Posts Tagged ‘photograph’

Wishing my babies farewell

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

I’ve been asked if it’s hard to give up my paintings when I sell them. Like anything in which I’ve invested time, energy, and focus, yes, I have to admit that sometimes it is hard to let go. But much as a cook takes pride and pleasure in sharing a meal that has been carefully prepared, I take pride and pleasure in other people’s enjoyment of what I have produced in my studio.

When someone tells me how a piece they bought is being used, or shows me how it has been framed and where it is displayed, it reinforces my satisfaction in the sale. It’s like seeing a gift put to good use, an affirmation that my work is appreciated and enjoyed.

Particularly with pet portraits like those in the Animal Gallery, because I’ve been able to capture the animal’s personality, the buyer’s friends may comes to me to have portraits done of their own pets. That’s exciting to me because, once again, it’s an affirmation that my work has provided something satisfying and unique that pet owners appreciate.

I keep photographs of most of my pieces for my own records so I can look back through them to remember what I’ve done, evaluate how my style has developed over time, and recognize how my work has matured. As in most houses, the wall space in our house is too limited to even attempt to hang all my paintings. Rather than stacking finished pieces away forever in some dark closet, I would much rather see them into the appreciative hands (and onto the walls) of an admirer.

The paintings that are most difficult to give up are those I like the best, those I’m most satisfied with. Unless I have painted them with a specific site in mind to display in my own home, I’ve decided that those are the ones that most have to go. That is my best work. Those are the pieces I most want to go out into the world. Like a proud parent, I’m both sad and happy when my babies leave the nest. Sometimes it’s hard to let go, but, as in parenting, the whole idea in creating paintings is ultimately to send them off into the real world outside the studio.

Any income from sales, at this point, goes right back into supplies, lessons, and materials to help me continue to progress, produce, and sell even more.

Visit again on the 15th for “Just my style, Part 2.”

The Universality of an Icon

Sunday, August 15th, 2010

Down the Spiral Stair

The Cottage has been in our family for almost 100 years, and is now sheltering its seventh generation.  Over the years, innumerable photographs have been taken of the rustic house, the area, and the activities various family members and friends have participated in.  Some places, scenes, and activities have become iconic.  Some are so often photographed that it becomes difficult to identify any of the resulting pictures with either a date or a specific photographer.

I challenged myself this summer to look for new ways to feature both its universality and its icons in my paintings.

The family gathers there, certainly, to keep in touch with one another, to renew old friendships and develop new relationships with more recent family members.  But we go there also for the reminiscence, to revisit our history and remember our roots.  We go to reconnect with ourselves and our beginnings, revisiting our youth through the young people frolicking as we once did, and to accept our changing position as we find ourselves joining the ranks of the older generations.

The painting “Down the Spiral Stair” (#100803) depicts not only a unique feature of our family home but represents a universality, as well, as we glimpse the twisting route most of our lives take.  It’s both a link and path between what we’ve come from and where we’re going.  As children, we may press our faces to the posts at the top and peer down, wondering where those steps will lead.  We proceed step by step through life, trusting in the old traditions, like a well worn banister, to guide and steady us.  The banister is pieced together of several strips of wood, just as our clans are blends of a variety of families and backgrounds, with spouses and adopted children grafted in to become one with the rest.

There are dark corners where the dust collects, and mementoes that those who have gone before us have acquired and personalized along the way.  What else will we find along the way?  What traces will we leave behind us?  What new discoveries will we make once we navigate that final step?