Perhaps this is not new phenomena but it is something I have noticed a lot recently; it is the art apologizer. Countless times this summer, at various venues…be it a gallery show, out painting plein air or if I meet someone and they find out I’m an artist I get the “oh I’m sorry, I don’t know anything about art”.
First of all, I don’t believe it. Everyone knows a little something about art because it is everywhere! It’s surrounds you from the clothes you wear to the design of the coffee mug you use, the car you drive, movies you watch and music you listen to just to mention a few obvious things.
I understand that the visual arts intimidate some people but I’m here to say…RELAX. There is no reason to be scared or intimidated. You know what you like right? Do you think you need a Ph.D to own art or view art? NO! An appreciation for the sincere effort the artist put forth is good place to start. If you like their art- Great! Sometimes it may take a while for you to absorb it and that’s fine too…you can even say that…”I need a while to look at this!”. Or you can always ask the artist why they created something...that can be a great conversation starter, but do not apologize.
Perhaps you don’t have much experience in going to art shows, museums or viewing art and the lingo is intimidating. Artists I know love to teach and if you ask what something means, they'd be happy to explain. Listen, if I’m talking to a lawyer or a financial person and they start talking…I sometimes have to say..yo…what’s that mean? We can’t all be experts in everything so enjoy the art and ask questions. Look and ask yourself what you like. Just as important, ask yourself what you don’t like but do it when you are looking at art and it’ll help you. If you do it enough you may surprise yourself in the range and type of art you are open to. I’ve seen this happen many times and I think it's fantastic; as people get curious and look, look and look they see more and more which just opens more doors. We continue to grow and learn. Art is so cool.
But please, Don’t ever apologize. I’m simply not going to accept it.
Here are few paintings I've done, en plein air, recently. Please enjoy and click on images for for information.
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The painting that won was one that I tried a different design idea. I wasn’t sure it would work but I decided to give it a try. The dark bridge with the bright light through to the other side was key. Part of doing these events is pushing yourself to paint more than usual and really looking at things around you. The award is a fantastic validation. Nice that an urban landscape can win!
I want to say something to those who didn’t win anything or maybe didn’t sell anything either, because I have been there too. It’s hard to not take that personally. Really hard sometimes. I saw some wonderful paintings that did not sell and when those are yours, you ask why? There is no good answer. Just not the right time, the right person but it is not a reflection of your talent!
Remember why you’re painting, keep painting, keep learning and keep enjoying your creativity.
I am Thankful to Marietta Art Alive for putting together such a wonderful event and having 4 days to paint and be inspired. It’s a great way to jump start the plein air season and I look forward to next year! And YES, Thanks for the award…it’s definitely nice but no, not everything.
still available (when written) - click image for more images and info
There is always a dilemma with what to do with older paintings...of course, some you want to hold on to but you can't keep them all! Some get sanded out to be become newer, better paintings, but I've been looking for another answer...sanding them out seems so extreme. You’ve surely heard the phrase “Everything old is new again.” This has come to mind as I’ve decided to rework a few older plein air paintings. The idea is to keep some of the original painting but apply some of the new collage and abstract techniques I’ve been doing recently and see what happens. I like the idea of merging the old and new in this way.
The creative process kinda mirrors life here. You go off past experience; search for what works. You don’t always know what you’re looking for but when you see it; find it, you know it. There’s satisfaction and joy in that space and so, you continue on. OR, you don’t like it and make another, different choice, BUT you still continue on.
Merging the old and new. is a way to try to make sense of where I’ve been and perhaps where I’m heading.
Prior to doing this collage work, I was working with gouache...also working from older plein air paintings but mostly as inspiration rather than directly on them. I'd look at the painting and do small drawings that were very loose, then add layers of paint, marker, whatever...again the point was to play and disconnect from the "thing". It was about responding to shape, line and color really. I did a whole series called Market Riffs off one painting. It was fun to see just how far I could go. I imagine I could go farther, really.
To see some of this newer work, check out The Art Trust show REFLECTIONS which opens on April 27, 2022 and closes June 10. May 6th is the Opening reception-5-9pm.
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I'm headed up next week to paint for a few days. Tune into my instagram account to follow along with what I'm doing! It's been a while since I've done one of these events. Getting all my panels ready...just being tuned up and ready to paint is a lot to do. Well, I've gotten out this week and I admit to feeling a bit rusty. That is about normal though and the only remedy is PAINT MORE!
Here's what I've done so far this week. It's a start. I'm happy with that. :) Click images for more info
One year ago today my Father died. January 25, 2021 at 9:30 AM. I miss him and am sad sometimes but I do not doubt, he is not only fine but soaring with angels.
It was my intention to write a wonderful tribute to him on this occasion. His role in me being present in this world is obvious. His influence on my art I have always known, but this past year I have begun to FEEL the depths of this gift and there are no words to describe the love and gratitude it has graced me with.
