. So I say kudos to you for having fun...especially given all that you've recently gone through. And as a fellow northwesterner...welcome to the Northwest, I hope you are enjoying it!

Shelley Ross said...

You rock, Carol Marine. Thanks for baring your soul! What a day you must have had. Great decision to go your own way. Of course, you must! Your art is all about what your own inclinations are and trusting those.

You sure have a wonderful bunch of fans. Reading their responses brought a tear to my eye. And you deserve all the great comments. You put yourself out there and forge on, day by day. Feel all the good will coming your way.

mike rooney studios said...

carol- you showed far more wisdom than i did when i got some unsolicited critiques of my stuff from folks. i ranted for three days on my blog against them and wore out that soapbox i was standing on. to this day i regret having done that. how immature. i should have just ignored them and keep on going. good on ya for not succumbing to emotion. listen to your muse and not your critics!

Robert said...

Here is my unsolicited critic of your response to "criticism". I think it's over the top, especially considering "I think your foray into funny faces is misguided." is barely a critic. Perhaps they meant that they think you should explore sad or neutral faces, or portraits from life. There's just not enough said to make any determination. Their critic was pretty weak.

Neiley Harris said...

You know, just as soon as I read todays post, I had to back track to yesterdays comments to see this "comment" for myself. I was feeling slightly offended that someone would take the time to comment less than kind words until I read the actual comment:
"I think your foray into FUMY faces is misguided." I just think the misspelled word is so ironically FUNNY! I'm still laughing now. Your the best. We all love ya!
Neiley

Vikki Bouffard said...

Good for you! I think you can never go wrong when you follow your intuition. When something's been telling you for a long time to take this course--go for it!
Best of luck with settling in to your new home--and setting up your studio--hard work but fun.

vikki bouffard
vikkibouffard.blogspot.com

Amy said...

Your post really struck a chord with me. I'm so glad you came to the conclusion that change is good and a learning experience all at the same time. It truly is about the process and journey, not so much the product. I think it's difficult to understand the subtlety of a comment, good or bad. And it's damn difficult to please everyone, as we're inclined to do so often. So, all I can say is, "You go girl!". I happen to really enjoy your diversity and...wouldn't you know it? I've recently started learning and doing torch fired enameling...something I loved to do in college (only with a kiln)...so many years ago! Rock on sister!

Michelle Wolfe said...

Carol,
You have been an inspiration to me ever since I discovered your site and paintings. I started painting again! Your decision to paint something new (Silly Faces) is even more inspiring. For you to decide to take on a challenge of your own goes along with your New Beginnings. Many blessings to you and your family.
Michelle Wolfe

The Muse of The Day said...

Unfortunately, Carol, the "misguided" comment is so short - almost as if they quickly typed it out and pressed the "publish" button as quickly as possible in case they might be traced. Why would they say that? It would have perplexed me too. Do they have a vision for you? For your future? One that they feel was so clear and obvious and that you were ruining "their" plans for who you were going to be to them? I don't get it. Why did they not say more ... why were they so vague? Their statement, as it is, is incomplete. Perhaps if it had been a complete thought, you could have had more to go on, more to really sink your teeth in to. Probably then, you wouldn't have had such a rough day because it would have been clear what direction they wanted for you and why. Your response, then, would have been quick, decisive, and equally clear, leaving little room for doubt. Either way, you have arrived at the point where you need to be, on your own, completely committed to the path you have chosen. It is a good feeling, isn't it? Stay on it. I can learn from all your work, wether the light hits the side of a cup, or the side of a funny face. Carolina

Sheila said...

Hey Carol -
Earlier this week, I got a rejection notice for a small regional show that I had entered. The funny thing is, the piece that was rejected had won a first place award at the National Association of Women Artists' exhibition in New York just this past May. The judge that rejected the piece from the current show is a respected, creditable, well-know university art professor. I'm not sure who the brilliant person was who gave me the award. My point is that art is subjective, even down to subject matter. My best advice is what my great-grandmother used to tell my dad - "You just take your little red wagon and go on down your road and don't worry about who may or may not follow you!" I think that you've got a great wagon going - keep on pulling it!

Theresa Bayer said...

I love your funny faces! But the most important thing is that you love doing them. They're looking great, so go with it.

I think it was a good thing for you to see the anonymous comment as a gift. Because it got you to asking questions. What do I want? Where do I go from here? Where is my passion taking me? I know your passion will take you to some beautiful places, 'cause you're smart enough to follow it.

