Sunday, April 18, 2010

Finding a True Calling

I've always had a problem with focusing. Not focusing in the day to day; if my mind is made up I will work like crazy to fulfill something. But in a larger scope, I have a tendency to dabble. Some people call it a blessing and others call it a curse.

My problem is that I can't figure out what to do with my life. Oh, yes, I am an "artist", but sometimes I really, really envy those that know exactly what they want to do and enjoy doing the same thing day in and day out and become true masters in their fields. I know lots of very famous artists dabbled in different mediums (Picasso, Calder, O'Keefe) but they were also very singular.

I studied jewelry design for many years, then I painted murals, and now I paint small paintings, I make mosaics, I make concrete and wire sculptures, I cook, I am writing a novel, I like to sew, and I still dabble in jewelry. Yet I can't seem to focus on any one skill set for very long before I just move over to another one.

For a long time, I really thought I wanted to make jewelry. But let's be honest, I was always a mediocre jeweler at best. I never took chances with my materials or became truly creative. I guess that is a problem with studying something when you are broke in your early twenties--I didn't explore partly because I was afraid to waste materials. Partly because I didn't have a distinct style or enthusiasm about silver and gold.

I happened upon a funny little realization in the last few weeks. I have been missing a medium. I've always had a hard time with the environmental damages of art. It wastes a lot of natural resources to make concrete or resin or sterling silver or tile. I have tried several times to work on "assemblage" art, but usually feel like I am "crafting" more than "arting", if that make sense.

But I finally found that medium when I went to Artfest and I took a great class on working with tin, and now I am feeling a little more than transformed. It's cheap, it's widely available, it's all about reusing and recycling and I can use it in sculpture and jewelry and even functional objects. Tin gives me a chance to work with color and shape and texture and scale. I've been more excited being in my studio in the last two weeks than I can remember in the last two years.
I am still not making breath-taking works of art, but I am really looking forward to see what I do in the future.


  1. Boy, do I relate to what you are feeling!
    I get so bogged down in "perfectionism".
    Sometimes I think I studied too much jewelry history....I'm afraid to make a mistake and I HOARD my good stuff! I can't believe I'm admitting this! The last 6 months I've been trying to reassess my jewelry and beads.Tonight I found more jewelry in my husband's office closet! You are right . I'm out of control but that's okay. I can send it to my daughter in- law!

  2. yay! looks great jennevieve!

  3. Oh, Jennevieve, I can SO relate!!! I never can stick with any medium long enough to get good at it. I get bored and move on to something else. I know, as you said, that many great artists moved from medium to medium, but I frustrate myself. I did a Myers-Briggs Jung personality test and it seems my personality type (ENFP) is just that way...but it's hard to accept when I'd like my efforts to be rewarded by my actually being good at something. UGGH!!! You are already so accomplished. you already rock!

  4. I agree with you Lori. Jennevieve can take a few ingredients together, (makes it look so easy)and produces a meal to die for. Very talented!

  5. ok ok I did not mean this post as a make Jennevieve feel better about herself post! (I hate those kind of posts that beg for pity!) But thank you anyways for your kind words.