Cold Thoughts

Last year, I taught four six-week watercolor classes at Shelburne Craft School, worked full-time at Gardener’s Supply Company and did three art events. Two were weekend shows in Vermont. The Chaffe Art Centers Annual Art in the Park in Rutland and a Fall art and crafts show in Woodstock. My last art endeavor in 2016 was my installation of paintings and hand painted fiber scarves with the Vermont Holiday Shop which is run as an arts and crafts cooperative. We work and sell each other’s goods to offset costs. It’s a great way to work as we all strive to all commit to do our part with staffing the shop. The result is a store that is filled with the most creative mix of hard and soft goods from pottery to herbal salves, to gourmet sauces and wearable fine art fashions! Our shop was bursting with entrepreneurial gusto.

To infuse my painting with new skills,  I took a great class with Instructor Joel Popadics in August which rejuvenated my plein air landscape painting. For one intensive week, we spent full days painting outdoors at Shelburne Farms in Shelburne, Vt., Mount Philo, in Charlotte, Vt., Shelburne Museum and The Shelburne Boathouse. Joel is a master watercolorist and it was a rewarding week of very specific painting instruction that he demonstrated right before our eyes! I knew I was going to learn a lot from him and I cherished every minute of my time painting with a great group of painters who came from Vermont and out of state to participate. I took away some new color mixing formulas that I learned from him and have begun incorporating them in my paintings. Learning time-honored painting from artists who dedicate their lives to painting is invaluable and serves to inspire me as I strengthen my own teaching. My next goal is to take a class with Vermont artist, Susan Abbott. I met her many years ago at a women’s business workshop for artists in Montpelier, VT and received excellent advise on how to conduct my own art career.

Looking back at 2016, I laugh at my impulsivity. It’s both my downfall and at times my artistic strength. What does that mean? Well, a lot. Perhaps a longer blog entry is on the horizon: ” Impulsivity and the Artist, Does It Make a Good Combination?” One instructor I had explained that the balance of the logical mind and the creative mind is like walking a tightrope:you need both. I know that when I use my impulsive mind, my interest is elevated, however, at some point, it’s not always the complete recipe to get the desired intention. A few strategic logical assumptions may be resurrected for that balance. Perhaps a ratio of intention and impulsive reaction may be a good way to explain the creative painting process to students?

Lastly, I want to end this entry with four paintings I submitted to what I call my annual National Parks Project. Three years ago I began applying to specific parks for a coveted one month artist residency inside a national park. It’s like playing the lottery because they receive hundreds of applications (you apply directly to the park of choice) and they have, at best, 4 slots in a given year and each slot is typically reserved for a different artistic discipline, such as writer, musician, painter and photographer. This year I am applying to Glacier National Park (GNP) and Zion National Park (ZNP). I am researching a few more, some of the parks are not compatible with what I do and some are so one needs to read each parks criteria before applying.

Here are three images I used for my GNP application. They were painted last year from a trip I took to Utah:

My goal moving forward is to continue in 2017 with a determined effort to understand the world through art and as actress Meryl Streep recently stated at her recent controversial Golden Globes speech, “As my friend, the dearly departed Princess Leia said to me, take your broken heart and make it into art.”

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