Sunday, January 15, 2017

Art Show lessons learned #1

Welcome.  I hope, through sharing my writings and paintings, that I can share even a small fraction of the passion and enjoyment that observing and painting the landscape bring to me.  If you have comments, critiques, suggestions or ideas of places to explore and paint please let me know.

I still have so much to learn and if my lessons learned so far (likely as often what to avoid rather than what to do) can help anyone else along the path - so much the better.  I've also met so many wonderful people along this journey, both famous and not, all connected by the love of art.

Here is one of three of my charcoal drawings that was accepted for a juried exhibition "Black and White" at the River Arts Gallery in Damriscotta Maine.  But this isn't the art show or the drawing that I'll be discussing in this post.

Sharing involves risk.

The first time I decided to share my paintings publically in an art show was an experience I'll not soon forget.  I was so enthused - that no one could have talked me out of it.  No one could have convinced me that I wasn't ready for the experience.

Until the person across from me came to set up for the day.  Breathtaking portraits and landscapes seemed determined to leap off of the canvases which barely contained them.  There was a crowd around his booth all day.

My work garnered little, if any, interest.  Some casual visitors to the booth outside of family and friends.

Then it happened.  Two people came back with others in tow to share with eachother their feelings that two of my paintings had triggered in them.

One painting was a sunset / landscape completed after a camping trip to Tumbledown Mountain in Maine.  It was a small watercolor.  A gentleman came back with his wife, another artist in the show, and they both simply stared at the painting for quite awhile.  Feeling self conscious I felt the need to make conversation and clearly indicate that I fully realized just how far I had to go as an artist before I showed my work again.

They both shook their heads no.  He pointed at the painting and said "You've got it with that one.  I can feel it."  He said other complimentary things that I can't remember - as I was in shock. Someone liked my work?

The painting above was an attempt to capture the colors and mood of a sunset during a camping trip to Tumbledown Mountain.

The other painting (see below) was a monochrome acrylic based on the riverside mills of my then hometown, Westbrook, Maine.  Two sisters stood and talked with one another about how the painting reminded them of thier childhood home in Massachusetts.

The paintings could not have been any more different in medium, color, or mood.  What they did have in common was they were based on my own direct observations of nature and the feelings those experiences evoked in me.

I learned a lot as a result of that first show.

Many practical lessons about framing and showing work - all important but not really the most important lesson learned.

I was exhausted and encouraged.  By putting my work "out there"  I had managed, in a very very small way, to communicate and to connect with others through my art.

That's a journey I've been on ever since.

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