There are so many artists I admire, whose work I drool over and long to possess but, sometimes while appreciating their work, I feel insecure… This feeling was especially acute in art school where I was surrounded by immense talent on every side – I never felt like I measured up.
Over the years I have learned that this insecurity only serves to squash all forms of personal creativity. And although it’s sometimes hard to suppress and ignore I force myself to push through. I keep creating and producing, not because I need to do better or be better but because I love it. I love it and it is me.
So I say SING if you love it, play an instrument if you love it, draw if you love it, run if you love it, organize if you love it, garden if you love it, or crunch numbers if you love it and forget about measuring up to anything or anyone, even your own expectations.
Rare self-portrait by Mary Cassatt. (1878)
I could pick a dozen artists out of history that I admire but Mary Cassatt (1844 – 1926) is by far my favourite. I’ll leave it to Wikipedia to give you the FULL version of her story but here is a short overview: Mary Cassatt lived an extraordinary life for a woman of her time. The affluence and mobility of her family provided her with the ability to chose her destiny more freely. At an early age she set out to become more than the typical “lady painter”, she wanted equality and she pursued an art career in the world of men. She was born in the US and lived most of her adult life in France where she became connected with the Impressionists and also many other famous artists of the day, including Edgar Degas.
It is admirable that Cassatt pursued a career in a world ruled by men and even more admirable that she did not do so in a typical fashion. She stepped outside of the popular subject matter and art styles of the day and chose to reflect and celebrate the domestic lives of women using new impressionistic art techniques. She captured and presented, with respect, the experiences of the home and brought the daily life of women into the world of men.
I love her bravery and innovative tenacity.
Cassatt was also very inspired by Japanese printmaking and she explored the medium in a series of prints all featuring scenes from an average woman’s day. I LOVE these prints!
Portraits of Mary Cassatt by Edgar Degas. The portrait on the right depicts Cassatt as a very confident and knowing woman but she disliked it so much that she complained, “It represents me as a person so repugnant that I do not want anyone to know I posed for it.” (Excerpt from: Mary Cassatt, Reflections of Women’s Lives by Debra N. Mancoff)
Laura Nelson is a Canadian artist who resides not so far away from me in scenic Fernie, BC. I first saw her work in a Fernie shop called, Clawhammer Press and I have been in love with it ever since. Of course the vibrant colours and trees are obviously a big draw for me 😉 but I also love how she interprets and captures our beautiful Canadian landscapes. One day I will own one of her pieces! (Click on any of the paintings here to head out and see more of her work.)
I only just recently came across David FeBland’s work and it was love at first sight! Sigh… Let’s be honest though, it’ll be a lifetime of saving before I can ever afford one of his pieces so, in the meantime I will admiringly drool. His work speak volumes by being rich in content and it breathes life into scenes that we might have otherwise believed ordinary. I’ve definitely become an ardent admirer.
Check out more of his work here > DAVID FEBLAND
Have an amazing weekend folks!