Wednesday, May 1, 2013


Hyperbolic Stratospheres

LEI DAY 2013
The “Silver Bullet” only kills….it is NOT the quick fix the hyperbolic press would portray.

I am consistently amazed about the misconceptions of art making. The concepts that art is easy, can be achieved overnight, or that there is no sweat involved drives me nuts……….to say nothing of disrespecting the 50 plus years I have been working at my passion/job.

(This is not to address whether anyone thinks that my work is good or bad…..we are talking process here.)

As most of you know I teach a materials class that is a beginning course of pastels through the University of New Mexico’s Continuing Education division. CE had the MOST wonderful people to work with.

I am consistently reminded by my students (many with no art training at all) how frustrated they are that after 10 minutes of picking up a piece of pastel they don’t understand why they are not whipping off great masterpieces.

If art was that easy EVERYONE would be doing it AND be bloody millionaires.

I am not sure if it is the press and just that people don’t get a chance to see the workspace of artists to comprehend the discipline and dedication it takes to keep working.

It is understandable that after 30 years of working at a job that someone paid my students a wage on a 40 hour week where they probably got a lot of on-the-job training AND GOT PAID FOR IT! And my guess is that these people are very good at those profession jobs.

Is this a place to point out that as a full time painter one doesn’t get paid vacations or health insurance from your employer?

Where are the equal signs that after 6 hours any student would get something on paper that they envisioned would be perfect?

The role of art and art making is another discussion for Philosophy of Aesthetics 101 class. However if you are not willing to keep going and push on then possibly the reason you could be involved with art is to ENJOY THE PROCESS happening right now.

In the process of art I promise you will travel through all possible emotions you can muster. Since I am an eternal optimist (proven by the fact that I train and show my own horses…talk about gambling) not only do I keep heading back to my studio, the printing atelier, and classes too but I also spend about 40% of my time marketing.

That marketing includes not only advertising (doing my own layouts and researching where I think the best venues are for that advertising), entering shows, contributing time to arts organizations, getting class lessons ready to teach, framing and shipping art, writing articles for magazines, writing thank you notes to collectors, and last year self-publishing a book.

Imagine what I could do if I had a wife!

The point is that since art is a journey, a process, then to pass judgments on a few minutes or even a few months is really not productive. Take that emotion of discouragement as a chance to sit down and have a cup of tea and think about the next class you might want to take to address where you think your problems could use help…..or even find a mentor.

Don’t listen to the popular press that makes you think that this is an easy gig. I have an interesting piece of how the press can diminish art:

Opening the display in Daugavpils, Christopher Rothko says his father would be less happy about auctions that value his works as being among the world’s most expensive (the record for a Rothko so far is $86.9 million).

“He would think it’s a distraction,” Christopher says in an interview at the Daugavpils Mark Rothko Art Center. “When you have prices that are not simply large, but make headlines, people don’t look at the artwork but at the dollar figures, the pound figures or the euro figures.”

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