Gretchen Hash-Heffner said...

Oh, wow, I can SOOOOOOO relate! I think as an artist our right brain (our inner artist, our muse, our creativity) fights with our left brain (we need to sell, make money, be appreciated, be accepted, be acknowledged). I think you did the right thing... if your inner artist wanted a change then why not? Go for it! It may not be something you stick with, or the style you continue with... but all the things you will learn from it and how freeing, relaxing and exciting. So, listen to your inner artist and be content! You are great! Don't let anybody ever say that you aren't. You inspire so many of us... me, for sure!!!! Continue on Carol! - Gretchen Hash-Heffner www.gretchenhashheffner.com

Bobbi Dunlop said...

I admire your courage, Carol. It's pretty easy for an artist to resist growth and change in order to keep the status quo. Particularly one as successful and hard working as yourself.

You've illustrated to us what it is to be a remarkable wife, mother and woman in the past number of months, with your positive attitude and strength of character in the face of all that you and your family have endured.

When I saw the first face of your project I thought, "Holy Smokes! This is a tough one! ..." I believe in the old adage that "it's not what you paint - it's how you paint it" that's important.

I am really looking forward to any and all painting challenges ahead of you and know that it will be inspiring and enlightening for those of us along for the ride.

Thanks for sharing your story today,
Bobbi Dunlop

Jan said...

Oh, Carol, I could feel your disappointment. Change can be so traumatic, as you know from moving to a new location after losing your home, and all your possessions. And now you're trying to make another one and, even with someone's discouraging word, you've come through with flying colors---literally! I love your idea and have even been trying to find a picture or two for you. I thought it was going to be easy, having a family of muggers, but haven't found one yet. I'm sure I will though. And I'm another one who's waiting with bated breath to see what you come up with, so keep those colors flying.

Anne Marie Propst said...

Just have fun...the rest will come!

Taryn Day said...

Since you've been wanting to do these faces for a long time now, this is exactly what you need to do right now- as you know. I think it's an interesting exploration, and I'm looking forward to your new posts.

Sherlock Consulting said...

I have learned so much from you and Karen Jurick in spite of never having spoken to either one of you.

From you I learned the art of the daily paintings and by focusing on those small canvas I have been able to teach myself a huge amount in a very short time. From Karen I learned that it doesn't matter what I paint, just that I paint.

I did a degree in the visual arts, and similar to your story, lost my creativity on that journey. I was taught nothing about painting or color theory - instead we were told that we were to produce 'Art' with a capital 'A' - a socio-political commentary - and handed stacks of articles by art critics to read. So much for finding one's inner voice. It was choked out of us before we could even begin.

Back then I needed to create every day or I felt lost. But the act of creativity went by the wayside at some point over the years of being self-employed as a consultant and just trying to survive in the world.

Last year both my career and health came crashing down and in the midst of trying to sort out all of that and start a new career, I heard this little voice saying' 'I want to paint'. My response was, 'Are you freakin' out of your mind!!!? I don't want to paint; I don't paint!' But it persisted and eventually and with much struggle, I started to paint. I never could have guessed the journey I have been on these last few months.

One key thing I started to understand is that there isn't really any good painting - or maybe, rather, that every painting is good in its own way. Oh for sure, there are some technical elements, colour theory, composition and all that. But even the 'worst' of paintings will have someone who loves it and the so-called 'best' paintings have people who don't like them. We are so focused on the end result that we forget that the point of being creative is actually a process, a journey, and you don't always know where that journey will take you when you start out. The point is to listen to your heart and start out.

Robin Rosenthal said...

I posted this quote a few days ago and now I know why. Steven Jobs was quoted posthumously in Friday's NY Times, "Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition." His belief was to not waste life by living someone else's choices.

Honey said...

Everything you do brightens my day! Faces are funny and welcome (and hard - i gave up),

Gretchen Matta said...

Carol,
This anonymous person is obviously jealous that they can't go out of their comfort zone to try/learn something new! You are doing fantastic...I love these! People are my favorite things to paint, faces to be exact. Keep on with your great idea...you rock!
Gretchen

David J Magdalenski said...

Just keep on painting. Paint anything and everything, and when you think you've covered it all, start painting from your imagination or your emotions or....
Just keep on painting.

Barbara Andolsek said...

