For the Sooke show, all 3 of each of our submissions were accepted. Because the jurors change every year, and it’s not a themed show, you never know if your work will be accepted. I’ve had none, one, two and now all of my pieces accepted over the years. This year I will be exhibiting 3 portrait sculptures and Andrew chose 3 beautiful portrait drawings. It’s all portraits all the time! An interesting aspect of this is that my portraits are all male and Andrew’s are female. I do believe that’s a sign for me to get on the female track… and I plan to do so by having a lovely friend model for me. She has glorious strawberry blonde wavy hair and a sweet fair complexion. I can’t wait to get started.
For the paint-in, I was caught a bit off guard by being accepted to the Sooke show because it means I won’t have my sculptures with me and I indicated that I’d be doing a small-scale portrait sculpture as demo activity. This year I’ll learn from last year and scale down the number of art cards and prints I bring and focus on my ceramic plates and how best to present them. Last year was our first at the paint-in and I was a deer-in-the-headlights. People LOVE to talk about art, so I will focus on this social aspect and doing a little demo rather than standing there catching flies with my mouth open in awe. Awe of how many people there are walking by (and dogs!), how happy everyone is and whether or not people like my work! I will relax. I promise. 🙂
Both shows are an awesome chance to see how many talented artists there are on the island, view some amazing work (and appreciate those who are still growing in to their art) and to interact with not just the artists but patrons who love to talk art.
My art making process goes through waves of productivity and gestation and sometimes pure laziness. After a hectic 5 months of learning and sculpting, I’ve just finished off a month of such laziness, which has now turned into gestation. I can feel the idea for my next sculpture growing and pushing me out of this down time. Mind you, down time in this artist’s life includes preparing for exhibitions; final touches to a piece, mounting/framing, photographing work and submitting work for exhibitions.
Eons ago I was walking with my older sister and we were chatting about making art. She asked me if I was going to have a show anytime soon and I responded in the negative. Nah, I don’t feel like it. A rather angry voice responded with something like: When are you going to give back?!
Well, I still don’t feel the need to “give back”, given any drain that’s happening is pretty much from my own pocketbook. I’ve never been one to apply for arts grants or any other kind of societal support. I work a full-time job separate from my art “job”. I like it that way. I can make what I want, mostly when I want.
And yet there is still a need to get the work out there. The art process is one thing (which I LOVE), but the exhibiting process is another beast altogether. It is challenging to one’s ego, time and pocketbook but can also be incredibly rewarding to see and hear people responding to the work and even purchasing it! To know someone has a piece in their home and enjoys it… is simply lovely. Art is not a money-making venture for me but it is nice to be able to cover the costs of a box of clay now and then.
My husband Andrew Bartley and I recently purchased a beautiful Kathe Kollwitz print and the gallery owner where we bought it (Davidson Galleries in Seattle is awesome), said that Kathe Kollwitz wanted her work to get out there, to the masses. She did work not necessarily for the elite and wealthy but for everyone.
And so it is time to exhibit. Andrew and I have been accepted into the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria’s TD Art Gallery Paint-In this summer so preparations are underway for that. And this week I am getting my submission ready for the Sooke Fine Arts Show by finishing The Question and photographing it and the two other sculptures I am most satisfied with (Above).
This past weekend I finished The Gentle Angles of Grief and gave him a lovely black box from which to gaze downward upon his sadness.
I am quite satisfied with this sculpture. The finish is exactly how I envisioned it; the looseness of the stain compliments the sketching nature of the sculpting. This will be one which I use as reference for keeping it loose and emotive going forward.
And so I continue…
I’ve been working on this Portrait of the Artist’s Husband for a couple weeks. It has been a bit of a struggle in that it is my husband, and my husband is an artist, and the artist has a critical eye. So my normal “What do you think?” requests for feedback received more than their fair share of response. It looks like Andrew and yet not… quite…
The photos I took of Andrew were when he had just gotten out of bed. His hair was standing on end and he had quite normal 49 year old bags under his eyes. You know, those bags we all have now, at this certain age. I captured his mouth and the shape of his skull but his eyes are eluding me. As I dry him slowly I will make a few changes but he has run his course for the most part. There is a point in a piece that it says “I am done” and efforts to mess with it tend to mess with it. Ha!
I will have to start thinking of finishes for him while I deal with a few submissions to upcoming exhibits, wonder on who I should sculpt next (I will stay away from relatives for a while) and get on with work and life, all the while wishing I could be in the studio all day, every day. Sigh. Life.