Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Next Figure Painting

 This is the latest effort with my new passion of doing figures.  I've started a new one, but already I have lost interest in it, and will probably paint over it.  I've already painted that canvas three different times, so I better pick a subject that can stand a very heavy background.

I read an article in the paper this morning about a new gallery in Bangor.  All the members are people I know, and I was hit with an unsettling pang of something like jealousy, or regret.  I am very uneasy when I see my fellow Bangor artists expanding their careers.  Many of them have their own studios and participate in hundreds (or so it seems) art shows and events every year.  They are known in a fairly good-sized community, exhibit all over the state, sell paintings..........what one would have to call well-known local artists.  They are a clan to which I once belonged and still could if I hadn't come to Eastport, retreated into my solitary make-shift studio.  It takes me some time to remember why I did it, why I chose anonymity over that limited fame and even more limited fortune.  It gave me an identity that pleased me, especially when I was president of the local art society.  I was asked to speak at community events as well as art events, I judged art competitions, I did demonstrations at meetings of artists.  I was the voice of the art community.  I felt admired, or at least respected, as an artist.

It takes a day or two for me to remember why I did it...... to settle down and accept what I have done with myself.  It's a matter of who I want to please I suppose.  I chose admiration to reward my efforts, placing public approval above my own.  Validation by others is a large part of the creation of artwork for most small time artists, a group to which I belong.  When viewers are willing to turn over money for their paintings, they feel they have achieved a certain modicum of success.  It is this also that gains them favor and envy from their peers.  I gradually noticed that the pleasure from selling my work came from the fact that others were impressed instead of me.

Nevertheless it has taken me a long time to understand what I'm doing.  When I resigned as president of the Eastport Gallery I worried that I would have no identity at all.  Almost immediately, though, I was more comfortable with doing art.  The pressure of selling eliminated, I felt free.  I found out that I really did enjoy myself much more when I didn't have to think of exhibiting.  I also faced the fact that I didn't sell much work anyway, so I might as well do what I wanted rather than trying to guess what would please the public.  After a relatively short time, I was happy to find that my dreams of being free of commercialism were just as pleasing as I had imagined.  Most of the time I am well-satisfied with the choices I made concerning artwork.

But,then, there comes an article in the paper about the new gallery.  I have feelings I don't quite understand.  But they will pass.
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Anonymous said...

i love it, somewhat mysterious. i will always love your work. i think of you all the time. am just starting the process to move back to rockland. your creativity and energy continue to flow. thanks for your works. josie

Cheri Walton said...

My God! I think of you so often. It's exciting to think you may come back. Email