Praise and success are a tricky thing for the artist. While everyone wants to be successful and praise is seductive, the nature of art is so subjective that there are many definitions of success. During the creative process, we run the risk of becoming perfectionistic if we allow thoughts of success to overpower the idea at hand. We all know that perfectionism is fear, and bold creations cannot thrive in an atmosphere of fear.
“We must do our work for its own sake, not for fortune or attention or applause.” – Steven Pressfield, The War of Art
I have been re-reading “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield. I find it difficult to maintain a regular studio routine during the holidays. Well, let’s be honest here. I always find it hard to maintain a regular studio routine. That’s what the book is about. I’ve been trying to balance making time for artwork with preparing for the Christmas holidays. At times like this I’m thankful to have a dedicated studio space where I can retreat, even for short periods.
Another reason that praise or success can be a fickle mistress is that it breeds pride. Pride is different than self-confidence. Hubris, or pride, is the most serious of the 7 Deadly Sins. I’m not talking about feeling the humble joy of success. Hubris is more about egoism, or undeserved self-aggrandizment. I have seen many artists hamper their own creative growth because of pride. Pride demands that we ‘save face’ and avoid failure. The creative process demands that we risk failure to grow and change.
“Success leads to the greatest failure, which is pride. Failure leads to the greatest success, which is humility and learning.” – David Brooks, The Road to Character
Artists must always monitor the evaluation of their own work. One must be unflinchingly honest – we have to maintain a healthy amount of self-esteem to even attempt self-expression. But we must avoid hubris or false pride in order to maintain humility and openess to the creative process.
Avoiding Seduction – Keeping it in perspective
Everyone loves to hear that their work touched someone. Sales tell me that someone loved my work enough to live with it. I also receive positive feedback from social media and from juried shows. But by the same token, I know that I need to remember:
Ratindra Das has accepted “Jump” for the 9th Annual Signature American Watermedia Exhibition in Fallbrook, CA. I’m honored to be in great company. Artists must be a signature member of a Watercolor Society or Group to enter this show. So, the competition is tougher to get in. Standards for achieving signature membership vary. Generally it means your work has been accepted into more than one exhibition or has passed a review board.
The show will run February 4 – April 15, 2018
Open Daily February 4 through April 15, 2018 | Mon – Sat 10 am – 4 pm | Sun Noon – 3 pm
The Janice Griffiths Gallery @ The Fallbrook Art Center
103 S. Main Ave, Fallbrook, CA 92028
This weekend I’m participating as a guest of the Local14 Art Show! Tonight is the gala 50th Anniversary Opening reception, from 6-9 pm. $10 admission gets you a great night out with catering by Elephant’s Deliand first access to the bounty of wonderful art presented. The show is open September 28 – October 1 at the Left Bank Annex in NE Portland.
There are 2 levels to this great industrial space, so don’t miss exploring all the show has to offer. You can use the bucket style elevator or the stairs to move between levels. There is so much to see, you’ll want to spend some time here! I’ve created a special box set of 4×6″ notecards for this show and Portland Open Studios. Each set contains 2 each of 4 different designs. I can’t wait for you to see them! They’ll be on the small pedestal you see in the photo above.
50 Years of History
Local 14 began 50 years ago when 14 women artists decided to host a show in a garage in Lake Oswego. ‘Local’ is an acronym for Lake Oswego Crafts and Arts League, and 14 denotes the original 14 members. The group uses this show to raise funds for arts scholarships for deserving college students. This year, they have awarded $10,000 in scholarships to 4 deserving students. The scholarship winners will have work on display during the show.
What You’ll See:
I’m excited to be one of 15 former members participating in this show to celebrate their 50th Anniversary. This location is great for all the available space. It has allowed more art from more artists than ever before. You’ll find a juried selection of jewelry, paintings, ceramics, wearables, mixed media art, photography, basketry, printmaking, sculpture and garden art, glass and woodworkingl
A new image in Oil & Wax… this one was inspired by the old oil heater that we used to have on the farm. It sat below the floor boards and the heat came up through a metal grate. I have memories of standing over it with warm rumbling oil-scented air filling the skirt of my flannel nightgown.
Years after the old beast was removed and replaced with an electric heat pump, I repeatedly found myself leaning against the doorway in an useless attempt to warm or comfort myself. Can you see the faint outline of a nightgown in the detail shot?
