The End AND The Beginning!

Jackson Pollock Day!

Jackson Pollock Day!

First of all, I woke up this morning thinking, “Well, better get to painting!” then I remembered that I was done, finished, complete and I had zero paintings left to do with this particular challenge.  I felt a rush of relief, then sadness and then confusion.  This project had infused itself into my life and I’m pretty sure there are elements of it that I will never rid myself of.

I learned so much this past year.  Yes, I learned technical aspects of art, TONS of art history, was introduced to new materials, styles and movements.  I’ve painted paintings I would’ve never thought of or wanted to paint (I said YES!).  I’ve painted some of my best work and some of my not so great work.  I accepted failure graciously and also moved on instead of lingering on that failure.

One of the biggest things I realized was how much I enjoy just the process of “doing”.  This challenge forced me to just “do” and not worry about the result.  And boy wouldn’t it be great to live the rest of my life like that?  Live for just now and not worry about the past or present.  Well, this project was an exercise in that for sure.  I had gotten the question, “How are you doing this?” from so many people and the only answer I could give was, “I just do it.”

This project started out as a personal challenge.  I never imagined how many people it would inspire and

Early on the the project...seems like yesterday!

Early on the the project…seems like yesterday!

affect.  I am so glad it did and I am so happy I decided to share it, declare it to all my friends.  I think that in doing so it gave me the motivation and a slight amount of pressure to make sure I did it every single day.

I also made new friends through this challenge.  People who followed and commented on my blog, relatives of some of the artists that I paid tribute to (writing me to tell me that they appreciated my tribute to their grandfather, uncles, grandmothers etc.) and even some artists themselves like Gerard Sendrey, Pierre Silvin, Sophie Orlicki, Anne Billon (Ruzena), John “CRASH” Matos and Matt Sesow.  Gerard Sendrey writes me regularly and we have become friends.  He and his son Pierre Silvin have both sent me their own personal artwork in thanks to my tribute.  Gerard has also written an article about my project/art in a French publication that will be published in a few days!  I was also interviewed by Scott Lefebvre who is a writer and maintains his own blog where he interviews interesting people.

So like I said, so much has come from this idea that I had for this insane project.

That one time (and the last time) I painted with my mouth...

That one time (and the last time) I painted with my mouth…

I am going to continue to paint (of course!) and I have many ideas for series of paintings.  I’ll be putting all this experience into larger pieces and I’m going to continue to promote my own art and live my life in the mind frame that I’ve adopted while engaging in this challenge.  My experience has grown and so have I as a person.

I hope I don’t sound too bold when I say that I am damned proud of myself but I also cannot believe that I actually did it.  I hope that this project has inspired you and that people keep on discovering it and it continues to inspire people to challenge themselves, enjoy the process of creating and just “do”.

Keep creating, start creating in whatever shape, form, sound or action you feel.  Don’t worry about people liking it, it being a masterpiece or making money.  Do it because it makes you happy and you are learning something from it.

I want to end this blog with some kind words I received (or people posted about my project).

My friend Rohan had this to say…(He expressed my project in a way that I couldn’t have…and of course it made me cry)

I’m not one to promote other people’s stuff too often on Facebook, but today I would like to profess my sincere admiration for Linda Cleary. When I first met her, now 8 or so years ago I was

Buried in art

Buried in art

immediately impressed by her unashamed, unpretentious, and very hard-working creativity. She has always been writing books, painting pictures, making music and acting the whole time I have known her, and unlike so many other folks I know, almost every project is followed through and finished. Those who know me personally will be aware how prolific (and unedited) I am, but Linda puts me to shame. Last year, on Jan 1st, she embarked on a massive, and deeply un-egotistical project – to paint a painting per day, for a year, each one a sincere homage, either stylistically, emotionally, or conceptually, to an artist she admires, some famous, some personal friends, some just worthy of her admiration; a different artist each day for a year. Believe me, having watched the project progress, this is not an exercise in “look what I can do” so much as a genuine pilgrimage through the styles and visions she admires and have influenced her along the way. As the project progressed her blog began

Last day!

Last day!

to attract interest, and in some cases, artists she had paid homage to to got personally in touch to express appreciation (and send her pressies). All of this with no intention of making money or becoming famous. Just because that is one of many things that art is about. Yesterday she posted her final, 365th painting of the series. So today I applaud Linda Cleary, and recommend you go and take a look at her Day of the Artist.

My friend Clay posted this:

Today is the last day of my very good friend Linda Cleary’s incredible project. She has created a painting every day, each honoring a different artist, for the past year. When she first told me of her plans to do it, I didn’t believe there was any way a person could be so committed to pull that off. Today however, will be her 365th installment in the series. I highly encourage you to check out some of the work on her facebook page and at dayoftheartist.com, where she also includes a short bio of each artist for each day. I’m so incredibly proud of her and she inspires me so much every day. I’m also crazy excited to say that I will be partnering with her for next year’s project. More info on that soon, but wish us luck. In the meantime, check out her stuff and tell her how awesome / insane she is pulling this whole thing off.

