Sharing an artwork

When sharing artwork in a critique, with friends or visitors to your social media, should you share the step by step work in progress or only the finished product?

During a critique, I displayed one of the works where I had just added a few strokes of color on top of the underpainting along side a finished pastel. It was suggested if we had the time to work on the piece(s) when we got home, we should. The idea was you were still in the same mindset when the piece was initially created.

I tried the suggestion. I went home and worked it. When I was finished I thought I’d share with someone from the class. The reaction wasn’t what I was expecting. The part that the group liked when I showed it at the critique was no longer there in that person’s view. Admittedly, I was disappointed. When I viewed it I thought it had the same palette and feeling as the finished piece. Certainly they were two different subject matters but they seemed to work together, which appealed to me.

I took a few days away from that piece thinking about what was said. I tried to recapture what was thought to be the best part of the piece seen at the critique. I found it hard to work on it as I couldn’t get the coloring or marks the same way.

I haven returned to the piece yet. My thinking is that by taking more time away I’ll stop thinking about what was said. I’ll start to see the pastel separate from the comment and begin to choose the coloring and marks based on how I feel towards the piece as I’m working on it.

Progression of new pastel

At the beginning of June I began a new pastel. This photo shows the underpainting of the pastel.

As soon as the underpainting dried, I began working on the pastel. It’s based on a scene of a wildlife refuge I visited during a recent trip. A storm was approaching. Luckily we didn’t get stuck on the storm and only encountered a small section of it. We went the opposite direction.

As I worked on the piece, the storm clouds didn’t look as I wanted. Also, I wasn’t sure if the grassy area in the foreground looked quite right. I stepped back from the pastel for a few days. Yesterday, I came back to it. The detail of the pastel shows that the clouds are more intense giving the viewer a clear indication a storm is approaching. Obviously taking a few days away from a piece can end up changing the entire piece. The clouds changed dramatically, which in turn made me realize I needed to change the colors used in the trees and grassy areas. The colors had to be cohesive and work together as a whole.

Creating New Work

Next spring, I have an opportunity to exhibit my pastels at a nearby library. I met with one of the volunteers who selects exhibiting artists. The work I showed her was from my Journey through Open Spaces exhibit (August–September 2017). I’ll continue with the theme of landscapes but realized it would be nice to include new work. I am finishing one pastel and have ideas for two more. Since this exhibit will not happen until late March/early April of 2019, I have time to work on a number of pieces.

In addition to this exhibit, I submitted work to be considered for two other exhibits. One exhibition was originally scheduled for June 2018, which I had submitted a few pastels back in March. Due to unforeseen circumstances, the exhibit was rescheduled to late summer/early fall. I’m thinking by September I should hear if any of my pastels were selected for this exhibit. The second opportunity is with another library. The committee is reviewing all submissions and will contact approved artists within the next few weeks. They are selecting artists for their October 2018–October 2019 art exhibition schedule.

Do you bring art supplies on a trip?

I considered bring some art supplies with me on a recent vacation. I even went as far as putting a small notebook and watercolor set off to the side of my suitcase. I was tempted to bring it with me but at the last minute I did not tuck the supplies in my carryon.

This vacation was not a specific art trip. I’ve heard of trips specifically geared towards artists but have never tried one. Those trips give artists dedicated time each day to paint or draw. I’m looking forward to hearing from a colleague who will be traveling in a few weeks on a painting tour. She’ll be able to give me a better idea how much time was spent each day creating art, what other things the group did during the afternoon, and did she find creating art while on a trip easy.

Perhaps on my next vacation, I’ll at least bring a sketchbook and pencil with me to slowly ease myself into bring supplies when traveling.

What would you do?

What would you do once artwork is completed?

Here are a few options.

1. Sell it
2. Display it
3. Pack it away
4. Toss it

If you are able to and want to sell your work then by all means sell it. Some artists sell their work to friends or have it purchased by an admirer after it is viewed in a local exhibit. It’s not always an easy process but a person can try selling their work.

Some artists may chose to keep their art. If you keep it, what could you do with it? One option is for the artist to display their artworks at home or in the homes of family members. Unfortunately there’s only so much wall space at home. It’s at this point you pack away the framed pieces and stack up the individual pieces. Perhaps you can display it another day by rearranging and packing away other pieces that previously hung on the wall. Clearly something will be packed up and stored. If you feel the artwork was only an exercise having no emotional connection to the piece you could toss it in the trash.

The third and forth options are not difficult for the artist but for those hearing those options were chosen. I, myself, have on many occasions stacked up and packed away artworks after an exhibit. When I told someone I packed up my artworks after a recent exhibit, this person was surprised and questioned why I did it. I felt as though I had to defend the reason for doing it. Not every artist is able to sell their work or sell it right away. While you can actively exhibit your work, there will be times you are not selected to display your work or there may be weeks or more between exhibits.

