I started writing this from Dallas, Texas and am now in Arizona; where I'm visiting family and friends, making new friends and clients, and selling the odd painting - always a good thing!
I've been on the road since Nov. 15, so there is no focus on painting at the moment, but on marketing and letting the world know I'm still here. After an intense 5 days, suddenly moving into action: time to get my beloved horse down to her holiday farm in Wales (a 14 hour trek for her which she did with great aplomb), with only 24 hours to settle her in, then on to London for a night to get to Heathrow and catch a noon flight out to DFW on the 17th; I landed in Dallas and the bosom of my family . Dad and his wife, Christy live there, and a brother, along with a number of friends - some of which have known me longer than most people. It has been an incredible, action packed, fun-filled, and bittersweet trip. As always, when I come to Dallas, an army of friends and family envelope me, glad to see me, and rise to the challenge of introducing me to new friends who perhaps might also become clients and begin to collect my paintings. For me, first and foremost, I enjoy meeting the people and making new friends. The painting sales are important, but in the end, always secondary and actually, almost unimportant. But this is an important side of being an artist; being in the world, and getting support and love from those who care for and know you, and meeting new people - always, meeting new people.... talking about your art and selling it.
One memorable thing I've done is to attend an exhibition of Edward Hopper's sketches (and process) at the Dallas Museum of Art. I went with some of my extended family of women (way to complicated for this short missive), and discovered how much more I liked the immediacy of his preliminary sketches as he worked out composition, figures, hands, feet, lighting, and focus before committing paint to canvas. I loved discussing these things with my family as we wandered through the amazing exhibition. They really didn't know that I also did much the same thing (as most painters must do) for any painting. Interestingly, suddenly in the last few months, there has been an interest in my sketches. I produce them only for me, for my eyes, for my work - not for the general public, so it was a scary thing to photograph them and place them in a portfolio of sorts for some new clients - many of them next to the paintings they were for - and put a price on them. I attended another exhibition on the 3rd Dec that also is sketches, thus the process of painting, AND the massive, wonderful portraits in heavily laid on oil paint that depict the artist's family and neighbors in his Ft. Worth neighbourhood. This exhibition of the work of Sedrick Huckaby at the Valley House Gallery in Dallas was inspiring. The artist wonderfully unassuming, younger than his years, but wonderfully able to talk about his work; which is unusual. So many artists find it difficult to speak about their paintings and yet its one of the most important things you can learn outside of the process of creating; the ability to speak about your work.
Another incredible memory that perhaps one day will find its way into my painting is dancing with my Dad..... reflecting back to my series Waltz Across Texas, I found myself two-stepping in place with my Dad. Sadly, he's being taken from us slowly by alzheimers, but for now, he's able to communicate with song and dance - my own passions which drive my painting, even the landscapes. In the landscapes I paint, I still feel passion, music, and movement.
The images below are a short illustration for you all of the journey from sketch to finished painting. The
sketch for Up Through the Olive Grove... approx. 11 x 16 in., charcoal on paper £200
sketch for Sharing A Joke, approx. 11 x 16 in., charcoal on paper £200.
Sharing a Joke, 22 x 18 in., oil on canvas, £2,000.00
Up Through the Olive Groves, 16 x 24 in., oil on canvas, sold...