Funny faces, regular portraits... I will NEVER forget the portrait you did of your step-daughter that was on Dr. Phil for a bit. The one where she's smiling from ear to ear. The enormous joy of a child captured forever. And as we all know, life can change in a nano-second - literally! I think all of us have been there at one time or several so I say 'hey, life is short', ride your own ride. Hugs!!!

Maryann Lucas said...

Hi Carol,
I happened to be at the Uffizi today in Florence, Italy. My daughter is studying art here, and I am visiting her. I was lucky enough to tag along with her class and listen to her brilliant professor trace the origins and influences of the early Renaissance. She touched on the artistic philosophies of Botticelli, Lippi and Leonardo da Vinci. One in particular came to mind after reading your recent post:

“Life is pretty simple: You do some stuff. Most fails. Some works. You do more of what works. If it works big, others quickly copy it. Then you do something else. The trick is the doing something else.”
― Leonardo da Vinci

"Here's to doing something else!" - Maryann Lucas

You've been through so much of late, go easy... lots of self-care and tenderness. xoxo

Donna Weathers said...

I absolutely love the silly faces and it's a wonderful way to not only break the monotony of painting the same theme, but also a way to still do what you love. Keep up the good work!

Susan Sorensen said...

Carol, I am excited that you are painting, anything! I love your first 2 faces. It is courageous of you to take on this subject matter. You are my Lady Gaga. We all do what it takes to keep ourselves motivated. You have a large fan base and some of us will be nut jobs. Just like movie stars, the more followers you have, the more chance of getting a shit head trying to bring you down to their level.It is jealousy. Jeez, look at what the Impressionists had to face.
Anonymous needs to go to some famous art galleries and read the book, "But Is It Art," by Cynthia Freeland.
I have been thinking of you so much lately, hoping you will be able to keep your chin up. You were so close to Lauri and I, when you were coming through Sacramento and my husband and I were just on the coast of Oregon, returning on 126 through Eugene. I would love to share my jewelry making supplies with you and bring you items for still lifes when traveling through Eugene to Portland, which we do often. Lauri and I have aquired some more shoes we want to share with you. Any time you need someone to paint plein air with in Northern California, send me an email. I just want to keep you smiling.
Susan Sorensen

Marina Laliberte said...

Wow, Carol, you worked that one through brilliantly. So thrilled that you trust yourself and will follow your heart and your intuition. What a wonderful reminder for all of us! Thank you!
ps anonymous can't even spell funny

Karen Johnston Daily Paintings said...

Hi Carol, this is what Steve Jobs said... "Don't let the noise of others opinions drown out your inner voice and most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.They some how already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary." Keep on and...eopki best wishes!

robin peterson said...

I think "anonymous" was a plant, how timely! A vague and useless comment unless it's a message from the universe perhaps.... all these "love it" remarks don't stretch your work or push to self examination (lovely as they are). Ha! you rise nicely to the challenge and come out the better for it, congrats. I, who freely attach my name, enjoy your misguided forays (even more than apples) and politely request that you continue sharing them. LOL

Darla McDowell said...

Just reading this post brought tears to my eyes. After all you have been through these past few weeks, I'm so sorry that you spent even a moment feeling sad in your beautiful new home. I couldn't disagree more with "Anonymous." To me, dismissing a series of paintings after seeing only one is in itself, well, misguided. I am so happy that you are going to continue with your funny face series. Continue to take that leap of faith, Carol. And always follow your heart. All the best to you (and your family) in this wonderful new beginning. I can't wait to see more!

Maud Guilfoyle said...

I applaud your funny faces and willingness to share this new exploration in your art. It is a pity artists, actors, writers, all creatives can get typecast. Not only are you willing to try something new you are brave enough to share your beginning experience. it takes enough courage to confront a blank canvas, let alone share our sketches and trials.
I wanted to email you and tell you how impressed I am with your bouncing back into life and work after the fire. A friend of mine, who is an architect, visited another friend of ours who lost their house to a hurricane and flooding. After seeing the house and their salvaging what they could he commented that losing a home to fire or flood is devastating on many levels but with fire it is 'clean'. With floods people try to save family photos and albums, items passed down from family. At the time I wasn't so sure but over time, watching my friends I agreed with him.
It is true there was a certain amount of luck, in getting vehicles and camper out. But you had the foresight and means for fire insurance, and even more important you set up workshops and connections all over the country so that when your studio burned you didn't lose your livelihood. a good lesson for all of us in these uncertain times. Also the trauma of such a loss is still fresh. so please keep painting funny faces and anything you feel that might carry you through this time! You have much more courage than someone making an anonymous comment.
You also have highly esteemed company. Check out a show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art' current show Infinite Jest - Caricature and Satire from Leonardo to Levine < http://www.metmuseum.org/exhibitions/listings/2011/infinite-jest--caricature-and-satire-from-leonardo-to-levine>

Trudi said...

