Thursday, August 26, 2010

I Dream of Alaska.

"I Dream of Alaska" Acrylic on Canvas

I just finished this earlier today.

I obsess. It's a bad habit and I've been working on breaking it. I spend far too much time on the details of paintings, focusing on one square inch after another to the point where I can't see the big picture because my nose is glued to the canvas, or bristol board, or whatever the heck I'm working on.

The last thing I experimented with before my "sabbatical" was the dripping of paint. I thought it would help me loosten up. I placed a canvas on an easel, spread a watered-down wash of paint all over the top, and let gravity do the work. After a few layers of this, I worked on the lines formed randomly and tried to work with them. For a while, I worked against them until I placed the canvas on its side. I saw a landscape, so I went with it.

In spite of its questionable politicians, I have always wanted to live in Alaska. Not that I'd ever move there - its so far from all my family and friends - but it's a nice dream. This landscape isn't based on any specific place, but it's what I see when I dream about Alaska (in the summer, that is).

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

This is a painting that I donated to the New Britain Museum of American Art annual Summer Art Auction on August 30. It was on August 20. I wasn't able to go this year (again), but I hope to make it next year because it seems like a good time.


I've been bad. I have not posted any art on this blog for a year. All of the wonderful people who taught and mentored me over the years must be deeply disappointed in me and my dust bowl of a dry spell.

I consider this time I had away from art a "sabbatical", a time to pause and reflect...a time to really think about where I was going instead of running with my eyes closed, playing "Marco Polo" with a career in art. Mostly, it has been a time for me to enjoy my life, something I hadn't been doing for far too long.

I needed to stop for a while because I was spending too much time thinking about how to market myself as an artist, and not enough time on the actual artistic process. The result was a bunch of work that wasn't bad, but wasn't great either. I tried to paint what I thought other people would like - and buy. I forgot that if I just worked on my skills, and painted whatever I wanted, people would probably like it anyway because it was good. Plus, I wouldn't be stifling myself as an artist.

I work full time. A fact that I can't change. My job is very rewarding and interesting in many ways, but it is time consuming and tiring at times. When I turned making art into another job, one that made very little money for the amount of work I put into it, I felt like I was working 80 hours a week...and I was. Slowing down - and exploring other interests - has been rejuvenating. Though many people in my life kept telling me they wished I would paint again, I needed the break, and I think the has taught me how to pace myself in the long run.

I want to paint for as long as I can hold a brush and see what's in front of me. I want to be good at it too. I don't want to be a hack that hawks garbage. Even if no one buys them, I want to paint great paintings.

I know I've neglected it, but I promise there will be new art up on this blog soon. Actually, I have something to post now (next post), and it's not bad for a lady who hasn't painted in a year. Thanks to whoever might still be reading this blog (anyone?) and I'll keep you posted, I promise. Just don't expect a flood, because you'll be getting a trickle.