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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Commercial work vs. growth work

"Red Delicious"
Original Oil - 6x8"
Click here to bid

A common dilemma among professional artists is the need to produce commercial output and the desire to focus on growth as an artist. It seems that one almost always comes at the expense of the other when trying to merge them.

After several years of straddling the fence between the two, I have found what works best for me is to keep them entirely segregated. When I'm painting for a show, I focus on painting at my current skill level - no double gainers, cliff diving, or juggling balls of fire allowed. Taking chances mid-painting when I have a deadline adds unneeded pressure. I cut myself a lot of slack and don't do much second guessing. If the work is competent, it gets signed, and I get on with the next one.

On the other hand, when I am working from a model or doing still life, or any other kind of work where challenge and skill building are the key motivators, my bar goes way up, and I don't let myself off the hook for anything. The goal is to rise to the challenge or die trying, no excuses, no cop-outs, no fear. Failure is welcome here. That said, whining is frequent and ongoing.

In keeping the two camps separate, I find I can give myself fully to each one without conflict,  making me a happy painter and allowing me to perform to the best of my ability whichever roll I'm in.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

RayMar Art Painting Competition Finalist

"Lake O'Hara" (study)
Oil on linen - 8x10"
not for sale

This painting was just selected as a finalist in October's Raymar Art painting competition. I was a bit surprised as it looks sub-optimal on their website (seriously), but I have always loved this little field study, so I'm really happy it was chosen.

The most magical part of it was that little strip of torquoise, which wasn't initially painted in. I had just finished and was standing chatting with Sarah Kidner, my painting companion that day, when I looked up and saw the wind kissing the water at the far end of the lake, stirring up a little piece of color heaven. I quickly mixed it and laid it down in one stroke, and shazam! -  totally pulled the painting together. Awesome!

Thanks so much to this month's judge Scott Jones, general manager of the Legacy Gallery. Their website is well worth a look - they represent some really fabulous artists.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Upcoming Show

"Silver Basin"
Oil on Linen 8x10"

This is of one of the paintings I completed while heli-painting in the Bugaboos this September. I am currently painting a body of larger works inspired by my 100 in 100 project (and other plein air adventures) for a show at The Avens Gallery in Canmore, AB.

The show opens Saturday, December 18th, with me :) in attendance form 1-4pm. I would really love to see you there if you can make it!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Black and White show

"Snowy Egret"
Original oil - 8x10"
For purchase info click here

One of my galleries, The Artym Gallery in Invermere, BC recently asked their artists to create a painting using only black, white and one colour. The show opens on November 12th, and I'm sure it will include quite an interesting variety of approaches to the challenge.

My posting will be a little less frequent for the next month as I am painting for an upcoming solo show in mid-December. More on that next post, in the meantime, paint on friends!