Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Try, Try Again

Years ago, last time I was working as a full-time artist, I applied to exhibit at @Central Gallery, at the Burton Barr Central Library in downtown Phoenix, several times. Applying to various shows is part of an artists' work. It actually costs money to apply to almost all exhibits. The fees are usually about $15 to $25 per entry of anywhere from 1 - more images, depending. So not only do you risk rejection, but you have to pay for it! It's important to get into shows because it's exposure for your work, it might generate sales, it's good for a resume, it builds credibility.

In the case of the @Central Gallery submissions, way back in the mid 1990's my work wasn't chosen. It's always hard to be rejected. But as an artist, you have to be able to move on, keep making your work and keep trying. Since then for 12 years or so, I was occupied by going back to school to get my teacher certification, and then spent 10 years teaching art full time. During that time, I continued to make my work when possible, and created a fairly steady, albeit slow, output of work.

Since the move to Ajo, and my commitment to working full time as an artist, as expected, my body of paintings has been growing. So I took a stab at the @Central Gallery again. It's a wonderful space, I always love the shows there, and the gallery gets lots of traffic . My hope was that maybe this time I'd get a piece into an exhibit.

Yesterday I got a call from the Gallery Coordinator, Prudence Crosswhite, asking me if I'd like to do a solo show! What an honor. How exciting! What a lot of work I get to do to prepare for this show. I'd better head up to my studio right now and see what I can accomplish.

By the way, the painting posted above is from the Nooks and Crannies series, part of my upcoming show. When I get the schedule, I'll post it. All I know right now is that the exhibit will be happening sometime between July and November.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

In the Public Eye

Granted, the population of the town of Ajo is small. A total of around 2,000 in the summer and 4,000 in the winter. The public eye may be microscopic, but this makes it a great testing ground for me. In the last week I put myself in front of the public several times.

While I've done a great deal of public speaking in my life, I must admit, I've never formally talked about my own work. I was invited to do a talk at the local library and found it was a great exercise in pulling some of my thoughts about my work together. After the talk, listeners were invited to my studio. Then, last Saturday, as a part of a community meeting about the future of the Plaza (where my space is located), there was a tour which included my studio. This was another opportunity to talk to people about my work. The photos you see here are of the event. They were taken by photographer, friend and neighbor, Jewel Clearwater. Many thanks to Jewel!

Also, yesterday, I invited the students in the Las Artes GED class up to my studio. Their interest was refreshing, and their questions were completely different than those of my previous visitors.

All of these experiences made me realize that I need to work on the way in which I talk about my work. More on this later.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Giving back

This is another painting in my new series "Nooks and Crannies". This odd corner in the Phoenix Art Museum struck my eye. What attracted me was the radiant blue opening with the exit sign glowing and the empty chair, along with the reflections in the floor. To me, it is a mysterious and lonely spot.

This week I'm helping a friend with a workshop and also giving a talk entitled "Magic, Drudgery and Technology" at the local library. In addition, I'm meeting with the teacher of Las Artes GED class to talk about resuming my weekly volunteer art classes with her group. That's why I called this blog Giving Back. Generally, I find that in doing something for friends or community, I get back more than I give. For example, this morning I spent some time with a group of quilters talking about space and different ways to give an illustion of space to a flat surface. It was great fun and so gratifying to share what I know with them. Yeah me!