Art progress – or art journey – is not a straight line from not-being-an-artist to being-an-artist. As an aspiring artist I’m still only starting but I can share a little bit of my personal art progress.
I’ve stumbled upon a lot of my old art works lately since I’m turning my old childhood room into my painting studio for the next year. More about that later. But my room – and the whole house – is full of my art: drawings and paintings.
From one shelf I found folder that said Wednesday Exhibition (Keskiviikkonäyttely) Elli Maanpää 2001. I’ve been fifteen when I drew them. It contained about ten pencil and marker drawings. I’ve probably had these drawings up in my parent’s office for Wednesday 17th of January 2001. But I have no memory of it.
The first thing I noticed looking through the drawings that I was NO child prodigy. My lines are weak and wobbly and there’s basically no shading. Technically the drawings are rubbish and I’m little bit embarrassed to show them to you.
“If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.” – Vincent Van Gogh
But after the critique comes the other voice. Both inner voices are as important: the one who states what’s wrong and the other one who says what’s inspiring about them.
What I noticed was my imagination and the need for telling stories visually. I had titled the drawings: “Escape”, “Biggest Fear”, “Love at the first sight”, “Puberty” and so on.
I find the expression of the characters in the Love at First Sight insightful. There is mania of the passion. But also uncertainty and concern in the way the lady is tilting her head and man is leaning back even while running forward. Love at first sight can be both exhilarating and frightening at the same time.
I also love the expressive lines of the flying big. Such a shame I hadn’t named that one.
When I found these drawings my mom was next to me. When I stated how bad they were, she kept on saying: “You were so talented already back then”. That’s one of my biggest secret ingredients for becoming a visual artist: the unconditional cheer of my parents. They even let me paint the walls of my room at the age of 11 – see the photograph in the end of this post.
Back when I was teen I had only my class mates to compare with on art skills. In that group I was one of the best at drawing. That gave me confidence of thinking about art as a career. If I’d be fifteen today at 2018 I’m not sure would I be discouraged or couraged by the social media. They’re so crazy talented people in Instagram. It’s hard not to compare yourself. Would the international selection of artist at the same-age-than-me had made me work harder or would it have crushed me thinking I’m not good enough to make it? I don’t know.
If there is young aspiring artists reading this blog post right now I want to say to you: It’s more important to have strong passion to create than be technically savvy. You can learn technique at any age. But without the urge to tell your own stories you might lose the inspiration of learning the technique and keeping on practising your vision.
Let’s fast forward to 2009. This is a self-portrait from 2009 made with markers and acrylic paint. I’m still pretty impressed by it. I remember working from a reference I took with the the built-in camera on my computer. My most favourite part is the shadows on the cheek bones. I also like the intense stare but I wish the look in the eyes would be little deeper. The work is very flat – more like comic book type of work rather than fine art.
“Art cannot progress by sticking to what is already familiar” – Mieczysław Jastrun
If I would have continued with these materials – marker and acrylic together – I might have gotten something really interesting out of them. But I didn’t. I keep on chancing my medium. It’s both a blessing and a curse. Blessing because it’s good to keep experimenting. But curse for not settling to a style that people would recognise me for.
This Tyrannosaurus Tietta painting – acrylics and oil pastels on 30cm x 30cm wood board – from 2017 is one of my latest paintings. This is a direction which I want to explore further. Painting with acrylics and continuing with oil paints or pastels. Being both loose and detailed at the same time. Little bit like Toulouse-Lautrec’s paintings.
“In my inner soul art and life are inseparable.” – Eva Hesse
With my paintings I want to share my admiration of life and world’s creatures. To smile trough my art. But it’s not a forced smile. It’s the smile that twinkles in the eyes. I want to talk about the things that matter to me: nature, being humane to each other and seeing the inspiration around us.
Big themes and big art journey ahead. I’m ready. I’ve finally got the new studio cleaned so this week I can start painting. I’m super excited.
In the stories of my IG account @ellimaanpaa I share my art making progresses, every day life and inspiration. My facebook page is dedicated to all and everything creative in my life. I will organize a giveaway in both accounts in couple of weeks so come check them out.