Monday, December 28, 2015

Year in Review 2015

Already...the annual review. It's funny how you think you haven't accomplished much until you think back over the year.

In sort of a monthly/seasonal order:

  • The frigid winter was miserable but it kept me in the studio without the distraction of any pleasant weather or fun things to do. The more I worked the more work came to me. That in itself was a huge epiphany and I was very productive.
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  • It's important to me to have a good relationship with the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame located right here in Saratoga Springs. In the early spring I served as judge for two of their student art shows. The young talent is impressive...and painting horse racing to boot!
  • For the second consecutive year I created the cover program art for the High Hope Steeplechase in Lexington, Kentucky. I didn't make it to the event due to weather concerns. Springtime in the bluegrass can be extremely volatile but wouldn't you know it...the nasty storms cleared in time for the races. Dang.
  • As the weather finally warmed I stepped out of the studio to plein air paint, participating in the Paint the Battlefield plein air event on the hallowed grounds of the Saratoga National Battlefield.
  • In early June I traveled to Cumberland, Maryland as an accepted artist in the Allegany Arts Council's Mountain Maryland Plein Air Competition. The weather was miserable but all of us artists had to cope. This was only my second competition and I struggled to learn the hard way. The awards ceremony overlapped with the running of the Belmont Stakes and I sneaked out to a nearby bar in order to witness history as American Pharoah clinched the Triple Crown. It was a surreal and joyous end to my week of frustratingly bad painting and I was euphoric!
  • I gave two of my decent paintings to an honorable local organization to assist them in raising funds for their cause. The money raised didn't even cover framing and it wasn't because my paintings were substandard. Being a glutton for punishment I did it again with another organization (this one very well-heeled) in a live auction and suffered through the embarrassment of a pitiful final bid. Will I do it again? Of course! But let any other artist heed my advice and do think clearly about giving away your original artwork to fund raisers. It's a complicated affair and no, your donation is NOT tax deductible.
  • Participated in the Friends of Sanford Stud Farm's Open House. Sales were slow but these wonderful people work so hard to preserve an important piece of horse racing history and I was glad to help.
  • It was time to prepare for my big yearly exhibit at the Saratoga Race Course. Those of you who follow this blog are familiar with my self-imposed plein air project: Forty Paintings in Forty Days. I managed to create thirty and that was no small feat. It was exhausting, stressful and an exhilarating learning adventure on so many levels. I made some decent paintings along with some turkeys, sold several and made important connections. This was clearly the best and brightest highlight of my year.
  • A week after the race meet concluded, I painted plein air in Londonderry, Vermont at a working farm. The event was indirectly organized by the Oil Painters of America.
  • The Seneca Lake Plein Air Festival in Geneva, NY was next. This would be my third competition and again, the weather was cold, windy and overcast. I was much better prepared after my intensive summer of painting at Saratoga and I finally sold. Yup, that's me in the photo below.
  •  This Christmas season was my best for custom commissions in many years, renewing my faith that the economy is improving and patrons are beginning to collect art once again. 
So there you have it. Lots of plans for 2016 and I'm optimistic. I'm currently reading Elizabeth Gilbert's book, Big Magic. I don't think she'll mind if I share a quote with you that's very affirming to creative types:
"You can measure your worth by your dedication to your path, not by your successes or failures." - Elizabeth Gilbert

If that's true, then I've had a very good year.

Happy New Year to everyone in 2016,
Sharon 

4 comments:

Bob Stebleton said...

Another thoughtful, well-written blog. As with most artists, every year has it's ups and downs. 2015 sounds like a year of growth with several high points. Thanks for sharing.

Sharon Crute said...

Thank you so much Bob (Dawn). I'm not always proud of my work but I am proud of my dogged perseverance! Too thick headed to do anything else...

Jim Dieso said...

All the best for an even better 2016, Sharon!

Sharon Crute said...

Thanks Jim, and back atcha!