December 30, 2009

The View From Here...

Unfinished oil - 36x36 - 2009

"My View From The Crest Of The Hill"... that's what it says up in the corner... and I guess that's how I've laid out this blog, lots of looking back over the career as well as looking forward. I'll admit that it's often easier to talk about the past than to plan for the future. What I've done says way more about who I am than what I've yet to do. I'll also admit that the temptation to begin the descent lurks from time to time.

Oh, no! Can't do that! Not allowed, doncha know! An artist doesn't retire... never! So okay, okay... I'll just take a break from time to time and focus on other things that are meaningful but have nothing to do with art as a career, passion, fixation. I just figured that since the economy tanked, it might be a good time to exit gracefully and it wouldn't really be my choice or my fault, right?

But it didn't work that way... several commissions kept me producing and the ledger says I documented nearly 50 paintings in '09 and sold the same number as last year... 25, mostly big ones. Doesn't look like the slip-sliding side of the hill, though both numbers are lower than when in my prime. Oops, who sez I'm not still in my prime? It's the economy, stu... well, you know.

So that's the kind of year it's been... plenty of studio time but braking for g-kids, lakehouse chores and wandering and wondering time. I've wandered over to oils again... trying to figure out how cold wax can fit in my (so-called) technique. Enjoyed the encaustic sidestep ten or so years ago and have wondered how this might build on that experience... it's play time at this point... no momentum for oils building as yet. If I was serious about retiring, I'd be focusing on watercolors, which would be like going home. But not just yet...

Strangely, this year I voluntarily left two different galleries (and joined one.) I had my reasons, but I still shake my head at how I can shut the door on perfectly good opportunities... well, in better times they would be but I didn't feel a good fit in either case so... there ya go. Crazy old lady doesn't know when she's got it good! In 2007, I left another gallery, and that one I rather regret... I think I misjudged. So I'm left with the old faithfuls in Atlanta and New Orleans, a new one locally which has yet to prove itself but at least it looks good, and several agents who come through for me on occasion.

Apparently, I'm still perched on the crest, no down-hill slide detected. After all these years, painting is still hard work... sure I love it, but sometimes the mojo is slow to perk... but it does, eventually...

So here's a toast to us all... those with lots still to do and those who've done most of it... may your hill have a terrific view from all perspectives!

9 comments:

CMC said...

My glass is raised...........Happy New Year (decade)...

paula said...

clink clink as well.
i can't really imagine how it feels to be where you are at in your art life. i guess it is possible you would stop one day...at least with all the gallery stuff. can't imagine you'd ever just stop painting though, if for your own enjoyment. its cool to hear you still love it.

Cathy Hegman said...

Cheers and a Here Here from me too! May you never lose the desire to paint! I agree the business can sure be a kill-joy to the freedom and fun of creativity!!!

Candied Fabrics said...

Hindsight IS 20/20, isn't it? What's neat is that you're still growing and changing, and I'll bet that's one of the reasons that keeps you creating! A nice reminder for me! Have a great 2010!

cathsheard said...

Love the way that unfinished oil is heading. Recession - isn't it interesting that your sales have remained steady? Good on you. Here's to a fantastic 2010.

Karen Jacobs said...

The descriptive phrase applied to me as I was growing up was 'scatterbrained'... which I never outgrew ;) Exploring new ideas (my preferred phrase) really is necessary for me, could never just replay the same process again and again.

Cath, the sales thing still boggles my mind but it basically boiled down to the New Orleans gallery... there is so much rebuilding going on in NOLA (finally!) that the recession has not been as severe.

Karen Jacobs said...

Oh, and thanks for the comment on the unfinished oil... a river runs through it now but I don't know for how long. This "practice" canvas can never be sold as it has so many layers of varying chemical content that it's destined to self destruct early on. But I do enjoy the textural process as it comes and goes.

Kelley Carey MacDonald said...

Karen, I love your work, and your blog! I hope it's OK, if I share it with my Painting-A-Day Workshop this weekend. I'm sure they'll love it, too!

Karen Jacobs said...

Thanks, Kelly... have a great workshop!