Tuesday, June 15, 2010

After the Studio Stroll

We finished getting the studio spruced up in time for the Studio Stroll. Here's how it looked on Saturday ... now go back and look at the "tornado hit a flea market" photo from last week. Quite a difference, huh? Notice the shiny wood floors. Notice the carefully arranged furniture and the freshly painted walls. Notice the crowds of visitors.

Okay, so there weren't hordes of people jammed into the studio all the time. We had a good number of visitors overall. They tended to come in waves: no visitors at all for a while, then 20 would show up. I had some good conversations with new visitors on both days. Some artists sell lots of work (some make thousands of dollars during a Stroll), but I rarely sell anything. My work just isn't oriented that way. Instead, I treat the Stroll as an advertising session, to show people what art can be and what I can do.

The Stroll brought in some old friends, which was really cool. Some were local artists: Margaret Nodine, Julyan Davis, Claire Simpson Jones, and Cindy Walton. I got to meet a friend of a friend from high school, and then an old friend of mine from college showed up. I hadn't seen him in 37 years! It was really cool

Oil on canvas, 60"x60"

While sitting in the studio over the weekend, a couple of things became very clear to me. The most important is that I need to have all new work on display at the Stroll in November. While Lament and Warrior are very powerful pieces, they've been in too many Strolls now. When I go into the studio tomorrow, I'm going to wrap them up and put them away for a while. Another thing is that my new works need to be as good as, or better than, Warrior - technically, compositionally, and conceptually. And since Warrior is probably the best painting I've ever done, I just set myself a pretty high bar: to do a bunch of new paintings within the next 5 months that are as good as, or better than, my best work so far.

I still don't know what my subject matter will be. I've got some ideas, but I need to just do some exercises first and get used to the act of painting. The subject matter will come when I'm ready. I've been thinking that I have a few paintings to do about Iraq, but really not that many. That stage of my life is behind me now and I don't want to live in the past. So I'm thinking that I'll wrap up the unfinished business from Iraq and then move on to something new. Whatever that is.

So. Tomorrow I'll be back in the studio. I need to convert it from a showroom to a working studio again, and I need to start slingin' paint. Some poor defenseless canvas is gonna die a messy death tomorrow. I can't wait!

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