Thursday, May 31, 2012

Letting Go

Years ago, I remember watching a documentary about the training of the U.S. Olympic gymnastics team. Bela Karolyi was coaching his young stars. One of them, a girl named Phoebe, was  throwing herself into her routines with such abandon, that Karolyi kept urging "Control Phoebe! Control!"

I recently had an interesting painting experience. For the second time this year, I am in the unsettling position of having to put my brushes aside except for a couple of short hours here and there. Normally I work every day and I try to maintain a pretty tight control over how I paint. After all, I have a responsibility to my galleries and my patrons to produce the caliber of work that they expect. Right? I can't mess up.

Snatching one of those precious painting hours two weeks ago, I squeezed the paint onto my palette and thought about how my production plan for the year was shot to pieces. Then I thought since I can't control  most of what I intended to do, to hell with the rest. And what do you know! I suddenly felt such a sense of liberation!
Instead of painting as I think I am expected to, I let the brush and paint go where it would while I just had fun and watched. This little painting was the result.

purchase this!
"Peonies" 11x14 oil on canvas

Amazing what you can learn when you let go of the reins.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

When Plans Go Awry

I've been painting for a long time but I'm fairly new to marketing. The great thing about being a novice marketer is that I can participate in a whole new world that the internet and social media have provided, where any artist can take control of how their work is presented and sold.

When France was the center of the art world in the late 19th century, the Salon was the place to show and hopefully win patrons. If an artist couldn't get their work accepted into the biannual Salon, they would likely remain unseen and unknown. The rise of private dealers and galleries gave artists an alternate means to present their work to the public. Now we're witnessing the next incarnation of the artist/art collector relationship. It's exciting stuff!

I started this year with two goals. The first was to produce a greater quantity of work while still keeping the quality up. The second was to jump in both feet first and take advantage of technology, to start to shape my own art future. But now, five months into the year, I find my plans turned aside while I take a couple of months to attend to a family issue. In the process, I've been watching my goals seeming to slip away along with my emotional and physical energy. So, today I set up a temporary studio in the bedroom that I will occupy for the next few weeks, where I will work as best I can. I also sat my harried self down for a heart to heart talk and gave that self 3 pieces of advice:

First, cut myself a little slack.This unplanned detour has slowed me down but I know it's only a temporary situation. Secondly,adapt to the situation and keep working even if conditions are far from ideal. But most importantly,don't lose sight of the fact that life here in this place is all about how we treat the people we've been "given". Ultimately, by comparison, all other endeavors are hollow.  
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