Friday, February 25, 2011

Artist At Work

One of the big challenges for artists is finding the self motivation to continue making work through all the other demands of life. The endurance needed to keep at it through the rejections, lack of understanding, disparagement from the ignorant, need to have income probably requiring an outside job, financial stress, family obligations, desire to have a social life unrelated to art and all the rest separates the artist from the dabbler. I've been through all that and I've made the commitment to keep going--sometimes at personal cost--but committed despite the cost.

New piece to be shown in the sculpture show at Castle Hill Center for the Arts in Truro, Mass., May 30-June10

Now I find myself in a different place. I am truly and legitimately busy in the studio because there is actual demand for my work! Who would have thought? I have had to draw up a schedule of work that needs to be made in a certain order to meet commitments for shows and deliveries. This is not a problem, by any means, but it does explain why my posts have been limited. I hope you will stick with me and this blog because I will continue to post although maybe on a reduced schedule.

Another piece for the Castle Hill sculpture show

Other Good News
My first sale at Arden Gallery is a commission! I am waiting for the panel to be made for it and will start work as soon as possible.

A Big Sale
I am starting to frame some of the eleven (11) pieces of older work that a consultant just sold to a client. The eleven pieces consist of eight works in encaustic, two works on paper and one oil painting - most from 2007. That year was a very productive one for me although there were not many sales. Now it's very nice to move the work out into the world.

A Little Bad News and a Dilemma
Unfortunately, the oil painting that is part of the sale had a problem that I discovered when I took it off the wall in our house and brought it into the studio. There was this little chip... When I pressed on the area, it felt loose and I started to scrape off the loose part. Before I knew it, most of the painting was becoming detached from the canvas.

Oooo, 2007, oil and cold wax on canvas, 36x36

The dilemma was, should I just try to repaint the loose area or cancel the sale? I chose the third option: I am repainting the picture on a new canvas starting today. I didn't want to send a product out into the world that had some kind of physical defect (that would probably come back to haunt me.) I'm actually looking forward to it because I haven't worked with oil for a while and it should be fun - just paint and no decisions. The questions is, can I really copy my own work? Well, that will be a challenge, but I'm printing out the image in a large format and will see what happens. I may have to paint two paintings - one the way it was and one the way I would paint it now. The artist's life is always a challenge.

For those who are curious, I think that the reason the painting cracked was twofold:

1) I had a very dry underpainting underneath
2) I painted with a heavy paste of cold wax medium and oil paint that probably contained too much of the cold wax. The directions say to limit it to 50/50 medium and paint, but I probably exceeded that. Remember: fat over lean? Well, I probably didn't have enough fat for all that lean underneath.

This time I am mixing in a standard oil painting medium of stand oil/turpentine/damar varnish along with the cold wax medium and I am starting on a freshly gessoed canvas. I think that will stick to the canvas a lot better. The piece will look less matte but more juicy.


lisa said...

Hi Nancy,
Great post. Reminds us to just keep pushing: sales/shows or not.

It is difficult and presents a whole new set of challenges when there is a "demand" for the work.
I love the oil painting. Painting it again will teach you so much about your own way of seeing and working. Also,how far you have come since you made it.

Doing two is a smart idea. I usually do two for commissions. (unless it is big) This way you aren't so precious as you would be with one and the client feels like they have a choice.

It is exciting and inspiring to watch your growth both as an artist and blogger.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post, and so sorry about the oil piece. Have fun with it!

CMC said...

Way to go, Nancy. Sorry about the oil piece. Do you know what caused the problem?

Jhina Alvarado said...

You're work is amazing and you deserve all the good things happening to you. Congrats!

Anonymous said...

As always Great post! The word endurance has been on my lips this week. :)

Nancy Natale said...

Thanks, everybody! I'll let you see how it goes.

Julie said...

Congratulations as your hard work and dedication pay off! It's encouraging to others to hear this.

Rae Miller Fine Art said...

I enjoyed reading your post, Nancy! Looking forward to pictures of the new oil painting.... Congrats on your big sales.

Rae Miller Fine Art said...

I enjoyed reading your post, Nancy! Looking forward to pictures of the new oil painting... Congrats on your big sales.

Anonymous said...

Way to go, I've been following your blog for a while now and am happy for you that your work is getting the attention it deserves.

Terry Jarrard-Dimond said...

It is exciting to see how you are embracing all the opportunities that are manifesting! The work is looking great and I applaud you for your head-on attack to dealing with the oil painting issue.

ArtPropelled said...

Nancy I have always loved your work but the blue piece makes my heart race. It is stunning! Congratulations on your many sales!

oil painting blog said...

what a great design! cool