Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Creative Journey - I am Good Enough

A portion of the long west wall

Let me rephrase that: I AM GOOD.  It is tough being an artist. I do not believe it is anything you necessarily WANT to be. It is something you HAVE to be. Even in my two year hiatus from painting I had to express myself in my photography and my digital manipulation of those photographs. I won prizes with my paintings and prizes with my photographs. I sold both. I have been represented by galleries. Once did eight high end art fairs a year. But always there was that question of whether I was good enough. And in the quiet of the studio facing a newly stretched canvas the answer was usually no.

But with my work for Meraki in the UHaul behind Big Blue heading to Trinidad's Gallery Main and my first one woman show in Colorado the answer was YES. But largely an unsupported yes. The artist works in solitary confinement and sees the results in bits and pieces. As you select and pack you choose what seems to be arbitrary criteria like how they are framed, are they all on the same platform, do they play well together. And then you pack them away for the trip. You are sure you do not have enough to fill an entire gallery. You regret saying, "Oh, sure, no problem" months ago.

The Unpacking

I have fortunately had lots of show hanging experience in my association with Katherine McDermott's Art Space Gallery. But they were never all my works and groupings were determined by artist. So when all the paintings were out of the boxes I was almost overwhelmed with the decisions yet to be made. Yes, an option was to have the Gallery Main staff and director to do it all. But a more experienced artist friend said I would regret that. I should be involved.

All out of the boxes and against the wall was my first opportunity to see my choices all together. Frankly I was floored. I did all that seemed to scream in my head. Yes, I did all that. Now how best to show it off. This was my opportunity and I did not want to blow it. While taking breaks from the painting process I had read things about presentation. Believe me there are lots of opinions. Tops level, bottoms level, middles at eye level, all uniformly spaced, grouped or clustered. The latter seemed to resonate with me. And it went with an 1800's building with no level floor and a sloping ceiling and uneven walls.

Two groupings separated by a large painting

Groupings were determined by color or size or subject. Groups were broken up by my larger works set just a bit more apart from the groupings.

3/4ths of the East Wall
And middles at eye level largely. Note it is necessary to pick a set of eyes for this. Peggy Westmoreland of Gallery Main is not short like me so her eyes.

Detail of west wall

We alternated between walls. As an photographer I am aware of turning around to see what is behind me. I did not want the patron to this show to do that and be jarred by the other side. And I determined my groupings from my studio experience of smaller spaces but wanting the visitor to the studio to see two or three or four paintings they could buy and arrange in their living room.

Center of East wall

Gallery Main is a large gallery but it only took us three hours to hang 46 paintings and place all title cards. I was thrilled when an early press visitor compliment Peggy and I on the presentation. I urge you to see the show Meraki in Trinidad if you get the chance. For me on very many levels it has already been a huge success. Now I want it to be a great success for this non-profit gallery which uses its commissions to fund art classes for children. Our schools no longer do that so we need to step up.

Door to student area on left

Front window of Gallery Main in Trinidad, Colorado

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I appreciate all kind comments on my art and poetry.