Unlike some other professions, many people don’t really have much idea about what being an artist is like. First, there is a lot going on that makes the actual creating of art possible. Let’s start with subject matter. For an artist whose paintings attempt to look like what inspired them, that means learning to see among the innumerable images with which we are surrounded that one central image that could make a painting. That could mean being outdoors and looking thoughtfully around. Indoors it might mean gathering a few everyday objects and placing them so that they make an interesting still life. But in this age of digital photography and computers it can also mean taking a lot of photos and storing them on a computer. Then, depending on one’s level of computer skills, there are things the artist can do to photographs to give even more possible ideas of subject matter. I took the photo on which the above painting is based several years ago. Since I recently discovered posterizing, I tried that with this photo until I liked the results and then painted from that. Computers make possible things I would never have expected. Not long ago I received an email from a relative I had not seen or heard from in many years. He had seen and liked my art that he saw on his computer.
Then one must put together the materials and try to acquire them as inexpensively as possible. I cut out Hobby Lobby coupons that appear weekly for 40 percent off one regularly priced item and also look at the sales. Frames are a big expense. I look for sales of oddly sized frames at places that do framing. I used to be able to occasionally find very inexpensive frames in good condition at Good Will or Salvation Army stores but that is getting harder. I recently saw two old frames at a Salvation Army store that I wanted to buy but didn’t because in my opinion the asking price was more than what they probably sold for new. Someone also told me that some of these stores are selling their more desirable items on E Bay.
But after a painting is completed and I like it and think it is pretty good, what do I do with it? It seems to be getting harder to find places to show them. Some of the places here in town where I used to show art are no longer available. I applied to several art shows since the first of the year and recently received two rejections. Our church is having a rummage sale so I have given them two older paintings I no longer show. I was a bit surprised to hear good comments about one of them. Maybe it will find a home. Then there is a recent painting of mine that I really like but won’t keep because it seems to belong to someone else.
A good thing about being an artist is that there is no retirement date. Artists of any age can and do continue to learn by taking classes, studying art in books and art magazines, museums and even using the computer. Recently on my email I was offered, without having to pay, a series of lectures by various artists. I think it was one each day for 21 days. I’m a little behind on watching them but I intend to listen to them all. As long as we can physically continue to create art we are free to do so. It is a frustrating and joyful experience we are unwilling to give up.