Saturday, August 12, 2017

August 2017 Catching Up

I don't post very often on this blog. I don't know why that is since I am living my Golden Years every day. The number of subscribers to this blog has remained pretty constant over the years, perhaps because online artists are younger and are looking for how-to instead of aha! moments or the why of painting? This blog could be judged as ramblings of an aging artist but for me it is a way of stopping time for a fleeting moment to assess what I've learned and where I'm going. I keep a paper art journal to insert paper copies of some of my blog entries. I'll paste this one in my journal so I can read it when I am old.

August 2017 Recent Revelations:

1. Big Magic. My friend Sue Anne sent me a suggestion to listen to this audio book by Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love). At about the same time, I read online that listening to books while you paint can quiet the inner voice and allow one to paint more intuitively. I'm about halfway through the book and love it. It might become required reading for my private students.

"Creativity is sacred and it is not. What we make matters enormously, and it doesn't matter at all. We toil alone, and we are accompanied by spirits. We are terrified, and we are brave. Art is a crushing chore and a wonderful privilege. The work wants to be made, and it want to be made through you." Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert.

2. "When things don't work out, they work out better." You can quote me. 

I have come to this revelation through the recent family challenges but I can also apply it to my art life. A simplistic example is when a painting doesn't sell or doesn't get accepted into a show. There is always another, better opportunity for that painting. Wait and watch for it...

3. I am painting larger. After cutting back on my gallery commitments, I didn't see the need for larger pieces thinking they would take up too much space in my new, smaller studio. And, for the past five years I have sold small, unframed work online which has been fun and motivating. So a couple years ago when two art-print publishers contacted me for work they could reproduce in large format, I had to quickly paint new paintings. I'm not a fan of working against a short lead-time deadline but it was a great challenge and experience and brought in a little income. This quarter the royalty check amounts increased and got my attention. These art publishers might actually ask me for new work someday and I do not want to have to paint new paintings so I am now painting larger so my work can be reproduced in large format.

4. The idea of painting a small study for a larger work appeals to me. Yesterday I painted "September Song" in pastel and was surprised to find myself thinking, "I wish this was oil, it is so much more compliant." Whoa! What? Granted, I was painting very small (6x6 inches) and on Pastelmat which is somewhat unforgiving but still...what a strange thought for me. I may be starting to get some intuitive knowledge about oil. Yay! "September Song" is available for purchase.

September Song, pastel, 6x6 inches 

5. My work at the local community center has evolved from every Friday to once a month. By "work" I mean my contribution - the reason I have painted there for the past 2 years. I imagined growing this group and that has happened. I have formed new lasting friendships and renewed old ones. But I have also learned that not every artist wants to build their resumé or make their art public. We have a lovely group of people, each with their own challenges and dreams. I look forward to checking in with them each month, more in the role of support and advisor. My private sessions don't fit into everyone's life so this is an opportunity to get free advice (from me and from each of the artists there). I'll be there September 22nd, 1:30 PM. Maple Valley Community Center, Maple Valley, Washington.

After a record 56 hot dry days, I'm looking forward to rain. I long for those days when I didn't have to spend the first and last few hours of each day watering and dead-heading flowers. I imagine I would be painting though I have also noticed that three continuous hours at the easel is about my limit now because painting any longer results in poor decisions. I think I'm meant to take a break then and enjoy my Golden Years by sitting by the lake pondering life. Happy Summer to all.

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