Monday, December 27, 2010

6 Things I've Learned in 2010

Instead of the usual yearly list of "What I Did" accomplishments for 2010, I thought I'd make a bit of a shift in my thinking and contemplate "What I've Learned: 2010". For your thoughts and comments as well:

 1. Persistence is key if you have ambition without resources. Goals are attainable with a bulldogged mindset and focus, but it does require...time. It takes longer to launch a project requiring capital and the lack of funding means the components must be executed in affordable increments. So, my multi-canvas pieces are created on carefully graphed paper and gradually constructed as my budget allows. That's okay because I know if I stay firmly committed to my ideas, they'll come to fruition eventually. They always do, even if they're stacked up in the sky like commercial aircraft on holding patterns.

2. Less is more. I'm living the simple life through necessity, not choice. The recent recession took away a lot of things from me. Yet in the present moment, I have everything I need. That's empowering. When you finally realize that the latest gadget with unlimited apps will never fulfill your basic longings, life takes on a new clarity. I choose to stay connected to the life force surrounding me, not the things.

3. I know who I am as an artist. I am finally aware of what drives my urge to create. I possess vision that is uniquely mine. Although I'm not 100% sure of the source, I recognize that speed, motion and direction inspires me and I can express passion in my paintings without succumbing to sentimentality. Take that, all you romantics!

4. I'm good enough. Although we as artists constantly strive to achieve excellence which is a healthy goal, we must also balance a respect for our own accomplishments, intellect and abilities. A self-pat on the back is reassuring and makes us a little less crazy. I'm doin' okay. And you're doin' okay.

5. A strong support system is imperative. My husband, friends, family, peers, and neighbors provide encouragement and bolster strength. Yes, I will disappoint. Sometimes the more you do the more is expected. I am making amends to those that deserve it. Integrity compels me to do what is right and good even lessons happen. When I become anxious and impatient, affirming this truth sets me back on the path to acknowledging my divinity. Thank you, thank you God.

6. Goals for 2011? Of course I have a business plan in place that evolves as necessary. I'm learning to relinquish my iron fist control (just a little) as I accept that I work too hard, try too hard, never sleep enough and never play hard enough. Where's my canoe?

"Stand in the middle of a crisis to invite the next stage of evolution to appear." - Michael Bernard Beckwith

Sunday, December 19, 2010

It's an Ah-Ha Moment

You may be wondering why the miniature paintings I've previously posted are of ocean scenes. Well, there's a couple of reasons.

Last year when my gallery partner Jackie Schindehette conceived the idea of creating mini oils for the holiday season, I thought it was a wonderful concept. A client could purchase an original painting for gift-giving (or self-gifting) that was affordable and we could produce and frame multiple pieces.

In theory.

Turns out, Jackie effortlessly painted tiny lovely landscapes, flowers, water scenes and even birds (at least it looked that way to me). On the other side of the studio, I struggled with the teensy format until going bonkers and gladly handing over those microscopic canvases to her.

After much soul-searching, I concluded that the large equine subjects I paint with unrestrained va-voom just didn't translate into a miniscule format.

Shortly after THAT realization (duh) I had a huge epiphany. Looking at all the paintings in my studio and recalling how I felt as I painted them brought me to an enlightened state of awareness: I have an intense desire to paint subjects in motion. Yup - movement, speed, direction, flow and all those mobile adjectives are indeed the source of my artistic inspiration.

Seriously, why does it take some of us so long to figure out the obvious?

"An artist's working life is marked by intensive application and intense discipline." - John F. Kennedy

Friday, December 17, 2010

Last Chance Mini

There is still time to ship this out quickly...I know there are plenty of you out there who wait until the last minute to do their shopping. I cater to you.

miniature painting Miniature original oil on canvas, 5"x7", framed $50.00

Punctuality is the virtue of the bored. - Evelyn Waugh

Friday, December 10, 2010

Why You Should Collect Art (from a collector's viewpoint - not mine)

Rarely does a show excite me as did "The Unseen Eye - Photography from the W.M. Hunt Collection" currently on exhibit at the Appleton Museum of Art here in Ocala. Why? The collector, W.M. Hunt has written a transcript accompanying the exhibit that illustrates his passion for collecting in an intensely personal and accessible narrative. I'm not easily impressed but this is a must see show.

My fellow artists would do well to recognize the importance of describing and speaking about their own artwork as well as Mr. Hunt depicts his emotional connection to his collection.

The DreamNo gallery labels, only numbers which are listed on a photocopied checklist describe the photographs. Purposely ignoring these, I wanted to experience the images without bias to Mapplethorpe, Arbus, Weston and other well-named photographers. Interspersed throughout the images is signage containing the honest, forthright and engaging feelings of Hunt written in the first person. This open invitation into the psyche of an obsessive collector makes the show absolutely extraordinary. We get to be voyeurs.

Here are a few of his quotes:

"I was a very unhappy child, full of melancholy and depression, full of dread and sadness. I was capable of great good humor and generosity, socially skilled, but I was fraught with anxiety and feelings of loss. I can’t get over how collecting offered me insight into so much of this. One of the successes of the collection is its consistency in terms how the images relate to me. When you look at this collection you don’t, in fact, need to know anything about me, but there is a through line that is amazingly consistent. It is my unconscious."

"I have always felt that I have been an enigma in need of sorting out. Collecting did that."

"Collecting photographs is a completely visceral experience, an epiphany. You know you have found a great one when the hair on the back of your hands stands on end, your heart pounds, and you can’t move your feet."

"Collectors are obsessed, ravenous for this one and then the next one. People who do not collect, won’t. They don’t connect with this intense, obsessive force. Too bad. It is huge fun."

"Great art is insistent. It demands a visceral response: unease, awe, relief, and it calls for contemplation. It resonates like a primal chord. The earliest mark making strikes me as a spiritual response to living, a primitive attempt to find or create meaning."

"Insist on engagement. Wrestle with what’s difficult. Pretty is boring. Seek intensity."

"Escape, intensity, pleasure, I like those things so I have to remind myself that my reaction or W.M. Hunt Collectionreading of a photographic image is mine alone. But as I have said, it is only my truth."

These quotes are only a few excerpts barely scratching the surface of Hunt's fearless openness. These are the people we create art for. At least we'd wish for them if we had a choice. The passionate who wear their hearts on their sleeve. I'm buying that painting because I love it and it speaks to me.

“Look, look, look. You have to look. It's the way to educate your eyes. Stare. Pry, listen eavesdrop. Die knowing something. You are not here long”. - Walker Evans