"Nature is what we know
Yet have not art to say
So impotent our vision is
to her simplicity."
- Emily Dickinson

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Making Lemonade

As an artist, I have been very fortunate (some would say, successful) for many years in that I’ve sold nearly everything I’ve created. OK, I have kept a few watercolor works from my time living and working on Tybee Island, Georgia, but I took those out of my inventory because I simply wanted to enjoy them in our home. In the pase12 years, I’ve done on average forty pieces a year, some small and some more significant. As of January 2010, I had about 9 pieces in inventory for sale. Not bad -- the bad part comes with the realization that things are tough right now. It’s tough all over and really tough in the arts.

Being an optimist and having a lot of faith in the people of our country (but not necessarily our government) I’ve been making lemonade. You know, if life gives you lemons . . .

Last year I did two things for myself that have proved transformational. I took a course at Smithgall Woods Conservation Park and became a Georgia Master Naturalist. My artwork has always been nature centered and now I work with confidence and authority, understanding more about the habitats, natural resources and the natural environments of our state. Then during the peak of a mountain Autumn, I spent a week at the wonderful Penland School of Craft in North Carolina, studying vitreography (printmaking with glass plates) with Judith O’Rourk. For me, Penland was more about discovering that at any age, an artist can find renewed artistic commitment and stretch the bounds of her creativity than it was about learning printmaking techniques -- although that was great, too. I began 2010 with a new vigor.

This year and possibly next, I am just making art. After all, it really is the process and not the finished work that art is all about for me. I am not trying to sell anything, I really want to make good art, my art without the pressure of trying to selling it. I’ll let you know how it all goes -- sure hope there will be a market for lemonade!