I was very fortunate to spend this weekend surrounded by art. I went to a very cool gallery of local artists on Saturday and I worked on my own artwork on Sunday; an artist’s perfect weekend! Today I spent a couple hours on The Warrior painting, which is still not quite finished by the way. After about an hour in, I realized that I spent the entire time working solely on her right hand! It got me to thinking about the length of time artists spend working on the smallest of details to get them just right.
Why is it that at times I finish a painting in a single day, while other paintings take me over a month to complete?
Now that I’ve sold a few pieces and I’m beginning to create a collection of work, I’m constantly questioning value and pricing. What makes one artwork worth a million dollars and another worth fifty? Does the attention to detail matter? What draws an art collector to one specific piece over another?
I’m guessing that there are probably a million different answers to those questions. As an emerging artist it’s the kind of thing that can drive one quite mad. But after some time, I came to the conclusion that as long as I put my heart and soul into it, whether it takes me a few hours or a few weeks, it indeed holds great value. It may not be the monetary kind, but worth can’t always be measured in money now can it?
Yesterday was my dad’s birthday, and so I thought I’d dedicate this blog entry to the awesomeness that is my dad. Typically I would be over at my parent’s home celebrating with him. But this fall my parents moved to Florida, and this is the first time as far back as I can remember that we weren’t together. Life changes, and so we must adapt.
How can I describe my dad? He is kind, funny, intelligent, and a bit of a dreamer. He loves to have fun and always must be the center of attention, but in a way that most people find endearing. He has the best smile. He likes to sing from the top of his lungs (with his not-so-good musical voice I might add), he randomly races young twenty-somethings in his Cadillac with a Corvette engine, and he can spend a whole day at the beach just bathing in the sun. He enjoys simple pleasures and takes life in one day at a time. Most adults forget what it’s like to be a child, but this guy embraces his inner-child like no other; I think that’s what I like most about him.
One day I found a picture of my dad in an old album when my mom and I were visiting, and I made the portrait above. I think he looks so handsome. It was the first time I saw what he looked like as a young man. He and I are similar in many ways, born in the same month and all; I’d like to think we have a special sort of father-daughter bond where most of the time we just get each other. We can sit for hours discussing his crazy philosophies of life, drinking, singing, and just having fun. So here’s to the very cool guy that happens to be my dad...cheers to you sir; you beautiful human you!
When I decided to change my career and really take my art seriously, life became a thousand times better. It was scary and difficult but in the end I can't picture my life any other way.
This week I started working on my first painting of my female archetype collection. A few long days of work later, I decided I didn’t like the way it was turning out. I took my largest paintbrush and white paint, hesitated for just a moment, and then proceeded to vigorously paint right over my work. I started over and created the artwork that you see above.
This is not something that I would have ever considered doing five years ago. I would have been scared that I would make it worse. I would have been thinking about all of the things that could go wrong; all of the “what-ifs”, if you will.
Now I realize that there is something so completely liberating about letting go and starting over, even when it’s something that you worked really hard on. While it can be a bit disheartening after that much effort, eventually that feeling goes away and this new sense of complete satisfaction and pride takes over.
I realize that starting a piece of art over is not quite as scary as starting major parts of your life over, however the basic principle is the same. If something is not going the way you had hoped and if everyday you wake up unhappy or indifferent, than welcome that change. If there is a strong foundation and it is fixable, if there is still some sort of hint of passion in it, whether it be a career or a relationship, it may be worth the time to work on it and make it better.
I can only speak from my own experience, but I will say with absolute certainty that both the life-changing choices and small ones have been worth any temporary sacrifices. So grab that paintbrush my friends, and paint a new picture right on top of that old canvas...it’s totally worth it!
As we approach one of the most celebrated holidays of all time, I’m graciously reminded of all of the people who have touched my life over the years. After all, Christmas is a time where you reflect on all of the good people and things in your life. Christmas is a time when you give back to those who mean the most to you.
Family means different things to different people. But I believe anyone who you deeply care about is in fact family. While we have some choice in the matter, most of the time fate takes over and we are drawn to certain kindred spirits. Soul mates are not only in a life partner, but also within your closest friends and family. I am lucky to have a few very special soul mates in my life, the kind who always understand my wonderful weirdness. I too understand them without any explanation. We just are...forever connected.
