WE MADE IT. Edition 12 of 12. Here we go.
This month I am selling original abstract paintings and prints of these original paintings.
It's quite likely you're thinking, "you painted 29 paintings?!" or "you painted 290 paintings?!?!!?" and the answer is a giant "NO." and "NO squared."
I didn't. I failed. Or you could call it "copped out." Or you could call it "quit early." Or you could call it "made the right decision."
While I was 29, I painted 18 abstract paintings. Which is 11 less than the 29 I thought I could paint.
The kicker though is that I am only selling SIX abstract paintings.
Here's what happened:
First, please understand that I consider myself a crafter. I MAKE STUFF. I do not consider myself an artist. This is not a modest, bashful or "fishing for a compliment" statement. It's the truth. I just love to make. Over the years I have painted, not to be an artist but to play with paint. I made this giant lyric art that's still one of my favorite things. I made a ton of abstact paintings that totally sucked. I made this painting that hangs over our fire place. I made these paintings that hang on our living room. And there's a giant painting that hangs in our bedroom and one in my office. I love all of these paintings and they were the reason why I thought I could paint 29 more and - gulp - sell them.
A funny thing happened when I decided to paint for money and not for display in the Elise Blaha National Craft Museum. It got hard. LIKE SUPER, almost numbingly hard. I over-thought. A lot. And it showed. I tried to under-think and that also showed. I struggled. Massively.
But I had a year. I had time to push through this creative struggle. And there were wins admist the awful. There were wins against the moderately okay. I fell in love with a few of the paintings. So in love that I couldn't imagine selling them. And that's when I knew it would be okay to sell them.
That became my barometer. Did I love this too much to let it go? Okay. Then it would it be okay to actually sell it. I can't sell something I don't want myself.
I realized in December I was never going to get 29 paintings I loved enough to keep. I mean, MAYBE I could have, but I wouldn't have ate, slept, watched True Detective, cared for Ellerie, sold a December edition of MAKE29, wrote for the blog or laughed. So I resigned myself to 10, which felt doable.
Then, Monday, January 5th, I was talking to my mom on the phone. It was 4:30pm. Ellerie was pulling everything out of my office cupboards. We were in that hour before Paul gets home when everything feels upside down and I've developed a low-grade headache. I was mixing paint. It was getting dark (not ideal painting light). I said to my mom "I still have to finish two damn paintings by tomorrow [to drop off to be scanned in time for promo]."
"Elise," she said, "Why? Why do you need ten? Sell what you have."
I mumbled something about expectations and angrily smushed (technical term) my brush around in the paint.
We hung up and I scooped up Ellerie and looked around the room, where I had been hanging all my paintings, and knew she was right (as mom's are apt to be). I didn't have to sell ten. I didn't have to sell ANY. But there were eight I liked and there were six I adored. And so those were the six I'd sell.
I slept like a rock that night.
Painting, I realized throughout this year, is HARD. This was by far the hardest edition for me to create and I didn't even succeed. This habit takes a level of connection that you can't always force. It takes a block of time that you don't always have. It takes a decent amount of natural light that doesn't always exist. It takes work, of course, but it also takes a frame of mind and emotion. It's more than a love of color. It's, well, I still don't know what it is, but it's a lot.
I'm glad I tried though. I learned more through this struggle than from some of the successes. I ended up with six pieces of art that I really love which is six more than I had on February 22nd.
So today, I am excited to share them with you. (Here is the official MAKE29 page.) There are six acrylic on canvas abstract originals that will go on sale on January 22nd. You can see them all here. Pricing these sucked. I have no track record with paintings. I have no background in painting. I don't plan or want to be a painter long-term so it's not like I have to worry about under-pricing or over-pricing my future self. I also have an intense love for them and don't want them to leave my house. As you can imagine, this made me fluctuate between prices like $30 and $8,000. I googled. I questioned. I tried various formulas and got various results. I compared and contrasted.
But ultimately I just decided to sell them all (various sizes and various level of personal obsession) for $290 each - that includes shipping to the US.
Each of these paintings has been professionally scanned and I will also be selling limited edition large giclee prints in quantities of 29. The giclee prints are beautiful (all thanks to my local printshop). If you purchased a flamingo, you've seen this quality already. It's hard to capture via photo, but it's beautiful. As a hail Mary finish and because I really love these, I am releasing editions of 290 of smaller 8x10s and 12x12s giclee prints. The photos right above and below this block of text are of the print samples.
On one hand, this is an awkward, anti-climatic & really complicated way to end this project. But on the other hand, it's a solid send-off. I did what I set out to do: I experimented. I pushed myself creatively. I learned something. I kept my business running. I got to make stuff.
I'm sure I'll have much more to say on this topic soon, but in the meantime, my sincerest thanks to you for following along.