A Measure of Success

How do you measure success? For me, the measure of my success is gauged by how much I’ve grown in a specific area. Like a fitness plan, if the goal is to lose weight and I can see the pounds coming off, then voila, success!

My constant goal is to be better at executing my art and in that vein, I subject my paintings to constant comparisons – sometimes to that of other artists but more often to art I’ve created previously because I am only as good as my last painting. We all have our favorites and then there are those creations that are recycled or painted over – much to my husband’s chagrin – because I have no desire to hold on to works that I feel are subpar or that I’ve lost interest in.

Then there are those that, at the time of creation, I thought were fairly good (sometimes great). Those are the pieces I hold onto even though I sometimes cringe as they pale in comparison to more recent work. I keep them because they are great indicators of my growth, therefore my success as an artist.

When I think of growth, I’m not talking changing my style of painting or making art. A change in style is acceptable and expected as an artist matures, but a noticeable change in technique, composition, color harmony, etc., are, I feel, better indicators of growth, therefore success. Often when I look at some of my earlier works, I think “do over” and challenge myself to a rematch.

There are not many things in life that allow us the privilege of a do-over. Luckily for us artists, do-overs are available at any time. All we need is a fresh canvas, piece of paper, sketchpad, chalk board, piece of clay, wood, some wire, cloth, yarn – whatever our medium, and we can start again, and again, and again until we think we’ve got it right…

Until the next time we stop to measure our growth.

Which brings me to these two paintings. I am still not overjoyed with my execution of the hands on the lower image, but boy oh boy, I think I’ve traveled a great distance towards crossing the line of success with this painting. As for the top painting, which is well over 10 years old, I am planning a do-over very soon. I’ll keep you posted.

As long as I continue to work at my craft in earnest and I can see some growth, I am happy. Sometimes I grow by skips and hops, other times by leaps and bounds! Either way, with growth success is eminent.

What yardstick or scale do you use to measure your success? Drop me line below.

Fancy That

snow-fairies
Snow Fairies

Featured in the gallery this month of August is award-winning artist and illustrator Ellen Killmer of Red Lion, PA. Working in acrylic and watercolors Ellen creates whimsical, lighthearted paintings that call our inner child out to play. There are bunnies in a marching band, a bagpipe playing dog, a cat in the hen yard and fairies everywhere!  She’s so talented she can even make rats look like fun.  “Alphie’s First Snow” and “Sing a Song of Sixpence, the Baby King” are both award winners taking Best of Show and Director’s Choice awards.

Bunnies and Fireflies

Much of her inspiration comes from literature, poetry, and places that she’s visited. “I feel that every animal and person has an inner character that needs to be revealed,” she says.

rats
Another man's garbage...

Come out to see her latest works along with a couple of old favorites. Ellen is available for personalized pet portraits and children’s book illustrations. Contact us if interested in custom, commissioned paintings or illustration. Call 717-417-6341 or send email to info@handyconcepts.com.

Your feedback is welcomed.