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Quirky Existence

by Kelly Sullivan on 11/4/2011 9:30:36 AM

This post is by guest author, Kelly Sullivan.  This article has been edited and published with the author's permission. You should submit an article and share your views as a guest author by clicking here. We've promoted this post to feature status because it provides great value to the FineArtViews community.  If you want your blog posts listed in the FineArtViews newsletter with the possibility of being republished to our 15,000+ subscribers, consider blogging with FASO Artist Websites.  This author's views are entirely her own and may not always reflect the views of BoldBrush, Inc.


I went to a used bookstore today. The proprietor that sat behind the counter had roamed the alleys for over 25 years. He knew every volume in the store. “Quirky existence,” I thought to myself.


I stood in the first aisle. It contained all of the art books; large, beautiful volumes. I delicately pulled each one off in alphabetical order and thumbed through them. Some quickly enveloped me, others I brushed off as someone made famous by a blind congregation.


I found a hard cover of Manet, a small volume of Degas works, and a book on Russian painters. I didn’t know any of the Russian artists, but that didn’t make them any less impressive. Interestingly, the fact that I didn’t know who they were, and that their work made me hungry for more, drew me in even further.


I’m at an odd point in life. I am more inspired and creatively charged than I have ever been. I am so thirsty for more knowledge and better work that it borders on unquenchable. I see myself progressing. I see my work develop. I know that the 40 years of aching to understand is finally being fueled and my appetite only grows. Like an addict of sorts, I guess.


Friends and clients reinforce my development with gestures that spur me on: sales, commissions, blog posts… but the academia of fine art – the ‘societies’, still reject what I put out. I’d like to pretend that it doesn’t matter. I tell myself that they are swayed by politics and social media. I once heard a master painter quote a fellow juror - “it’s a brilliant piece, but it just isn’t big enough so therefore it can not win”… Perhaps he had heard that reasoning before and couldn’t let go. Perhaps he was just a putz.


Or…there is the reality that my work just wasn't good enough. I may never know. Or more likely, I may just choose to disagree.


I do not want to wane on here, or sing the song of the sad rejected romantic. I want to shout it. For those that persist, though their tune may go unnoticed, are the ones more likely to make an honest statement. No regrets for my voice, just a bit of sadness for the ears it fell upon.


“Quirky existence”... I think to myself.





Editor's Note:  You can view Kelly's original post here.


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Topics: art appreciation | art criticism | FineArtViews | Guest Posts 

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Carol Schmauder
And what a delightful quirky existence, wouldn't you say, Kelley?

The thought of being able to create whenever you want to is a wonderful thought. Not to worry about the "societies" as long as you feel you are progressing and as long as there are those out there that appreciate your works.

kohlene hendrickson
Hi Kelly,

I love your willingness to follow your own quirky bliss! I wish for all artists to do so and stay true to their unique soul expression to the world. I looked at your site and all of your faces had something very quirky....


Phil Kendall
I'm back on line again...yippee

Phil Kendall
I'm back on line again...yippee

George De Chiara
Those "societies" can drive you crazy if you let them. I wouldn't worry too much about that. If your work is improving and people want to buy it, then your probably on the right track.

I went to your web site and just love the idea behind your finger smears. Very cool!

kelly sullivan
Wow - it was so exciting to turn on my computer and find your emails! Thanks so much for the comments - what a big treat. I've been painting and writing a lot so if you liked that one - please visit my site for more. Cheers - I love hearing from you. Kelly

Cathy de Lorimier
if "friends and clients reinforce my development with gestures that spur me on..." then I am on the right track, and so are you! We should not need the validation of specialized societies if we are following our true spirit. YOU know you love doing what you're doing, and that's richness, validation, progress, and fulfillment all wrapped up with a gorgeous ribbon. The "other guys" don't have to give it to you, because you've given yourself the greatest gift already!

Cathy de Lorimier
Write another comment . . .

Jo Allebach
What a great way to describe the "quirky" way. You keep on doing what works for you.