A few weeks after Dad's death I wrote a Valentine's Tribute to him. On reading it again, I don't think I can improve on it so I re publish it again here:
The holidays are coming and we all wanna be ready, right?....
known for. Half the paintings will be abstract paintings, inspired by urban scenes or past plein air paintings I've done. So a little something for everyone's taste! It's such a joy to create these paintings and think of the joy they may bring to others as well.
Subscribers to my Newsletter will get 1st access to these paintings - delivered directly to their inbox 48 hours before the public sees them so SIGN UP NOW! Don't miss out on this fantastic opportunity! When you sign up you'll get some welcome emails as well as any news about this upcoming Holiday Celebration!
As for my Plein Air Painting this summer, I scheduled my painting time and limited my painting area to mostly downtown Wilmington. This helped me to focus on my painting and not the extraneous, getting ready, finding a spot etc, parts. I also went from painting 6 sizes to just 3 sizes. This simplified decisions on location as well as framing and pricing later on down the line.
I think this work in combination with the figure work made for a unique and fun Open Studio experience. It was a joy to do the work and a thrill to get to share it ,finally.
At the writing of this blog, the Open Studio Gallery page in not accessible via my website BUT YOU CAN GET THERE via the special link below ! Here are a few pictures taken during Open Studio this year:
Now, can you just enjoy my painting for a painting? Absolutely, but this layer of insight has added a new dimension to my work for me and I wanted to share it. I’m sure I’ll have more to say in the future.
Now let’s talk Open Studio....
Be sure to subscribe to my newsletter so you don't miss any the details...especially for my annual Open Studio which will be coming up in late September! There will be a virtual component for those who are not local.
In case you are interested in seeing more of my expressive figures, feel free to check out my Etsy shop, Sarahs Art Scene
It’s mid-June. Usually by now I am well into my plein air season, I’ve been out multiple times painting, feel “tuned up” and it’s really just a matter of painting, painting, painting. Generally there are a couple events lined up and I know what the next couple months will look like. This year is off to a much slower start. With no events to jump start the season and a fairly cool spring season…it just has been lagging a bit.
But Enough of that! No more excuses.
The weather is now almost too hot. Funny how that can seem to happen SO quickly. I have re-dedicated myself to painting plein air this summer and am determined to GET OUT THERE and PAINT! It is the only way to get back into the swing of things…the only way to get better at painting!
So how am I going to do this? First off, every Sunday I am looking at my week and the weather and sketching in which mornings I’ll paint plein air. If the forecasters get it wrong, I have backup plans to paint in the studio.
It can be tough to go paint by yourself. For me it helps to know when I get up on Monday (or whatever) morning that I am going out to paint that day. I do my morning stuff then get my paint clothes on, gear together and off I go.
The nerves are always there. I have gotten used to that. Sometimes they are worse than other times but I just have to remind myself that this is my job now and I get on with it. Once I start getting set up and painting, the nerves go away.
2 WEEKS LATER
I’ve been out painting. Yes, the nerves kicked in. I find I just have to override them and go with my plan. Once I am set up and painting a wonderful thing happens; folks smile at you, give you a thumbs up or stop by to see what you are painting and really applaud your efforts. It’s a joy to see their eyes light up; they get such a kick out of seeing an artist at work and that reminds me how lucky I am.
In the early days of my plein air career the idea was to paint fast and get inventory. Now I try to take my time a little more. Plein air is still a quick painting genre and always will be but I do take breaks, walk away from my painting to get perspective and also take time to interact with anyone who stops by to ask questions. It’s made painting a more enjoyable experience for me even if the painting doesn’t turn out....and yes that happens.
Here are my paintings from the last 2 weeks. They are not on the website as of this writing, but if you see anything you like, contact me. My goal continues to be painting plein air 3 days a week. Obviously weather is a factor and life sometimes gets in the way but so far, so good!
I went out to paint plein air painting this morning.
It was in the mid 70’s at 7AM. The goal was to be out painting by 9, at the latest. I have to tell you that even plein air painters don’t ALWAYS feel like painting...and this was one of those mornings for me. But, the rest of the week looks overcast and rainy and sometimes, you just have to make yourself DO IT!
Some days inspiration abounds and others you just paint. Today I just needed to paint! I got started and of course the subject of my painting, a car, moved. Luckily I had sketched it, but I hadn’t taken a picture of it yet. These are the things that you have to re-learn when you start plein air painting again, early in the season. I shook my head, laughed it off and kept plugging away.
