With the help of my friend Lee who asked me to hang art at Lilly Library on Duke Campus where he works, I had my first art show. My art is still on display at Lilly for another three weeks. We had a reception a couple weeks ago, with wine and cheese and chocolates. It was a great evening…see some old and new friends…and just celebrating my art.
I started painting about 12 years ago. I hadn’t been working long at United Church, when I bought my first home. I didn’t own much. Most of my belongings at the time fit into two mini vans. My walls were empty, but when I started looking at art for my home, I realized that art is expensive. I remember thinking at the time, maybe that expense would be better served if I took art classes and created art for myself. I didn’t know then that those early classes and experimenting with color and canvas would transform me and that painting would turn into a multi-year passion that continues to this day.
For the longest time, I was embarrassed by my art, but I still hung it up on my walls, giving my home a unique, personal character. But still, I didn’t show my art unless people came by to visit. I believed my paintings to be “messes”.
Even when people said that they liked something I did, I had a hard time believing that my art was good enough to show.
But…as all artists begin to experience, our art begins to accumulate. I didn’t want my walls to get too crowded, so some pieces began to be stored away. I took one or two particular “messes” to work, and to hang discretely in my office. At some point, the “real” artists at church began to say to me “put a couple pieces in the church artist art show.” So about three or four years ago, I hung a couple personal favorite “messes” and received positive feedback. Slowly over the past four years, I’ve started to become comfortable with thinking of and calling myself as an artist.
It’s been a process to become an artist…and the process continues. I know I haven’t perfected my art and sometimes am not sure I have a particular artistic voice. My paintings have no particular theme. I just paint what comes to me.
I’m still making “messes” but I do know that I am finding control over the medium – control I really just started developing over the past two years or so. I know more what I want to do in a piece, and I do it, like when I woke up and wanted to paint a duck over a particularly challenging abstract:
Sometimes, I still experiment, and let the art surprise me, like Mystic Bear:
Overall, I wouldn’t change the process for anything. I’ve met and studied with many talented artists. I see art EVERYWHERE I go…and am thrilled to find secret artists in my community and challenge them to show their art too.
And….most of all I am continually challenged to reflect on the process of creating art and how it intersects with my Spiritual Journey. That is the most exciting aspect of my artist life. Everyday, I’m thankful for the Spirit to open me up to a life of play, color and exploration.