Years ago, if you had told me I'd be loving creating paintings and art on a computer, I'd probably laugh so loud I'd hurt. I was so closed minded about what I could do. For years I though I was nothing but a mediocre talent at best. That is not to say that now, I think I'm the be-all and end-all, rather I recognize that I can still learn and that I really do love all sorts of art making. A few things have given rise to this.
1. I started listening to people who had more confidence in me than I did. People other than family. I just put myself out there with no expectations of pleasing other people with my art. I started making it for me. That really started with making tutorials for RISD CE over the summer and with Inktober, I think. The deadlines and ability to create without constraint was very freeing. I was working within parameters but was allowed to create for me. The tutorials also allowed me to really consider my process.
2. I got recognition in the form of contracts. First, the Alice in Wonderland job, then the Nutcracker gig, the murals I have been generating for Coffee Connection, and smaller side gigs. I started looking at my work and being pleased with not only the product, but with the making of it. I think that was the part I was missing. I often start a project and then cop out once the self doubt kicks in.
3. Going on Clubhouse and realizing that there are many definitions of success in the art world. Starting my art career in earnest at 46 is not a deterrent, but a real advantage. I know far more skills and am far more patient than I was at 23 coming out of college. It took another lifetime for me to gain the ability to respect myself as an artist after I graduated college. It was nothing that Mass Art or my professors did that surpassed me. It was all on me. There has been a fear of taking risks most of my life because I told myself I was not "good enough." It's funny because I've been preaching to students for 21 years about accepting failure as a teaching tool and not comparing yourself to others because all art is unique to the artist.
With the work represented above, there are experiments, like the beach scene or the pocket troll using acrylic and paint marker on canvas, fun stuff like working lettering on Easter bags, and full blown contracts that I took countless hours with and lived every stroke like the instagram wall. Finally, there is the digital painting of a Greenman. Something I started months ago and finally went back to using the painting techniques I was honing with the mural and applying it to the work in Procreate on my iPad.
All in all, these new techniques will grow and manifest in new works over the next year and years to come as I keep working as a professional artist.
Thank you for reading. Stay Safe, Stay Healthy, and Make Art!
Jason Robert LeClair
I've been drawing and creating fantastical worlds for over 30 years. This is my area to put any visual or written musings. You've been warned...