Friday, December 9, 2016

Art: the Agony and the Ecstasy

To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So do it.” Kurt Vonnegut

Thank you Kurt Vonnegut. I'm trying. And the trying leads to highs and lows. From hooray to holy sh*t in a heartbeat. And so, after getting some good art news this week, fingers crossed and ego checked, I signed up for a portrait class.
The Good. 
The good news is that I was accepted to an artist residency at Weir Farm Art Center. This means staying on site at the National Park and former home of American Impressionist Julian Alden Weir. By myself. Just painting. As luck would have it, I was given time in May and I'm looking forward to two weeks of dedicated art-making this spring!

oil portraits, studies
unfinished portrait studies
So, on that "high" I went to the portrait class. And came right back down to earth.

The Bad.
The bad news is portraiture is not still life! Capturing the nuances that make an individual unique - in oil paint - was pretty overwhelming.

old man portrait
latest portrait study
The Ugly.
They turned out to be a sour looking bunch! To be fair, the models were lovely and I feel kind of bad posting these rather ugly portraits. The following week was another exercise in humility, but things got somewhat better. It's still painful, but I'm learning.

After the portrait agony came some ecstasy: an award from Salmagundi Art Club! It feels pretty wonderful to have my painting "Sitting Pretty" be recognized by this group and I'm looking forward to drinks in the club bar to celebrate!
interior scene, oil painting
Sitting Pretty ©2015 Dorothy Lorenze

And then I tried my hand at life drawing (after many years of abstinence) and it was kind of torturous. Felt like I had never even held a pencil! Back to the drawing board. Literally. My painting practice needs more drawing. Out of the comfort zone and into the soup of insecurity. They say it's a good way to improve.

Sometimes you have to turn your habits upside down to start fresh. The Yin and Yang of life: balancing confidence and risk. A measure of each is needed to grow. Art-making is personal and egos get bruised. Hopefully as we take on challenges, we get tougher, or at least gain some perspective.
Creativity takes courage.” Henri Matisse

In any case, it's not realistic to assume that recent successes  will predict steady forward-moving, accomplishments. In the inspirational words of Salvador Dali, Have no fear of perfection, you'll never reach it.”

And so it goes...

Thanks for joining me on my art journey/rollercoaster.

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