Friday, January 4, 2019

Getting started... or not.

Beginning the New Year with all kinds of good intentions is a time-honored tradition. But you know what, the timing is ridiculous! Most of us actually begin January a bit exhausted from December and yet we still play mind games challenging ourselves to jump in with determination to be more productive/loving/honest/creative/happy... and skinny.

This year I have the added pressure of wanting to submit new work to a national exhibit, and I've got  something different in mind. I basically have two weeks to do a fairly large painting of a subject that is totally foreign to me, and therefore scary. (That's all the detail I'm sharing at this point because I don't quite trust that I will be successful.)

Honestly, after being irritated with myself for not getting started, a sudden realization hit me: if I don't start, I can't screw it up.

And there you have it - the niggling thought behind creative procrastination.

That same morning Robert and Sara Genn's newsletter, The Painter's Keys, arrived in my inbox with the headline "Self-delusory avoidance activity." That got my attention!

I swear, this came right after realizing the subconscious reason for my un-motivation. If you've ever been plagued with any kind of "avoidance activity" do yourself a favor and read Sara's newsletter, especially the part where she makes suggestions about how to become unblocked. At first it may seem like a list of how to do nothing, but in reality, I think it's more about consciously changing habits and taking pressure off. In essence: make space so you can find the path to your creative process.

Just say "ah" and let it be.

And then get moving!

Thinking back on other times I felt blocked before starting a new project, I had the same frustrating avoidance when I wanted to do interiors. My first was a single chair in a corner. I reworked it several times to fix perspective and play with the light. And finally I had Home Alone.
interior painting, classical realism, original oil painting
Home Alone ©2014 Dorothy Lorenze
That first simple interior gave me the confidence to try a more involved view. Sitting Pretty was definitely more challenging and in the end, even more rewarding.

interior painting, classical realism, original oil painting
Sitting Pretty ©2014 Dorothy Lorenze

Since then I've done quite a few interiors and enjoyed working on them immensely. Just about all have sold, but there will be one, Cabinet of Basketry, in Art Show: Bedford 2019 at St. Mathews beginning January 25th. Come by if you are in the area, it's always a good show.

interior painting, classical realism, original oil painting
Cabinet of Basketry ©2017 Dorothy Lorenze
So, fortunately, while I had my brilliant realization that not trying a new genre might mean not failing, I also realized that if I did give this new painting a shot, at the very least I would learn something. And, as with painting interiors, I might really enjoy it!

The new painting is now underway. It may not be completed in time for the national show deadline, but I'm excited about it and I'll certainly learn something. More importantly, it feels good not to give up.

If you are struggling with getting started on any kind of project this new year - take a breath, look at it honestly to figure out what you really want to tackle and why, and if it's still important and not just something to check off a list, take some baby steps to get started. Once you get going it might turn out to be just the spring tonic you need.

Have a creative and rewarding 2019! 
And thank you for joining me on my art journey. 

For all you new readers, you can check out earlier studio news here where you can also search for past subjects. Please share this newsletter with anyone you think might find it of interest.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Happy Artful Holidays!

It's been a wonderfully creative year - not the least of which is because we've had two sweet grand children enter our lives this fall - can't get enough of them. Welcoming a baby is the perfect pause in our somewhat chaotic lives. They are perfect reminders that all's right with the world.

But... all that snuggling takes time, so I will not have a Christmas card painting for the first time in several years. I'm thinking it might be a New Year's painting! Stay tuned.

I am very pleased to note that although it's been a busy year with non-art needs and distractions, there have been some wonderfully rewarding opportunities on the art front.

trompe l'oeil painting, fool the eye
Noteworthy ©2017 Dorothy Lorenze
This fall my trompe l'oeil painting Noteworthy was juried into Oil Painters of America's Eastern Regional exhibit. It's my first acceptance to a show by this national organization. The exhibit is at McBride Gallery in Annapolis, a lovely gallery in a beautifully historic and artsy town. Happily, the show has been extended into January.

