Brenda Edwards



October 16th, 2015 - The Daily Muse

Today I spent the better part of the day feverishly looking through images trying to figure out what will inspire the next painting I paint. Generally, the day after I finish a painting is Hellish, and that is because the day after I finish a painting, I have to figure out what my next painting will be. Starting a painting is kind of fun, if I know what I want to start, but that awful space of uncertainty, awaiting some kind of inspiration, is tough. And while I was going through this always sort of desperate emotional process, my mind went back to a party I attended a while ago where a person said to me, “You are sure liv’n the good life!”, and puzzled,  I replied to the person who said it, and the other person in the conversation, who was also looking puzzled, “Well, I think we’re all living a pretty good life.” And she said, “No! WE have to go to work every day! You’ve got it made!” And then I understood the intent behind her original statement.

The perception startled me a bit, even though I know better, but I laughed and shrugged it off. Artists don’t complain much about being an artist, and that is because it just isn’t good PR. You are, after-all, your marketing department, and it’s a full-time job in itself. Having been in marketing for years, I know better than to present a product that looks labored and unsure. But her statement has been nagging at me like the next painting, so I will address it now because writing a blog is usually what I do when I’m frustrated.  You can’t bellyache about a job when you’re the employer, it’s pointless. But one thing is for sure, making art isn’t “not work”. It’s work. I go into my studio every day to work. Then work and work and work until past when my feet hurt… work, and do this without any assurance that I will get paid for the work. Artists who don’t get paid for their work still have bills. It’s annoying, but they do. There is no government subsidy for the unpaid artist.

Sure, there is gratification in a job well done. Sometimes you look through a body of work, or an older work, and think… wow… how did I do that? And there are moments in every effort where you think, oh yah, this is magic! Other times you want to grab a jar of gesso and a brush and start over, but there is just no cure for any of it. People who make art are usually incapable of not making art, but please don’t do us the injustice of assuming that because what we do is colorful and whimsical and sometimes, if we’re lucky, even wondrous – that it’s easy. Every working artist I know has worked very hard to get where they are. It’s the hardest work I’ve ever done, but I hang onto it because it’s the best work I’ve ever done. And maybe, after all these years, if I’m lucky, it’s the last work I’ll ever do.

Okay, now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, I should probably get in the studio and WORK.