Inspiration takes devotion

I’ve had a few opportunities over the past months to join in on the Salem Sketchers group which meets at a different location each month to draw, sketch, or illustrate the surroundings of where ever we might be that day. At the end of the session we lay out our drawings for all to see and we share with each other what we’ve created. These drawings are photographed by nearly everyone there with smart phones, and then they are posted on Facebook for the world to see. It’s a fun way to share and inspire each other.

One month we met at a local grocery store and the artists sketched everything from apples to ziti. Isles of produce, baked goods, shopping carts, light fixtures, signs, checkout stands, whatever inspired them.  Another month, we met at a local coffee shop, and the variety of inspiration, style, choice of media and individual flair is, as always, a feast for sore eyes.  

The last time I joined in, we met at a wood shop (Barnwood Naturals, LLC)  where the shop owner creates modern, stylish decor from old barn wood and other types of wood scraps. The products and designs he creates are used in many upscale establishments from New York to Singapore. It’s a small unassuming shop near the Willamette River, at the entrance to Riverfront Park and the walking bridge, in Salem. Artists spread out, both inside and outside the shop and found inspiration to draw from the most unexpected subjects.

The wonderful thing about drawing, and any form of representational art, is that you look at what is truly there – the form, the shape, the positive and negative spaces, the darks, the lights, the shadows, and your mind is transformed into seeing these shapes, colors, spaces, and values for what they are — not for what you know them to be or what your mind wants to imagine them being. A chair is totally different from one angle than it is from another angle. The shape of thing is defined by the space surrounding it.

It helps to draw frequently in oder to get a good grasp of this concept. I’m grateful to the Salem Sketchers for having these sketch meets, since it inspires me to set aside a time where and when I can devote my attention to art of drawing. I need to practice this on a daily basis. AND I’m going to start doing that, since it’s been a trial to get myself motived to paint lately. All my excuses are wound up in not having the time, the organized space, or the energy. So I’ll take those baby steps to overcome the creative blocks I’ve set up for myself. Drawing is a simple way to allow yourself the luxury of exercising your creative side. All you need is a pencil and paper!  How about a napkin? Many artists have started with a napkin drawing to inspire great works.  ( …And if I’m ever renowned like Picasso, my napkins will sell for millions.  But that’s another fantasy.)

Soon, I’ll be joining forces with Paint the Town 2016. This will give me the motivation and enthusiasm to paint en plein air once again. I’m very excited!

Art inspirations

Setting up for First Wednesday Event at the Salem Arts Bldg.

Setting up for First Wednesday Event at the Salem Arts Bldg.

I started off the month of February with a First Wednesday Event extravaganza, where I secured a space in the Salem Arts Building along with about 70 other artists and vendors.  It was a first event of it’s kind and lasted only one day from 2-9 p.m. I was surprised by how many people attended and the number of sales I made ~ mostly blank note cards, one framed print, and an original unframed watercolor. It was fun to display my art and get feedback from people who stopped just to look.

Having a booth at an Art Fair would be a great opportunity. I really enjoy watching people and their expressions when they look at my work. Also, their comments about certain pieces and seeing which paintings get the best reaction gives me a better idea of what people like about my work, and what they don’t like.  Overall, the experience at this small indoor venue produced positive feedback, regardless of gender, age, etc. I may get much different responses in another environment, but I found the art vendor experience to be more personal than simply hanging work in gallery or shop and leaving it there.

This month I also submitted three paintings to a call for entry at an art gallery in Ellenberg, WA – the Clymer Museum and Gallery, but my work wasn’t accepted this time.  I went through is CaFE www.callforentry.com which is an art submission site that lists galleries and public art opportunities. It works really well. I noticed another art show that interests me in Joseph, Oregon, so I’m going to submit some slides for that exhibit next.

Cannon Beach in February

Cannon Beach in February

Tolovana Beach

Tolovana Beach

Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach

Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach – a quick watercolor sketch

Most of this February in Oregon has been unseasonably warm. My husband, John and I went to Cannon Beach for a few days mid-month, and I was wearing sandals and going barefoot in the sand, wading through the surf. It was nearly 70 degrees during the day! We walked and saw tide pools around the rocks while the tide was out, and took time to just sit on the beach and watch the ocean. There was hardly any wind and the sun reflecting on the water and sand made it feel like a summer day. I took time for a couple of watercolor sketches in my watercolor travel journal.

Cannon Beach is a town with many nice shops, restaurants and wonderful fine art galleries. We visited a half dozen galleries on one walk about, and each gallery was filled with tasteful art in a variety of mediums.  I also inquired at each gallery about their intake process and whom I should contact to submit my work. I’m hoping to find at least one gallery that will accept my paintings. It would deeply inspire me to paint more often and refine my style if I had a goal to fulfill.

Salem Sketchers at the IKE Box Cafe

Salem Sketchers at the IKE Box Cafe

This month, I decided to attend a sketch group, Salem Sketchers, that meets once a month at different locations to sketch whatever inspires us. This month we met a local coffee shop, the IKE Box. It’s fun and inspiring and good for me to spend time with other artists once in a while. Being an artist is not a lonely road but certainly an individualistic one. It’s always great to see what other artists do and to learn from each other. As one of my art professors used to say frequently, “Art is not created in a vacuum.”  It has to be inspired by something or someone and it’s meant to be shared and seen by all.

Next month the Salem Sketcher are meeting at the Hallie Ford Museum of Art to sketch together.