I am honored and humbled for those posts!  SO many of you have written me, commented and told me in

Whew!  This is just a portion of the paintings...there's about 50 hanging and a whole other stack of the 3-D paintings that can't stack.

Whew! This is just a portion of the paintings…there’s about 50 hanging and a whole other stack of the 3-D paintings that can’t stack.

person how inspiring this project was to you and every word means so much.  Thank you to you all for your support, encouragement and inspiration.  I love you all!

P.S.  I could keep writing and writing about every single thing I learned from this project, but I’m saving that for my doctoral thesis.  Does that even make sense?  Sorry, I don’t have a Ph. D. 😉

Best,

Linda

Day 189- Matt Sesow- Resetting Expectations

It’s Day 189!  While researching experimental artists I happened upon a website for disabled artists and found Matt Sesow.  I absolutely fell in love with his artwork.  It has this Basquiat feel to it, but he also embodies his own style.  I relate to his paintings and paint in a similar way as well.  I feel like I could’ve done a little better with my piece, but I have so little time these days to REALLY work for hours on my paintings.  I was thinking about pushing this one back, but I got too excited to paint a tribute.  I’m pasting an article from his website that was published by http://www.washingtonpost.com here since there isn’t a wikipedia bio on him.  Join me in honoring Matt Sesow today!

Matt Sesow

Matt Sesow

Briar- Matt Sesow

Briar- Matt Sesow

GOING SOLO: In 1993, I was working at IBM and met a girl who shared a house with

Folk- Matt Sesow

Folk- Matt Sesow

some artists. One day, they brought out some supplies, and I started painting and couldn’t stop. I started strategizing ways to paint full time. I set up a Web site, www.sesow.com. I saved up a lot of money. I got rid of my car. I bought my apartment with IBM stock. The day I got laid off from a dot-com, in 2001, I stopped by CD Warehouse and said, “I want to hang my paintings here.” I’ve been living off my art ever since. All I have to come up with every month is a condo fee, health insurance and some brown rice.

STYLIN’: I started out looking at pictures and trying to paint them. They always turned

Cardinal- Matt Sesow

Cardinal- Matt Sesow

out really bizarre-looking: The eyes, the mouth, the teeth were way too big. People liked it. Eventually I started painting things that happened to me: When I was 8 years old, I was playing in a field by an airstrip and was struck by a landing airplane. The propeller severed my arm. So I’ve painted people missing limbs, people pointing at someone with a disability.

Che- Matt Sesow

Che- Matt Sesow

ART SCHOOL: People put me in this folk-art/outsider-art group because of the disability and the rawness of my paintings, and because I’m self-taught. But I think “outsider” is a term that’s almost like victim art. I want to reset the expectations in the art world, so I actively promote myself. I’m my own boss. I’m my own agent. I’m my sales team.

NETWORKED: When I set up online in 1995, I’d search out sites that showed art and e-mail them

Different- Matt Sesow

Different- Matt Sesow

saying, “I’d love a link from you.” I did that probably 800 times. If you do a search on “Sesow” on Google, I’m up to 2,500 hits. I get around 500 individuals visiting the site a day. I don’t think a gallery is going to get that.

ON THE ROAD: I’m always working. When curators ask me to be in a show, I go. I had a five-day solo show in January in New York, and I’ll have a solo show in D.C. at the end of April in Dupont Circle [at Art+Works+Wonders, 2122 P St. NW, Suite 303].

Matt Sesow

Matt Sesow

My paintings are pretty inexpensive, so anybody can afford a small one, and I’ll do a sliding scale. I like the idea of somebody paying $4,000 for a large painting and then a college kid buying a little thing for 10 or 20 bucks. Better my stuff than a poster.

As told to Nicole M. Miller (www.washingtonpost.com)

Matt Sesow

Matt Sesow

I hope you enjoy my tribute today and I’ll see you tomorrow on Day 190!  Best, Linda

 

Crazy Town- Tribute to Matt Sesow Linda Cleary 2014 Acrylic on Canvas

Crazy Town- Tribute to Matt Sesow
Linda Cleary 2014
Acrylic on Canvas

Side-View Crazy Town- Tribute to Matt Sesow Linda Cleary 2014 Acrylic on Canvas

Side-View
Crazy Town- Tribute to Matt Sesow
Linda Cleary 2014
Acrylic on Canvas

Close-Up 1 Crazy Town- Tribute to Matt Sesow Linda Cleary 2014 Acrylic on Canvas

Close-Up 1
Crazy Town- Tribute to Matt Sesow
Linda Cleary 2014
Acrylic on Canvas

Close-Up 2 Crazy Town- Tribute to Matt Sesow Linda Cleary 2014 Acrylic on Canvas

Close-Up 2
Crazy Town- Tribute to Matt Sesow
Linda Cleary 2014
Acrylic on Canvas

Close-Up 3 Crazy Town- Tribute to Matt Sesow Linda Cleary 2014 Acrylic on Canvas

Close-Up 3
Crazy Town- Tribute to Matt Sesow
Linda Cleary 2014
Acrylic on Canvas