With Christmas having come and gone and looking ahead to the coming New Year, I spent a good amount of time yesterday, digging through discs of reference material. I had sort of decided that this 'in between' week between Christmas and the New Year celebration would be a good time to relax, take a break, catch up on housework, clean my work room, restack the frame inventory, and so on and so forth.
Well, I got bored after restacking frames and decided to spend some time looking ahead at what work I need to think about for the first six months of next year. Fiddling through disc after disc of material, I managed to pull out and save a lot of images that sparked my thoughts as I looked over them. You never know what is going to become inspirational for a work till you have spent some time mulling over ideas.
I've talked before about how inspiration seems to hit me, coming at me from all angles and locations. Sometimes an idea starts with a vision in my head, sometimes it starts from being sparked by looking through a series of photos or sketch ideas, sometimes it comes from . . . I just don't know where!
As I begin to make a list of upcoming deadlines for specific 2011 exhibitions, jury competitions and ideas for new gallery works, I am open to any and all things that pop into my head. These initial notions will get refined in the next few weeks as I make more definite plans and work out kinks in sketch form, digging through reference material looking for images that suit or going out into the field to seek out images and locations that only exist in my head at the moment.
I will spend a bit more time this morning, looking at those images that I saved out yesterday to see if the initial spark is still there and if so, how I might consider them for specific compositional ideas. Once that has happened, I will look to see how I can plug in those settled upon ideas into my list of events/exhibitions/competitions for the first half of next year. This way, I will have a pretty good idea of what I need to do as far as laying out my work schedule for the next few months.
And thus, the process begins! The process of deciding what to do, when to do it and how to do it. This all may sound a bit too structured and lacking in spontaneity for an artist and creative soul, but it works for me! Being the rather undisciplined person that I have always been, I tend to need direction, goals to aim for and a written down sequence to follow to get me to those goals.
So as the New Year and its coincident new goals unfold before me, I will spend these next few days refining and coalescing ideas, formulating compositions and putting together a work schedule that, I hope, I can stick to!
Wow, yesterday was a surprising day. I noted late last night that this blog had been selected as yesterday's 'Blog of Note'. I was astonished at the number of visitors. Thanks everyone who left a comment and welcome to the new followers. Anyway, this little work (a bit shy of 5" square) was completed yesterday for a sort of commission work for a neighbor who wanted it for a Christmas gift for friends. It is the friends' pair of kitties. So, maybe this work will be the last work for 2010? Depends, I guess, on how much Holiday spirits I get involved with next week!
So, yes I have been working the last week or so. This one, In Penny Lane and just off the board last night as a 'follow up' to one of the works sold last month during the Howard/Mandville Gallery's small works show, is 6" x 10". It is an offering, through the gallery, to several who were interested in seeing another horse subject work after the other one sold. Fingers crossed that it will find a nice home in the northwest just in time for Christmas!
The Holiday music is playing in the studio this week as I work on some commission pieces. A few days off from posting here, while I get these works done and then I will be back here before Christmas. In the meantime, happy Christmas shopping! BUY ART!
'Thank you' to all who came by our Open House today! It was a great afternoon and Paula, Karryl and I were gratified with your enthusiasm for our latest works and your support for our creative endeavors. What a way to end the year!
The day started off rather strange, as I went to begin to load my work into my car for transport to the location of our Artists' Open House tomorrow, it began to snow! Unexpected and unwelcome! By the time I drove off, car full of art, it had stopped, but the chill in the air reminded me that it is mid December.
Several hours later we three, Paula Waterman, Karryl and I, had our works hung, positioned, placed perfectly and ready for tomorrow. Thanks to Paula for grabbing these snaps of just some of what will be waiting for our collectors and friends to mull over and decide upon manana.
As noted in my last posting, next Saturday I will be sharing an Artists' Open House with fellow artist, Paula Waterman and sculptor friend, Karryl. This will take place just west of Baltimore near the historic town of Sykesville, MD. If you are within driving distance and would wish to come out for a fine afternoon with some great art, drop me an email for directions. We three will have a nice assortment of works, in all sizes and price ranges, for gift giving or for adding to your personal collection.
The calm before the storm? No, just the last day before going into the last week of work before my shared, upcoming Artists' Open House on December 11th with artist friends, Paula Waterman and Karryl. So, studiously working at the board today and listening to the very mellow lute music of 16th century icon, John Dowland. Ah, sweet music . . . be my muse today!
OK, it's December 1st, it's a few days after Black Friday and Cyber Monday, it's about the time when everyone begins to think about the Holiday ahead. I know, we all know, that things have been tough the last couple of years with economic woes, lost jobs, lost houses, lost hope. For many, it's really hard to try and put oneself into a cheery and festive mood for the upcoming Christmas/New Year celebrations, not least of which yours truly.