These are the relationships which I hold onto most, that give the most meaning. So on this day to all of my beautiful soul mates, I say thank you for being in my life.
I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and good health and fortune in the new year.
This week I’m taking a break from my female archetype collection to remember my Uncle Eddie. Lately I’ve been thinking about him alot, perhaps because the holidays are around the corner. We had a special bond and he was someone very dear to my heart. Unfortunately cancer got him a short while ago at a relatively young age. I think those are the most difficult kinds of deaths to get over. It was unexpected and quick. There was no time to process what had happened and there was nothing that could be done to help him accept to let him go.
He was one of those men who had such a large presence. When he walked into the room with his deep voice and a slight grin, you couldn’t help but smile back. He often wore those old funny hats that men wore back in the 1920s, and he looked great in them.
The memories that stand out the most are the times when I would watch him dance with my aunt. They danced the waltz like nobodies business and as I watched them, it was as if I was transported back in time into an old movie. He looked so cool and classy and she always had such a smile on her face, the kind that would light up a room. They moved around the dance floor as if they were floating on air.
I made this sketch a short time after he had passed to capture one of my favorite memories of him. It’s not much but I thought it was important to share. I always tell my students that behind every artwork is a story, and if you know the story the art holds that much more meaning.
Within all women lies this elegance, a sort of quiet grace that comes from within. It captivates those around us, most often when we don’t realize it. A Graceful Woman is the fourth sketch in a collection of artwork inspired by the multiple facets of a woman.
When I think of grace, I think about the way a woman carries herself. She holds her head up high even in the most difficult of times. She puts others before herself. Her laughter lights up a room, and she smiles as if she’s hiding a secret. She is subtly strong, using intelligence and words in place of brute to win her battles. Now don’t get me wrong, sometimes The Warrior (Sketch 1) within us is needed, but most often grace will win over violence.
When a graceful woman walks into a room she has a presence that draws people in, yet she often keeps them at a distance. There is a mystery to her that is both adored and envied.
What is it about being graceful that I found it worthy enough to write about? I think it is often what separates our human side from our animal side. Grace takes civility, kindness, and a keen sense of understanding others. It requires us to think before we speak and act. While we are not always graceful, it is something that I strive to be as often as possible. After all, imagine what the world would be like without grace. Pretty scary, right?
Adding to my recent collection of artwork inspired by the complex facets of a woman, this week we are visiting our inner child. She is free spirited, offers us the purest kind of joy, and often reminds us of the simplest pleasures; those which often bring the most meaning to our lives.
I must admit that I lost her somewhere in my twenties; those were hard times. But now she comes out often. When I brought art back in my life I gradually transformed into my happiest self. Everything else after that sort of fell into place after that. It’s amazing how that happens!
I still love lying in the grass, riding my bike, jumping in puddles in my rain boots, feeling snowflakes on my face, exploring new ideas, and experiencing new adventures. I think that this part of a woman is essential to our happiness and well-being. When we lose our inner child the darkest part of ourselves takes over, and we project that darkness and sadness onto those around us; often times those who are closest to us are most affected.
If any of you women out there have lost your inner child (and we all do from time to time), surround yourself by the people and experiences that have brought you the most joy, and I guarantee that she will come out again.
And if by chance you have never felt your inner child as an adult, I might suggest the following: recreate a happy experience from your childhood, try one new experience every day (even if it’s as simple as trying a new type of food), travel, do something that scares you, and meet new people as often as you can.
She is there waiting for you to let her run free.
Last week I sketched out The Warrior, a start to a collection of work inspired by the complexity of a woman. To be clear, this is not to say that women have multiple personalities such as those diagnosed with schizophrenia. Rather it is to say that if we are being honest with ourselves, there are many aspects of us that make us whole. Sometimes we are strong, sometimes we are scared little girls, and sometimes we are somewhere in between. In each chapter of our lives we change and become more than we were before, based on life circumstances. Sometimes we revert backwards, and sometimes we leap forward.
This week the sketch is entitled The Abandoned, which can be perceived by many in different ways. When I drew this I thought about it in relation to that moment when a girl becomes a woman. Not in the physical sense, but more so the point in life when I started to take care of myself on my own as a young adult.