I love the Van Gogh quote… and I’m finding it especially poignant because I’ve just enjoyed a visit with my good friend and neighbor Judy Wise.
It was so encouraging to talk art and share works in process with her! I’ve been finishing quite a few smaller pieces for two upcoming shows, so mark your calendars! I think these shows function as a kind of hearth to warm ourselves in the early chill of autumn. The camaraderie and excitement are contagious.
1. Local 14 Art Show & Sale
September 28 – October 1, 2017 – At the Left Bank Annex, Portland, Oregon – Directions and more information here.
October 14 & 15, 21 & 22, 2017 from 10am – 5pm each day
This is a self-guided tour. Over 100 artists welcome the public during the tour dates. You can download a mobile app, or buy a tour guide at the following retailers. New this year: a ‘teaching artist’ section, listing participating artists who offer classes and workshops!
I have 2 tour guides left to sell… let me know if you want one! Or pick one up at these locations:
New Seasons, Dick Blick, Artists and Craftsman Warehouse, Portland Art Museum, Madrona Hill Cafe, Guardino Gallery, Bullseye Glass, Copy Pilot
You can also get in on some local ‘action’ by signing up for PDX-CSA. Click to read about the projects from myself and 5 other curated artists. The pre-sales generated between now and September 17th will fun the creation of a limited number of artworks specially made for this project.
It’s like Patreon and your favorite Organic Farm had a love-child. You choose the artist or artist pair that you like, and follow the progress of the work from concept through completion. If you choose a pairing, you’ll receive a discount on the artwork. I’m paired with the fantastic Kirista Trask. I think our paintings will look magical together!
The artworks made for these projects are only available through PDX-CSA. Mine will incorporate found objects with abstract paintings in Oil & Cold Wax medium. They are designed to be affordable and collectible! Click here to get in while you can! I love receiving your comments and I’m honored when you share my posts with friends. Thanks!
A friend recently asked me how I choose which art competitions to enter. I have a complicated set of criteria that I look at. In general I consider the Risks vs. Rewards. I believe that most of us are our own worst critics. Entering shows sometimes feels risky, yet competitive exhibitions are just another venue for sharing your art. James Clear writes about that risk:
“You can either be judged because you created something or ignored because you left your greatness inside of you.” – James Clear
First, my 5 Important Criteria for avoiding risk:
1. Do I respect the juror?
This is my most important question. I ask myself if I’ve:
heard them speak
taken a workshop from them
seen a show that they have juried
been rejected by them in the past
watched them conduct a critique
read one of their articles or blog posts
Furthermore, I consider whether or not I find the juror’s work exciting. I usually enter competitions if I respect the juror. Conversely, I might also enter if I don’t know much about the judge. If I don’t respect the juror, I probably shouldn’t enter. Acceptance or rejection would mean less coming from someone I respect less.
2. Is the show very competitive?
While I want to enter a show that stretches my ability, I’m not interested in wasting my entry fee. However, this can change over time. As you enter more competitions, your name recognition increases and skills improve. Also, because artists who enter generally attend or receive a catalog, a widely entered show can give you broader exposure.
3. Does the organization offer Signature Membership?
Non-artists often ask what a Signature Membership means. Simply put, Signature members of an art group can sign initials after their name. It is an acronym that stands for professional status, similar to that used by doctors or lawyers. Art groups have varying standards for achieving Signature Membership. Most groups include acceptance into more than one show or sending multiple paintings to demonstrate consistency. I just found out that I can add a new Signature Membership to my list: San Diego Watercolor Society!
4. How much will I invest?
Entry fees, shipping and handling can really add up. Do I think the fees are average? Do they seem reasonable? It depends on your goals for entering a show. One reason I enter quite a few shows is that I would like to do more jurying and workshops out of state. So, I often choose to enter shows in areas that I think might be fun to visit. I’m always hoping that artists in that area might be intrigued by my work and invite me to jury. Additionally, I must consider my investment of time in managing my inventory, delivering work, preparing the work for exhibit, etc.
5. What other benefits might I see?
Will I see my work published in a book or magazine or receive prize money? Although this is kind of crazy, I sort of weigh what my chances might be to win an award or gain publication. If I hit my head against a wall too many times, then I generally take a break from entering. I consider whether I’m not ready or if maybe my style is not a good fit. Am I likely to see sales from the show? Will more students be motivated to study with me? Will I win a purchase award?