BUT that’s not the best part of my story today! I started telling this story because today I was hi-jacked. Often people will talk to me, that’s no problem. Downtown, people often ask for money and that’s a bit uncomfortable, but today I met Myeshia. When I left the house this morning, I said a small prayer that I didn’t want to be hassled for money today...I was just not in the mood but I try to be open to others when I am out there no matter my mood.
As I’ve said, I was struggling with my painting, color mixing was off a bit, things just not “flowing”. A few people stopped to chat but I was not hassled for money. :) Then Myeshia stopped and was just so happy to see me painting and loved what I was doing. She does mosaics and was headed to The Creative Vision Factory in the next block and wanted me to see her work. I politely declined but she kept asking. She was just SO excited about her work and wanted to share it. I could tell it would mean a lot to her for me to take a few minutes and look at her work so ...I decided I could take a few minutes and check it out!
The Creative Vision Factory was full of people and there are still some covid restrictions in place so I got a quick tour. There is lots of space for people to create and there is a schedule for people to sign up for times to come in too. It is full of art that people have created and they sell it help support their non-profit efforts in keeping the place going. Myeshia has a really good eye for color and design and had many mosiacs that were very vibrant and quite wonderful. I am glad I got to see them!
Isn’t that what art is? Sharing our talents and our time. Give and take. A little humanity for each other. I wish her well in her creative endeavors and I know the Creative Vision Factory will be there to help her and many others along the way.
I got back to my car and headed home. I finished my painting in the studio, which I rarely do but hey, ya gotta go with the flow, eh? Now when I look at this painting, I’ll think of Myeshia
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The Creative Vision Factory fosters the creative potential of individuals on the behavioral health spectrum in a studio art environment that cultivates integration with the local art community through a program of exhibitions, workshops, and communal workspace.
Recently, I was listening to a Carolyn Myss post on Facebook and what she was saying really struck me. I couldn't find that exact post so I have linked to her youtube channel...but anyway...She was talking about Covid, of course, and how everyone keeps referring to getting back to “normal”. As many say now…”new normal”. I’m a bit sick of that term myself but what struck me and what she so simply pointed out was how everyone was looking back when they said that. Even the words when you say that… I wanna go BACK to the way it was …. is well, back-wards! That “normal”no longer exists! We can’t go back and do we really want to?
It really got me thinking; such a simple thing but very powerful. Looking forward....
I catch myself looking back, not so much wanting to go back but just revisiting things and sometimes that can inhibit moving forward. As all this has been rattling and circling in my brain, I’ve also been looking at my art and my art business. There is no getting around the fact that as soon as you sell a painting or two, you are a business. Usually I spend December and January looking both backward and forward; looking at what the past year was like, what was successful and what wasn’t; what got lost in the noise or what I didn’t have time to deal with? What was in balance and out of balance? What was I happy with and what was I uncomfortable with? Then I look at what I want to improve; what I want to accomplish and try to come up with a few goals to work towards. Did I paint enough? Do i want to try a new technique or improve an existing one? How do I want to accomplish that? The list goes on.
This year I didn’t have December or January to look back or forward as I was helping to care for Dad as he was in his final days. (read tribute to Dad) Those months and days were about those moments and what needed to happen…then. We decided that this 1st quarter of 2021 I would not push it. I needed to take a little time.
Now it is spring. A season of renewal and rebirth. My favorite season.
I love the feeling of the sun on my skin again. Oh, how good that warmth feels. It’s time to start again, to plan and set some goals; to look forward. (Thanks for reminding me Caroline Myss.) I endeavor to be grateful and cherish the moments as they come and keep trying to move...forward.
I am remembering some of the things I was thinking about for 2021. Everything seems hazy but it’s coming back to me. It’s like the fresh air and sunshine is clearing out the dusty attic of my brain a bit and I can look forward, be hopeful. I know I wanted to have some fun with my urban plein air painting, experiment with technique and perhaps my palette a bit this season. I know I wanted to start working with the figure again. I miss it so much. And I know that the abstract work I’ve done recently strengthens both my urban landscapes and my figurative work so…that must continue also. The challenge is in prioritizing and balancing all this with being a selling artist...an Artrepreneur. Hahaha
For now I need to set some goals and just get back into the swing of being a working artist again. I know that drawing and painting regularly will help get me back on track. It is plein air season, so I need to get myself out there! I have an idea for an abstract series…I’ll need to flush that out a bit…..and of course I need to plan some time to deal with “the biz”. Social media, ect....
Years ago when I started out as a full time working artist, I thought that I’d figure out some system in the first few years and then it’d be all smooth sailing from there. Now I realize that this looking back and moving forward; this renewal and reinvention is and ongoing process, much like life. Since I do believe that art and life are intertwined, I guess that only makes sense.
So as I start out this year, re-inventing myself again, I leave you with these two poems. I hope you'll stick with me for the adventure of what's to come. If you've not signed up for my email newsletter, you can do that right here and now!