I have this in a frame in my painting studio. Wise words from a master.

"An artist should never be a prisoner of himself, a prisoner of style, a prisoner of reputation, or a prisoner of success." (Henri Matisse)

frill.friend said...

saw you on Dr. Phil ... and I keep hearing some of his phrases ! ...
so, is this really about a comment ? ... seems that you've handled a lot of upheaval and have been doing a good job of it ! ... maybe this comment was "the last straw" ... and yet you handled it gracefully, too ! ... you give me hope ... it is possible to use the manure to mulch my garden ... i've wondered what i could live without and maybe live better because i wasn't trying to carry it all with me ... thank you !

Jeremy Pearse said...

Love your work Carol, especially the 'Silly Faces' series - hope to see more! It's always nice to find refreshing ideas translated into paint.

Shirey Joiner said...

Carol, I live in Boerne, TX and was so sorry you left our usually beautiful state. We will miss you, but certainly understand your decision. Today was a momentous day. My 99-year-old mother, who suffers from Alzheimer's/dementia, had a really good day and made some comments that made me think of her the way she used to be. Then I checked your bog and saw your funny face and just sat and laughed and cried. Thank you for being the icing on the cake for such a lovely day. It is delicious.

Shirley Joiner

Wilson J. Henry said...

the Funny faces are EXCELLENT. And they are good fo the soul.

Anonymous said...

Hooray Carol ! !
One of my favourite quotes is, in part,
"Step out from the crowd and realize how much power you really have. Be untiring in your zeal. Disregard the negative opinions of the world. And with unflinching steadiness march forward on your path . . ."

I don't have an online ID or account, so I have to use "Anonymous" too to post a comment. Thanks for allowing that. These faces are a riot, in no small part because of your incredible skill! Carry on !!!!!!!!!

best always,
jim

cj roughton said...

I love having these funny faces pop up in the thumbnails on my blog. I'm sorry you had the bad email, I get one occasionally also. Even though I try to be very gracious about it, my poor family sure gets an ear full lol :) It passes and hopefully the other person also gets past it too!
Take Care
Chris

cj roughton said...

Hi Carol, yes, I've had those also. It's not fun at the time, but it passes. I always try to be gracious about it, but my poor family gets an ear full! lol:) Hopefully, it passes for her also once she thinks it over and sees the one you did of yourself! I love having those funny faces pop up in the thumbnails on my blog!!
Take Care

Sharlette White said...

I'm sure by now you see that one persons comment really meant nothing at all in comparison to all the positive comments you've received since! The sad thing is anonymous must be a very negative person. They obviously never had a caricature done of themselves! Had they done so I'm sure it would have been the rear end of a donkey's a$$!

BTW i hope you do one of my silly granddaughters! We'll all enjoy them!

julie harris said...

Carol..I admire your fortitude and open honesty.you are an inspiration to many. .look forward to meeting you in2012..Julie

Kim Marguerite said...

The silly faces are brilliant! I look forward to seeing each and everyone. They may be silly, but they are also a serious painting. Well done!

Ken Devine said...

Good for you, Carol. You are only beaten if you stay down. You have the right to try anything you want. Have you considered depicting anger, grief and joy as well as silly? As always, you are inspiring.

Evhe said...

Dear Carol, thank you so much for sharing this in your blog with us, it is a very good lesson.
My first thought about your silly face project was that it is in itself a way to cock a snook ("faire un pied nez" in french)to your tragedy with the fire of your house. That make a lot of sense for your painting!

Cynthia Schelzig said...

We can´t please everyone all the time and look at this way...you are an "artist"...artists have to step outside of their comfort zone,,,i.e.your apples, which by the way I love,,,and your faces have fabulous composition and who else could pull this one off but YOU...it was probably someone who is jealous of your ideas and ability to create what you do...please don´t waste your energy thinking about this anonymous person ,,,heck, if they could paint they would have atleast given their name for godsake. PLEASE keep doing the faces...they are fabulous!! All the best to you and your family. HAve fun in Florida...I just got back from there...we had an invasion of dragonflies...what a sight and had a marvelous vacation. Take care...

