The Artist’s Way

“The Artist’s Way”    Coloured pencils    October 2018

The artist’s way is a journey where sometimes one feels certain about the path ahead only to become thoroughly lost at the next turn.

When I visited rue Quincampoix that night in October 2016 I was in familiar territory and was delighted to see it illuminated so vibrantly.  I took photos and walked in a happy daze.  Continuing home (so I thought) I turned up one street, thinking it was another, and led myself into an unfamiliar area.  Alone.  At night.  Lost in Paris.  After some hasty and intimate time spent with my map, I righted my wrong and got home.

Similarly I went into my most recent exhibition full of certainty.  But over the two weeks in the public gaze I lost my bearings.  Certainty dissolved into a state of trepidation as I experienced the full spectrum of reactions; from praise, through indifference to actual hostility.  (Only one person was truly hostile.)

To be lost, found, and lost again in an endless cycle throughout a life, questioning one’s art and one’s very existence, is the artist’s way.

In the end the thing that you feel is your undoing is also your way back to sanity – art.

Another drawing from the same photo-shoot is “Guiding Lights”, drawn in 2016.

The drawing below shows the way I drew this street back in 2012.

“Conversations at Dusk” 2012






16 thoughts on “The Artist’s Way

  1. xanderest

    That is a truly lovely picture , Julie , Quite mysterious and also symbolic of your mood ;but it shows your person walking towards the light ‘enlightenment ?’

    Bon Chance , Julie ,

    Love , Judy .

  2. chuckles4th

    Julie, how right you are about the goddess of art appearing, disappearing and then reappearing. I have found just the same experience as I’ve tried to push myself into painting landscapes, after years of working with only still-life and portraits. Just as I’ve thought I’ve arrived, the muse vanishes into thin air and I’m left sitting at my easel having dismal thoughts about the canvas in front of me. The only thing to do is to carry on trying .. eventually the magic reappears! Thank you for your honesty. It is a comfort to so many of us. xx

    1. juliepodstolski Post author

      I went to a meeting last week on mental self-care for artists. All types of artists were there; musicians, actors, dancers and visual artists. The lost-and-found thing, the existential crisis thing, “What’s the point?” is universal in the arts. It is therefore not surprising that depression and anxiety are commonplace within the general arts community.

  3. Charlee Hyde

    Just out of curiosity Julie, did you discover the source of the hostility? What in your gentle art could possibility give rise to anger? Soldier on.

    1. juliepodstolski Post author

      Well, since you ask, Charlee, the gentleman in question (who said he “dabbled” in art) couldn’t appreciate the drawings because they looked way too photographic for his sensibility. He told me in a forceful way, almost shouting his displeasure.

  4. ridgecookearts

    Why? Who? What could possibly have caused someone to become hostile at an art exhibition? You didn’t offer gluten free snacks? Your piece is beautiful and your journey in thoughts; it’s an awesome debriefing of what was, what is and what will be. X

  5. Nick Shiroma

    Your artwork and writing brought back feelings of when I too found myself lost and by myself in Holland at night. Even in the midst of negative emotions, art does let you know that deep down inside, it won’t let you down.

  6. anna warren portfolio

    When I am stressed I have nightmares, and they are always essentially the same, but in different forms, and that is, I am lost. Sometimes in a huge building, sometimes in the countryside, I am always moving, opening doors, turning corners, and each turn leads to more of the same. It is always a relief to wake up. Being lost feels like quite a final thing – what if I never find my way out! But we always do, eventually, and as you have done, the solution is often with tackling the thing that is worrying us head on, plunging back into creating artwork. Maybe it is important to have these crises of confidence (I’m not convinced of that argument though!). The life of an artist is never easy though because we are so exposed. Most people are kind, but the ones we remember are the cruel ones, like your visitor, even though you know his attack was wrong and groundless, it sadly overshadows the positive comments. I’m so glad you are emerging from the forest, and producing such a beautiful, enigmatic piece.

    1. juliepodstolski Post author

      My anxiety dreams, Anna, consist mostly of earthquakes and tornadoes, though missing trains is a common one and not remembering where I left the car. Oh – and don’t let me forget the exam dreams (where I forgot to do any study) or the intruder-in-the-house dreams.
      This drawing was a way to find my way back – kind of a redemption drawing. But it was also a drawing for a good friend who loved the ‘raffle’ drawing but didn’t win it. So – the end result is that this drawing already has a new home, only 24 hours after it is finished. I call this a win-win situation.

  7. Robyn Varpins

    there seems to be more certainty and strength in the new drawing. stronger colour around a more central figure really anchor this composition. the colours are delicious.

  8. Susan R Donze

    Love your work, love your writing. There is so much internal activity, and so much emotion (internal and external, including the viewer) in the experience of making and sharing art. No surprise the gamut of sparks and feelings that fly.

    1. juliepodstolski Post author

      Thank you for your empathetic comment, Susan. There WAS rather a lot of soul-searching after the last exhibition, I admit. However a well-timed trip to Italy (where I am right now) has been (and is currently) soul-healing.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.