Friday, October 19, 2012
Half a Decade in the Making
As I was growing up, learning to play the piano, devouring every word of books such as Great Expectations and National Velvet, wondering about the different things I could do with the Future (that illustrious thing), my mother would often remind me that it takes ten years of dedicated work to truly master and succeed in anything. She would usually cite Van Gogh as an example, showing me pictures of his often poorly-proportioned early work in contrast to the bursting color and strength of line in work from the final two years of his all-too-brief life.
What I came to understand from her words was not that it took any particular number of years to master a skill, but that it was what I did in the present over time, not mere distant wishes, that would shape my future. Even so, having recently passed the 5-year mark in my art career (I began painting in the summer of 2007, as I discuss in this much older post), I start to think of Mom's Decade Rule more literally. I start to wonder about the developmental stages of an artist-- how it all begins with an awe for life and nature or simply an instinct to take up a pencil or brush and evolves into goals, plans, a quest for concrete skills, the road to technical mastery, a way of life, a philosophy, a vision to inspire and bring joy to others, a basis for many friendships and new experiences, a career marked by learning and a formidable body of work.
Of course (and I say this with a sheepish grin) while Rome may not have been built in a day, it was built day-by-day, and I will continue to stay focused on the present as I make plans for the future.
That having been said. . . concerning current news, two of my pieces, Michele [below] and Claire de Lune [above] are on display at the Arts Council Gallery in the Von Braun Center. They will be there until January, so if you find yourself in Downtown Huntsville, do take a look at these two paintings and the many others by talented North Alabama artists. I am also busy at work on a new portrait commission, which I look forward to sharing with you soon!