Thursday, September 29, 2011

arms outstretched

I spent two days doing the Open Studios and the past three days stacking piles of wood. Then I slept ten hours to recover and am back in my studio catching up on things. The weekend was, as I described it to friends, a mixed bag, but that is to be expected. I've had some time to process all the various interactions I had with people, both positive and, well, not so positive. Not that I'm trying to keep my posts steadily upbeat, since the life of a working artist is all over the map, but I don't need to elaborate too much on the things that got under my skin. Something's always going to get under your skin when you literally open the door to your work and your space. I've only had the room for a couple of months, and it may only be a few more months, but for now it's mine, small as it is. As de Kooning said, "If I stretch my arms and wonder where my fingers are – that is all the space I need as a painter." While eventually I'll want more space than that (and he certainly procured much beyond that), it suits me well while I'm saving for the next thing, whether that be a future residency, travel, or paying off my student loan. Ideally I'll manage all three.
Ultimately, I had some good conversations, I got to visit other studios in town, always a challenge during the weekend but for me a way to feel connected to my community of artists. And I made some sales, actually, the best of the three years I've participated in this event. There weren't as many visitors to the building, but it's not about quantity. I saw some friends, I made a couple new ones, and the effects usually reverberate for some time after. It depletes my energy but it also replenishes.
The other day I ran into an illustrator/curator/educator friend, who has advised me and encouraged my work for nine years (a considerable chunk of my development), and who had a couple of opportunities up his sleeve for me. He will be curating a new gallery in Westchester and is offering me a slot for a solo show next spring or so. He also may engage me to teach at an arts center down the line. I've never formally taught (just a few workshops), but I think I'd be all right.
Today's images: I didn't post it in June, but this is the 6"x6"self-portrait oil of me and the birdhouse that I painted at the farm, and sold this weekend. The frog, well, you never know who will show up to check out your paintings. Frogs like art too. (Actually this photo, which I'm rather fond of, is also from the barn.)

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