My Life...my art...and more
|Sharon Crabill Fine Art
I love spending time in the studio, but I know it is also good for me to get my art out there. As a mostly introverted person, this can be a bit of a challenge.... not to mention what goes on behind the scenes of having an art show. My first step is to prepare myself to bare my soul.... it is kind of what I do when I paint. But then the battle inside my head begins. There is contacting a gallery. Sometimes they contact me. Yay, at least that limits the changes of rejection. Then usually there is some waiting time... yay again... time for more paintings. But then there are lots of emails, contracts to sign, more emails. planning, working on themes, or just collecting artwork, working on titles, framing and prices. There are labels that need to be made, business cards gathered ... oh and I usually always need to work on my website. Did I mention deadlines to meet? And then of course there is that sweet moment when it all comes together. The artwork gets delivered and hopefully well received. The mad scramble in my head calms down.... and even though I still feel like I have bared my soul, I know this is who I am. Every brushstroke is a part of me, and my energy being transferred onto a two-dimensional image. It is such a personal experience, and it always brings me joy.
I recently signed up for a workshop with Mary Carole Larson. It was put together by my dear friend Mollie Flack. For some reason, I thought it was a plein-air workshop. Being basically a landscape artist, I thought it would be nice to connect with nature and paint. It has been around 2 years since I have ventured out into the wilderness to paint plein-air. To my surprise (and later) to my delight, I discovered I had signed up for a portrait seminar. Oh boy. So even though I felt hugely uncomfortable and very much unprepared for my weeklong workshop, I showed up toting canvases, paints and a lot of anxiety. It was probably one of the best workshops I have ever attended. When I finally got out of my own head, and out of my own way (with the help of Mary Carole's encouragement, guidance, and maybe a little push to trust myself) I found great growth. I did 3 paintings in the course of 5 days. They are all in varying stages of completion, but I am more than happy with the progress I made. And no matter how much I think I know, there is always something more to learn. Also, I discovered a new process in my approach to art and becoming a better artist myself. As they say, variety is the spice of life. And so it is.
Here are my paintings:
This is the Grape Picker after Bougereau. Almost the entire class started with this piece. It taught me the process of painting portraits. We did it in 2 days. Mine is not quite finished, but it is close. I now have a new passion to paint and learn from the old masters.
This was my 2nd painting. It is my pride and joy. And how could it not be. My reference photo was Christopher's graduation photo into the USMC. Notice the signature at the bottom. It is a finished piece. I am extremely happy to how it turned out. Working from a modern photo has pro and cons. Again, Mary Carole taught me about the subtle changes that moved it to just coping a photo to bringing Christopher's image to life. She is an amazing teacher.
Painting #3. Even though this one is far from done, it does have a title. This is "The Three Faces of Misty". Misty is our old lady dog. She will be 14 at the end of this month (October). She is not doing great physically, so I wanted to paint a homage painting of her. From left to right.... her puppy image, center is pretty much her today, and the far right is her young girl image. She is part golden retriever, and she has that smile they all seem to have. Because Christopher's painting was so tight, I wanted to paint her looser and more playful. Again. Mary Carole to the recure. She encouraged the playfulness while at the same giving me pointers on making these images work together. I worked on these the last 2 days of the workshop as I was giving Christopher's portrait time to tack up. Yes, these are oil paintings.
For more information on Mary Carole Larson, you can go to her web page: firstname.lastname@example.org
I started these two paintings a while back. I was scheduled for cataract surgery. I was very excited when my doctor told me with new special lenses, I would see better than ever in my life. But when that 1st lens was put in, I was blind. Well, not totally blind but I needed to be inches away from something to see it. Now being an artist and painter, this has always been my worse fear. I had already started the waterfall painting but could not see my reference photo let alone what I was putting on my canvas. So, I started the still life. I set it up and blocked it in and then realized I was seeing double of everything in front of me. To say I was freaking out is an understatement. Three surgeries later on that eye and my vision was restored. Unfortunately for me those special lenses would not work with my extreme stigmatism. But the standard ones worked, even though I don't have the miracle vision, I am happy to see. It has been over a year now since that ordeal. I wasn't sure I could even paint again. But I knew I had to try. The waterfall came easy, the still life not so much. I just have to practice painting what I see. It has been well over a year now, I am back to painting, and I am very grateful that I can indeed see.
Earlier this year I was approached by Turtle Bay Exploration Park regarding making a donation. I had inquired a previous year about donating to their Annual Auction. I chose this painting "One with Nature" for a couple of reasons. Many of my landscapes are scenes I have experienced when out in nature. I feel a deep connection to being outdoors and it is my goal as an artist to capture that moment in time. This painting was a scene from the Lema Ranch Trail in Redding. I wanted to capture the serenity of the moment and the movement in both the sky and on land as the breeze shuffled through.
Turtle Bay Exploration Park Virtual Auction 2022
I do believe my web page has become a victim of the pandemic. or maybe it is just me being lazy. It has been about 2 years now since I have paid much attention to the business side of my art. I easily fall into the excuse of the issues of right brain and left brain. And yes, mine definitely seem to fight each other.
