Jacob's Dollhouse Oil on canvas 36"x48" 2012
After years of having an art practice I decided to return to school at Cal State University Northridge and get a BA in Fine Art. I have dyslexia and felt it was time to get over my fears and just do it. I'm proud to say I graduated last year with honors. While I attended I continued to keep up my art practice, attained a few scholarships that involved teaching art in order to earn tuition money, and even worked on a community project for the Sunset Strip. Over the years and now after my college experience, I continue to meet many artists, art students and recent graduates who ask how to get started and how to create outside of the classroom. Creating outside of the classroom was never an issue since I am self-taught. I was seen as an outsider artist originally. A-little over a year ago a museum director informed my that my work was too sophisticated now and to refer to myself as a figurative painter. I was elated that she had taken the time to notice how I had evolved over the years. The point here is that no one instructed me or told me to paint. It was and always has been something I had to do. If you are having a difficult time getting started- just start. De-clutter your studio and make sure your art space is ready each day. Before any big project I do this to clear out past energy. If you feel stuck close your eyes while flipping thru a magazine and let your hands do the walking. Stop at a page randomly and use the reference loosely to interpret what ever imagery is there. Go to a mall and draw the people, signage or even the salt shakers in the food court. Don't think about whether it's important or a good subject. My paintings and drawings are a compilation of live sketches, photos, and bits and pieces of magazine and newspaper articles that have touched me in some way. Images come out of no where and I add them because it feels right. Put in time each day and develop a body of work. Let the process take you. Once you have around 15 to 20 pieces of work then get to the business of creating a website. I can recommend two terrific books. The business of Being an Artist by Daniel Grant and Taking the Leap by Cay Lang. A great venue for any artist whether they are just starting out or have been out there awhile is the haleARTS SPACE. Jacob's Dollhouse is one of several paintings along with graphites being exhibited at this gallery currently and will end this week. They had paired me with a terrific artist, Catherine Coan. She creates these incredible bird cages with real canaries that she taxidermies. Each canary has it's own strange story. Each cage is a mini stage. It's fascinating. I am always amazed at how many different ways an artist can create. The exhibits are just two weeks in duration but the location is wonderful and they get alot of traffic. Recently a talented artist called me to ask how to get started. I told her to come to the show, and bring some cards. She was a smart cookie and showed up at the reception. I explained that she should hang out and at the right moment I would introduce her. My policy is "ask and you shall receive". If an artist ask and I can help, I do it. I truly feel there's a place for everyone. At the show I made quick introductions at opportune moments for her and other artists, reminding each artist to make a quick exchange. Gallery owners don't enjoy long dialogues, especially during a reception. I'm a talker when nervous and to this day, have a hard time with this. The haleARTS SPACE books a year in advance. It's rare to get a review for a short exhibit but one show can lead to other opportunities so an artist has to weigh out the pros and cons of this. Like Field of Dreams, if you build it, someone is bound to show up. The address is 2443 Main Street, Santa Monica, CA 90045 info@haleARTS.com, www.haleARTS.com.
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