Monday, August 9, 2010

on my desk monday

This is a painting I am doing for my friend (and amazing illustrator/author) Dan Santat's Eyewitness Auction to benefit 826LA. It's a great charity and I'm glad to be a part of it but I have to admit that participating in it has been a bit of a lesson for me.

Because this is my 2nd painting for it. My first one I painted hurriedly while in the midst of writing my first draft of "Dumpling Days." And it was bad. Really bad. But I just couldn't paint anything of quality while consumed by first draft concentration as well as schedule (I was already a month late). But it was such a great cause that I wanted to help with that I threw my subpar painting into an envelope and mailed it out.

But it gnawed at me. I realized it wasn't even that the charity deserved more (though that would've been a more selfless reason), it was a point of personal pride. I was embarrassed to think that people would see my name on that piece of artwork. As the days passed, it bothered me more and more and finally I asked Dan if he could withdraw my piece. Which he did quite graciously.

So, as soon as my first draft was finished (and after I bought my cherry sheets) I got to work on a new one. I'm glad to say I'm much happier with this one. It's not my greatest work (unfortunately. the subject matter of chaos & destruction is not my forte) but I am not ashamed of it and I'm proud it's a part of the project.

However, this was a learning experience for me. I love creating art for good causes, it's something I will always feel strongly about. But, I've also realized that I need to be able to do it right. I have to be able to devote the time to it or else it's better to decline. People have asked me if I ever plan to revive Robert's Snowflakes and while there are many parts of me that want to, I realize that all of me has to be dedicated for it to happen. And, right now, there are parts of me that want to do other things instead.


melanie hope greenberg said...

People change and grow and priorities change. I for one feel charity begins at home. When I feel fulfilled I'm able to reach out more and kept my art simple and it was fun. That was all the energy I could muster at this time when I am scrambling to pay rent and bills and to eat and get my personal projects done. Charity begins at home and artists are not robots nor are they charities. Artists are professionals first. When giving is part of the overflow of abundance, it's fun. When charity comes from an half empty glass, giving feels draining. Also, the instructions did not say we had to paint. I submitted black and white line art. Next time, do what feels best for you at that moment. That is taking care of you and the world at the same time. Peace.

Grace Lin said...

thanks for your comment, Melanie. I love how you said, "When giving is part of the overflow of abundance, it's fun. When charity comes from an half empty glass, giving feels draining." So true!