Sandra Haynes
Spot on, Kelley!
By the way, really like your writing style, too!

kelly sullivan
Thanks! I spent two hours yesterday trying to research ways to spread my blog. I like to write as much as I like to paint, but sometimes wonder if anyone really wants to hear what I think about, and that perhaps my posts are too personal in nature - but life is personal, and art is personal - there is no way around it for me. After a few hours of trolling the internet I decided to go paint and hoped that it would develop - and here you all are, the next day - it is a quirky existence indeed. Please visit me again. Cheers.

Brian Sherwin
It is a grave error to allow those 'in the know' -- call them 'societies' or whatever you wish -- to dictate your path... and what you take from it. More often than not -- they don't know much to begin with aside from knowing that they want their direction to dominate. Is your work 'bad' because a group of people refuse to look beyond what they know they already like? No. Do what you do and remember that opinions are just that -- opinions.

tom weinkle
I think Brian said it well. It doesn't matter what anyone else thinks, because that is not why you create. If you do care what others think, right or wrong, you will soon run out of gas, because you cannot please everyone.

Good luck, you are on a pure path.

kelly sullivan
No, you can not please everyone - but I must say that I don't function that well with blind indifference either. I need the occasional pat on the back like anyone else, and it's nice to know that your efforts may serve someone other than yourself. The "societies"provide a social network that may be more valuable than their recognition, but the recognition also translates financially - and while I would paint for a lifetime whether it made me money or not, I would not be saddened by the monetary incentive...know what I mean?

jack white

It doesn't matter what the experts say. If I'd been concerned what other experts thought I'd never sold a painting. I was very successful even though a lot of experts thought I was making junk. My American Express was bill bigger than their yearly salary.

The only people who count is your family and collectors. You can't please the world. It's like politicians following the polls to see which way to vote. We want them to vote as they believe. As artists we need to paint what our hearts tell us.


tom weinkle
Between the lines I am saying that when you hear something you believe is useful, use it, honor it.

In my limited life experience, I have found that you can find someone who will agree or disagree with any and every idea in the world. You can look at art criticism from decade to decade and see it easily.

I too like the pat on the back, and appreciate that someone will take the time to give one, but it is a fleeting feeling, just as the pleasure of sales are when the money runs out. That is not to say that sales are not important and beneficial (and I'm not rationalizing not selling). I believe (opinion) that you can only find happiness producing art from within yourself. I say that having experienced the highs and lows of both polar coordinates. I believe (opinion) that sales, pats, etc. are more of a topping than a meal.

I like what JW said as well.

kelly sullivan
hi Tom, yes JW said it very well - but your "I believe (opinion) that sales, pats, etc. are more of a topping than a meal." - that's good - very good.

Esther J. Williams
Kelly, I like your humor, especially the 'putz' comment. I have felt the same way and when I read you like books, I just purchased one that is a really good read. It is Carson`s Guide to Landscape Painting by John F. Carlson. You can get it on for about ten dollars shipped. I love art books and even if you do not paint landscapes, the technical advice and inspirational talk about art is invaluable.
I don`t think I will ever be comfortable with juried shows but I keep trying to one up myself each time I paint. I paint what I want to and if I break some art rules and it is not an exhibition winner, I am not going to feel like a failure. I painted from the heart, did my best and it brought me joy. When we experience joy, it comes through in our art, people can feel that. Keep doing what you are doing, you will be fine.

Brian Sherwin
Jack was to the point. For example, if I listened to what art writers in NYC told me I would have just gave up writing. Even the likes of Jerry Saltz has told me that I won't get anywhere with my writing unless I move to NYC or another larger city. All of that aside -- I've made a name for myself writing on my own terms... and while living where I choose. You can follow the standard path -- or you can create your own.

Brian Sherwin
The translation of what Saltz and others have said equals, "You won't be accepted in our circles". I value the advice and concern. However, that is fine with me... I create my own circles. Most of us do. That circle combined is much wider than the circle of NYC... Miami.... you name it... combined -- and is much more open.

Joanne Benson
Kelly, You go girl! Love your site! You have lots of spirit and so does your work.

kelly sullivan
Thanks for taking the time to say so Joanne! I was born with the spirit, and I'm working on the paint. Cheers, kelly


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