Looking back on 2015, I have to say I was very blessed. I took a few risks, was pleasantly surprised, and grew artistically in the process.
I participated in my first (and second) plein air events. Both events were at the same location, Steelville MO. I decided to ignore my fears, schedule some time away from my job and go for it. It was a labor of love. I was thoroughly exhausted and creatively spent at the end of the day. These events are not easy despite how some artists make it look! The first day I was so exhausted and frustrated with my performance that I was second guessing my decision. I told myself going in, I want to produce a painting to turn in each day/event and I want it to be something that I’m not totally disappointed in. I wanted it to be something that I felt was a true representation of my work. The first day, I struggled with finding a composition and drawing, getting true color down, and dodging rain showers. In the last hour before time to check in, I painting a quick little painting. It wasn’t my best work but I did feel it restored a bit of faith in myself. I did go on to complete the event. I turned in a painting a day, each day for 5 days plus a sunset paint and a nocturne. I ended up painting over 15 paintings to display and sell at the final sale and gallery display! I could see a change in my work each day and by the end of the event felt really good about my progress and accomplishment. I sold several paintings and even won an honorable mention! As a result of this event, I also met some amazing new artist friends; one of whom wrote an article that was published on the Plein Air Magazine’s online magazine where they used some of my location photos along with a photo of my painting in progress. That was quite a feather in my cap! Thank you again Marcia!
I went back to Steelville in the fall and participated in their fall paint out. Again, I told myself I will paint in each event and turn something in for each one; the themes were earth, air, water, and fire. Again, I painted multiple paintings each day….and when the event was over, I was ecstatic to have made a few sales and lo and behold, walk away with one of the days’ purchase awards! You could’ve knocked me over with a feather!
Early on in the year, I signed up for an account on a daily painting site (although, I still do not paint daily, I am painting A LOT more). It is safe to say that I’ve produced more paintings this year than several years combined in the past. I signed up for this site as a place to display my “painting a day for a month” paintings. Each February for the past few years, I do a “painting a day for a month” challenge to myself. This year, I painted small, 5×7 inch value studies. These were a way for me to focus on drawing and values. This is a wonderful and very beneficial exercise for me. Again, I saw a real improvement in my work and as an added bonus, I’ve made many sales and met new, wonderful, collectors/friends through these sales. I’ve shipped art to several new states that I hadn’t sold in before and am up to 18 states on my “sellers list”! Woo Hoo–I’m going for all 50….it’s on my bucket list! LOL
I participated in a few juried shows with our local art club, one being the annual landscape show. I am honored to have taken second place in this show. Quite an accomplishment after seeing the caliber of work in the show and knowing the artist who received first–I have long admired his work and really look up to him and value his critiques and advice.
I started painting en plein air (or on location) at least once per week unless I was away from home or until daylight savings time ended and I was getting off of work at my “day job” in the dark. I’ve sold many of these paintings via the Daily Paintworks site, so, not only is it great practice but I’ve been able to continue paying for my supplies and gas to locations. Yay, win/win! Plein air painting has taken me to some amazing painting locations this year. I’ve painted inside a cave, in the flint hills of Kansas, standing in a river, and even painted on the side of a mountain! Not sure how I will top those in 2016!
I took a leap and applied to my first artist-in-residence program. The jury is still out on whether I made the cut or not…..hopefully I will have great news to report in April of 2016!
I also put myself out there and applied to a couple of national shows/events. I was not accepted but, it is still an accomplishment to go through the application process and put my work out there with the “big dogs” and be judged alongside them. Who knows, with continued growth and persistence, maybe one day it will pay off.
There you have it, some of my artistic highlights for 2015….here’s to seeing what 2016 holds. Stay tuned……