Penelope’s Web

June 26th, 2008

This is where I'm at with "Penelope's Web", a mixed media piece on 20"x20" canvas that I've been working on for a bit. I had it sitting for awhile and then tried to finish it up today. I think it's done. But I'll let it be for awhile longer and hopefully I'll know for sure soon. The piece was started intuitively and eventually led to this image of Penelope from The Odyssey. I was thinking about how Penelope tricks the harassing suitors by saying she'll marry one of them after she finishes making her funeral robe, which she works on all day and every night she unravels it. Beyond the story, the image has to do with a woman's strength and following one's gut and intuition against outside pressures. The colors remind me of summer nights in Greece which is where the hubster's dad grew up.

This weekend we're heading to NY to visit with the hubster's family (it's his mom's birthday) and to visit with a friend who just had a baby. I'm looking forward to getting out of town for a couple days. 

Art continues to flow. I'm working on a commission and next week I'll be dropping off all the "Subway Stories" pieces I have at Oak so that a potential buyer can pick out a grouping of them. I love the idea of them hanging as a group! The regular influx of no and yes tells me that I'm being active and that feels good. I'm learning to see rejections as both a sign that I'm trying and that it's just not a great fit at the moment instead of taking it so personally. Writing the posts on re-thinking rejection and success certainly helped and the shift has been really helpful. It's funny how adjusting our thought patterns can make such a significant impact on how we feel from day to day.

Elena has an interesting post about conflicts that come up when your business is a creative one. I've definitely thought about this struggle between feeling free to create whatever your heart desires, creating what you think will sell, and not stifling yourself by creating more of what has sold in the past. After creating a whole bunch of "Subway Stories" pieces for a show a couple years ago, I had no interest in creating more. I needed and took a break from them. Those pieces sold and I figured I'd make more eventually. Then I made ten more for a second show this year and afterwards took a break from them again. It's been awhile now and after riding the subway on Tuesday evening, I got some more inspiration, and I'm ready to delve back into the subject for a commissioned piece.

That's one example of how I've handled it I suppose. I try and find a balance between creating what is asked for and what I'm feeling. Thing is, most of the time, it's the stuff I create from my heart, not knowing whether it will sell or not, that sells the quickest. So, while it's important to listen to your customers, it's even more important to do as Penelope did and follow your gut. Plus, I never really know what's going to sell. Trying to guess at it is not my forte either. I just keep creating, because that's what I've got to do. When your finances depend on your creating, it may be more difficult to find that balance, but even if you spend most of your time creating for sales, I think it's extremely important to carve out time to create for yourself, even if it's just in your art journal. Creating without the intention of showing any one, with permission to toss it, is important in order to keep growing. Play and experimentation in art are essential. You never want to to take the fun out of it. That's my take on it anyways, at the moment.

I'm off to sing in the shower. Similar to singing in the rain, but much warmer. Happy creating!

12 Responses

I love what you have done with the face. It reminds me of ancient murals that have been damaged over the course of time. Very striking.

I love Penelope and her web! And you! And singing in the shower! ;)

This is a really really strong piece! The background of blocks and patterns offsets the lyrical shape of Penelope and her graceful long neck, and the colors make me think of the sea in two ways – the blue of the water and Homer’s description of the “wine-dark sea.” It’s so beautiful! I applaud your awareness of your attitude shift around creating and selling, especially as it applies to how you continue to grow as an artist. It’s all good!

I love this piece – very soulful and just simply beautiful.

Thank you for inspiring me this morning. What you have written about attitude shift changes is so on the nose – if we look at a negative experience as a teaching experience, it never really becomes a dark cloud that bears over us. Instead, we can move forward in our endevours with more power and more knowledge.
I’m so glad that you are continously going out there and showing your art to the world, and dealing with the yes and nos, and writing about it. It makes for very inspirational and motivational pieces. Keep on!
Oh – and the subway pieces is how I found you, so I’m glad that they are doing well for you still.


Penelope is breathtaking! The colors are great and her face, like a damaged photo…perhaps carried by a lover or soldier for years of the only true love of his life.

I think we have to do some type of “requested multiple art” or what sells. It really is a lure to you. There are people in sales ,they go to trade shows, see what is out there and if they say to you “will you?, can you?, I would like this” They probably know it will sell, then there are that many more eyes on your free soul created art. Sometimes we just have to do it and trust it is all part of a greater success. The sooner it gets done, the sooner the cricket is out of the cage, free to “leap” and play! hee hee

Leah, timing is right. Please consider this my first offical submission for “Creative Every Day 2008″ It is a total, having fun, avoiding what needs to be done, summer goof off piece and that day I was very creative in having fun with my art. What better way to “Bee” creative every day. Stay tuned daily, more to come!

Thanks Leah


hmmm reminds me of frescoes from Pompae ruins.

First, I absolutely love, love, love Penelope’s Web! There could be a whole string of adjectives added to that statement (all positive of course) but seriously, can’t think of a word good enough. You’ve done the imposssible-made me speechless!
Great advice on creating for yourself & from the heart. Whenever I’ve tried to push/force the art, it shows. Might be that I don’t have the talent to pull it off, but all I know is that it doesn’t work for me at all.

Love your work, and the story about Penelope is priceless – what a great parable. Sometimes this illness is like a gremlin that steals my energy and disappears in the afternoon. So, after the kids, no resources left. Found myself in dire need of release and wrote 3 haiku poems in less than 5 minutes, then today went for a walk in the neighborhood and took photos to go with them. Just posted. Hurray for Creative Every Day.

oh, it’s LOVELY, Leah! It feels so calm and moody and perfect. And I am going to read Elena’s post right now– I’m always curious to see how other people doing something creative for a living are managing to balance it all.

This is one of the more memorable stories in the Odyssey for me. It was utterly ingenious, though heart-breaking at the same time.

Your description of taking rejection and success in the same light, with the thought that it’s proof you’re moving forward, that you’re still in process, it’s brilliant! And thank you so much for posting on it. It’s not really an easy subject.

I hope your time in NY was loverly! Talk to you soon!


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