7 A.M. Sprague Lake
, 9x12, August 2007 plein air
, 14x11, August 2009, plein air
When I started this blog, my welcome letter warned you that I would not become a slave to it, that my painting would always come first, and that you should expect entries to be short and sweet. Truly, I have kept that promise. But it has been far too long since I shared painting thoughts with you. Often, I write them in my head, in the shower, but the lure of the easel keeps me from getting them posted here. Surely you cannot fault me for that. Here, however, is a post I have wanted to share for a month or more. I hope you find it helpful and timely as the new year approaches, and you plan your next steps to following your life as an artist.
Growth! Not enough can be said about GROWTH! I have been told more than once that I will surely be successful because I am so good at marketing. This is both a compliment and a back handed way of saying that my art is not quite speaking for itself quite yet. That's good news. It means I am not stagnant and complacent and arrogant. yay! But hoping for the day that my art speaks for itself to just suddenly appear while I sip coffee and eat bon-bons is naive. How sad it would be to think that at my age (cough...clear throat...insert what number you think that is here), I had reached my peak, learned it all, and would never get any better.
The secret, and here it is folks, I'm going to tell you the real truth, to growing, is WORK! That's it. Muse not hitting you today? Sorry to tell you this, but you need to get to work anyway. Put miles of canvas (or whatever your work consists of) under your brush this year. I'm not talking be a factory of hundreds of bad paintings. I mean, learn, experiment, ask yourself the hard stuff, and be willing to scrape it off and start over and over again. Next, be critical of the work. So now that you have 200 paintings under your belt, which ones do you REALLY want on the market or on someone's wall FOREVER? Sacrificing a quick buck to sell a mediocre piece, is nothing but putting a band aid on an otherwise bleeding career. Become critical of your work; choose which pieces to exhibit and which ones not; work through problems on a painting rather than just give up; then, be willing to paint that painting again better armed to execute it successfully.
So why am I preaching at you? I'm not. I'm preaching at myself and sharing it with you. These are the conversations I have with myself over and over again. They will surely stretch me to be better in 2010 than I was in 2009. An you all know I was better in 2009 than in 2008, right? Just to prove that point, here, out in the inter-webby thing, for all to see, I am posting two pieces to demonstrate how progress can come if we are willing to work. Yes, these pieces will be out here for eternity now. I'm willing to sacrifice that for the greater good. Both paintings were painted at sunrise on Sprague Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park. One was painted in Aug., 2007. The other was painted in Aug., 2009. Use your critical eye. I hope you get a kick out of it, and take time to look back at your last few years' works and do the same.
Happy 2010 to all of you. Now, get to work!
For more on becoming a successful artist, think of attending the upcoming seminar on Jan. 9, "Ideas to Help You Go from Starving to Successful."