It is so much easier to want to create something than it is to plan, log, research, and fill in all the blanks. Case in point. I just looked at my art resume. I have not touched it since 2016. Wow, where has all that time gone. This whole journey started when I asked a business if I could display in their building. I was told I needed to submit a portfolio - letter of interest, Resume and samples of my art for review. I thought to myself, sure no problem but then my left brain shut down. I began to realize what a daunting task this was about to be. Thankfully, my old bookkeeper skills, however dormant they may be, had me saving letters and documentation from past gallery shows. My organizational skills still leave a lot to be desired. But this evening, I finally got a good start on it. And hopefully, my web page should be a little easier to bring up to date. I really need a business manager and web designer to keep me on track and accountable.
Now with all that said, one would think I have been busy in the studio painting away. But no, most of my creativity has been channeled towards hardscaping my yard. It has been a two year project and it just now starting to look like something. With summer temperatures on the rise, It may be awhile before the next round, but for now it is a serene place to enjoy our hillside.
A work in progress... mostly right brained.
"A"A painting is good not because it looks like something, but rather because it feels like something." -- Phil Drake painting is good "A painting is good not because it looks like something, but rather because it feels like something." -- Phil Drakeno
t because it looks like something, but rather because it feels like something." -- Phil Drake
This quote resonates with me in both my studio paintings and when doing plein air. It is that moment in time I seek to capture... the calmness of the water or the sound of a riffle or maybe just the stillness of the air around me. I guess that is why I love painting nature.
I seem to be struggling lately with connecting to my artwork. This morning, the Universe sent me a message. I was told, "Don't ever lose the spark that makes you, you." This seems to be what I have been stressing over. It seems like that creative genius that dwells within all of us as been asleep... or maybe just on vacation. One thing is for certain, mine has not been around to support me or give me insight. Instead, negativity has filled my brain with self doubt. Today as a made my way into the studio, I felt inspired for the first time in weeks. With three paintings in progress I started a forth. So far I am liking it even though it is not quite done... one step at a time. I feel like a huge weight has been lifted.
Everyday I remind myself how truly blessed I am and give thanks. I am extremely grateful for everyone who has supported me though the years. I am thankful to everyone who has attended one of my gallery shows. I am thankful for all the kind words and comments that so encourage me. I am always grateful for people who support me by buying my art. When people purchase my work it is not just sustaining me financially, but it is also encouraging to my heart as an artist. Knowing that someone emotionally connects to a piece of artwork is something truly motivating for me. So thank you to all my supporters, whether it has been in the past, present and hopefully into future. You have all been a vital part of my creative journey. Thank you... thank you... thank you all.
Over the past week I’ve taken some time to reflect over my life as an artist and in my process of creating art. Sometimes I become so infatuated with the vision of my results that I forget to enjoy the process. Sometimes I struggle madly with that process. I am finding I need to let go of my self doubt and just enjoy the ride, wherever that may take me. I’m learning to, or at least focusing on, the ability to eliminate a false pressure I put on myself to complete paintings quickly. Instead, I am taking the time to learn and express my voice through my paintings.
Nevertheless, I know, I often feel compelled to push through paintings. I have never considered myself a fast painter, but a dedicated one. I do know though that once I am finished with a study or still life or painting exercise of some sort, I just want to be done. It is very difficult to revisit something I know needs more time or effort, but sometimes the magic just feels like it has escaped me and I search for something new to paint or explore.
But as the neglected or rejected paintings pile up around me, I just can’t help but to question my sanity. Why am I creating this extra anxiety? I think it all comes down to FEAR. I had a psychologist friend who once told me all fear is: “false energy appearing real.” I sure miss Connie and all her words of wisdom.
I’ve been trying to detect when this so called anxiety starts to creep into psyche, bound to unleash this monster named fear, and it frequently seems to happen when life challenges me the most. And so some days it is a struggle to paint. And some days it all just seems like a silly, crazy mind… spinning around in circles…. looking for the light. And maybe that is why it is called the creative process.
As I muse through my thoughts for today, I am very grateful for all I have and all I have accomplished. Being in lockdown, gives me lots of time to hang out in my studio and paint. I have challenged myself to paint at least 2 paintings a week. I have also been varnishing finished paintings and getting them ready for framing. I am truly very happy to be an "Artist in Residency".
I also want to thank my teacher, coach and mentor, Stefan Baumann who has inspired me to be the best I can be. With the gallery closed and classes postphoned, I have been enjoying his weekly coaching seessions. It is with his guidence and support that I have deleved into the world of social media. I have created a new email accoount. email@example.com and now have Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. As I become more profiecient in these medias, I invite you to follow me there.
Along with coaching, I have had the privilege to meet other coaching painters through "zoom". Together we share friendships, expertise and encourgement as we paint together virtually. It is great fun and very exciting to be part of this glogal community of artists.