Art Envy

Cassandra Tondro, "Red Rising," abstract art

Hi Friends,

A couple of things converged this week and left me feeling uneasy.

Artist Nicholas Wilton revealed his big new light-filled studio space in Sausalito, California overlooking the harbor. I can’t imagine what a space like that must cost. Everything Nicholas does is grand. His large abstract paintings are filled with color and light. He teaches large workshops online and in fabulous locations all over the world. He has a staff of assistants and is full of energy and life. In a word, I feel envy.

The same day there was an email from artist Louise Fletcher describing her coup in getting blogger and author Seth Godin to be a guest on the Art Juice podcast that she hosts with Alice Sheridan. Louise encouraged us to go for the big ask and not give in to perceived limitations.

Both of these artists are promoting big, bold, grand, stretch, expand, and growth. But when is it enough? When is quiet and small OK?

There’s a part of me that would like to create art that is bold and grand, and somehow contributes something significant to the world. In the meantime I focus on the work that is mine to do and try not to compare myself to others, which is a lot easier said than done!

This time I failed. I feel like a sloth compared to Nicholas and Louise. What am I doing to move my art, my life and the world forward? When do we get to just be happy with who we are without having to improve ourselves in some way? And when do we get to rest on our laurels and enjoy?

What are your feelings about bigger, bolder, grander and envy? I’d enjoy hearing your thoughts. You can share them with us in the comments section below.

With love and appreciation,
Cassandra

Painting at top: “Red Rising,” 24 x 30 inches, repurposed acryic latex paint on canvas.

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8 Comments

  1. Cassandra, I too have been wondering about self improvement and how to compare myself with others and their careers. But other than to look for inspiration inside and without, I think it’s a mistake to ever compare ourselves to another. What we should be seeking is to be our best self and to know who that person is and act upon it every day. I know that is your practice already. We must train our thoughts to “stack” our successful ventures and as we recall them, ask what is the next best action for me? ♥️

    1. HI Connie! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I agree that it’s a mistake to compare ourselves to others, and yet sometimes I get caught up in it anyway. It’s because I want to be more than I am. I feel like I need to grow in some way, and yet I can’t quite access it yet.

  2. Ditto. I’m “just a hobby artist” – which some look down on and don’t take my art seriously – but I’m making art that I love, enjoying the process, and doing what I know I was meant to do. I’m not out to be or do anything more. When I try to sell, I do because apparently some like my art – but I don’t paint to sell. And I don’t compare myself to others. That would kill my joy in it.

    1. Good point, HLM! About focusing on the joy of making art and not comparing yourself to others. I also make art that I love, and if someone else loves it, great! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  3. Oh, Cassandra, you mirrored my feelings in the second to the last paragraph. For me, it’s not so much about comparison, but really? What am I doing to contribute to the greater good? Or in your words, to “move the world forward.” I do struggle with that a lot.

    In my better moments I realize I am creating, and that simple act moves the world forward. It’s profound when I allow that in.

    Blessings,
    Kay

  4. I eventually figured out and came to accept that my art will never be widely acclaimed, that i don’t have much political content, and i really like pretty. I make art to please myself. I am still striving for greater skills and variety in my paintings. And i find joy in challenging myself and not comparing my work with others. Cassie, thank you for sharing so much of yourself.

    1. Hey Veronica! Thank you for your kind words. I do struggle with these things from time to time, even though I know it’s not productive. In these days of extensive social media and sharing, it’s so hard to stay focused on my own work. I don’t want to bury my head in the sand, but seeing what everyone else is doing is also incredibly distracting!

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