Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Why Am I An Artist?

In the back of my mind I know I'm trying to out-race dementia.  I want to be a REAL artist before I start to forget how to paint!  That's the journey I'm on.  I don't have it now, or even any symptoms but I know it runs in my family. Watching my mom struggle with it for the past 10-15 years has been a sobering reminder.  Alzheimer's or dementia...whatever you want to call it...it stinks!  So, I'm assuming over time I will progress and get better at painting only to decline in later years.  I don't dwell on it because after all...I may not be here tomorrow!  (lol)

If you've ever struggled to achieve a dream that seemed so far out of reach it would be almost impossible to achieve...or, you've felt like that " little engine that could"...chugging, chugging, chugging uphill always thinking..."I think I can, I think I can..."  Then you know a bit about how the past three years have been for me.

Diving headlong into creating art three years ago (at 58), I've been an obsessed woman!  I've had so much to learn and fortunately because of the Internet and workshop teachers there have been mountains of information to absorb.  I felt I was starting out so many years behind everyone else and to top it all off I began with the most brutal self doubt imaginable.  My inner voice was so so critical of every painting I produced I didn't think I would ever feel confident.  And, because of it, I thought about giving up from time to time too.  I'm glad I didn't.   

My tombstone should have one word on it.... "Persevere" because throughout life that's what I told myself to do when things got tough.  It's SO very easy to stroll through life when things are going ok...but challenges call for perseverance.  So, I've hung in there.

For the remainder of my years I know I will love the artist life and continue to be in hot pursuit of that perfect painting...my masterpiece.  Personally, I doubt I will produce an actual masterpiece but every once in awhile a painting does magically "paints itself" (if your an artist, you know what I mean).  

In three years (and over 390 paintings) it's happened exactly twice.  Today I'm happy to report that the second of those two paintings (Along The Shoreline, above) was awarded Best Of Show in the Pastel Society of the West Coast's (PSWC) general members online competition as well as one of the Top 15% FAV on FASO's Boldbrush competition.  I don't enter competitions very often so this is a big deal for me especially because I've taken a look at the wonderful work submitted by all the other artists.  

I was dumbfounded when I got the call from PSWC and humbled to have my work acknowledged in this way.  I also know to "keep it real"...judging is subjective and another judge or panel of judges would most likely come up with a different winner altogether.  But today, I will enjoy the news because I know tomorrow, I will be in hot pursuit of that masterpiece all over again!!!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Camel's Back Park

Camel's Back Park
12x12, soft pastel

I've been working on framing some pieces for the April show at the Initial Point Gallery in Meridian's City Hall (fyi, reception to be held April 4th 4:30-7:00pm).  But still trying to make time to paint!

This is a view that many people in the Boise area have enjoyed as they hike, bike, run or walk along the foothill trails.  On this particular evening the sky was awash with glorious sunset colors complimenting the golden grasses and sage brush below.  Thank you Michelle Santos for the gorgeous photo!! 

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

My Studio

I absolutely love seeing the work areas and studios of other artists!  We learn from each other what works well and what doesn't.  

If an artist works from a home studio, sometimes it starts in a corner of the room or dining room table (in my youth, it was always at the coffee table).  Sometimes an artist's home studio is in the garage, attic, or in a separate building altogether.  Sometimes it's in a spare room, often a spare bedroom.  I would venture to say every artist has modified or moved his or her studio from area to area to achieve just the right fit for them.

I started in a small spare bedroom in this house (which was a luxury).  Then, once I started doing the 30in30 Challenges and my experience grew and materials multiplied, my husband came up with the idea of converting the master bedroom into a studio (he rationalized it was easier and less expensive than moving or adding onto the house, ha!).   

At first it seemed odd to take a large master bedroom and convert it into a studio.  But, in our case it was the perfect solution!  The biggest surprise was how much we liked sleeping in a smaller bedroom ...it's actually much more cozy and romantic.  And, because we never fully utilized the master with it's beautiful fireplace, we didn't miss it at all.  But as a studio, the room is now a sanctuary!  It's right off the kitchen and utility room...making food accessible, cleanup easier and has it's own on-suite bathroom.

Recently, we updated the floors and got rid of the carpeting.  We also painted the ceiling and walls to a more neutral palette and I "decluttered" the room as much as I could.   Below is the "after" image.  It's a bit darker than usual because I took the photo in the early morning hours...my favorite time of day!
The After:

 The Before:

At the other end of my studio is a lounging area with sofa, TV and fireplace.  A perfect place to start the day, read, reflect and be inspired!  

So that's my studio.  It doesn't always stay this neat and clean but I'm so very thankful for the space to create!