Dear Painters, Patrons and Art Appreciators,
First I want to thank all you Master and Signature members that made the arrangements, the trek or that shipped artwork to our Winter Invitational at the Taos Museum of Art and historic Fechin Studio. I drove up from Socorro to do intake and got to be first on hand to view the work. The very best part of committing to do intake was the pleasure of spending time talking to the artists bringing in their work. We shared Plein Air stories of critters and insane weather as well as how to turn your car into a studio when your easel is left 400 miles away, and you HAVE to paint! I hope everyone will try to make the opening, Saturday, February 8th from 2-4!
Another thing on my mind this week is technology as I lay to rest a 10 year old Mac for a sleek new MacBook Pro. Did I want to upgrade? Short answer, no. But the need to be able to resize images, name files and the like forced my hand. But it occurred to me as I was finally able to download Photoshop 2020, that simply having that tool, would have saved me many afternoons and countless hours of frustration trying to prepare a mere handful of images on my 2004 version. That program was a sinking ship that I refused to leave a couple of years ago as it began taking on water. But to do that, meant I had to buy a brand new computer because the old one simply would no longer support these bigger and more elaborate programs. Innovations and progress…
I got to thinking about how hard we try to stick to our guns, stay in that safe place, try to outsmart the system and build hacks to work around the inevitable. It reminds me of a place in the rural country here, where a tiny adobe got too small, so a worn out RV was attached by a breezeway connecting the two. Soon there was a room built of 2x4’s and pro panel added to the front of the little adobe. You get the picture. All the time and effort and money here and there, maybe a do over would have been the answer long ago so save the frustration and heartache.
Our world, where our artwork is concerned, is a reflection of technology, life and hardheadedness. We keep doing the same things and wonder why we are stuck. To often, we fail to elevate our art. We save money buying student grade materials and get our frames from the cheapest source or buy inconsistent frame styles just for the sake of getting them into a frame. I can tell you, in no uncertain terms, people read your opinion of your own work loud and clear when they see how you treat it. We think, well, why should I spend all this money on frames! People should just look at the art and if they like it, buy it and reframe it themselves! Not my problem!
I recently held a workshop and we talked about these very things. I emphasized that even when participating in a plein air event, how you dress up your work to go to the party DOES matter. It matters to many judges that the framing compliments the work whether we agree with that or not. And if there is an opening, your work is judged by the public with their eyes. An immediate gravitation toward the painting or away is a result of the overall effect of the package the painting is in. A lot of folks simply cannot or do not separate the two because the framed work is one overarching statement.
So, as you get more experience at events, you need to start thinking about stepping up your game if you expect to move forward. Maybe you say, my work is better than ever, why aren’t people buying, or noticing it? It’s easy to blame the event, the economy etc. But if your presentation still echoes of your first show, you may want to look at how your have honored your improvement. The same is true with trying to save a dollar here and there by buying the cheaper brushes or paint. Better bones really do build better paintings.
I hope everyone has a great February, and that you will be thinking of ways to step up your game no matter what station in your career you are. We work hard to bring beauty into the world and prepare it to share. Be sure it is presented in its best light. And remember, every painting that we deem good enough to put out into the arena, represents YOU. So before it goes out there, ask yourself, am I proud to have this painting speak for me? Because like it or not, it does. Let go of a couple of old ideas, and make room for the new. Now off the soapbox, and to the easel!