Carlene Reeves said...

Hi Carol, From one sensitive artist to another. Always remember everything in life provides valuable lessons of wisdom if we are connected to the message. No pain, no gain. Right.
Loved your own self analysis,your a gifted artist. May His blessings continue to keep you on the path of truth.
Carlene Reeves

Mary Sheehan Winn said...

Right ON-Everyone!!!
You rock it Carol and no snahky remarks are ever going to hold you back!
You made lemonade out of the lemon and that's what you do so well.
Love you girl!!!

cissy said...

What can I say other than ditto to all of the above, and, "to thine own self be true" we can't please all the people all the time, and you certainly do so much sharing and caring.....so press on regardless. I personally, along with so many others, love everything you paint!

Jean Ranstrom said...

You go girl, I think one of the traps we get caught in is trying to paint the things people of become accustomed to see us doing.. so my feeling is let them be in an uncomfort zone while we strengthen our spirits to paint what we darn well please. Who knows, it may be the greatest step into doing completely new subjects. Damn the torpedos, full speed ahead.

julie king said...

this is my very first visit to your blog (via kelly santini) and i LOVE the funny face in this post! YOU GO GIRL!!!!! at the end of the day, you don't have to answer to anyone else but you about your creative aspirations. keep up the great (fun!!) work!

Barbara Pearn said...

I think if you want to paint silly faces then paint silly faces. Everything we do teaches us something and it seems that if you are feeling stuck you need to switch it up and do something a bit risky.

Pam said...

Thanks for sharing your feelings around a personal experience and for the ongoing inspiration! I opened up your blog this morning, as I go through a very similar experience myself, and now feel so much more empowered to stay true to myself. I love your new work and am certain it will lead to even more exciting painting. Safe travels. Pam

Katherine Tyrrell said...

I've not read the 125 comments which were on this blog post by the time I caught up with it so what follows is just me and my thoughts - based on what YOU said

I've often thought about the problems for an artist who does just one subject (or genre eg still life). I could never do it. I have to have variety. I have the most enormous respect for those who can stick to a genre or subject and do just that without giving up.

It sounds to me like the experience of five years of solid still life - with a few landscapes from time to time - means it's now time for you to decide what is the best avenue to stay creative in the future and interested in what you are doing. A second string to your bow if you like. That's not a decision anybody else can make for you.

Regular episodes of "time out" was what I decided I needed to stay blogging on a regular basis. I can certainly recommend them as a way of staying interested. I found that for me it equated to at least a week every three months.

Latterly, since "the other half" retired, I've not been blogging as much as usual because I need to make more time for him and our joint activities - and thoroughly enjoy doing so I might add! I felt guilty to start with (people write and ask if anything is wrong). Recently I decided I needed to find a new routine which works for me - and him!

I don't know what my new routine will be either at the moment. However finding the activity - whatever that is - which keeps you fresh is essential to sustaining your output and your own wellbeing. The important thing is that it should be something which is rooted in what you want to do and something that is its own reward for YOU.

The "funny faces" don't do it for me - and I know you already realise that there's a chance that they may not be as popular as your still life. However I imagine they must be great fun to do and certainly help you to develop as an artist.

Personally I had you tagged as a secret landscape artist. It occurs to me you have a whole new landscape to explore - which I assume will include SNOW! I'd love to see the results of an artist like yourself bringing a fresh eye to Oregon! I bet there will be quite a few people who'd like to buy one too...especially a Marine snow scene. :D

gc said...

yes

Glenn said...

This is anonymous( Glenn Thurston). Sorry to have caused so much grieve. I JUST DID THINK THERE WAS MUCH OF A COMMERCIAL MARKET FOR FUNNY FACES. Just a personal opinion. I am just an untalented armature.

Laurel Daniel said...

Carol. You continue to amaze me with your character and example. The responses here say it over and over... trust your instincts, follow your heart and feed your soul. You have earned the right to try any direction that pleases you; and I wish you pure joy and new growth with every stroke. Missing you here in Austin! XOXOX

Bruce Bingham said...

Isn't it interesting Glenn came forward and confessed to stirring up all these emotions? Hope you don't get too much hate mail Glenn.

But it brings up an interesting point that is often thrown in our faces by folks we love, folks we don't know, and our own inner critic: Do I have value even if I don't get external validation? Is my painting good, even if it doesn't sell?

