Thursday, December 25, 2014

Year in Review 2014

The year was a big improvement. Sales were up and I made some very solid contacts. I didn't get a lot of personal painting accomplished because of several decent commissions. But production hummed. Being the workaholic control freak that I am, learning to delegate was a major realization. Huge. When I let go and trust, the momentum of my ideas seem to continue on smoothly without my constant watch. It's actually quite a relief.

My biggest epiphany occurred when I finally decided which direction to take my artwork. When clarity was finally achieved (and I've floundered with this for a long, long time), I began to make decisions and take action. Very affirming.

The year began with the sale of the building we rented on Beekman St. in the Arts District. We did our best to maintain a gallery presence for the first two years after transplanting to Saratoga Springs. The association was splintered and unfocused and it became an uphill battle as we watched businesses frequently come and go. Truth is, if a business isn't located downtown on Broadway, it's screwed. So, it was a blessing to rent this little house on five wooded acres with a creek, wildlife galore and located a mere mile from the racetrack. Peaceful.

Commissions compensated for the disappointment. After the move, we attempted to get involved with other arts organizations who were starting up or restructuring but to no avail.

But 'nuf of that. Springtime marked the beginning of a few road trips which I live for. The return of the High Hope Steeplechase in Lexington, Kentucky ignited my gypsy blood and the organizers graciously used my artwork for the program cover. I returned home with another nice commission.

Early June gave me the opportunity to participate in my first plein air competition. You probably know about our van catching fire the day before we were scheduled to leave and burning up six of my paintings and lots of supplies. Moving onward (applying grace to all that's faced), we did make it to Finger Lakes and although I was shook up more than I realized and painted some really bad canvases, I knew immediately this was for me. I absolutely love, love, love plein air painting and my skills continue to improve as I practice and study.

The summer race meet at Saratoga was great and an encouraging improvement over the previous year. It was a revelation that I'll always be an equine artist to some degree as my repeat clients visited my booth with the specific intention to purchase more racing artwork. And I acquired new clients. I deserve this: I've spent a lifetime dearly loving, promoting and...defending...this sport.

Fall took me back to Lexington, Kentucky for the Secretariat Festival. More commissions and terrific networking. I exhibited some of my originals in the Thoroughbred Breeders' Museum. Then it was on to Middleburg, Virginia for the Fall Races. Unfortunately the weather was dreadful but that's the chance we take participating in outdoor shows. Regardless, the area is spectacularly beautiful and steeped in history.

My contract with NYRA ends in 2015. I'll stay as long as they'll have me but if they don't renew, I'm prepared to launch into Plan B, plein air painting. Exactly where is yet an unknown. That unknown is the mystery that thrills me.

I'm so thankful to those of you who have followed this blog. I wish all of you the very best in the upcoming New Year 2015.


Monday, December 01, 2014

Greyhounds Revisited

I've received a commission to paint three more greyhounds. Two have arrived and the third is in the mold. Because they require acrylics, not my favorite medium, I'm surprised that I'm actually looking forward to this project. A revisitation of sorts.

A very large freightliner for a smallish box:

Well, maybe not that small.
My anthropomorphic relationship with these hounds could be based on the designs to be painted. I'm sure not all artists would agree, but I tend to develop a kindred relationship with all my subjects. While I'm concentrating on form and shape and color and all the other academic necessities of painting, something else is going on in the background. The brushstrokes evolve into caresses, invoke empathy that shouldn't exist on a two dimensional surface and I have privy access. An intimacy ensues as I fall in love with my subject.


But then like a fickle lover I'm finished with you and off to the next project.