Asian art has always influenced my work. From the time I was little, I looked at photographs of Chinese art that my Grandfather loved. He brought me a lacquered cigarette box when I was young because the inlaid birds and flowers were so beautiful. I collected pheasant vases in cobalt blue and ivory – and my husband collected Japanese tea sets.
Yet when I began designing patterns, I lost my Asian aesthetic in my quest to design for different markets and hone my pattern making skills. For a solid year I was very productive, producing some really awesome patterns that I’m so proud of – but eventually I just became blocked – completely unable to produce anything I liked no matter how hard I tried.
Artistically I’ve been frustrated since last summer. I’ve tried again and again to restart my creative journey only to find myself with files and piles of unfinished patterns. No matter how hard I worked at it, it didn’t work for me – and it was HARD WORK. Sure, I’d start with enthusiasm and tons of ideas but somewhere in the middle of the collection I’d lose steam and reevaluate the patterns I had finished, only to realize they weren’t that great. So I’d abandon that collection and start again. I ended up in the same place time after time – with files of patterns I simply. Couldn’t. Finish.
Then I completely abandoned pattern making – and branched out in other directions. I returned to working exclusively in Corel Painter. I took a webinar with Brian Pollett. I completed a painting tutorial from Diane Hill Designs. And then I remembered what I really love: Florals, Chinoiserie and Japonisme.
It’s that simple. I paint flowers. I love creating art inspired by Chinese culture and painting. I am equally inspired by Japanese kimono and embroidery. I combine all three. Period.
You see, since August, I’ve been looking for myself as an artist and in order to find myself I did a bunch of other things. None of which ignited that spark in me. The webinar and tutorial reminded me of what I love. So I am back. I paint flowers combining chinoiserie and japonisme. I might throw in a geometric element from time to time, but I create my elements in Corel Painter. I am EXACTLY who I was before I went looking for my artistic identity. Here are some of my older works:
But this is not to say that I wasted the past year and a half. Quite the opposite in fact. I learned so much. My skills are so much better – both digitally and with a pen, or a paintbrush. I can create seamless repeats. I can create patterns – but my patterns are Asian inspired. I am not a designer for every market. I am in a particular niche.
In fact, I could actually tell you who my ideal customer is because she or he is someone just like me. I spent a year and a half circling around and looking under every rock to turn up my artistic voice and it was right there from the beginning.
What wasn’t there was the habit of painting every day. The habit of seeing everything through the eyes of an artist looking for inspiration. The wonder at how one perfect line can make or break a painting. The admiration of a beautifully designed kimono. The skill for using digital painting programs to bring my vision to life.
So stay tuned. There will be a whole new series of paintings coming – all influenced by Asian art.