Monday, January 3, 2011

Catch Up, or is it Ketchup?

Landscape Study, #305, 6"x4", Oil on Panel, 2010

I ignored almost all things art in the last few weeks and it was lovely. It's not like I have been terribly busy in the studio this last year or anything, but the shifts in my business in the last few years have made me think (and stress) much more about where I am going with it all, which has really affected my mindset in the studio. Sometimes I find myself longing for the first few years when I started painting again after taking a decade off to raise babies; I just painted and painted trying desperately to catch up and while there was some thinking and plotting about the future, mostly I was just immersed in the process of painting again.

Things are different now, however. I have a teeny tiny toehold in the art world, including gallery representation, collectors and some very minimal attention, but now I want more and I have been feeling overwhelmed about how to advance. Especially since none of the things I did at first (like cold calling galleries) are working. Having different bodies of work now seems to confuse the matter, for me and for those who I contact.


I came to no profound conclusions during the last few weeks while I was super busy cooking meals, baking cookies, cleaning the house, playing scrabble with the kids, reading, and obsessing about getting a complex jigsaw put together. Well, except that I realized that I really need to get back to immersion in the making art part, which is something that I had already suspected. I HAVE decided though, that I must have faith that if I do that again, the other parts will move forward and more exhibition opportunities will come my way. All along I have been sending out my info and applying for things, etc. and will continue to keep that up, but holy cow, I really gotta paint! It keeps me from getting overly crazy, heh.

This break has helped though, as did viewing a group of portraits by John Singer Sargent at The Fenimore Art Museum. A new art book of drawings by Willem deKooning (thanks Doug!) also inspires and so does laying out my studio schedule for the coming year. I am finally yearning to paint again.

Anyway, more about my schedule later, and all this immersion stuff will have to start tomorrow; my studio is a wreck and today is a 'ketchup' day........


stitcher in the straw said...

From the inspirational blog for creative types "The Business of Being Creative".

"The point of your planning for 2011 is not to decide how to be incrementally better, it is to make you, your art and your creative business indispensible for what is to come."

Anonymous said...

I think you are absolutely right that there is nothing to beat immersion and making, and it is easy to kid ourselves that we are doing all we need to make progress by busily networking, marketing, and approaching galleries. But it is a real challenge to maintain momentum through holidays etc., surrounded by family responsibilities. I am determined this year to organise myself sufficiently to 1. create time to make, and 2. to seize those times and actually do something with them!
All the best for 2011!

Elaine Mari said...

thanks for this post Tracy, I really appreciate hearing about your process. I took a week out of the studio over Christmas and it felt right. Now I have to get back in here and start again, but I cleared my head and my heart from the pressing feeling of 'no time, no time' (which was taking over) by throwing caution to the wind and taking time. That's what I want to bring back into the studio now, the feeling of taking time.

Denise Rose said...

Sounds like a plan to me! I am also planning more painting this year and have been working on my studio the last couple of weeks so I can paint. Thanks for the encouraging post!

lochinvarwelsh said...

I am new to your blog and enjoying it very much. I have quit using the word "work" in regards to my art. It isn't art WORK -- it's a painting, or drawing. I'm not going into my studio to WORK, I'm going in to create or paint or play! I make art. I create art. I have used that word WORK too much for something that I love and I think subconsciously it gets in the way when I say things like: I have to go work in my studio. I need to do some artwork. Maybe it's silly semantics but it's seemed to help. Will look forward to further posts.

Tracy Helgeson said...

Good quote, AlemanMoore, thanks!

Yes, Gillian, very tough to keep up the momentum when there are so many distractions and I admit to letting the distractions take me over a bit in the last year (I blame facebook;)) but I miss the immersion so I plan to do better this year.

Elaine, thanks and you are right, taking the time to create and also taking some time away from creating is so important to so many of us! Good luck!

Denise, looking forward to seeing what you will be up to in your studio this year!

Lochinvarwelsh, i totally understand your point about not using the work in reference to making art, and certainly that it can seem like a negative. But to me it doesn't feel like a negative, I just consider it what I do, work. And since I enjoy work, need to work and love to do my work, using that word to describe it feels right.

Mark Nesmith said...

Thanks for sharing this Tracy. I've been out of the art world for several years (after having a small amount of success in a few galleries), and I've just now gotten back in the flow of painting again. Taking on the task of marketing myself, particularly in this economic climate, seems daunting. I enjoy your work and appreciate you sharing your successes and near misses with everyone. It gives me some hope ....