bemusing musings of a bewildered brush-wielder

back to the studio

So, the second show, here on Long Island, has come to a close.  I am glad to be back in my studio, to be back home.  Today, Liam and I picked tomatoes in our garden, and it was wonderful to be in the silence of our backyard.  And in my thoughts, I am already preparing for what I have coming up next, and thinking about fifteen canvases that are waiting for me.  They range from a few postcard sized canvases, to a 70 inch tall canvas.

I had a wonderful show in Setauket, at the Gallery North Outdoor Show.  I am so glad to say that my most recent painting, Patricia, again won a prize.  I received second in show, and I couldn’t be happier.  People on Long Island really responded well to the works I exhibited, and this means so much to me.  The prize, coupled together with an excellent sale and several portrait commissions, made both of my shows very worthwhile.  I’m really pleased.

Displaying your work can be hard- it is a vulnerable thing.  But, there’s no other way to grow as an artist, than to simply stick your neck out, and see what the feedback is.  I am constantly thinking about this.  When I was in high school, I had my first experience in “putting your work out there.”  I had a violin solo in front of a couple hundred people.  I got on stage, I played a hymn, and it went terribly.  But, I confronted the fear of playing in front of people.  And the next time, well, I didn’t do better, I just did a little less bad.  And the time after that, I didn’t make people cringe.  And the time after that, I think I played decently.  That’s the way it is with showing paintings- the act of exhibiting my work is, in itself, liberating.

I’m contemplating my next set of canvases.  One thing that was interesting about my shows is that many people were very interested in the figure drawings that I displayed.  Their interest confirmed my desire to do more figure drawing and painting.  I’m so excited to begin this next wave of paintings.

Here’s a sketch that I did a short while ago, in a studio out on the east end of Long Island.  It’s small, rapid drawings like these that have me thinking about the possibilities in figure painting.  Robert Frost, in speaking of the act of artistic creation, says that a poem is not brainspun, but “begins as a lump in the throat, a sense of wrong, a homesickness.   The author Harold Speed describes a thread which runs through all successful art:  the finished art work has all of the passion, power, and excitement that was found in the initial moment of inspiration.  The challenge of all art is to carry that initial inspiration through to the very end. 

Drawings will, oftentimes, surpass the painting- they are more immediate, closer to the source, closer to  “…a lump in the throat, a sense of wrong, a homesickness.”  I typically just jump straight into a painting, working out the problems on canvas.  In upcoming figurative works, I will be focusing more on drawing, and then refer to these sketches as I work on my paintings.

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One response

  1. When I started to teach, in 1961, I was nervous, but after a day or two, the fear was gone. On the other hand, I never got over my terror of playing piano in public.
    Teachers are expected to pause and think for a few seconds. Teachers may repeat or rephrase what they have said. Doing so can even make the lesson easier to understand. Musicians, on the other hand, should never make any mistakes whatsoever. That’s what’s so scary.

    September 14, 2010 at 3:03 pm

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