I recently watched a documentary which has stayed with me and for the reasons I talk about below, I hope will stay with me for a very long time.
Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable evoked (or perhaps “invoked” is a better word, in this case) very strong emotions as I watched piece upon piece of stunningly beautiful artistry rise from the sea. Up until the very end of the story, I was sucked entirely in to the romantic notion that humanity was capable of such incredible beauty and emotion – captured in such stunning pieces of art and the passion it would take to create and transport such a collection.
And then the end of the documentary arrived and I was stunned that I could have been so naive.
And yet what stays with me and makes me sad, are the expressions of emotion on the faces and in the gestures of some of those sculptures. That’s what I respond to and was so awed by on the screen – it’s what I strive for in my own work. And now that I’ve seen that movie, I know that I have been too timid; too afraid to put real emotion in my work; afraid that people will not be pleased by my work (will not want to BUY it!) when what I really want is for people to respond the way I responded to the Damien Hurst artwork and story – with awe and strong emotion. If it doesn’t suit their life or interior decoration – be damned.
I need to make the work I want to make, especially given that I have chosen NOT to live my life as a full-time artist because I’m not cut out for that type of struggle, I damn well better make the art I’ve sacrificed that dream for!
What am I doing creating work which doesn’t strive to effect the human experience?! It is time for me to get to real work.
This year both Andrew and I decided to submit work to the prestigious Sidney Fine Art Show. I’ve done so in the past and enjoyed being a part of the show. Andrew has never submitted. The show is a good one; high quality work beautifully presented. It’s on the more traditional side and generally takes a less broad approach to jurying (than say, the Sooke Fine Art show). Meaning, there are fewer “what is that doing here” pieces. The tricky decision-making aspect of this show is that the show is only up for one weekend and the submission and jury process is not done online so it means driving to Sidney 8 times. We counted. 8 times (including attending the opening and artist’s nights).
Regardless, we submitted the maximum of 3 pieces each and both had all 3 pieces juried in! Yahoo! I’m looking forward to going to the opening night and artist’s night and to seeing how our work fits within the rest of the art work. I hope you will join us there!
My husband, Andrew Bartley, sent me a link the other day to a short video about the life and work of Jennifer Worsley. When I viewed the video I will admit to already being in a really good mood… so this video was hugely inspiring for me! Andrew and I purchased one of Jennifer’s woodblock prints a couple years ago from the Davidson Gallery in Seattle. It is on the wall in our bedroom so I see it several times a day and it has become a part of my psyche. Up until Trump came into office and the Canadian dollar sank so low, we took an annual trip to Seattle as a nice little break for normal life and a chance to check out galleries and markets in Seattle. It was Andrew’s annual birthday gift, which also included the purchase of a reasonably priced artist’s print. We have a lovely little artist print collection now but I don’t see it expanding until the political and financial situation in the USA settles down a bit.
But I am getting off topic. The video about Jennifer and her work has inspired me to start documenting Andrew and my own adventures in plein air and studio art making. We have some camping/painting trips planned this summer and I need to remember to take my documentary hat along with me! It is our goal to come back from those trips with plenty of very small studies for much larger studio landscape paintings to be done over the winter months. And then we want to have a 2 person gallery show. We’ve both been in the same group exhibits and I’ve had 2 person shows before but we’ve never shown together. So the video will be a way to capture the steps towards our goal as both a promotional piece and a way to remember our adventures. Life feels like it is getting shorter now that I am over the hill and on the way into retirement. I don’t want to wait until retirement to have all the fun! You never know what will happen between then and now so let’s do it and document it! Now!