Jody Noelle Coughlin Art Blog
When I first joined artId.com, I was almost immediately challenged by another artist who seemed, by and large, much more experienced and knowledgeable about this whole thing called art than I will likely ever claim to be... He didn't seem to like my work and I really didn__™t like what he seemed to be trying to say to me about it. I evaded his remarks as best I could and I got rather defensive in return, to say the least. I didn__™t like what he was insinuating about my ___art___ because, at the time, it seemed like he was trying to tell me that all the elements of an innate ability are found within my work, but it seemed to me that he (more than anything else) thought my work lacked something. Talent, maybe? Or perhaps my work has something about it that seems unstudied or amateurish? I don__™t know exactly what it was that turned him off of it. His remarks made me think, though. I hate to admit it but it__™s true.
Before this confrontation I had my sails all set to delve into the waters of erotic art, which is something I have always had an interest in and I was just starting to feel brave enough to give it an honest go until I was challenged. I am not sure what it says about me, but in the end I didn__™t feel very courageous anymore.
Not one to be easily deterred, I moved forward anyway even though I was still a little rattled.
Over the last few weeks, I toyed with the idea of what I thought I might, as a painter, be able to convey in keeping with my original intent (to create erotic art) before the negative encounter in question reared its ugly head. What I discovered inside my mind was something close to fear. I found I didn__™t really have the nerve to take the notion of an erotic image too far any more. In essence, I was knocked down a peg or two. Maybe I needed that and maybe I didn__™t. Who knows?
Still, I thought a lot about the concept. I played around with some ideas. What I came up with was something rather subdued, rather naive even, if I am honest.
In the end, instead of going full-on crazy with the subject of erotica I decided to take it slow. I decided I wanted to convey what I personally find subtly alluring. I wanted to capture the essence of a certain moment, a visual observation, that affected me. This is where the concept for this newest painting of mine came from. I was watching Lord of the Rings with my husband over the Christmas holidays and there was a moment in the film where one of the lead characters leaned down toward the ground and his hair hung down across his face and his mouth was open just a little to reveal a row of blessedly normal (that is to say imperfect) teeth. Well, that moment struck me. Frankly, I thought it was beautiful in its own exquisitely masculine way. Quite beautiful indeed. I realized it was this kind of moment and this kind of feeling that I wanted to recreate. With this concept in mind I decided this painting would be my fledgling attempt into the world of eros.
I worked and worked on this painting for hours. At first, I was thrilled it was turning out so well. It was a pleasure to wake up in the morning knowing that this painting was waiting for me. Within a week or so it was finished.
Then? Fear set in. Criticism took over. I started to look at the painting through disparaging eyes. What if the guy with all the negative feedback is right? What if this is wrong with my paintings and that is wrong with my paintings? I no longer saw my work through my own eyes but through the eyes of a critic. It was (and is) frightening.
The more I thought about it the more I realized that if my style as an artist (and yes, I will go so far as to call myself an artist) falls short in the eyes of some, what can I do about it? Nothing. What I convey to the world in whatever form it is in is the only way I know. It is who I am. To alter my process or to alter my method of painting to please someone else would be wrong. I can__™t do it. Instead, I will work through the discouragement maybe for the better. Maybe for the worst.