Steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.

In spite of myself, good things have come my way.  Reflecting on my last blog post, I can see how it could be construed that I’m bitter, jealous and possess expectations that are, perhaps too unrealistic.  “Who does that @*& Madison think he is?” “He ought to be grateful for even getting into any show!” If you know me beyond what you read on this blog, you quite possibly might agree that I am usually a pessimist but I think most would agree I’m not the jealous type, nor bitter or even too unrealistic.  Ok before you rattle off a bunch of things I am or am not, stop reading and think about this for a minute.

Out of all your friends, family, acquaintances, co-workers and people who you see daily how many of them are artists?  Out of that list, how many are artists who earn a living solely by art?  I know a lot of artists, mainly because I am one.  I’ve read about a lot of them, met some, but I only really know two that earn their livelihood on selling art, and I’m not one of them.  If I were to take that risk and leap, quitting my day job, we would be bankrupt.  Somehow two of the people I’d like to consider my mentors, survive in this economy as artists, and live well doing it.

My persistence or perhaps its stubbornness, led me to these artists whom I’ve learned enough from to keep my course of action straight.  Good advice is hard to come by, and often those wise enough to bestow it are often reluctant for obvious reasons.  Sometimes I hear, and don’t listen, just ask my wife!  Anyhow I’ve enjoyed some good advice from a few friends who have been around the art block a lot longer than I have.  I’ve been told to work smaller and loosen up my style some.   The latter will have to wait a while, but I have begun working on small watercolors.  Initially I steered away from them because I felt it was nearly impossible to render the details in that scale.

So I began a 7” x 12” still life. I mainly used a 000 round but there were times I wend bigger.  I masked off the bottle edges before any paint touched the paper.  I soaked the background and put down a mix of Dioxazine Purple with a touch of Ultramarine Blue in a heavy diluted wash.  I dumped a good portion of salt all over the wash and waited overnight.  Next came the rear orange bottle and I worked forward mostly into the blue and finally the highly refracted small perfume bottle.  I put this painting on my hardly-used Strathmore cold press 140lb block and just used blue painters tape to square off the painting.

7" x 12" Watercolor on Strathmore 140lb BlockWatercolor blocks are great way to go portable with your work.  I took this home and painted at the kitchen table a few times.  All in all I’m happy with the piece.  It has a lot of brilliant color and I think I got some nice things going on with the warms and cools as well as the composition.  “Firestorm” is the first of a triplicate pulled from the same photo reference.  I’m starting the other 7” x 12” tonight and will complete the trio with a larger combination piece that will include both flanking paintings.

Meanwhile I am going to crank out a post card piece of art for the ISU gallery.  It’s a fundraiser to help fund art grants at the school.  It will be good to help the program and maybe give some aspiring art students a little nudge forward.  Well see how much detail I can cram in a 4” x 6”.

The next Festival is Columbus.  It’s huge and will dwarf all the other shows I’ve attended combined.  After Columbus, I will return to Lincoln and hopefully Washington IL and get another shot at Sugar Creek which is my hometown show.  After that maybe Champaign, and Bloomington Indiana.  My schedule thins out by August so I don’t expect much after this.  There are a few exhibitions I’m eyeing as well, like the NWS.  I also sent “The Collector” to the Artist Magazines’ 2011 Annual.  More later.