The warmth has finally returned. I'm ecstatic that I don't have to turn on my AC yet. Last year, the cost of keeping my apartment cool was ridiculous, and I'm hoping to avoid spending as much money as I did last year.
My art show at Fountain Square Brewery was fantastic. It's been great to show my work and have camaraderie with so many other talented local artists. I often forget how important socializing with my art peers can be. Makes me miss the art department at Harding University so. freaking. much. Photos courtesy of the talent Courtney Brooks.
I went to the contemporary portrait workshop that I told you about in my last post. There are things I liked and things I liked...less. It was valuable to see how Benny mixed his paint. I know I've become too married to my own methods, and often lazy with this vital part of the process. I also learned that I do a TON of mixing on my canvas versus on my palette. I think that might be part of why its been taking me so long to paint anything in oil.
I keep winging it on the canvas, when I should be spending significantly more time planning out my palette before putting my brush to work.
I also learned that I probably should stop opening my paint tubes with my teeth...word on the street is, you can get cancer and die. SIGH. Old habits die hard.
One thing I didn't like was something I forgot about when I used to take group art classes in high school and college: someone watching over my shoulder. I realize that's what I signed up for, but I have grown comfortable painting alone and working through my own issues without the pressure of doing it perfectly in front of someone else.
It drives me crazy when I can tell someone is watching me work, slowly picking apart everything I'm doing, stroke-by-stroke, and jumping in before I've finished problem solving...even when they have a good point. I'm a gal who likes to try it on her own, then ask for input. Certainly, I need to work at accepting criticism, I'm just not a fan of people jumping in and actually painting on my painting without asking for permission. I have issues.
One exciting thing from this month is.......I was able to be a part of a brand-spanking-new arts organization. Four of us local Indy artists (Amanda Keller, Justin McIntosh, Brittni DeWeese, and myself) have started "The Brush Offs," we're planning on meeting at about four times a year to critique each others work, show together, and give each other assignments! Our first assignment is the "Anti-Pet Portrait." We're hoping to create pet portraits that don't feel or look like typical-run of the mill pet portraits; i.e. something with artistic integrity.
Of course, I'll keep you posted on this new group so that you're the first to know where/when we're showing our work.
My next art show is This first Friday through the month of May at the Garfield Park Arts Center. It's called "Hoosier Women in Art: Politics and Protest." There will be a reception on the evening of May 5th, with refreshments & live poetry and spoken word from local talent. I'm thrilled to be a part of this show and would be psyched if you came to see it.
I have actual postcard invites with a map! Just in case you want to come but don't want to get lost for an embarrassing amount of time driving through Garfield Park, trying to find the art center...like I did yesterday.
And today I finished off painting a little illustration of "Les Baux-de-Provence." It's this historical and completely amazing little medieval village on top of a hill in the south of France.
I've got the photo posted here, and I created this coolio time lapse video if you want to watch how I painted it.
So much more has happened in my life since the last time I posted. Including but not limited to: getting a stupid cold sore and doing a lot of non-painting...much to my frustration.
So with that, I will leave you with a little drawing I did in my journal a couple weeks ago. Perhaps you can get the vibe about how difficult "living the dream" can be. Trying to be an artist is not an easy path, and if you're even remotely creative, some accountant, or nurse, or family member, or stranger off the street has probably told you this. Most people expect you to graduate college and either fail entirely...or be an overnight success.
And if you're not an overnight success, they believe you have failed entirely. I'm here to tell you that a career in art is not like a normal career, and it doesn't have to look like one to be respectable. There is no right or wrong way to be an artist. There is no "one path" to this life. You may work as a server, or an engineer, or you may be lucky enough to be supported financially by someone else.
For me, It's been about 4 years out from my graduation, and I am still fighting the fight to be a creator. I don't know if I will ever be a full time artist, or if it will just sustain my soul to pursue the arts in my free time, but I do know this: I am not quitting. I'm not going to put my brushes and paints in a little box in my closet to gather dust. It may be a painstakingly slow process to improve, but I can tell that little by little, I am gaining bits of success.
My advice to you, if you are looking to be a traditional painter or artist, is to not expect progress to happen in leaps and bounds. It seems to move at a glacial pace, like watching an hour hand inch around the face of a clock, but that doesn't mean it's not worth it. As long as you keep creating, networking, applying for shows, contests, workshops, etc...you will find that over time, the pursuit of your passion will have paid off in more ways than you can count.
Do not let people, loved ones or otherwise, tell you that it's a waste of money or time to do what you love (unless what you love is murdering people). You may have to work your little booty off to do it, but I believe in you! Keep on keeping on, and just like that...it will happen.
Angela DeCamp is an Indianapolis based artist. who enjoys the finer things in life: black coffee, carnival tickets, the sound high heels make when they clickty-clack on the sidewalk.