Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A Giant Pastel To Brighten The Day

Some days you win and some days the worry worts attack you. What I need to learn is not to get too carried away with any of it. Just do what you do and trust that it will flow your way, which is not easy for a control freak like me.

I will be potentially teaching at four art centers in the coming months, designing the curriculum in two, and found a sustainable side-line (Have Kiln Will Travel) to help small nonprofit organizations raise funds. Sustainable meaning that I'm not just donating time and art work, but have found a way to do what I do, make some money at it, and give the lion's share towards a good cause. All that is not bad for a former computer nerd.

Yes, there are days when someone says no or my emails are never returned. But there is really nothing else to do but stay excited and believe in what you are doing.

The image above is a large 5 foot by 2 foot pastel painting. I started doing pastels as a quick way to design my glass powder paintings. Well, they are kind-of quick, but man... pastels are expensive! I have spent over $300 on them so far, and working in that scale is really messy. The powder floats all over and onto anything near by, mostly because my style is very broad 'brush' with a lot of arm movement and the sticks often shatter and fly about under the sway of enthusiasm.

Years ago when I first picked up pastels I use to do little paintings where you smoothed in everything and most of the work is done just with the finger tips in a somewhat anticipative manner. In contrast now my whole arm and wrist swing wildly sometimes laying down whole fields of color, and using up 1/2 stick of chalk in several swings of my arm... fun but expensive at $4.50 a stick! The only way this style is antiseptic is if I wear a dust mask and vacuum every five minutes!

Anyway... this is no way to experiment. Below is a Photoshop version of a glass powder painting study.I'm about half way done with the study. With drawing tablet in hand I can whip one of these out, do prints of it at high resolution, sell the prints, and it cost me nothing to create the original. That's a much smarter business model.

Maybe I'll leave pastels for now, but the key is too just keep working and doing and pushing forward. No one is going to do it for you.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

You Can't Do It All

Sometimes I hate to admit my limits. The last few days I've been feeling a bit out of sorts, because there are some exciting opportunities available in the form of  large and highly visible commissions which I've decided not to apply for. It was hard to come to that decision, and just a little depressing having to realize that my plate is full, and adding any more large commitments just wouldn't be wise no matter how alluring they may be.

The main thing I took away from my recent pondering is that I shouldn't be applying for any grants or commissions for the foreseeable future, and maybe not at all. I've always felt at odds with bending my work to fit some theme or goal of most grants, and worse to propose something I would not be aesthetically engaged in but might win. If you have the free time that's one thing, but chasing down commissions and grants at the expense of your creative direction just isn't right.... for me.

Right now I'm more involved and in tune with my Have Kiln Will Travel adventures, and teaching in general. My engagement at the Chicago Ave Fire Arts Center will be a very substantial commitment of time. Defining and polishing a whole series of glass fusing classes is no small task and is a large responsibility... Let alone the time involved in setting up the glass studio.

On top of teaching I need to push into commercial areas for glass. I would love to be part of one or two local design teams where I'm called in for custom glass applications for home decor.

Then there is the whole adventure of actually doing my own work, and keeping my personal creative direction alive. That is no small matter and can easily languish if my Do It All tendencies are allowed to run away with all of my time.

No, I can't do it all. I need a steady income stream and not the happen stance of grants and commissions at this point.... all the while insuring I'm still having fun.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Its the New Year and New Adventures

I get up every day and while I wake up with my first cup of java I ponder which of my myriad of adventures needs attention today. Last week I did a little product photography for the Igneous Rock Gallery from Mechanicsburgh, PA. The owner Robert Wertz and I formed a virtual relationship over the web after he saw my sculptures in Sculptural Pursuit magazine. That was last summer and we've be chatting ever since.

Take a look at the site and read the igneous story. These are very unique items that took nature eons to make. The image above is a collection of the rock candle holders I shot.

I've been spending most of my time refining the Have Kiln Will Travel (HKWT) story. I'm very excited about potentially holding the fundraising events are several art centers in the Twin Cites area. I will be meeting with several organizations next week.

Still yet another adventure will be applying for a large $140,000 commission. Sure... anyone can apply, but I think we have a decent chance of actually winning! I've been working on a design with another local artist, both of us have IT geek-land organizational skills and we both are aspiring sculptors. We'll need to form relationships with a couple other folks to pull this off. There is an informational meeting at the Minneapolis Institute of Art later this month. I would imagine every serious sculptor in the Twin Cities will be there... so, maybe on second thought it might not be very easy to win the commission. But if you don't play... you can't win.

Actually, there are a whole set of grants and commissions available over the next few months. It would be great just to get a smaller one.

So much to do and so little time. Over the next few days I'll be heads down planning out classes and equipment purchases for glass classes at two different art centers while at the same time thinking through the paper work for those commissions.... hmmm where is the time for art in all that?

But that's the beauty of it. There are so many varied things to do and I get the chance to wake up every day and choose something and can actually get things done without having to wade through corporate quagmires.

That's nice... real nice.