Saturday, February 27, 2010

Pride Cometh Before The Fall

The past two summers here in La Conner in Skagit Valley, Washington, polo matches have been played.  As a young girl, I thoroughly enjoyed attending and watching polo matches. What an adrenalin rush!  And now they were having matches not five miles from where I live.  What a treat!

As most artist do, I carry at least two cameras in the car most of the time.  The first time I saw the matches going on in a field off the main drag into La Conner, I pulled in and took about thirty photos.  I was told there was to be a Governors Cup the following month, so I planned to be there.  I brought a friend, and again clicked probably 120 or more photos and felt I had some really good material from which to paint.

I had been fooling around with acrylics, and I had been teaching a figures and faces "lite" class, so I wanted to see what I could do with the polo ponies and the players in acrylic.  I thoroughly enjoyed painting a few of them, yet I was so concerned with how to do the backgrounds. The backgrounds in the photos weren't great, and the lighting wasn't the best either, but a photography instructor I had once said, "Always get the shot."  That's what they invented Adobe Photoshop for.

So I agonized, consulted artist friends, fiddled and fiddled, deciding on a sort of abstract background a la Leroy Nieman [yeh, right!].  I took the paintings to a small show where my friends told me to price the paintings about two times higher than I usually do, and was on my way to the show, where I was going to slash the prices in half.  When I got to the show, I was told that one of them had sold already [the show had started only ten minutes before], and there was a check for me.  So I left the prices where they were.

The next month, I submitted one of the ponies in our art club Artist of the Month vote, and won.  So, after selling one, and having one win Artist of the Month for me, I was pleased, but hadn't sold the rest of my ponies.The local art market is somewhat reflective of the national economic situation, so the two remaining Gov Cup polo players were still around.  My club, ALN, was scheduled to put on a new venue locally, so I thought I would try the ponies again.  The show was juried, and my ponies didn't make it! 

I think I will do them again, and tone down the background, maybe do one similar to the one that sold, and just chalk the other two up to a learning experience ... more the experience of rejection.  Really, I'm over it!

I found out yesterday that one of my paintings that was in that show DID sell, so I feel somewhat redeemed.  You win a few, you lose a few and some just don't make the cut.  Still, I have about another one hundred and eighteen photos of polo ponies and players to choose from and to paint before the next matches this summer.  Maybe I can play to the vanity of the players I paint and sell them at the matches! 

In any event, I thoroughly enjoy painting them ,and thorughly enjoy the matches, so nothing really lost!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Another Painting

Just like putting the first dab of color on a clean piece of paper, I hesitated making an entry today, but I was so pleased with the positive feedback I have been getting about my maiden voyage into the Wonderful World of Blogging!  Am excited about learning a new thing, and even more excited about sharing art and thoughts.  Don't know what's next, but so far so good.

Some of you liked "Diane," and asked about the painting.  I did it in a workshop with Ted Nuttall, two summers ago.  Ted's style of teaching and painting [including his signature "sloppy dots"] are first class.  Although his style appears to be effortless and fast, Ted spends a great deal of time drawing his subject [primarily from photographs], so the painting has a good foundation.  

Here is the other painting I started in Ted's class. It is Shannon, my granddaughter, at age four.

When I returned to art classes, I wanted to paint and play with color right way.   You know, immediate graitifcation.  I was told I HAD to take a required basic drawing class, but I got that requirement waived because I could show that I had taken art in high school [hah!] and didn't think I needed drawing.  Well, for two semesters, I took watercolor classes, but then the following semester, there were no classes for me to take, so I signed up for the dreaded drawing class.  Little did I know that that class was to have an almost life-changing effect on me, and on my art.

Monday, February 22, 2010

First Post

Am not sure who, if anyone will be reading this, but I am posting for the first time, just to see how the blog works.  I am feeling a bit shy about "hanging" my art [small "a"] on the site, as there are so many excellent artists' blogs.  I think I will learn my way around the site and get a feel for who puts what on theirs.

It is because of visiting several really great art blogs that I finally broke down to do my own. Learning something new tends to keep a soul humble, and humble I am when it comes to my art.  I am forever seeking new ways to make art, having been a latecomer to the party. 

When I finally post some work, it may lack "unity," because I am trying everything, although as I have tip-toed into the field, I have spent a great deal of time learning what I can do with watercolors.  My intention is to move out of the "student" looking work, i.e., labored, overworked, less inspired and copied realism. 

I like doing work that is "fast and loose," even though I know often the illusion of fast and loose can be a long and disciplined process.

I am continually following the work of more successful and experienced artsts, attending workshops and demonstrations when and where I can.  As a result, I have learned a great deal from several regionally and nationally known contemporary artists.

I also have become an art book and magazine junkie, and soak up what I can from them like a sponge.  All of what I am learning is contributing to who I am becoming as an artist.

As I have moved through my own artistic journey, I have apparently helped a few along the way, as I have become an instructor ... in the Senior Center Circuit!  I so enjoy teaching classes, and, in turn, have learned so much more from my students over the course of this new stage of my journey.

As a late bloomer in the world of art, I intend to not waste much time, but to work hard at improving what I know, learning excting new ways to make art, and have fun in the process.  So here I go, launching this blog as the next part of whatever I am supposed to be doing in the wonderful world of making art.