Monday, August 17, 2009

ONE DAY AT A TIME...ONE PAINTING AT A TIME

Oh the many dreams that filled my head when I navigated that journey from medicine to art. I was young (well...relative to my current age), fearless, brimming with confidence, and determined to establish myself as a successful artist/illustrator in spite of the absence of any formal training. My earliest work was naive, fresh, and devoted to subjects that other artists were ignoring, local markets, street scenes and architectural portraits of old local neighborhoods. Fortunately it proved to be very popular with the buying public (at very modest prices.), which only affirmed my confidence and enthusiasm. I was unafraid to embrace my destiny, and held closely aspirations and dreams of becoming a celebrated artist and illustrator, with national acclaim and comfortable commercial success. Thus armed, I painted my way through the early stages of my life as an artist.

As my facility with the medium grew, my interests and ambitions kept pace, and I began to expand the scope of my work. Urban landscaped and architecture began sharing space with rural landscapes, barns, and experimentation with abstration.. The economy in the late 1980s was flourishing, and I was selling my art almost as fast as I could create it, which continued to fuel my growing aspirations; my paintings would be on the cover of the New Yorker magazine, galleries in Philadelphia would represent me (I did have my work with 2 different galleries in Philadelphia for several years), and I would become a celebrated artist. So I continued to paint with unbridled enthusiasm through the economic boom with visions of an unlimited future.

The changes and transformations have been gradual and subtle. The work has evolved as my motivation and the range of interest in media and process has expanded. At the same time my fervor for major recognition and gallery representation has receded, and my aspirations more modest; There has been continued commercial success, though somewhat moderated by the current economy, and I do have my work in several out of town galleries, including the long established Sande Webster Gallery in Philadelphia. There is no doubt in my mind that the seven years I have been in Paducah, and my exposure to the many accomplished artist here have had a major impact on my development as an artist. I am, at age 70, comfortable with myself and my art, confident in my work, and realistic about my limitations. I am no longer burdened by outsized goals and aspirations, having reduced them all to simple desires...to do the best work I am capable of doing and to learn all I can from each painting.

Just as becoming 70 has nudged me into thinking in terms of one day at a time, it also encourages me to live my art one painting at a time.

3 comments:

stageoflife said...
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Villager said...

Great post. And great paintings. For now life is hectic...but I hope to follow in your footsteps when the time comes.
Best regards.

cowango said...

It's interesting how our motivations and desires change over time. I doubt that I'll ever be a world renowned artist but I'm happy to get whatever recognition I can.