Accidental Painting #1
I've been working hard on portraits, very demanding and focused work that I love. But after a couple of these I feel the need to break out. I, actually, am always moving to breaking out. Taking the painting further and further into automatic responsiveness. Today I spent a lot of time just fooling around, slapping paint onto various surfaces for a while then losing everything to chaos and dumping it in the garbage. Then I hit on my old friend vellum. I like to work with vellum and ink and paint and graphite etc. Today I experimented with just acrylic paint. I painted it on till I didn't want to do it any more then I tore it up by folding it in 8ths and then tearing it further to find some smaller rectangles. I chose small rectangles and laid them on top of selected larger rectangles. Voila, accidental paintings!
January 2009, I started painting portraits and landscapes from photos I took. For a few years before that I had been making drawings with text and mixed media work based in my experience of the housing crisis here in Vancouver and other of life's tests and trials. I had a solo show titled "Building for a Better Tomorrow". That was fabulous. But, that line of questioning was played out and I wanted to go back to painting for love. I wanted to leave irony and the sardonic behind.
In 2009, I started slowly and haltingly to paint but managed to get a number of commissions at that time and through 2010 I took some painting courses and asked for some help from painters I knew and respected in the form of studio visits and tutorials that I paid for. My painting got better. I made a few dollars from it both years.
In February 2010 I left my day job behind, lived off my savings, in order to spend more time in the studio for a while at least. By the end of 2010 I had produced quite a number of landscapes some of which were very good.
In 2011 I developed the landscapes further and focused more on the experience of painting and on painterly concerns rather than reproducing what I saw. I began to paint small paintings en plein air. I started a blog for selling small work, a newsletter to communicate with people who said they liked my work, then an Etsy shop. I made a number of sales through these three mediums and sold some larger work too because of the whole connection network through the blog, Facebook and my newsletter. In 2011 I had some work selected for an auction and in early 2012 participated, with 3 works, in a large group show. Sales were extremely modest though and 2012 is already showing more promise.
But, all the work is small and the prices are low. I love to work small and also want to challenge myself with larger work. Now and then I'm compelled to work on figurative work. I'm trying to bring this all together somehow. The figurative painting posted about here recently brought me to a point of wanting to "break out". I feel I have done this with plein air painting. It just flows sometimes now. There is some sense of a need to integrate figures, into the landscape and to move more and more to abstraction. Not really sure yet.
I have to recognize something I don't want to recognize, and that is that the work I want to do and the speed at which I work means, little money will come from making art. There is a lot of talk about the internets around marketing work, selling work, making a living from your work. This happens for some people, who make work I respect, but not many. All the same I will keep on truckin on that front. Cause, I don't quit easily, ya know.
Right now, I am concerned with all the time taken up with marketing, and admin, my part-time work for money (all done from home, so far). I feel in a bit of a confused blur at the moment. September is looming. September is my latest deadline to start worrying about finding a source of more money to get me through financially. Meantime I will take two painting road trips one at the end of the month and one in September. That will stoke me up to deal with whatever is coming.