Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Finding time to paint

The biggest problem I have with improving my painting ability is finding (making) the time to paint. I have learned to do it the same way I find time to exercise; I schedule it ahead of time.

A group of painter friends and I paint every Tuesday between 4pm and 7pm at a place in Breckenridge that is part of the Arts District. We pay $2-3 each every week, which helps to pay the heat bill, and as it is used as a studio anyway, don't have to worry about messing the place up too badly. If we didn't have this place, we would meet at someone's home, or look for other alternatives. One added benefit is that we have others available to critique our work if we want it. I find that having another eye on my work really helps me to see things that somehow I was blind to while I was painting it. How did all those trees get lined up in a row, all the same height and same distance apart?

I am a Realtor, and this summer had a new construction project listed for sale. I spent many weekends there doing open houses, which can be very boring and not pleasant to do. I took my painting gear with me and set up in the garage with the door open. If it was cold, I put a tarp on the floor in the entryway and painted there. I really enjoyed those weekends and got a lot of work done!

On Thursday mornings I take an art class at the local junior college. It doesn't really matter what I paint, just so I do it, but I really do prefer landscapes. Some of the classes have been still lifes and in others we have had models. This summer it was plein air. The painting above was done in that class (and then tweaked at home in the studio.) All are good for me, and I won't get any better without practice! It seems strange to me that people complain that they are not getting any better, when without spending the time painting, there is no way they can improve. At least, that is the way it is with me. Our last project in my last class was to paint on a 24x30 canvas. I have never painted larger than 16x20 and normally I paint pretty small, but I really enjoyed that project. I have ordered some large panels am going to try doing another one or two.

My exercise classes are three hours a week, and my goal is to paint at least 6 hours a week. With a full time job, that can be challenging, but I generally find a way to get it done. If I can do more, so much the better. Having just starting painting in my late 50's, I have a lot of painting time to catch up on!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What Is this blog about?

It is about the frustrating, yet rewarding, goal of being able to call myself an artist. When my artist sister introduces me to her friends as another artist, I often say something like, "well, I try", or "I paint". I want to get good enough at painting to be able to be comfortable being called an "artist".

For now, it is a hobby that seems to be turning into a small business. A third career, if you will. I am 61 and looking at the opportunity to retire from my job as a Realtor in a few years. I will turn my clients over to my daughter who works with me, and paint full time. Currently, I hang my work in the Arts Alive Gallery in Breckenridge and in the Art Gallery at Keystone Mountain in Keystone, Colorado. Arts Alive is a co-op gallery and I am very active in it.

When I first started painting I had no clue that I would ever be able to sell any of my work. After a while, I was wondering where I was going to put all the paintings! Why keep painting and stick them in a drawer? I found out about the gallery, applied to it and was accepted, and now I have a way to keep painting. The gallery has done well selling for me this year and I am learning lots of things about galleries, framing and how to present my work. Also, where to buy frames and supplies. I often take workshops and classes and will be sharing all that information in the hopes of helping other beginning artists as we go along. Tonight I will be doing a workshop for the Summit County Arts Council members on setting up your own website, so there will be more on that too. Keep coming back and I will keep writing!