Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Good News

I rang the gallery last week and spoke with the director's assistant and made a time to pick up my unsold artwork. That was today. I not only got all my unsold work back but I also got a cheque. The squeaky wheel does get the most oil after all. The cheque was for less than I believe it should have been as I was charged for the cost of the second exhibition when I was told I was getting that free of charge. Not much I can do about that. I choose to look on the whole experience as a positive one as I have learned so much. Not only the things I need to look out for but the things that I expect from such a business arrangement. These are the things that will be going into my contract and anyone who wants to represent me will need to sign on my dotted line. I also gained a lot of confidence within myself. Confidence that I deserve to be treated with respect and that I deserve to be paid just like anyone else gets paid for their work. I do still have a bit of anger in me. I put my heart and soul into my work. My paintings are my story, my voice, and that in itself makes them sacred. For someone to come along and soil them, by not respecting me, has made me angry. The unsold paintings are stacked in my studio but they have lost some of their shine. They don't feel the same any more. They are soiled. This will change in time. I am just saying how I feel. I know it sounds a bit dramatic but hey, I'm an artist. Artists are a bit dramatic aren't they? Anyway today feels like I have slain a dragon. I have slain dragons before for my children. This is the first time I have slain one for myself.

Saturday, May 22, 2010


I finished the portrait of Zoe and I'm happy with it. Of course there are areas where it could have been better but I'm new at this and am trying not to be too hard on myself. It actually looks like her and I have learnt a lot. Hopefully I will continue to learn as I embark on the art of portraiture. Its something I find incredibly difficult and I lack confidence. Hopefully this too will change. I put my heart into it and basically you can't ask for more than that, can you?

Lineage - Zoe aged 8
mixed media on canvas
91.4x121.8cm (36"x48")

Something that really bothers me is that you can't see the size of a painting on a computer screen. The size is part of it and it adds another dimension of meaning. So I added a pic with a silly goose grinning over the top of the painting to give you an idea of the scale. The silly goose is quite pleased that the painting covers many of her protruding and saggy bits hehehe.

Now with this work out of the way I am in the planning stages of another work. A trip to the library saw me with an armful of books that I am looking forward to flicking through. I bought a new canvas in preparation and decided on the same size as 'Lineage'. Recently I have recovered from my fetish of painting shoes so it only seems natural that I am now planning a painting (or maybe more) involving dresses. At this stage I am thinking of a 1950's dress built up with layers of stained and altered papers. I think it would be funny to have the dress on a coat hanger and make the hanger look like its hanging from the top of the canvas but we shall see. Oh did you hear that??? There it is again ...... my studio is calling me, bye for now

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Power of Art Day

Its Thursday and a much needed art day is ahead of me. I have been working on a portrait of Zoe for a portraiture art prize I plan to enter. The portrait does not need to be of anyone famous but it must show the relationship between the sitter and the artist. You get to write a little blurb about the relationship to go with the painting. I am calling the painting 'Lineage' as it not only speaks about my special relationship with Zoe but that with my grandmother. The background is made of layers of old family letters. Among them precious letters from my grandmother. I also have some text from old children's books. Zoe is looking down at her cupped upturned hands where she is holding a pansy. Pansies were my grandmother's favourite flowers and she grew them in her window boxes. She pressed me one and sent it to me. I still have it. Zoe is looking lovingly down at the flower as she listens to the stories I tell her of family that came before her. You see she understands the special relationship I had with my grandmother because she now has that same specialness with hers. Anyway I'm getting misty now. I only have the face left to do and a few little touches here and there. Fear! The painting is on the large side, measuring 91x122cm (36"x48") and if all goes well today I should finish it. Do you want to see it??? But its not finished. Oh alright, here it is.

Well what do you think??? Am I on the right track??? Hope I can do justice to that sweet face.

Another painting I have been working on is 'The Diner'. 1950's style diner table and chairs. This one is 101.6x152.4cm (40'x60'). The background has old diner menus. It too is not finished. It needs something. It looks so cold and clinical and as yet I haven't been able to resolve it. There are things I am happy with like the reflection on the chair seats etc. but overall it needs something. It still needs to have some difference between the wall and the floor and some little human element. Maybe a spilled milkshake dripping onto the floor. Any suggestions. I really hope I can fix it as I don't want to paint over it. It already has another unresolved painting underneath. I sometimes have these cursed canvases that have several paintings painted on them before I am happy.

So yesterday I 'spilled my guts' and today I am showing you my work in progress 'warts and all'. See the lion is awakening and is gaining strength!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Lost My Way.

I thought I would take a leaf out of Elena's book and 'spill my guts'. I tend to hide away when I have some issues to work through but in reality it would be better just to talk about them right here. After all I have so many supportive virtual friends. Most of you know my story to date. I started experimenting with painting/collage in 2005 and went ahead in leaps and bounds after going on The Artist's Way Journey with a group of like minded artists. Now I have come to a point where I don't know where to turn. My path isn't clear any more. Its all dark and foggy. Of course one thing is clear, I need to continue to paint. I just don't know where I'm going. The Artist's Way helped me to work out that I don't want to do the selling part of my art. It gave me the courage to approach a commercial gallery and I found one who was willing to represent an artist without 'a name'. Exhibitions prevailed and sales were quite good. This was the right path for me I thought and I started looking further afield for other galleries who might represent me in other states. Time went on ..... no payment from gallery. More time went by ..... nothing. Am I not entitled to fair pay for my work??? Its now been 7 months since the first exhibition ended and over 3 months since the second exhibition closed and still no money. Plus the gallery has a whole body of unsold work of mine. I have emailed, I have phoned and I have sent an invoice but am not getting anywhere. I went with a commercial gallery so I wouldn't have to deal with things like this. I am owed quite a few thousand dollars and am disillusioned with the whole thing. I am now too scared to approach other galleries further afield in case the same thing occurs. There is this dark cloud hanging over me and an awful gnawing feeling in my stomach. I'm an artist, not a fighter and just want to crawl under a dark rock. On a positive note I have learnt a lot from this experience. Some wonderful people have given me advice and in hindsight I should have sort some advice before signing on the dotted line. A kind friend has advised that I should always have my own contract for the galleries to sign and has even given me examples of contracts to alter for my needs. My art comes from deep inside me. Its part of my soul, part of who I am that I put onto canvas to share. That someone can take that and not respect me has really hurt my inner artist child. Yes I know I'm sounding dramatic but I'm really a sensitive soul on the inside and these things wound me deeply. Anyway all this has clouded my path and I'm not sure where I am headed. My goals seem to be unclear now. Its hard to move forward one step at a time when you don't know which way is forward. There I've said it!