In the stillness after the build up and then blow up that was the Festival of the Arts, I’ve made an unexpected discovery: there is no stillness.
I promised myself — during the mad process that was getting ready for my first art festival showing — that afterwards I’d have some downtime to just regroup. But I didn’t know to expect the natural busywork that comes afterwards: unpacking and taking stock and listing new inventory, sending out non-local sales, tallying the business end of the process. Post show communications and commissions and following up on surprise doors being opened. Chasing momentum before it begins to dissolve.
Today, for instance, I am cleaning and reworking my studio because later this week I’ve got an interview with a local reporter and photographer. They are visiting to cover my art and my story for our regional papers. It’s an incredibly opportunity for interest and exposure and I truly appreciate it.
While my time is not yet entirely my own, and I’m further out of my comfort zone for an extended period of time, I’m thrilled with the direction this year has brought my art and my own personal growth.
And in the interest of full disclosure, I am not without rewards for bravery. I’ve recently acquired some bonus new ink, courtesy of friend and all-around consummate pro Jay Savij of Lucky Supreme Tattoo in Oregon City. And, in between commissions, I’m fashioning two dolls based upon our dogs that will be really and truly just for me.
P.S. I realize I haven’t yet carved out enough time to update my website. On my to-do list: udpating recent art into the galleries.
I can’t believe it’s been a week since the festival end.
It was incredibly successful, and absolutely worthwhile endeavor. I’m very proud of myself for fulfilling a long-held dream, standing with my art well outside of my comfort zone, and interacting freely with everyone. It was exhausting but well, well worth it.
I’m just getting caught up, stocking available inventory online and once more making progress with my projects. I have many commissioned pieces, paintings and dolls, a potential newspaper feature, and new inroads in electronic marketing. All signs point towards it being a crazy, amazing summer.
I did it! Yesterday I finished the last of the paintings I was hoping to complete for the upcoming art festival. ‘Tethered,’ the long canvas featuring a guinea fowl holding a death frog balloon is done and I’m very proud of it. As soon as it dries, hopefully tomorrow, I’ll usher it off to the framers with grave import and no small amount of accomplishment.
I realize now that all of the deadlines and working around the clock have helped to keep anxiety at bay in wake of the upcoming showing. Because now that the finish line has been crossed I’ve got a lot of cycles to be able to fill with worry.
I’m one of those people who avoids the things that cause the most pain. I’m not talking about physical pain, really; I am covered with tattoos and have a high threshold. I’m referring to avoiding the spiritual anguish of being vulnerable, going well outside one’s comfort zone, putting oneself in the spotlight.
Today, I feel nervous.
I am still making dolls, which I love. And going over all the logistics required for erecting a booth and showing one’s art, which — if you’ve never done it before — is an awful lot. But in between I’m continually asking myself what I got myself in to.
Hopefully tomorrow I’ll be too busy to worry again.
I am in the final stretch for finishing paintings to show at the upcoming Festival of the Arts. Although there are still a few weeks until show time, oil painting has its own schedule.
I paint with lots of layers of very thinly-applied color. Each layer requires proper drying time, so that the paint can coalesce and not create gummy or sticky patches. Normally, drying time is not a problem, but up against a deadline I’m counting how many layers I can apply and still make the window. In addition to drying between layers, the finished piece will need to be dry enough to frame, a process which then has its own timeline (two weeks for custom frames).
Luckily, I’ve finished most of the pieces I want to show, including one I just wrapped up yesterday. But the vision that came to me last and strongest I’m still working on. Fingers crossed.
This week, I’ve been working on signage for my booth at the upcoming 2016 Lake Oswego Festival of the Arts. I’m trying to create a cohesive brand between my actual art and the look and feel of the booth. I’ve supported tech companies for their trade show and booth graphics on a large scale professionally, but I’ve never designed for myself in this regard. It’s been a challenging and interesting endeavor.
Here are three signs for inside of my booth, two of which describe process and one of which describes me:
As I reach the cutoff point by which any paintings I produce will not be ready in time to show, I am also fully enmeshed in the “action needed now!” phase of booth planning. In the center of where those two meet and overlap is labeled AT FULL CAPACITY (especially when you consider all the domestic responsibilities that come with end of school year for my three young boys). I have so much to do that I reach the end of the day without knowledge of how I came to be there.
It’s an exciting ride, but the adrenaline is starting to fade. I look forward to looking backwards.
Every day, I’m joyfully daubing paint in my studio. So much so, that I have little time to type today. Instead, I’m going to share some paintings I’m currently working on.
This painting I’m calling “Envy”.” It features the color green, as in green zinnias and a green ladybug. There is some nefarious exchange happening, and I can’t yet tell who is the seducer and who is the seducee, but something is afoot.
I just finished this painting, entitled “Promises.” It features a non-plussed monkey in party frock and strewn irises. I keep painting monkeys despite them being a little difficult to portray; the wrong slip of the brush can go silly or cro-magnum. I’m very pleased with how she came out.
This is the newest painting I’ve undertaken. It’s a long panel, with a semi-abstract background and a guinea fowl with a balloon in the foreground. In the balloon I’m going to depict a blue frog, which in my work has always stood for death/change. I’m really hoping I’ll be able to finish this in time to show at the Festival in June.
With this piece, I wanted to explore different textures and how they could relate together: depth, the long, sinuous lines of the back leap, the furry continuity of the caterpillar. I like the implied movement happening here. This piece needs a lot of build up to achieve the depths I’m looking for.
This painting of two very different types of birds communicating had been set aside in favor of commissioned pieces. At some point I had lost the vision for this as a result, but it is coming back to me now. I’m going to be taking it up again this week with renewed fervor. Some of my best pieces have had breaks in the middle, and I’m hoping this results in a strong finish.
Drawing is one of my most soothing pasttimes. It eases my anxiety to draw line after line and watch the image develop, not unlike those magic 3D posters from the ’90s. Drawing also serves to support my other media, as I practice forms, textures, and levels through my illustrations before I bring them to canvas and clay.
But I’m not drawing these days.
I spend the first half of the day painting and the second half working on dolls, and in between doing all the domestic and family and grooming tasks. I’m not used to being so on deadline with my art, but it’s good: I’m being very productive and I love meeting my goals and thinking more broadly and putting so many resources towards my art.
Still, like a broody tween clucking over a baby-faced crooner, I consider my pens; the exquisite potential of unblemished paper. They call to me.
Maybe after this art show is over I will spend the summer lounging with pen in hand, delightedly developing use callouses and aching fingers, filling sketchbooks with lines and intention. My hands and my back may cramp up but my mind will be unburdened: a totally fair trade.
I had my first solo show in Portland in 2012. It took me a year to prepare for it, and 4 years to be ready to show again.
I think many artists live to show their work, but I am not one of them. For me, it’s an exercise into being excised, showing too much, shrinking from exposure. Which is really too bad, because I do think my dolls have to be seen and handled to be truly experienced; and oil paintings get flattened by photography when in life they change based on the light and one’s perspective, shifting to reflect your view.
The support and encouragement gleaned from showing one’s work is invaluable. I always get such positive interaction and affirmation for my artist’s voice. It’s just me: I’m introverted, and I’m weird, and I’m shy. Sharing my work daily through social media has helped me to stretch, I think. I hope that showing in public won’t be such a trek through the Himalayas for me this time.
I have exactly two months to work it out. Ironically, I do find myself consumed with the notion of showing again. But I am proud of my work, and sit certain I will likewise make myself proud with the showing.