Just What Am I Painting, Anyway?

I recently posted a question on Wetcanvas, asking for help defining my art. I felt a bit stupid for doing so, but after a recent incident I really wanted some outside insight on what comes to mind when someone looks at my work.

I was at a party shortly before Christmas and was chatting with some people I didn’t know. They asked what I did, and rather than say “stay at home mom” I got over my stomach-clenching nervousness and said “I’m an artist”. I don’t know why it is so difficult to put that out there, but as I’m transitioning out of painting as a hobby to painting as a lifestyle, I need to be proud and put myself out there.

Anyway, the sky didn’t fall when I answered, and they were really nice and rather curious. After I got past my next hurdle (explaining what gouache is), they asked “So what style do you paint? Like landscapes or people or…?” Here, I stumbled. I flailed about for words and said something really brilliant like “Um, well, they are kind of like landscapes, but not always, there are some trees, but they are kind of floating, and some birds, sometimes…” I was rescued when on person said “Oh! Sounds whimsical!” I thought to myself, no, not really whimsical but blurted out “Yes!” just to get myself out of this awkward situation.

The folks on Wetcanvas were lovely as always — giving out ideas on what they would call my art, describing how they carry around a business card or postcard with an image of their work on it, talking about how we shouldn’t need to define ourselves to people, discussing perceptions and titles and being “just a mom”. I found a word I like that I think fits what I’m doing – ethereal – which I’ll use to replace the word “cosmic” that has been running around in my head despite the fact that it doesn’t quite feel right to me. I’ll feel okay using the word surreal because others see my art that way too.

I need to suck it up and get some business cards ASAP. I have a background in graphic design, so I keep trying to come up with the greatest, most eye-catching, super-unique card ever. Meanwhile, months slip by and I miss a ton of opportunities to get my info out there to people. I should start with something beautiful and basic, and create that one-of-a-kind card when it comes to me.

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