Sunday, January 23, 2011

One Thing Leads to Another

I've been painting for nine years.  And over that time I've learned to appreciate how one thing leads to another.  

Chickadees in Spring 7" x 7" Acrylic on Stone and Paper

When I began I let the shape of the stone dictate what I was painting - and came up with some neat pieces.  But after a while I had a whole bunch of "neat things" and needed to turn them into something people could use.  So that led me to making them into pins and pocket icons and framed pieces.  Gradually my painting evolved so that I was telling larger stories.  I took up iconography and began more formal training in that discipline.  I found that I could combine my love for using egg tempera and painting on stone, discovered ways to work on larger stones - and came up with the standing stones. 

Through the Hudson Valley Artisan's Guild that offered yearly challenges around a particular theme and the requests of customers,  new ideas and techniques developed.

Recently someone asked me to make a feather pin for her - but she had a particular type of feather in mind.  As I worked with her on the feather, I began to think more seriously about how much I love crows and ravens and my mind started playing with how I could work up  a series of paintings about these engaging birds.  Years ago I had an experience with crows that I want to paint - but I haven't got the skills down yet to do it justice - so this will be a path that I hope will bring me closer. 
Guinea Hen Feather Pin  Acrylic on Stone
One of the best experiences I ever had at a craft show was when a family - a middle aged couple and their older teenaged son, came into my booth and spent a lot of time looking very carefully at my work.  She read my artist statement that mentioned how I'd started painting later in life.  She was almost in tears.  Her husband encouraged her to talk to me and find out more about my process.  I'm not sure what her story was - but it seemed that she was at a crossroads and her husband and son were encouraging her to follow some thing that she needed to nurture.  We talked about starting small and gradually learning how to take the next step.  You don't have to know it before you start. 
I hope she took that first step.  I hope she has found fulfillment and satisfaction in her work.  I know, for myself, that I just need to maintain my practice.  As I work in good faith, I will progress - and I'll get that painting done yet.
What kind of steps are you taking to fulfill your dreams?

Study of Crows

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