Monday, July 21, 2008

The time has come to paint some chicks

Among my many thousands of deadlines in the next two weeks is one for submissions to the Art at the Mill show. It's a no-cred, small venue local art show that raises fun for a historic mill. Most of the art displayed there is painfully conservative and traditional. (To paraphrase someone... It's a show where many of the paintings are of the mill itself.) Rural landscapes, wild horses, bridges, flowers... all of those are typical mill works. Buuuut, they also let real artists participate! If they think it will sell, they will accept it. It helps the resume and can potentially result in quick cash for an artist.

If I was the uppity sort, I'd reject the whole thing as too commercial. But, uh, I am ALL FOR being commercial! Well, actually, I want to find that spot where I can do what I please and still make money. The task is to work in several forms of art, but keep my recognizable style. By having so many comfort zones, I can choose the type of art I produce to fit the venue.

The mill show is a challenge for me: How can I make my style of work desirable to a crowd that is happy to buy paintings of barns? My first attempt was a complete disaster. I send off photos of my best work... and got one pity acceptance. The piece (Floodgates) was placed among nature paintings and looked revoltingly out of place. It didn't sell. So I changed things for the next show. This time I was going to paint nature scenes - but in MY style! The result was The Hiking Trip.

I had three paintings finished when it was time to submit, so I tossed in two others (five can be submitted, if you suck at math) from my On Beauty series Both beauties got accepted. One hiking painting (which my graduate class hated because it was "too commercial") was also accepted. The rest were put on reserve, to be hung when other paintings sold. For the artist's reception, all five of my paintings were on display. Which meant they had not sold. Shit!

When I went to pick up my work, I did get some good news. Some couple, having gotten the week of the show wrong, had arrived on the last day art could be picked up. They were allowed to look around and, lo and behold, they had chose to purchase one of my paintings! (BEST OF THE REST, BABY!) Oh course, it was the one painting I thought had no chance of selling: Eye Candy 1!

So my one success came from my stable of beautiful women. FINE, I'LL DO THAT! The first week of August will be devoted to some last-minute heroics to create some new chicks for show. (Yes, Dana, this means I'm putting your box first! It'll be ready!)

While the plan wasn't to start any painting yet, I've had such an inspiring summer I was not going to let inspiration pass me by. Last night I was watching the movie Notes on a Scandal, and something about it made me get out the paint. The result: A sinister and seductive women with the face of Cate Blanchett.

The painting is still in "sketch" stage, but I'm reasonably pleased with the progress so far. There's no telling how the final will end up looking, but it's a nice start. I'm just happy to see I can still paint!

No comments: