Cattle at Dawn
Artists have faced their share of obstacles since the latter half of 2007. At this point the details of those obstacles don’t matter. What does is how your work is developing as a result of the challenge.
In 2008 I ceased painting anything larger than 8x10”. It was a relief. That relief made me realize I should allow myself to be, formally and without guilt, a painter of small works. Exclusively. Permission to do what one does best and loves most is a gift.
Galleries and collectors like the flat, glarey plein air frames, so that was how I framed. I never liked them. They looked harsh. A couple months ago I revolted, buying French Baroque frames for the 5x7” paintings. The result is a luxurious pairing of my soft traditional style with an ornate frame.
Moving from an expansive home and studio on a sprawling half acre to a compact apartment with no garage meant I could no longer cut and prepare my own panels. I am now experimenting with different commercially made surfaces that require changing the way I paint. I needed that change more than I realized.
I am reintroducing an old favorite color, Naples Yellow, that I abandoned twenty years ago because I could mix variations of it from other colors. With early-stage cataracts disrupting my color perception, I’ve just returned Naples to my palette. Reducing the use of Cadmium Yellow by reintroducing Naples should help keep my colors in the desired muted range.
Three years ago I considered never painting again. I’m really glad I plodded on. From every compromise I rediscovered value and quality. From every self-help book and class I actually did gain some insight into why I should continue as an artist. It takes time, sometimes lots of it, for those benefits to be realized.
Obstacles have to be dealt with realistically: If you need income and art is not providing it, get a paying job. But find a way to keep your hand and mind in art, even if it only means teaching art to your children who are probably not getting it in school. The point is, whether your art world is contracting or expanding, your creative brain is learning from the experience.