Sunday, March 14, 2010

'The red shoes'

In an earlier post I showed progress on this painting.  It is finished now and I have sealed it.  It is of my cousin Julianne.  For years now we have exchanged cards, knowing looks, jokes, sewing and even little red shoes based on the story often told to children about the little girl and 'the red shoes'.  A discussion about the 'meaning' of this story also appears in the book "Women who run with the wolves."  The story is about a poor orphaned girl who loves her authentic handmade red shoes. But due to circumstances and peer pressure/desire to be accepted when taken into a 'well-to-do', family she begins to wear the flash shiny leather ones they tell her she must wear. On the way home from church the shoes begin to dance.  They are in control of her and she can not make them stop.  They dance her down the road, out of the village into the wilderness.  She is exhausted but still the shoes will not stop.  In the end she has to cut off her feet and watch the shoes (and feet) dance away with out her.  Do you know the story?  It rings bells with creative women who give up or compromise their creativity... you can see the light go out of their eyes... and in doing so, they sell their soul.  I have been there.  It is a fine line we all face as creative women.  How far do we go selling what we make to others or making to express our true self?  Balance is tricky. Julianne is one of the most creative people I know.  Her hand sewing has started selling well at design stores around the country.  Making to sell can mean a balancing act to keep your creativity authentic... it is a problem I constantly struggle with.  Lately I am trying to make with no thought of selling... so I make for me and if it sells at a later time then that is a bonus. It has freed me up to experiment and play again. Will Julianne face this dilemma soon?

Problem:People do judge an artists success on if they sell (and how much for)..I wish I could stop worrying about that aspect of it.  Now that I am choosing not to actively sell...I am not feeling like I am valued as a 'real' artist.....

Postscript:  In the last month I have randomly sold several big artworks without actively seeking to do so.  What does that say about 'the red shoes'.

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