Monday, May 18, 2009

High Hopes at High Hope

High Hope Steeplechase at the Kentucky Horse Park was a success on many levels. My booth was mobbed with art admirers all day and the opportunity to interact was priceless. Don't let this photo be an indicator, it was taken early right after set-up.

Kentucky horse parkMany people are hesitant to approach artists and engage in conversation about their artwork. Whether it's because they're unsure how to "speak art" or because the artist is intimidating (and some are downright scary), these outdoor shows are a chance to discover initial reactions.

The most frequently asked question was: do you paint from photos? I'm taking this question home with me to ponder an effective answer. The short answer was yes, sometimes. On the inside, I want to explain the long hours spent with anatomy books spread out on the studio floor, one crappy drawing after another, imploring Michael to pose into pretzel positions and the ultimate frustration - scraping the paint off the canvas to start over. Sigh. But then I'd sound like the tormented idiot stereotype and they would surely take flight. So, my answer was to describe various references, but a more interesting response is needed.

Oh, but when they tell me they feel as if they are about to be run over by one of my painted horses, my heart does a happy dance.

"For your information, I would like to ask a question." - Samuel Goldwyn


Anonymous said...

And that's what every one of your paintings evokes! A desire to shout " get out of the waaaaayyy".
The power that you deliver would stymie even a knowing painter who'd have to wonder how you know anatomy so well and the sport so well.

I've found that almost any question, even the ones that seem pointless, like " How long did it take you "? ( to which I always reply, " 40 years..."), can be fielded with a minimal answer and a great big sincere smile.

Non painters find it amazing that someone can paint multiple horses in mid gallop.
So do I.

Sharon Crute said...

Bonnie: I've taken it upon myself (finally!) to really listen to the questions and why people ask what seems trivial. I truly believe it's their curiosity and not really knowing how to discuss art. In that way, those approaches become ice breakers that we as artists should take advantage of. Asking a counter question such as "what is it about that piece that attracts you?" now engages them in a conversation.

Karen McLain said...

Your booth looks great-I bet you had a ton of folks stop by. I can feel the thunder of the hooves, and I'm in Arizona!

Sharon Crute said...

Thanks for stopping by Karen. The exhibit wasn't a huge money-maker but the networking was great. I also took an extra day to drive outside of Lexington and see millionaire's row: Coolmore, Ashford, Jonabell and Stonerside. It was awe inspiring.