Thursday, August 26, 2010

Creating with instinct

I've been working very little recently.  Between the sunshine art shows every weekend, a regular day job work schedule, etc., I haven't taken the opportunity.  There are so many images I see in my head, but they haven't made it to a canvas yet.  A dear friend when asked if she was painting, would reply no ... but I'm "arting" all the time.  So, I've been "arting" for a month or so.  I do admire the people that take the time to paint everyday ... there are times I do ... yet an oil painting a day is just not possible for me.  Some of them take months, and a few have taken years.  I usually work on pieces at least four times, and some have taken over 30.  Some are done immediately. 

This image I call "The Dancer."  She's on a piece of canvas 24" x 18".  She's been in several juried exhibits, and she's currently in a frame in my front entryway.  Stacked up with all the pieces I don't travel with.  I have a small gallery right in my home, and a sign in front of the house.  I put a flag out when I'm home and am willing to have people stop.  Most of the time, I use appointments.  Most of the summer, a person couldn't get through the front door, there are too many "things" in the way.  I live in the middle of nowhere, so it's rare someone does.  It does make me feel like I am doing a bit of marketing.  Not very effective, but something.  It also helps to generate energy to keep my home in order.  For appointments, the back door works fine. 

This weekend is my last outdoor show, and I'm looking forward to the close of the season.  It's been profitable, but not as profitable as years past. 

I used to use my husband's vehicle to travel to the shows.  It was a large SUV.  One day, after loading the vehicle the evening before, I got ready to go and it wouldn't start.  It was upsetting to say the least.  I stood in the garage in a panic ... and my husband said, you'll have to take your own car.  Now, I drive a little Mazda, which is now eleven years old.  It was incredible, but we did get the tent, racks and paintings into the car.  There was barely enough room for the driver.  As I was unloading everything, I tried to remember how it had been packed.  At the end of the day, I would have to load it again.  And, that evening we were attending a 70th birthday party and there would have to be room for a passenger.  I was meeting my husband at the party. 

That day that started out in a panic, had a silver lining.  I learned I could use my own car.  That meant, I didn't have to unload the car as soon as I got home, when I was exhausted because my husband would need his vehicle in the morning.  We were farming at the time, and our fields were up to ten miles from the barns.  Plus, there were places my car was not equipped to go on the property.  His day began at 3:30 and I wasn't going to put if off till "morning."

My little car has been through a lot, but is comfortable and still runs okay.  I know I will be shopping in the next year or so for a replacement.  I'm not looking forward to that.  I like small cars, ones that can do a u-turn anywhere.  They're also easy to park.  I'll also be deciding when I go shopping, if I'll be doing the outdoor shows in the future.  They're a lot of work at the beginning and the end of the day.  I do like talking about my work with passersby.  I've collected some words I heard with reference to my work.  I wrote a post about "Visual Conversation" recently ... explaining the process.  Part of my artist's statement says ... my goal is to engage friends and strangers in a visual conversation with my work.  I've been successful.  Some of the words were .... ancient, spiritual, ethereal, luminescent, organic, beautiful (I hear that a lot), original, soulful, frightening, dark, different, visceral and magnificent.  That's a pretty broad range.  Those are the people that talk to me.  Some simply stare for awhile, look at everything, smile and say "Thank you."  As my work is "different" there are also a lot of people that can't walk by my space fast enough. 

I never know what will attract someone.  The first image I ever posted here has gone off to a new home.  I finally titled it "Mary."  I was reading a book about Mary Magdalene at the time, and there were a lot of Marys referenced there.  It made for interesting conversations.  I also carried a piece that is a realistic rendition of the view from by bedroom window.  It's the Androscoggin River, looking downstream.  The piece is 24x18 and would probably be better as 18 x 18, but then I'd have to restretch the canvas.  I'm too lazy.  My goal here was to see if I could capture the movement and currents of the water.  This isn't the best digital, but it was the one I found in my unorganized "picture" files in my new computer. 

I do love waking up to the view every morning.  Doesn't matter what the season is.  I love a water view, and rivers are interesting.  They're always changing.  We have heron, Canadian geese, eagles, hawks, a lost loon, otters, beavers, moose, deer and one day, an escaped tame elk in my horses pasture. 

That's enough storytelling for the day ... I get going and my mind wanders ...

I've been visiting blogs, I'm always inspired!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

This image is in progress ... the digital is not the best, but close enough.  I created a "start" and the mare was simply in the paint.  Horses are not one of my subjects, and this was a surprise to me.  Not a woman to be found.  Finding an image (or not) in an initial application of paint is part of my process. 

I have three more "sunshine" artshows to do this summer.  I've cut it to four from ten last year.  I don't mind the visiting with the public, talking about my work, visiting with neighbor artists etc.  It is the setup and takedown that wear me out.  I keep my tent, sidewalls and racks in my car, but always bring the paintings inside.  I don't take a lot of work, only what will fit in my little car.  I may do a few more next summer, I may do none.  I do have a day job that provides an income.

I can now focus on my solo exhibit in December.  I have a large enough inventory of work, but it's not framed.  I did move to gallery wrapped canvas, so frames aren't an issue unless I want them to be.  The pieces I keep in my home, I frame sometimes.  I do find painting the sides of the canvas a chore.  I finished off two today that I never got to before the first show.  I can't keep all of my work, and a few years ago I got tired of running it to galleries and switching out the ones that didn't sell ... and the galleries always made more money than I did. 

Creating images is part of who I am, I've learned not to attach any economic limitations.  Plain and simple, I don't do it for money.  Money's nice, but not the objective.  I've relaxed into creating.  I can let it flow. 

I just hung one of the pieces completed today to dry ... and I hung it sideways in my studio.  There's an image I hadn't seen in the paint, and I'm contemplating painting a piece from that one.  I do paint from my own images ... I never know what will appear.  Above is the second horse that's made an appearance since I've been painting.  I need to think about why now?

I can't paint every day ... I'm too tired after work and there are other things in life that get in the way ... like visiting grandchildren.  And ... sigh ... keeping the house in order and making food.  I haven't had the energy to clean my studio in months, but a feeling better recently and may get to it soon.  After the last show in August ... September perhaps, unless I have a high energy day in between. 

I owned a marvelous horse for over 25 years.  I took care of him till he died.  He was a Chestnut, and a Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse Cross.  That animal could dance!  He was very athletic, and his only vice was the fact he would not walk accross a culvert.  He had to jump every one.  Just rambling here, time to stop typing.