I have recently created a page for my artwork on Facebook and invite you to join me there at Poetry of Vision. I post all the upcoming and past events I participate in, works in progress, and any happenings related to my art career on FB. The social media outlet is a lot more frequently visited by the public, so it makes more sense to announce any and all events there. Please follow, like and share and, hopefully, visit my art booth at art shows and fairs. Thank you for visiting:-)
In April of this year I had the pleasure of showing my two horse pastel paintings (Three And The Sky and Sundown Fire) in a group exhibit at A/NT Gallery in Seattle Downtown area. This artist operated co-op space is very unique in the way that art shows there are not juried in any way. All one has to do is show up with their artwork, choose an available space on the wall, pay a modest hanging fee, and sign up to volunteer for a few hours a month to keep the gallery open. This kind of system results in very diverse exhibits of different art forms, styles, and skill levels that can at times be overwhelming. At the same time, it is the only place in Seattle where aspiring and beginner artists have an opportunity to show their work in a formal gallery space, giving them a chance to get their 'foot in the door' of the competitive art scene in the city.
I have shown at the A/NT Gallery a couple of years ago in their themed exhibit 'Women Speak' where my In The Light Of Things and a few smaller self-portraits were very well received. This year I've decided to reconnect with the gallery and the community of artists there as a starting point for my artistic career. April was the last month the gallery was open at its old location on Lenora and Westlake. They are taking the month of May to move, their new space is going to be in the heart of Seattle Center, right across from the fountain. I'm looking forward to showing my work there in the future.
In March of this year I participated in the Buy Art event that the School of Art at University of Washington organizes every other year. It is very popular among the UW community, students and alumni are invited to contribute their work to this sale overflowing with art of all forms, styles, and skill levels. The event had a very 'flea market' feel to it with median prices ranging from $20-$40, one could find a treasure for a steal. The slogan on this year's poster said, 'You could get the next Banksy for $20.' There was something for everyone's taste. This was a good opportunity for me to gather all my old student work and find it new owners, free up some space for new paintings and make a few dollars for art supplies. A fresh start for my career as an artist. All the participants were asked to volunteer their time at the sale, I got to help at the cashier's register for a few hours, chat and socialize both with art buyers and fellow artists/volunteers. It was nice to visit my university again, walk down familiar hallways, reminisce, see what's changed. The sale turned out to be very successful for me, many of my pieces found new owners and are now adorning new homes. Who knows, they may have walked away with the next 'Chuck Close' for only $35 ;-)
In February of this year I had the pleasure of personally delivering a commissioned portrait to my customers. Often, if the customer lives within an hour's driving distance it is more convenient and economical to make the trip and hand deliver it rather than packaging it and sending it via mail, especially if it is a large piece. The bonus of personally delivering a commissioned portrait is I get to witness the joy on the people's faces when they see their painting in person for the fist time.
Such was the case when I delivered Ike's portrait to his owners, Ashley and Scott. Ashley's face brimmed with excitement. She was so touched by how the portrait captured both his likeness and spirit, tears shone in her eyes. This special delivery was well worth the wait.
Originally Ike's portrait was commissioned as a birthday present for Ashley. It turned out to be the most challenging commission I had to date. Ashley's family are return customers who had supported my pet portrait endeavors back when I was in high school. A few years after I graduated from University of Washington Ashley's mom tracked me down to commission a portrait of Ashley's beloved French Bulldog Gigi as a surprise present. The painting exceeded all expectations, Ashley loved it. A few more years down the road, Ike, a fawn colored French Bulldog, joined the family and it was turn for his portrait to make a timely and timeless present for Ashley.
Unlike Gigi's portrait, which was a surprise, Ike's portrait needed much planning and consideration because it was intended to be a pair to the first one. His pose, the lighting had to be very specific; just any random picture won't do. Ashley also wanted to incorporate wine grape vines into the background because of her fond memories living in the wine country of Washington state. Those, and many other challenges during the process delayed the portrait well past the deadline; I was immensely grateful for my customers' patience. In the end, even being a belayed birthday present, Ike's portrait had made Ashley's day. And it makes my day to witness the happiness my art brings to others.
Below is a slide show of the progress of Ike's portrait, from selecting reference photos to integrating grapevines into the picture and getting the right composition, from color sketch to different stages of work on the final painting.
At the end of January of this year I was given a unique opportunity to follow my dreams.
Ten years ago, upon graduating from the University of Washington with my Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in painting and drawing I chose the path of a 9-5 day job with stable hours and pay. We all need basic necessities to live: a roof over our head, food on the table. And being an artist, in most cases, does not provide a steady income. Even as I was graduating from the School of Art at UW our instructors were warning us, 'Unless you teach (and art teaching jobs are scarce,) you will have to support your artistic endeavors with a day job, not the other way around.' They scared us with the stereotype of a 'starving artist' like it was some sort of a boogie man. At first I tried to balance my art with the rest of my life, but gradually, the job, the new house, the day to day minutiae have become too demanding, I left my passion, my inspiration, my artistic skills, and shut the door on it all, saying I simply don't have time. And a part of me, a big part, started to atrophy, die off. It made me unhappy, but I didn't know how to find my way back. I imagine most artists have a similar experience at some point in their life.
Sad and dissatisfied with life and myself I cherished a wish that maybe some day the circumstances would be such that I wouldn't need to maintain a day job, but could stay in my studio every day and paint, draw, create.
Years passed, my life has gone through a complete re-haul. I'm in a completely different place now, emotionally, figuratively, geographically. I have a wonderful man who loves me and who means the world to me. He is giving me this incredible gift of once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to backtrack and retrieve what I'd lost along the way, to give my dream of being a full time artist a fighting chance.
And so a new, and exciting, and scary chapter of my life begins.