landscape photography in California

Where Do You Go From Here?

There come’s a time in every artists career where you finish a body of work and then you sort of step back and say “Okay…what do I make next?”

We really don’t stay put and settle because as an artist, our skill and artwork just has to keep going up. We are always discovering new ideas and ways to create which is a great thing. Until you just have days where you get stuck!

Call it an artist block but I have days where I go in my studio/home and just create work that isn’t triggering anything. It can be a little bit frustrating. A lot of people I know tell me to just take a break and stop for a while (which I mean come on who does that!?). So instead of stopping completely, I put my camera down and started painting again. It’s a way for my to channel my creativity in another way.

But the moment I started to make paintings and just posting them up on my social media, an artist friend said to me “Kim you can’t just flip flop from one art medium to another. It’ll make you look like an amateur, like you don’t know what you’re doing.”

This made me think “What does it matter? I’m just creating art!” However it turns out that there are numerous of people an articles out proclaiming exactly what my friend said. How artists need to stick to one medium, perfect that one medium and don’t flip flop or no one will take you seriously. Especially if you are trying to break through the art world.

But isn’t the whole process of art about self expression, regardless of the medium? Some artists I know are mixed medium and play with all different outlets of art. When did sticking to one medium made you look like a professional?

What are your thoughts about this? Let me know in the comments below about where do you go to create work.

Til next time,



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13 Replies

  • Exactly! That is the problem I have had from the beginning. I don’t want to be just a “photographer”. I want to create “art”, regardless of the means by which I create it. Sometimes I just feel like playing around with fractals and see what I can come up with. Sometimes, I want to use textures and other artistic tools available with my photography. Sometimes, I will post the original photograph, an “artsy-fartsy” (as a friend of mine calls it) version, a b/w, version.

    I get the same response from people regarding my Twitter feed. “Don’t put everything personal, business, etc. mixed on one account.” Well, all those things ARE me, and I don’t want to separate them out.

    Be it my photography/art, social media platforms or whatever, I am a combination of all of it. That’s what makes me who I am. So when you visit my website, Twitter account, Facebook account, or anywhere else, you are going to see what makes me “me”.

    • Exactly I feel the same way. I not only work in photography but I work with charcoal and painting. And I always hear to not combine all of them together or no one will have you showcase in a gallery. But I just would like to create! I totally agree with you.

  • Oh, goodness… this just infuriates me! No one has the right to say how an artist should be, and an artist can only be made better by exploring as many different media as possible in the search for their truth. That said, if it’s the case that you can’t get a gallery show with different types of media, maybe that’s just that. However, is that the only way success is measured? Do you really need to play that “square pegs only” game in order to be or feel successful? With regard to the folks who say that’s the only way to play the game: have they proven themselves successful that way? Conversely, have they ever tried a more diverse way to play that game?

    Carolyn, I don’t know about you, but the term “artsy-fartsy” is insulting to me. It undermines the creative process as well as the end result. It’s disrespectful to the artist, and I feel like it’s a symptom of a greater problem of the rabid consumption of media without regard for the process of creation and the creatives that make it happen. If we took all the art away – ALL of it – what would our world look like? I bet the value of art would only then be recognized.

    Ultimately, this is part of the reason I’m taking a hiatus from photography, at least most of the time. I might do some personal projects that make me happy, but I have some other stuff I want to do, so I’m going to do it and not worry or rely on photography to pay the bills. I’m gonna play a different game! 🙂

    • I think that is a beautiful idea to just take a hiatus from photography. It’s as if the world around us is trying to put artists in a bubble on having them only perfect one medium in order to be taken “seriously” but what people do not understand is that to be an artist is to be someone that expresses who they are and the world around them regardless of the medium. I’m really interested in your personal projects and I hope to see them once they are completed!

    • Heather, the term “artsy-fartsy” really doesn’t offend me. I guess it goes to the political correctness arena, and I’m not that sensitive. The friend of mine who used (uses) it does so in a respectful manner. She’s not an artist, collector, or anyone in the business side of art. She just loves what I do. She kids around with me and in an endearing sort of way calls me “artsy-fartsy”. So, no, I’m not offended.

      Yes, our world of art is definitely changing and the perception of it, too. But we can’t stop the world from evolving in mindset, be it political, religion, art or anything else. All we can do is create our art and present it in the best way we can. We have to do our part, too, to educate the new generation coming up and encourage them to respect art and those who create it.

      I used to get really upset about these kinds of things. But, maybe because I am getting older (and hopefully wiser), I am learning to just relax and enjoy what I create in whatever form it takes, my art and that of others. Putting too many rules or expectations on what it is “supposed to be” simply sucks the life out of my creativity and I don’t want to be in that place anymore.

      I’m sorry if you were offended by what I wrote, that definitely wasn’t my intention. All I can say is do what makes you happy. That goes for each of us, and our art will reflect it.

      • Ha! No, we’re actually saying the same thing, so I’m not offended at all by what you wrote! It just irks me when I see art and its creators undermined either by language or action (pigeonholing). However, if you have an understanding with whoever is talking, your friend in this case, it’s neither offensive or undermining. My apologies – I clearly didn’t have all the information I needed.

        • I’m so glad, Heather. Yes, things can take on a different meaning entirely when they are read on paper versus hearing them in person. I read my comment again from your point of view (not knowing my friend or hearing the tone she uses when saying it), and I can envision how it could be perceived. And I can totally understand from where you are coming too.

  • That goes hand in hand with being told by all that you have to have one type of look/style with your photographs-c’mon I shoot and then edit for each image and the feeling and story behind it to enhance what was happening at the time as much as possible. The clients I am attracting are picking up on that and making comments about how there is a variation in editing that works with different parts of the wedding day and that is why they chose me. Eclectic branding ha, is there such a idea…don’t care. My mum is an artist and works with all types of mediums…It doesn’t matter…creating art is creating art. Do what works for you, thanks for writing this.

  • Hello, I love this post! Several years ago I was introduced to the term, “scanner” in a book written by Barabara Sher and I finally accepted myself as someone who creates art for art’s sake and doesn’t have to follow a specialized path. I call myself a street photographer because that’s primarily the genre that turns me on and the one I want to groom, but I also practice many other forms of art.

    Don’t ever feel “less than” for doing what moves you and what your muse asks of you! And naysayers don’t determine your life’s direction. Only you do! Thanks for raising this important topic!

  • I find a lot of people do not consider “Photography” as an art form at all! And if they do, they seem to believe photography is one thing and painting (oils, pastels, watercolors) and drawing (pencil, charcoal) is all lumped into one category totally separate from photography. To me it is all art. No matter the medium. If you are an artist, you are an artist. Whether you work in one medium or two or several. Myself I am mostly a photographer. But I do landscapes, macro and I even do architectural. But now that I am retired from my 9-5 job I have been thinking about going into clay and metal work jewelry. Personally, I still consider that art. Like I said, I am an artist, no matter the medium I am working in.

    • I know exactly what you’re talking about Geraldine. That was something I struggled with. There was always the debate on the sites I sold on regarding whether photography was art and the reasons why it was or wasn’t. I had a hard time at first calling my work “art” (at that time mostly straight photography, now using all the digital tools available for creative works).

      I got involved with a consultant who was helping me with my business. He was able to finally help me understand that what I do is indeed photography, but it is also art. He helped me get to the place where I could comfortably think of myself an “artist” even though it was mostly derived from my photography. Your last sentence sums it all up for me, too.

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