The really cool thing about these recent shows and sales is meeting the people who are curious about my paintings. First, they ask great questions. What does it feel like to paint with liquid wax? (like playtime, like meditation, like swimming) Are those little buildings Amsterdam? San Francisco? (Baltimore) Where did you get all the little words and how did you choose which ones to use? (my kids’ schoolwork as is, with emphasis placed based on my feeling or current events). Second, they love art. People who love (and buy!) art are interesting. Although I never have trouble having a long conversation with anyone, I can talk even longer with these passionate, curious people. Third, in the end we’ve made a connection. And that’s my whole point.
“What’s your goal with your art?” My husband mentioned my Etsy page looks commercial. It was a good question that one anyone should ask periodically. The answer came easily- I want to make art and sell it. I want to paint because it feels good and helps me work through feelings. I want to sell art because everyone should have some art, we only have so much wall space at home, and sales fund my costly materials. Let’s be honest, sales (and shows) also make me feel legitimate. It’s the world we live in. I make a painting and I feel good- or don’t feel good and rework it. But then you buy it, and I really feel good. That’s called external validation.
This weekend I decided to focus on two sizes. Large is for big ideas to share in galleries. Small is to open access to affordable art. This is where Etsy comes in. If a small piece is more approachable because of the subject, size or price, that’s ok with me. I have no shame in the thrill of the idea that my art might be the first you ever buy, the beginning of a collection. Remember the goal? Everyone should have some art.
On any given day, I have to choose how I use my time. We all do, if we’re lucky. I feel selfish when I choose painting over just about anything else- even things I enjoy. Finishing patient charts, making a dentist appointment, cooking dinner, planning a girl scout meeting, calling my mother, email, volunteering in class. “You’re so lucky! How perfect, ” they say, that my job is part time. It’s true, I am lucky. I have one or two days per week that I’m not at work. Half of the time ends up being work overflow, and the rest is “mine.” Don’t be fooled, though. I can’t paint even a fraction the time I’m off, since I’m doing all of the above.
I have learned to paint in my brain. Doing laundry, during a slow work meeting, or chopping onions, I am making a virtual sketch or a color swatch, gathering up all the mojo, so I can pour it out on the truly lucky day I go out on the deck, heat up the wax, and paint.
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I don’t want to have an art blog. I want to make art. The problem is that I love to write. I had a mommy blog when my kids were little. It was briefly revived with one post, but I stopped to paint. So here’s my compromise: a web presence for my art and some writing now and then.