As I have talked about many times before, being an artist is not really something I have much control over. It's just something that I have to do. It's something that gets me out of bed in the morning. Thinking about and creating a new work of art is what gives a feeling of accomplishment in my life on a daily basis. I think, from conversations I have had with any number of other artists, sculptors and creative sorts, we all share the same take on our lives. We all basically accept that no matter what is going on around us we have to constantly, as all those who came before us did, strive to make our art something that not only reflects our view of the world but that resonates with us first, and with great hope, others too.
Over the last couple of years considering a work of art, a piece of sculpture, a beautiful one-of-a-kind handmade piece of craft to add to one's personal world has not been the primary concern for many who might otherwise, in better times, have made a small purchase. When one has to consider putting food on the table and keeping a roof over one's head, buying a work of art somehow does not really come into the picture.
If one is to believe what the talking heads on TV are saying of late, that things are beginning to look brighter on the economic horizon and people are once again beginning to consider the purchase of non-essential items, then I can only hope that this be true. My personal journey of the last couple of years, as I know has been that of many of my artist friends as well, has been on occasion, one close to having to make uncomfortable financial decisions. For those of us who rely upon generating income through the sale of our works of art, when the pool of possible collectors/purchasers/interested parties begins to shrink . . . well, you get the picture.
Rethinking, resizing, reenergizing and trying to find new and unique ways to continue to make our works appealing and available to an ever smaller number who still want or are able to support the arts and all creative souls even in these recent hard times, is certainly something I know I have worked hard to do. As I said before, I don't have much choice in the matter as making art is what I do, being an artist is who I am, following the creative path wherever it takes me is what I must do.
With every single work that I have been fortunate enough to have sold in the last couple of years, and knowing that in some cases the consideration for the purchase of that particular work has been mulled over for a great length of time or has been paid off over many months in small increments, I have found solace in the fact that still, for many, owning an original work of art is something that, even in these financially hard times, must find a way of happening.
So, when you are thinking about those who are on your short list for gifts this year, or those who you would like to share a bit of joy with at Christmas, why not consider a work of original art or craft? Small or large, the size makes no difference. It is the appreciation for those of us who must create, that counts. It is the tacit approval of our personal creative view of the world around us, that counts. It is the unspoken understanding that even a small work of original creativity can bring so much joy into one's life, that counts. It is the acceptance that the art of the handmade still has a place in this world of ever increasing mediocrity and duplication, that counts. It is, in the end, a small yet very important way to continue to say that we need art and artists in our world and have to find ways of continuing to support creativity, individuality and uniqueness, that counts.
For years, I guess, I've been accused of having rocks in my head. Well, I'm not sure about that, but maybe more like rocks on my mind? I love rocks. I love the texture of rocks. I love the interplay of one type of rock up against another. I love to draw rocks! As I recently hinted at, I thought it about time to turn things up a notch, do something vertical for a change. So, here are the first stages of this new work, 18" x 8" overall. I think I will get my fill of noodling on this one.
Fall is rushing by outside my studio and over this past weekend my neighbor was out raking and decided that the maple in my front yard was just too spectacular to pass up taking photos of.
I've been eyeing the tree, just outside my dining room window, for the last couple of weeks but had not lifted the camera to take a picture or two. So thanks Elaine, for sending me these and other wonderful, colorful, bright, warm and sumptuous shots!I guess I will be raking these up in another week and then waiting for the first snowfall!
Early start to work time today as I have a lot of catch up to do being away for the Waterfowl Festival four days last week. So, before I pick up a pencil this morning, here is the conclusion to yesterday's work; trying to establish the important breaks between light and shadow and slowly build up dimension and depth.
I haven't posted any in-progress shots for a bit and thought this new work would be a good one to do that very thing for. This work is going to wind up being about 8" x 10" when completed. New pieces now, are in preparation for an upcoming Artist's Open House I will be sharing with several other artist friends in early December. With that, here is the first couple of hours of work on this one.
I was pleased to hear that at last night's opening of the small works show at Howard/Mandville Gallery in Washington state, my two works were among the many pieces sold. And today is the last day of this year's Waterfowl Festival here in Maryland, where the crowds have been steady and sales are happening! Whoo-Hoo for November. Thanks to all who have stopped by and I've chatted with in Easton at the Festival.
The 20th Annual Invitational Small Works Show is now up and ready for viewing at the Howard/Mandville Gallery in Kirkland, Washington. But, you can review it on their web site and see some fantastic pieces of art, including two of mine! Intent to purchase slips will be drawn on Saturday evening and you can put in an intent to purchase on any work via a phone call to the gallery. Take a look and see some outstanding small and relatively inexpensive works by some of the country's best artists.
Took off for Williamsburg, VA to spend some time with long-time friends for a few days this past week. I guess I had not been in the area for at least 15 years and perhaps a bit longer than that. Anyway, it was a fun few days of catching up with friends and wondering around playing tourist, though the camera was at the ready to capture possible reference material. Here's a little photographic pastiche, impressions of fall in Williamsburg.