We need to dig deep to find the resolve to continue to create and find the curiosity, enthusiasm, and stamina to keep going internally within ourselves despite what going on around us. I've been hanging in for some 30 plus years now.

That being said we also need to create the most supportive environment we can for such a volatile career choice. Once upon a time I had a spouse whose critique was "it will sell, or it won't sell", but not any more;)

Katie May said...

Well. I love the silly faces! Much much more than the still life's. And I find it enormously encouraging that even someone as fabulous as you has self doubt. How can that be?! ;). Keep doing them. Funny thing is anytime I get a negative comment it's always anonymous. Like maybe they aren't sure enough if their comment to stand up to it. So don't worry! Easy for me to say who worries waaaay too much!

Leigh B. Butler said...

Keep 'em coming, they're great, AND they make me smile!! Three cheers for you, Carol!

Pam said...

I agree with Bruce's comment. As artist, I often have to fight the self-abnegation: am I doing anything worth while. I see so many talented people. Should I put my brushes down? The answer of course is that the process of art, the seeing, the interpretation, and the working out of the "puzzle" of form and composition, is an exciting and challenging game. If I never sold a piece, I would have had an engaging time of it. So there's two stages to being an artist: the process and the product. The process is separate from the product.

MooPig_Wisdom said...

I'm like 169th comment here ... what would I say to Anonymous?

... well, I better not publish it here ...

Your face vignettes are "DELIGHTFUL!!"

Buggers to the 1% who disagree.

Sean Meuser said...

Reasons for keeping with the faces:

1. I say after all the stuff you've been through lately, anything that makes you laugh or smile is a GOOD thing!
2. When you're having fun doing something that usually translates through in the work as well. That can only be good for you AND the viewers.
3. I can't think of a better way to practice portraiture than to do exactly what you are doing.
4.YOU make the rules for how this all works, and only have YOU to answer to. So, if it's working for you, you know your boss is happy!

Keep it up, your work is appreciated! : )

pauline said...

Carol, your funny faces always bring a smile to my own face. I admire your courage to follow your heart...

After the fire, I suspect there was immeasurable anxiety and uncertainty for you. But one thing you DID learn was how we often take ourselves (and life) too seriously. Maybe these funny faces were a way for you to express this new awareness? Or maybe you decided to follow this path because they made you smile too?... either way, FOLLOW YOUR HEART, girl. Regardless of what others think of the decision.
xoxo

donnathomas.com said...

I have always told my students to paint for themselves - not for others. Art is a journey of "self", as well as, skill. The skills learned can be implemented in any "type" of work whether it be painting landscapes, drawing figure, working with encaustic or photographing. I have had so many teachers who have said the very same thing who come from around the country to teach workshops in Atlanta. One even left a New York gallery because he wanted to paint the figure - not street scenes...he had to lead with his heart. Painting is a personal journey and everyone's journey changes and the roads lead in different directions. Your experiences this year, though horrible, have led you to what I think is heaven on earth where you now live. You must lead where you heart takes you.

barbarastroud said...

Carol, your silly faces are BRILLIANT...! A refreshing change from the everyday... Don't stop, they're a bright spot in my day!

Dave Casey said...

All I have to say Miss Carol is, "you go girl."

If Karen Jurick can paint 100 faces of convicts and have it be one of her more popular series, then you can certainly paint 100 faces of people being silly. Especially when those 100 people have sent you the photos to be part of the project.

SamArtDog said...

What does 175 comments tell you? Gee, you think maybe they're 175 reasons to keep on keeping on? Well, if they're not enough, here's #176...

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning the devil says,
"OH CRAP, SHE'S UP"!

Barbara Woods said...

These faces are DELIGHTFUL. You should make a book or poster of them. They make my heart smile. Wish I had thought of that idea!

Sherrie said...

Are you kidding....the silly faces are FUN,Fun,Fun, and I am a portrait painter...you are great at your face color and tones...like your still lifes- they are crisp and sharp...you have it in the faces too...I'd ask myself...who's selling? Carol, that's who.

Sandra said...

Having received a really critical and quite nasty email from 'Anonymous' myself a few days ago on one of my own paintings, I confided in my wonderful boggy friend Crystal Cook. She turned me from being devastated and tearful, to seeing it in a different way entirely. She also pointed me to this post. Quite honestly, if talented Artists such as Crystal and yourself receive critical comments, clearly it can happen to everyone and not just me.
I LOVE your silly faces! And why not sell?? they are unique, fun, uplifting and totally different! :0)