Storm Over Eagle Nest
Oil on canvas, 6x12
The other day, an artist friend focusing on 2014 shows asked me whether I'd made the shift from wall-to-wall-paint pieces to minimal pieces.
I said I hadn't, not really, and when this artist asked why, I had answers, but I was really hemming and hawing, and my friend picked up on it. And challenged me.
If I didn't have the nerve to commit to an entire tent, an entire display of minimalist paintings, this artist said, I was not going to find success with them.
When we stopped talking, I'll tell you, I was mad and I was hurt. This was not the first time that this person had challenged me. During the summer, when I was in New England for six weeks, doing a series of shows and visiting friends and family, this artist had suggested that instead of doing so much visiting, I should be doing more painting. Should be more disciplined, more productive.
Both times, I felt like snapping back: I didn't ask for your opinion. I don't tell you how to do your work. I would never suggest changes to your display, or to your art.
But I didn't say any of that, and after my flash of anger subsided, I was able to see the truth behind the challenges.
Yes, this summer I could have done more paintings. I could have been more disciplined.
Right now, yes, I don't have the courage to commit fully to the minimalist paintings. They come with problems I don't know how to solve yet, and a market I don't know how to find.
But I can make inroads. I can initiate evolution. I do have the courage for that.
Would you challenge a friend the way this artist challenged me? How have you handled being challenged by people who, while they are friends, are not your close friends or family?
Take a look at his ears. In each one, you can see the face of a woman. Right? Spooky!
THE CALIFORNIA CALLING trip is shaping up! I've been juried into three good-looking shows, and I'm quite excited.
The Southwest Arts Festival, in Indio, California, runs from Jan. 23-25. I will stay in California and paint for a week or so after the show, then head to my Dad's house in Tubac, where I'm in the Tubac Arts Festival from Feb. 5-9. I'll paint in Tubac, and, I hope, conduct a couple workshops there, then head home at the end of the month, after participating in the Rio Grande Arts Festival in Albuquerque.