Thursday, April 17, 2008

Artist or Not?

The other day, in one of my classes, I had a student say something like, "Well you are a professional artist...". Anyway, this is the part of the conversation I remember the most because it caught me a bit off guard. In another class I had a student say, "She was not an artist, just liked to paint". Why is it that we, as artists, find it hard to acknowledge our accomplishments? If you paint, sculpt, draw, photograph, sing, dance, play a musical instrument, are you not an artist?

Pat B. Allen wrote in her book Art is a Way of Knowing, "Art making is my way of bringing soul back into my life." How can we not call ourselves artists when we express ourselves, our soul, through our art? Granted, we may be at different stages, and even different paths in our journey as artists and we sometimes brand ourselves as such, saying things like: I am an amateur painter, photographer, etc., etc., fill in the blank. It seems to me that an amateur painter is still an artist.

A quote from Max Beckmann 1884 -1950 found in Clint Brown's book Artist to Artist: "Art is creative for the sake of realization, not for amusement: for transfiguration, not for the sake of play. It is the quest of our self that drives us along the eternal and never-ending journey we must all make." So, in searching for realization and transfiguration and the quest of our self, stand tall, take a deep breath, and call yourself an artist!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Artist Receptions

Yesterday I had the pleasure of the company of two delightful gentlemen at the 17th Annual Colored Pencil Society District Chapter 201 show and artist reception. My husband and a friend joined me on a trek to Oregon City for a wonderful afternoon of art and conversation.
I can't count the number of artist receptions I have attended through the years. They are to me both exciting and a chore. I very much enjoy going and mingling with the other artist, the excitement and anticipation of the awards seems to fill the space. On the other hand I sometimes find it hard to come up with chit chatty things to say and worry when the conversation drops to silence.
To my surprise and joy I was awarded a prize for one of my paintings. It is always nice to be recognized at one of these receptions, though I have entered many and not been awarded. Thinking back to the first show I entered, and this was a great many years ago, it was a competition during my years in high school sponsored by a local manufacturing company. The first, second and third place winners were to be awarded cash prizes, as usual, but the art was to become the possession of the company. As it turned out, the judge was aquatinted with the mother of one of the students who entered and the names were on the pieces being judged so, to make a long story short I did receive third place and my wonderful wall hanging was purchased for not quite what the materials cost. I came away from that experience a little bitter to say the least.
Well, I am glad to have that off my chest!
Back to receptions. Tell me what you think about artist receptions. Do you have an experience to share? Send me your comment.
Thanks Ted and Jim for a delightful afternoon and dinner.
Oh, the painting at the right is the award winner and the title is "Flavor of Rhubarb"

Thursday, April 3, 2008


Slowly but surely I am recovering from the tea party. Wow, what a lot goes into hosting high tea! All in all I think everyone had a good time. I have asked one of the guests to send me pictures, I was far too busy making sure my guests had what they needed to take pictures. As soon as I can I'll post some.
I had the pleasure of the company of five little girls at the tea, each dressed in their best dresses and shoes, some with hats, some with fine hairdos, ranging in age from nine to three. I think they were a bit put out at the fact that they couldn't go outside and play, but we drank tea and juice, had some great food and wonderful conversations. Thank you to all my guests and a big thank you to my daughter Jodie and her friend Lindsey for all their help.

Now I am reeling from the first week of spring term classes. The first week is always a bit chaotic. I had one class on my calendar at 10 and it started at 9! Oh well, stuff happens. It is also quite exciting to see new faces and learn their story and journey as artists.