Earlier this fall two paintings were juried into Borderland State Park's Ames Mansion, in North Easton, MA. I enjoyed discovering this gorgeous historic venue and getting to know artist, feminist and inventor, Blanche Ames. Such a fascinating woman! She and her husband, Oakes, also happen to be grandparents of actor George Plimpton. A portrait of Oakes Ames in the dining room looks, eerily, just like grandson George. (But I digress.)

My next new art adventure will be to participate in Art Show: Bedford which has been ongoing since 1973. And it was the first art show I ever visited when we moved  to the area in the 70s. I'm very pleased to be invited. The exhibit runs from January 25 to February 3 at St. Matthews Parish House in Bedford, NY. It's always a popular event and all proceeds benefit local charities - so it's good works for good works!

Santa's Chocolate Shadow © 2017 Dorothy Lorenze

Since I haven't got a new Christmas painting to share, here are two of my favorites from past years  (which some new readers haven't yet seen). Santa's Chocolate Shadow was painted last fall and it has recently found a new home.

Christmas 1945 is an ongoing favorite of mine because it features vintage ornaments from my parent's childhood trees.

So this is what I enjoy about still life - the opportunity to explore light, color and reflection while spending time with vintage, nostalgic subjects that draw me into another time and place. Sort of a painterly, mini Downton Abbey adventure.
Christmas 1945 ©2013 Dorothy Lorenze

I do have several new paintings in the works - almost finished - and I plan to write about my painting process after the holidays, so please keep an eye out for that.

In the meantime, thank you all for your kind comments and support throughout 2018. You helped to make a busy year even more rewarding. I hope you are enjoying time with family and friends in the coming days, reminiscing about all the goodness in your life. I look forward to entering 2019 with renewed creative energy and sincere wishes for joy and peace in this crazy world.

Monday, November 19, 2018

When it's hard to feel thankful

At this time of giving thanks I want to take a moment to thank the art lovers who feed the energy and creativity of artists with your support and kind comments. Whether you have purchased artwork, visited an exhibit or shared your feelings on social media please know that you play an important role in our continued creative effort. Sure, we're artists and we're gonna make art, but knowing our work strikes a chord is truly validating and keeps us going. And as I've said before, the world could use more beauty.

We are in California for Thanksgiving this year where the raging fires are all too real. Smoke permeates the air for hundreds of miles and there is a heaviness in both the air and in our hearts as we experience this devastating tragedy. It feels kind of trivial to focus on gratitude for the good things in my life at such a time, but I think - I hope - that appreciation is what gets us through such difficulties. I haven't quite decided how to help the victims of the fire but in appreciation of the generous support that I experience as an artist, I know that I will.

So, again, thank you for inspiring me! 

As far as my artwork goes, a selection of my paintings will be hanging at Who's Cooking in Croton Falls for one more week. Below are a few of the paintings on exhibit through November 26 (closed on Sundays).

original oil painting, representational art
Five Little Onions Sitting on a Bench ©2018 Dorothy Lorenze

original oil painting, classical still life
At the Opera © 2017 Dorothy Lorenze

original oil painting, classical interior, representational painting
Come In. Peace ©2018 Dorothy Lorenze

And just for fun - ho, ho, ho - a vintage Santa figure and his chocolate shadow. 
vintage Santa figure, chocolate  Santa Claus, representational art
Santa's Chocolate Shadow ©2017 Dorothy Lorenze

I will also have a few paintings at the annual Mark Twain Library benefit art show in Redding, CT from November 30 - December 9th. It's a short run, but worth a visit. The show is well-curated and well-displayed, the library itself is lovely and the folks involved are some of the most appreciative art patrons around. You might even find a unique work of art for special gift giving!

Meanwhile, the next few days will be focused on meal planning and preparing for guests. As with making art, the work of preparation is important to a successful outcome, but the spirit of what's behind the effort is what brings the work to life. So, whatever your Thanksgiving dinner plans may be, I hope you are also grateful for the goodness in your life and appreciative of all those whose small gestures of kindness feed your soul. Because gratitude is a happiness multiplier!

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, and special thanks for joining me on my art-filled journey.