Friday, February 5, 2010
The Importance of Being Earnest
Well, I am finally making some progress with the jpegs of the work I did while in Vermont. The 'Black Paintings' and the 'People You Know' jpegs are finished and I am still working on the large abstracted landscapes. All of the work I did there is proving to be VERY challenging to photograph and I have had to try a few different, and increasingly more complicated set ups in order to get good enough images to format. Bleh, just the kind of crap I hate doing and need an assistant for. heh. Also, I normally document the batches of work as I finish, usually about 5 to 7 paintings at a time and it turns out that doing 37 all at once is very confusing! Deciding how to title them is maybe the worst part of it and frankly I am taking the easy way out on some them. Numbers, baby!
Anyway, I have 14 more to do (see above, while on display in my studio at VSC), so it will be a few more days. I could post about the other projects, but the first paintings I did at the residency were the abstracted landscapes and everything else kind of flowed from those so it seems like I should go in order.
In the meantime, I will blather on about what a great experience doing this residency was. As regular readers here may know, my work has been in flux for the last year or so; I have been trying to avoid totally burning out on the landscapes and barns which account for most of my sales and exhibition opportunities, yet all that has slowed down too, due to the economy. Having extra time to work on other directions has been good and I have tried to take advantage of that but personal issues and my lack of focus and energy have hindered my ability to make much progress. So I have not been pursuing exhibition opportunities because I haven't felt like I really have a strong enough new body of work yet, and I haven't wanted to get new representation based on the landscapes/barns because I don't want to do as many as I have done in the past. So I have been a bit stuck, shall we say.....
However, going to Vermont definitely unstuck me. Having hours and hours and days and weeks of uninterrupted studio time really helped me regain my focus and also my studio work habits. No Facebook (well ok, just a little, but it was very limited), no having to run out and pick up one or more kids, no cooking, shopping, chores, no dogs to let out, no chickens to feed, losing all those distractions for a month was what I really needed. Not that I hate doing those things, in fact I love ALL the aspects of my busy life, but I really needed this time away to focus on developing new work. And I was SO proud that I was able to do that. Sometimes having NO limitations can lead me to flounder, but I had my list of projects that I wanted to pursue and I did it. I worked in my studio every single day that I was there. I was so intent on accomplishing everything I set out to do that I spent one of the last few days seriously annoyed with myself for not getting the last painting finished. Yes, crazy, I know.
It was wonderful to be immersed in art as well. There were so many activities planned for us, such as visiting writer and artist talks, resident slide/jpeg night, resident writer readings, open studio nights. All of these events were optional but I attended everything since those are the sorts of things that are really lacking in my real life. So it all just fed into my studio work even if it took time away from it too.
And having feedback from others was also extremely valuable. The visiting artists were very encouraging and constructive and I also received good feedback and observations from other residents, especially JT Kirkland, Nicole McCormick Santiago and Matthew McConville. I had planned to be more social in Vermont (chatty girl that I am) but after a few days I realized that I wanted to be in a serious work mode and pretty much decided to keep my social life limited to mealtimes. Ok, some of those meals may have turned out to be two hours long but whatever. Living and working closely with so many other people can be pretty intense and I did go out a few times, but mostly ended up keeping to myself in the evenings, catching up on my emails and Facebook and working on sketches. It was a good balance, I think, because I still managed to make some very good friends. I will talk more about my lovely new painter and writer friends in a future post.
So now I need to keep the momentum going and I actually have much to do in the coming weeks, all as a result of this one month residency. I have paintings to finish, a website to update, people and galleries to contact, and best of all? New work to continue to develop and explore AND the energy and interest to do so!
Oh and I am totally applying for another residency in Vermont too. Next deadline is February 15th;)