Tossing an artwork seems to be another taboo. At the end of a recent class one participant tossed out a piece she completed during the day. Another person was cleaning the tables and noticed the paper in the trash bin. “Who threw out their artwork?” rang out in the studio. A number of participants looked shocked that a piece of art was in the trash. The person replied she had placed it in the trash—she didn’t need or want it as it was only an exercise in her opinion. She turned to me and said she had no emotional connection to it and no longer wanted it. It was completely her decision to do whatever she chose with her piece even though many others were surprised by her action.

What would you do?

Pop-up Exhibit continues…

The exhibit has been on display for a few weeks. I visited it a few days after it was hung but noticed a piece or two stilled needed to be displayed. I went back the other day noticing the addition of a few pieces. The display now includes small sculptures (portraits) and stained glass.  It was nice to view the complete exhibit

There are a few weeks left to this exhibit to check it out.

Exhibits

In my first blog for the new year I mentioned a few Exhibit opportunities I would try.

I entered into a members juried exhibit. As with any juried exhibit you never know if your work will be selected. The pastels I entered were not selected for the exhibit.

I entered another juried exhibit. Over a week ago I found out my work was selected for a Pop-Up Exhibit. It’s my first time in a Pop-Up Exhibit. I wasn’t sure what to expect.

I dropped off my artwork expecting to be on location to help display my work. The person in charge told me I didn’t need to stay. When I was selected, I was told the artists would help clean the space and hang their artworks during 10 am – 2 pm on Saturday afternoon.  I arrived at 10 but by the time I left only one other artist delivered their artwork.

I’m not sure if the others realized the delivery time was 10 am with a displaying time frame of 10 am – 2 pm. Granted it all depends on what the artists were told.

I checked out the exhibit on Saturday night. Since less than half the artworks were displayed, the lights to the exhibit were turned off. When I checked again Sunday night more artworks were displayed and the lights were turned on.

A collection of artworks by local artists

Continuing Education

Back in 2015 while volunteering at a local gallery, I saw a pastel displayed behind the reception desk. I thought why can’t my pastels look that good.

I took down the name of the artist and did some research. I found out she taught classes and workshops. From mid-2015 through 2016 I was a part-time student whenever there was an open slot in the classes and became a full-time student in 2017.

The classes helped me improve my skills. While classes will no longer meet weekly we will continue to gather every so often to critique finished work and help get suggestions on other pieces.

Over the past year, I’ve taken  classes regarding other mediums. I took an online class on watercolorlasy spring. Participants were given access to online videos  then we met the instructor for a critique of our work. While the videos were helpful, I wanted some basic information on watercolor painting to learn things that I either didn’t know or may have forgotten.

I found an online watercolor class by Liz Steel. She’s a well known urban sketcher (watercolor painting mixed with pen and ink). Here website is www.lizsteel.com.

It’s only been a few weeks into the class but I’ve enjoyed it very much. She gives students a lot of information (downloadable lesson plans) with  demonstrations videos to help you complete your homework for the week.

Last fall, I participated in a Make It, Take It class on Acrylics. It is very much like the paint night events people go to with their friends. The only difference is the teacher is a local artist and the image you paint that evening is based on the artwork of that artist. I don’t work in Acrylics normally so it’s nice to learn something about a new medium and how to apply it to an artwork.

Of course there are other mediums I could try. It’s always nice to try something new as well as develop new skills. As an artist, it is also a way to meet other artists and learn about their work.

Happy New Year!!

Happy New Year!! I hope everyone enjoyed the first day of 2018 and everyone looks forward to the coming year.

I’ll continue to work on my pastels honing the skills I learned during my classes in 2017. I plan to review class notes evaluating areas I  did well and where I need to continue to improve.  I know I should create more notans and small sketches to determine the best composition for a piece.

In regards to exhibition opportunities, I am looking into a few possibilities in the next month or so (submitting artwork to be juried for acceptance to an exhibit). Another opportunity has presented itself but I’ll say more about it once I have finalized what needs to be done.

Finally, I have signed up for a pastel class in March. I took workshops with Shelly Eager in late 2015 and early 2016. When I saw a chance to sign up for a workshop, I did because classes and workshops at this Association go quickly. I also signed up for an online watercolor sketching class. I know when I did the 30 Day Challenge of creating a watercolor each day, my paintings became better over the course the challenge. I’ve seen this artist’s work online and thought it would be an interesting class. I’ll learn more about watercolor plus sketching on location with pen, ink and watercolor.

Best wishes to everyone for a great 2018!!

Cindy

Working on Pastels in the Winter

I need to remember when working on a pastel in winter I should cover it up before I transport it from the classroom to home. When I left for the class this morning, there wasn’t much precipitation that I thought about what I should have when bring the pastel home.

When leaving class it was lightly raining. Of course, my pastel was taped to my drawing board and I had nothing to keep it dry. I tried turning it upside down exposing the back of the board to the elements. I thought that was a good idea.

Turns out, during the steps from the classroom to the car, I must have brushed up against the pastel. There were slight streaks that would need to be fixed. I have in the past had water drop onto the pastel during, which makes for a glaring mistake.

I need to remember bringing a sheet of glassine to tape over the pastel to protect from both the elements and from my winter jacket.