I will be the featured artist for a solo exhibit at my University gallery beginning next week and as the days get closer, I thought I would think about the process and steps that brought me to this place. It is quite a major thing to put your body of work up in one place for comment and critique by an audience. It has been awhile, and I know that in the time between I have grown immensely as an artist.
I think the first step for any artist considering an exhibit is to set a goal with a time frame in which you would like to see this occur. A little over a year ago, I established some very big goals for the year ahead, wrote them down, and then didn’t look at them again for months. However, the simple act of writing specifics down on paper was an incentive for me to take action and complete the small and large steps toward those goals. This exhibit is the result of that intention.
Next, I had to really look at my work with a critical eye. A year ago, I had a lot of work but it wasn’t cohesive – didn’t have one voice. I have watched enough ‘Project Runway’ to know that a collection has to be cohesive – has to be identifiable. In the midst of this time, I was also considering and developing my personal voice and refining what I truly love to paint – what I want to spend my time seeing and reflecting back. I don’t want to be a painter who can just knock out pretty little paintings. I want to evoke something in the work – have people see what I see in a way that creates a memory or a feeling or a sense of place.
Another key was to work diligently at the craft. I took a wonderful workshop last summer with Anne Blair Brown which stretched me a bit and confirmed some of what I already know to do. The commitment to spend the time, step back, tweak my approach and paint, paint, paint has brought new confidence and a whole new collection to life.
I had made some inquiries at some galleries, the University being one. When a call came last fall from the Curator, I was ready. I had a few pieces to finish, but I had created a cohesive collection of work that I am proud to show. The Exhibit title matches my blog – Color – Light – Passion – because that is the space I have been living in this year. In the midst of moves and much change, there has been much joy and exploration and newness.
The work will be hung tomorrow and the reception will be hosted next week – January 24 – from 4-6 p.m. Nerves and excitement. Here goes!