Monday, May 9, 2011

This Will Be Fine, Right?????

White House, 10"x8" Oil on Panel, 2011

After frittering away quite a lot of days lately I am finally getting down to business but omg, why must I always procrastinate???? SO much work to do in the garden, which can't really be put off, and also I have a number of exhibits to prepare for in the coming months. Mostly a few group shows but they all involve me having to develop some new (for me) subject matter so some extra time and energy will be necessary.

However, one event that is coming up will need even more that that. One of the first places I showed my landscapes years ago was at a local nonprofit gallery, The Smithy-Pioneer Gallery. I have been included in their member group shows each summer (it's a seasonal gallery), have had a solo show and they can also take credit for getting my name listed in the Art in America's Annual Guide which I admit to being totally giddy about.

A few months ago, the new director contacted me and asked if I would like to be part of an exhibition called "Rural" that will be up during the month of August. I said yes, even though my exhibition schedule for 2011 was already getting a bit hectic and even though I usually try not to participate in anything bigger than a group show in August and September. I have learned from experience that it is really difficult to prepare for anything big while the kids are home during the summer, however, lately it is seeming like a bad idea to turn down any good opportunities. But I also paused when I heard who else would be exhibiting simultaneously.

But let me back up a bit first. The Smithy is the oldest building in Cooperstown. It has three floors, each with varying kinds of gallery space. The first floor is at street level and is the original part of the building, it's very rustic; stone walls, forges, anvils, and tools remain from its original use as a blacksmith shop. The second floor is where the member group show is held each summer, in addition to a small room that features a solo show each month. I had a solo there in the summer of 2008. And the third floor is a large open space, which usually features one or two artists and often has a particular theme, often historical. This is the space I will be sharing with Nancy Samstein. The member group show and solo show by Michael Whaling will be on the second floor and Wolf Kahn will be showing on the first floor.

Yes. You read that right.

THE Wolf Kahn. Monotypes, and maybe a few oil paintings. This is all exciting and everything but I must admit to being a bit intimidated as well. Over the years, people have often told me that my work reminds them of Wolf Kahn's and while flattering, I have never been quite comfortable with that, especially since I wasn't really aware of his work when I began my whole landscape/barn/color thing in 2003. (I wrote about that here and also wrote about meeting him" last year.) However, I feel now that even though our subject matter is still similar, the point of where my work has crisscrossed with his has passed. I was still concerned about being in such close proximity though and also about inundating viewers with barns and fields and tree lines, and I considered fast tracking a vegetable series I have going (more about that another time) so I could show those instead. But Doug assured me that my work has shifted away from his and it is true, I see that and I also hear FAR less feedback lately that includes his name in it;) So I am going to do some new work for this show, pursue the darker palette I have been using lately and also include more head on barn imagery like House, shown above, instead of the more angled views of structures I usually do. I think these are just a few of the shifts in my work that have distanced mine from his. Phew;)

So mostly I am pretty excited about this, but I still plan to stress a bit as well, which will ensure that things will be fine. Right?

PS. No word on whether Mr. Kahn will actually be at the opening reception. Please do NOT get me started on how much I will be stressing about that if he does attend. Heh.

PPS. I just realized that I really should have added here that I LOVE Wolf Kahn's work. It took awhile but I was finally able to see his oil paintings in person and they were simply stunning, so much better than any of the reproductions. I guess that is another reason why having my work in the vicinity of his is intimidating to me, I can't compete!!!!!


Kim Morin Weineck said...

Tracy, THIS IS WONDERFUL news! I am so excited for you, but, more importantly: YES. This will be fine!!

SamArtDog said...

Always glad to see another post from you. So reading along... reading along... enjoying... laughing... reading along... OH!... GASP! WK??!!! That's it.. I'll finish reading later. Now I'm going to eat lunch and be amazed.

Wow. THE WK???

Tracy Helgeson said...

Thanks Kim, I appreciate the much needed assurance! SamArtDog, yes, the WK, pretty exciting but now I am fraught with insecurities;) Was even pondering bailing on the rural theme and putting up some portraits!

SamArtDog said...

We are ALL influenced by WK. And none of us could touch him if we tried. Besides, he's all about painting landscapes without painting landscapes. Alchemy. Your magic is your own.

word verif.... "alarmer". Don't be one.

Art Matters said...

Well done to be exhibiting with such illustrious artists.
I am sure it will be a great success.

Randall said...

Wow, very exciting. Best of luck!

Making A Mark said...

Many congrats and well done Tracy - what's a few joists and floorboards between artists?

Your art is your own - do NOT worry! You're a good complement for his work and those interested in his work. Accept the compliment they're paying you by asking you exhibit at the same time

I'm now going to tell THE WHOLE WORLD next Sunday that you and Wolf Kahn are getting it on! ;)

Have you got a nice painting for me for the feature image for "who's made a mark this week?" for the 15th?

Martha Marshall said...

Well if he does come for the opening, he will love your work. I promise!

Congratulations Tracy!!

Tracy Helgeson said...

Thanks Carol, I hope so!

Thanks Randall!

And thanks Katherine! SO looking forward to THAT announcement, please keep it PG though, k????? Hhehee. Visit the FB album of my recent show and pick an image that you'd like to use the White House might be a good one, it was on the show card and sold right away. I can send you a jpeg if necessary.

Ann Knickerbocker said...

Don't be afraid ... It is a wonderful opportunity. Virginia Woolf said (I think in A Room of One's Own) that literature is filled with the discarded manuscripts of people (women) who minded too much about the opinions of other people. If you love it, it will be just fine. Just do what you love. And have the confidence to know it will all be FINE.

Almira Hill Grammer said...

Congratulations on sharing space with Wolf Kahn. Two of my favorite artists showing together--cool! I wish I could be there.

Happy Little Trees Studio said...

Oh my gosh!!!!! Of course you had to do this show! OH my gosh!! Congrats!! :)

patty a. said...

Love the White House painting. Don't seel yourself short. Your work is lovely and I enoy the piece I own.

Anonymous said...


Casey Klahn said...

I heard a rumor that Wolf Kahn is going to attend, and that he's bringing Donny Osmond with him.

I love that you are doing this exhibit. Wow. And, you were thought of by the gallery owner, which is a nice compliment, huh?

Many sales for you, I wish.

magpie said...

emphatically YES it will be BETTER than alright.

Making A Mark said...

Hi Tracy - I've just come across something you might find very interesting - it's the man himself talking about being a painter of landscapes and his development as an artist