“I Do” – Art Relationships

Work-in-progress "Oh! You Pretty Things" in the making

“Oh! You Pretty Things” on the drawing board

It occurs to me that one doesn’t only form relationships with people.  Emotional investments (commitments) are made with each piece of art one creates.  “Am I ready to do this?  How much energy do I have?  Do I believe in this idea?  Do I have what it takes to make this relationship work?”  These are questions I ask myself when thinking about what my next project will be.

This is also a reason why a failed art work is so depressing.   It is a relationship which was invested in with the best intentions, worked on and ultimately lost.  An emotional toll is taken with each ‘irretrievable breakdown of art’.  (“We’re still good friends”.  Not.)

 A ripped up drawing from 2013.

A ripped up drawing from 2013.

A few days ago I started my current drawing, to which I already have a (David Bowie) title, “Oh! You Pretty Things”.  I photographed Satsuki posing with sheltie dog in February 2015 but it is only recently I felt ready to commit to using the photo for a drawing.

As with human relationships, so in art, circumstances have to be just right for an emotional spark to ignite.  What awakened my interest to the current work?   It was drawing “Encounter” which led me to this one.  I so enjoyed drawing the “Encounter” corgi that I wished I had another Kyoto dog to draw. Then I remembered the sheltie.  (One good dog deserves another!)



Why hadn’t I thought to draw this composition before?  The sheltie is wearing sunglasses and a hat – which is too daft.  Nobody would buy that (figuratively or literally). Then I turned my thinking around.  The hat and glasses are crazy but this is part of the eccentricity to be found in Japan.  The odd, unusual, theatrical and absurd are what endear me to the place!

In conclusion, a reversal in attitude may be what helps one to finally commit.   Mentally, Insurmountable Obstacle is somersaulted into Valuable Asset.  One sees the possibilities, makes the decision, then solemnly vows, “I do”.


12 thoughts on ““I Do” – Art Relationships

  1. Robyn Varpins

    I understand this relationship that you talk about. But I have found that even if the artwork has not turned out the way I wanted, the relationship may not have completely failed because I am always surprised that there is someone who does appreciate the ones that I don’t like. Their expectations are not so high, or the flaws are seen in a different light…. and valued. I let the artwork free to find a new home where it can be loved.

  2. Lisa Foor Rojek

    Thank you so much for creating your thoughtful blog and sharing your beautiful work, Julie. I am an artist who also teaches art full time to 6th through 12th grades. Your posts facilitate my taking a much needed pause during the hectic day. I actually feel my mind, body, and emotions instantly relaxing when I look at your work; very similar to my experiences during yoga and meditation. What a wonderful break! Being from the U.S., I also enjoy experiencing your perspective from the other side of the world.
    I normally work in oil and acrylic, but your work inspired me several months ago to try a colored pencil piece, which I recently finished. I especially loved the freedom of being able to get in and out of the piece easily (minimal set up, no clean up!).
    Anyway, I’ve always intended to thank you for sharing so much, and am finally taking the time to do so. Take care, and keep creating!

    1. juliepodstolski Post author

      Hi Lisa, I was so thrilled to read your comments. I had to instantly take my i-phone down the stairs and read them out to my husband. Thank you so much for what you wrote. I can’t think of an intelligent reply yet. I’m still mentally processing your words. Think I’m overwhelmed by them.

  3. anna warren portfolio

    You are absolutely right about making a commitment when you start an artwork – that is what gives it its initial spark. My work is more experimental, so I don’t know where it will end up, so sometimes one that starts well will not come to something that satisfies me, but others that begin with a struggle sometimes end up being the ones I love. I know that the pieces I get most satisfaction from don’t always appeal to others, but conversely I’m not prepared to go to the expense of framing a work that I am not proud of, even if other people like it. It is such a personal thing, the act of creation, and there has to be personal integrity caught up in it. It is the same leap of faith that goes into a relationship with another human being – trust that something good will emerge. I am enjoying the quirkiness of this new drawing, great title too. Looking forward to seeing its progress!

  4. juliepodstolski Post author

    Some of your journeys are like ‘mystery flights’. You turn up at the airport, get on a plane and the destination will be a surprise. My journeys are more known because I am working from a source photo. When I put it that way, my flights sound very boring – and yet – I still find the process (journey) enjoyable.

  5. charlee2

    At some point the relationship has to end. The work is finished and your “baby” has to go to its new home. Thanks for the blog Julie. Very interesting reading.

  6. Sue Donze

    Again, such a lovely piece. You communicate the very air, light and grace of a tradition I hope never fades from the earth. Thank you for keeping it alive.

    1. juliepodstolski Post author

      Wow, thank you, Sue. I have no power at all to keep the tradition alive. All I can do is be one of the people who shows it while it is still here. I hope you’ve seen the finished drawing (“Oh! You Pretty Things”) now.


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