Thursday, October 25, 2007

Wrestling with my art...2

Am I blessed or cursed with an insatiable desire to work in multiple mediums? For the past 10 years I have worked, often simultaneously, with clay mono typing, pastels, oil pastels, watercolor, acrylics, oil, and mixed media. It is not unusual for me to have 2, 3, or even 4 pieces of work in progress, each in a different medium. When asked which is my favorite I answer, ‘the one in which I’m currently working’.

Visitors to my gallery are surprised when they learn all the work is by one artist because the “styles”, and frequently the subject matter, are so different. The truth is, I do not consciously choose a style. The style is like ones handwriting, it basically selects itself, and with my art, it is the medium and the subjects that determines my approach. My architectural paintings in watercolor are primarily very tight and constrained, while my larger acrylic landscapes are usually very loose and intuitive. The pastels fall somewhere in between the two.

I enjoy working as I do, and will probably continue to do so. But my enjoyment would be much greater if I could learn how to stop second guessing myself. With nauseating regularity I ask myself, “am I limiting my development by spreading myself over too many mediums, and, wouldn’t I have a better chance at gaining gallery representation if I limited my work to one or two mediums”? When I prepare a portfolio to send to a gallery I have to decide what medium will I show them, the landscapes on canvas, ot the abstract clay mono types, or perhaps the pastels on paper. (It is my understanding that when reviewing portfolios galleries look for consistency in an artist’s work and are less impressed with a portfolio of work showing a wide variety of style, subject matter, and media.)

It has been 5 years since I left my medical practice and have been able to devote all of my time to art. In the past few years I have grown increasingly comfortable with my approach to my art and spend less time second guessing myself, at least as it relates to working in multiple mediums. But fear not, I have an abundance of other questions and issues with which to wrestle, and they all make for future postings.

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