I’ve listed below some of the shows I’ve entered in the past. Click to View my Resume and see which ones I’ve actually been in! This year I tried to stretch a bit and entered a show for works on paper at the Brand Museum in California. Unfortunately, I didn’t get in. In addition you can read my philosophy on rejection here: Rejected Again – Hooray!
American Watercolor Society
National Watercolor Society
Western Federation of Watercolor Societies
Northwest Watercolor Society
Louisiana Watercolor Society
Texas Watercolor Society
Rocky Mountain National Watermedia
Signature American Watermedia, Fallbrook, CA
Adirondacks National Exhibition
Pike’s Peak National Watermedia
California Watercolor Association
San Diego International Watermedia
Georgia Watercolor Society
Watercolor Society of Oregon
Red River National Watermedia
Watercolor Society of Alabama
Hilton Head International Exhibition
National Watercolor Oklahoma
Taos Exhibition of American Watercolors
Kentucky Watercolor Society
Expressions West, Coos Art Museum
Finally, Thanks for sending me questions that might serve as possible blog post topics! I love to hear your comments on how YOU choose what shows to enter; join the conversation below!
I’m proud to share that I’m one of six artists from Portland Open Studios chosen to participate in this year’s PDX-CSA. The concept is similar to buying shares in an organic CSA farm, but for art! Just as you choose a farm because you like what crops they grow, give them money in the spring to cover costs, and receive your food a few months later, with PDX-CSA you choose artists whose voice you like, give them money to support their creation, and then receive the art in a couple months. It is a perfect combination between choice and surprise.
You’ll be involved in the process from concept to completion. Once the art is made, you’ll be invited to the reveal party to pick it up, or if you’re from outside Portland, the work will ship to you with no handling fee. In the past, work has shipped all over the world!
PDX-CSA offers you the opportunity to support the creation of new artwork by providing artists with funds upfront. You support artists’ creative freedom and in return you get exclusive, high-quality artwork and you get to follow the artists’ process for creating the artwork from concept to completion.
You can buy a pairing and save $ or choose just one of the projects. It’s a great way to support my work as an artist and to see a series evolve from start to finish. The work in this series is only available through PDX-CSA.
This project is separate from my other series:
Working with cold wax’s ability to hold objects, Ruth Armitage will incorporate found objects in her paintings; these textures and patterns emerge from and recede into the swathes of color. Her abstracts are detailed environments, packed with marks and forms, shifts in scale and movement; intense primary colors become permeable hazes, layers are worn away and incised to reveal artifacts and further layers.
Click the image below to see my partner’s work, and the work of the other 4 artists. I’m excited to get started with these new works and to keep you updated on the progress. I’ll only be making pieces for those who invest upfront, and this is a limited opportunity. Sales end September 17th, so get yours now!
Finally, it would be great if you could share this with friends and family who might need some affordable art. It’s a unique idea, and we’d love to have the whole community know about it!
Art supplies are magic.They can make even the most unimaginative artist want to pull up the nearest easel and start creating. Like the smell of a new box of crayons at the beginning of the school year, new art supplies really stir my soul. If I’m in an artistic slump, visiting an art store or a trade show gets my creative juices flowing.
There was only a slight danger that I would fall in love with something totally new, and switch the course of my artwork forever. After all, the supplies only get you started on your art journey. What keeps you coming back for more is the content or essence, the meaning in the art.
Art Supplies Aren’t the Only Answer
Read more about this subject: Don’t Dilute Your Aesthetic Urge. I enjoy demonstrating my techniques in watercolor, acrylic, oil and mixed media. But, what really gets me excited in teaching is to see students take risks of expression. These brave souls challenge themselves to make a statement that is truly personal. They often find a way to express themselves that is unique and new. That is the ultimate goal of working with new materials.
I’ll be sharing my process for painting with Oil & Cold Wax medium this Saturday at Art Extravaganza! Read all about it in this earlier post. The event is another opportunity to learn about materials, experiment, and network with other artists.
Six Reasons to Stop By:
Pop-Up Store by Merri Artist
Panel Discussion by CERF
I hope you’ll find yourself dreaming of new creations and Art Supplies after this fun event. Bring a friend and Join me!