If you've followed my artwork, you know I tend to vacillate between a number of subjects and styles. From Figurative to Abstract, from Local Color to Imagined Color, Still-Life to Cityscape. I haven't decided what my "thing" is yet. This creates quite a challenge for setting up shows; however, I think it is necessary for me to explore every avenue of my creative spirit.
This brings me to an important concept I've been considering lately: The idea that an artist should be prolific and unrelenting in their exploration of creativity.
I call this, Churn.
perhaps a better way to explain this is to compare this concept to a cherry tree which puts out thousands of blooms every year of which only a few that happen to get pollinated, to produce a handful of cherries and then to produce an even smaller number of viable seeds which grow to cherry saplings and further carry on the species.
In my short career as an artist, I find that I produce three times the number of paintings that will ever see the public view, or gallery walls. If you look through my sketch books you'll see the many attempts at common subjects (muses), for instance Maker's Mark, Art Tools, Sacramento City Hall, Condiments, Hydrants and cups of coffee. Through this process of exploration, I hope to produce work that inspires you, to see the world from another angle, to slow down, to consider your impacts on this world. Because this exploration is lengthy and arduous it is necessary to price my pieces accordingly, in order to support my journey. If you see my works up and around, consider the tens if not hundreds of times I have painted that piece, and am not satisfied with the results. If you are buying a piece of my work, you are getting the absolute best representation and distillation of my creative process.
Last night I had the opportunity to attend a 'beer dinner' held at BJs with my wife, Mikelynn and my cousin Melissa. At first I thought it would just be a four course meal paired with various beers from Rogue at one of their regular tables. I was pleasantly surprised when we walked into a 'classroom' type setup with long tables all facing the front of the room. We quickly shuffled to a table toward the back and the program began! A nice gentleman by the name of Jeremy walked us through each beer and food pairing, describing the beer and giving us background on the brewery and why they chose to pair with their various dishes; All-in-all, we had quite an enjoyable evening. I was working on finishing up a painting I had started at lunch that day and was feeling fairly pleased with my progress.
The meal progressed and as I continued work on my painting I started to get an 'itch'. I felt like I was swaying into a very 'literal' frame of mind. Usually when this happens I like to shake things up by painting something abstract or a little more loose. I excused myself from the table to change my water in the bathroom and passed a great example of a loose abstract painting on the way. I snapped a quick photo and went back to the table with a mission!
I didn't realize it then, but it had been exactly a month to the day since I created my first piece in the "One for the 'Keep" series. I decided it was time to create another piece that I could give away to someone who has given me a little joy that day. This day the painting went to Jeremy, he did such a good job entertaining and enlightening on the various beers and plates that made their way onto our table. I started feverishly working on the painting and had to ask for a couple of free refills on my beer to complete it, but at the end of the night...I think it was successful. Jeremy was very happy to get the piece, I think it caught him off guard but I think he was happy. It was a very fulfilling experience, one I'll definitely repeat in the future!
I experienced an interesting revelation recently; I was driving in my car and the stereo signal went to static, then completely disappeared. Now this shouldn't seem that odd for those who can remember when we all had bunny ears on our TVs and a wire that hung off the wall for our alarm clock radio. However, for me it came as a bit of a shock; It took me a day or so to figure out that somehow my antennae was busted off the front fender. Now, I don't know if this was something that happened on accident or if I have made someone mad, no matter, it is gone now. I have been pretty busy at work and just didn't feel like getting under the car or under the hood to figure out how to fix the issue. It has been a week now, and I've noticed something:
We have certain 'habits' that we instinctually do without even thinking. For me, one of my habits is getting in the car and turning on some kind of noise (NPR, Radio, Etc.). This doesn't seem that strange, until I started to recognize that I ALWAYS have some kind of noise, it's like I need it. I always have my headphones in, the Spotify or the Radio on around the house, and now that I've been without the radio in the car, when there is just silence, I seem to give myself permission to actively reflect, to pay attention to the rest of my senses and even look at things differently.
You're asking yourself, how does this tie to my art? Often when I am out painting in public I will have a headphone in, trying to tune some of the distractions out with....more distraction (the Irony has been duly noted). When I have my best painting sessions it is usually when I have immersed myself in the environment, either at a restaurant, pub, street corner, or at home while staring at a still life setup on my kitchen table.
Now that I have shared this observation with you, I'd like to challenge you to see what type of habits you have in your life, and what happens when you consciously decide to abstain from them? Leave your comments below, or on Facebook!
Recently most of my work has been focused around preparing for my first solo show (in May) while sipping coffee at Temple Coffee near Cesar Chavez park. I'm going to start tuning in to that environment and I'm sure I'll find some surprises.
Over the last few years It has become clear that art is a practiced skill. While I believe everyone is born a natural artist, it seems that about 4th grade they seem to separate those that 'think like artists' from everyone else. All of the students that don't think like artists are told that they should just leave the creative work up to the people that are natural at it. I think I was one of those kids that was separated as a 'natural' artist, which worked for me because I was always drawing and doodling something. I didn't take well to 'formal art instruction' and didn't pursue that during junior high and high school, and thus I lost a lot of my abilities.
I have learned in the time since high school that art isn't 'natural'. It is something you have to work for every single day. I picked up the sketching/painting relatively recently (2010-sh) and have been very serious about it for the last 3 or so years. It has been important for me to set aside at least one hour a day to sketch. Often times when I am out getting coffee or eating at a restaurant.
Here is a piece I recently started while getting coffee before work one morning. There is still a bit of work left to do on it, but It is definitely coming along, this is practice, this is art.