Wednesday, January 18, 2017

3 and 1

3 and 1

All of a sudden, the show season is starting. Every year, it seems to come as a surprise. My shows generally stop in October or early November, and then I have six or eight weeks to rest, to paint, to reconsider my booth, make applications to shows - and celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas, too.

At the start, it feels like I have a luxury of time, a huge expanse in which to imagine, experiment, discover. Time to try things, to work on projects, to devote myself to learning and growing - and to sleep, and rest, and not stress about anything.

Then, suddenly, it's time to start again! Such a surprise! And a good surprise, in a way. I do enjoy doing the shows, meeting the people, talking about art and life and all the other things I end up talking about with people at shows. But I always miss home, my little family, our little house in our little town.

My goal this year, my aim, is to do fewer shows, and earn more at them. Make better paintings and figure out better ways to earn this living. I have some ideas, and will spin them out here over the next few weeks and months - and I would love to hear your ideas! Nothing is too crazy, no idea too wild.

Meantime, that first show is the Englewood Bank & Trust Invitational Art Festival, Jan. 28-29, in Englewood, Florida. After that, I drive to Tubac, Arizona, to visit my dad and stepmother, and take place in the Tubac Festival of the Arts, Feb. 8-12.

A friend and fellow artist told me about his visit to the Katonah (NY) Museum of Art, and drawings he saw there by Matisse. I needed to know more, so looked them up, and found this photograph of Matisse, drawing with a pole. Pretty fascinating! 

Dog of the Day

It's Doc, who had the most stressful weekend of his short life this past weekend. Our daughter Erika came for a visit with Benny, one of her dogs. Benny, Doc and Lulu began their lives together, at the home of our friend Christine, a wonderful woman and animal fosterer, who is also our dog pusher (Abby, Koko, Doc and Lulu all came from Christine). 

Well, Doc and Benny and Lulu didn't remember each other, though I'd thought they might. More than that, they absolutely despised each other, especially the boys. 

When they met, we had Doc on a leash, and he was crazed with hostility, anger and fear. He snarled and barked and growled, slavered and lunged and pulled - he looked like a hyena, he was so full of primitive drive. 

After a night and morning of witnessing this terrible attacking behavior, we took the advice of our friend Cynthia and let Doc and Benny out in the yard together, without leashes. It was absolutely horrifying, with Doc attacking Benny and pushing him back, and then Benny coming at Doc and pushing him back, and all the while, they were barking and kayyaying and snarling and snapping their jaws. The hair on Doc's whole body was standing on end, making him look like he weighed far more than his 34 pounds, and was terribly ferocious. 

In spite of the horrible noise and behavior, there was no bloodshed, and after about 20 minutes, they just sort of relented. There were flare-ups when the other dogs came out, and the next morning, when Doc and Lulu had apparently forgotten that Benny was still here, but the horrible, primitive, ferocious fighting was over. By the end of the visit, they were even beginning to play. 

So Doc has truly earned his Dog of the Day designation - and Benny has, too! 

A Final Thought

"...expectations based on the work itself are the most useful tool the artist possesses. What you need to know about the next piece is contained in the last piece. The place to learn about your materials is in the last use of your materials. The place to learn about your execution is in your execution. The best information about what you love is in your last contact with what you love. Put simply, your work is your guide: a complete, comprehensive, limitless reference book on your work. ... The lessons you are meant to learn are in your work. To see them, you need only look at the work clearly - without judgment, without need or fear, without wishes or hopes. Without emotional expectation. Ask your work what it needs, not what you need." 

- David Bayles and Ted Orland
"Art & Fear / Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking"

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