In my experience, I feel that I was raised in a somewhat sheltered and conservative environment. I had a strong work ethic, intelligence, and this idea of who I was supposed to be, but looking back it seems that those ideas were in some ways planted in my head and I wasn’t truly choosing my own life.
I wish that when I was in that very fragile state of early womanhood, that there was someone there to offer guidance in following my dreams instead of working my ass off in a miserable job in the hopes of one day making a good salary. I wish there was someone there who taught me how to respect myself enough to be in a healthy relationship. I wish there was someone there to show me what a healthy relationship looks like. I wish that there was someone there to offer me a sense of strength and confidence to know when to walk away from someone who wasn’t treating me well. And so in many ways when I hit those lows in life, I felt abandoned.
I believe that every woman has felt some sense of abandonment at one time or another. I think about children who are without mothers and/ or fathers, teenagers living in homes with unhealthy parent relationships, wives abandoned by husbands, woman in arranged marriages, and the list goes on and on. The thing is, all of the adults in my life in those darkest moments did the best that they could with what they knew at that time. As children and teenagers we expect adults to be all-knowing. But in reality many adults make just as many mistakes as children. Many adults struggle to have their own healthy relationships and their own personal successes, so it would be unfair to expect them to teach their children what they do not know themselves.
The bright side of this very dark blog entry is that by hitting those lows (maybe for some over and over again), eventually many of us become stronger for it, and shoot for the stars!
The Warrior is the first sketch of a collection that will encompass the topic of the complexity of women. We are a myriad of facets, exquisitely put together in a very powerful way. We are compassionate yet ruthless, intelligent, cunning, peaceful, elegant, kind and graceful. We are all of these things wrapped together in a way that makes us desirable yet for some, quite intimidating.
As I looked back on the great artists of the past, I realized that throughout history female subjects have often been portrayed as either property or objects of affection. Rarely have they ever been depicted as the complex individuals that we are. Only recently have we seen more and more artists create work that shows strength in women. I am reminded of this in work such as Amy Sherald’s portrayal of the beautiful first lady, Michelle Obama.
And so my idea is this...
In honor of women everywhere, my challenge will be to create a collection of large scale paintings, each depicting one facet of the complex woman. My first painting will be the warrior. She will be strong and unforgiving, using her courage to humbly fight for those who are not strong enough to help themselves. She will be their voice.
In the coming weeks, I hope to have some additional sketches. Stay tuned!
Visit www.danielamilinkovich.com to view artwork.
I was very excited and nervous to take on a commissioned portrait for a very dear person in my life. As it is a work in progress, I sent over pictures of my work to make sure it was turning out as she envisioned. And while the portrait is quite accurate (if I do say so myself), I learned that the person in the portrait is very self-conscious of certain features. So I was asked to make some slight adjustments, which of course I’m happy to do.
However, this got me to thinking about the way that we see ourselves and why we aren’t ever happy with how we look as is, without angles and without filters. We market ourselves on social media to portray these fictional characters and perfect lives that only exist in movies, books and fashion magazines.
And the funny thing is those closest to us, who see us in our worst and best states, who see us in our darkest and lightest moments, think we’re much more beautiful as we are than how we portray ourselves in those filtered images we put on Instagram and Facebook. Yet we all do it because let’s be honest, it makes us feel good when acquaintances and strangers tell us how great we look, how cute of a couple we are, or how beautiful our kids our. I still can’t figure out why we need that validation...perhaps it’s human nature.
I created this self-portrait on a very dark Saturday night in 2011, drunk on Martell VSOP. I was angry and sad. Don’t lie, you’ve all been there at some point in your lives;)
It was the perfect state of mind for an artist to do her best work, ha! Meanwhile when I look back at it, I like how raw it is. I like how cold and angry I look, and how I faced myself dead on in the mirror like I was challenging myself to get over it. I like that I just drew what I saw, without skewing the image to make myself look thinner or prettier. It was simply me in that moment.
I’ll leave you with this. You are beautiful as you are, so don’t forget to let people see you that way from time to time.
Please visit www.danielamilinkovich.com for my latest artworks.
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