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Settling In to Studio Time

Updated: Oct 7, 2021

This time in my career as an artist is all about work. I'm really digging deep to establish good studio habits and generate a strong body of work. As an emerging artist, this time is really about refining my routines and making enough art that to develop my style. Its a little like cocooning. I enter very few open calls for exhibitions lately. In many ways, the work is growing and building momentum for an amazing debut.

Painting these large flower portraits sometimes feels daunting. I'm never quite sure how they will turn out. Often, fears creep in that the work isn't luminous enough or realistic enough or polished enough. Some great advice I heard recently, is to only compare my work to my work, meaning to compare the art I make now to the art I used to make.

An interesting discovery, is that mistakes are really great teachers. I just learned what type of paper I should be using. No one really told me this. The hot pressed paper I used created some problems. The pigments were lingering too long on the smooth surface instead of seeping into the paper fibers. This created a muddy mess when I tried to layer dark colors. It became so difficult during my last piece, that I considered whether or not I should be using oil paints instead of watercolor. As it turns out, I switched to cold pressed paper and that problem is solved.

It's tempting to want recognition and sales for my work at the expense of developing. I browse the calls for art and always look at what the galleries are showing. It can feel like I'm missing out on all the fun. But I know that if I keep up the studio work, the art that I produce will be more than ready for recognition in a year.

In the video below you can see my watercolor painting, Zora's Janie Mae, in progress. This painting progressed petal-by-petal. In the photo above, I'm working on each color layer at a time to produce a new watercolor painting.

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