As the new year begins it’s always a good time to take stock and gauge our progress, forward or backward. We never stay in one spot. Sometimes it’s necessary to step back before we can move ahead. Though painful at the time, stagnation can provide the catalyst to move forward. This especially applies to creating art.
Last year at this time I felt stuck artistically. Sure, I had taken a few classes in abstract and oil painting, but still clinged to the safety of my acrylic landscapes. But two fortuitous opportunities arose in 2018 that compelled me to step outside the safety of my upstairs studio. The first was an opening at the Main Street Artists & Gallery. The MSA, located in the Hungerford Building in Rochester NY, consists of 17 artists who create art in all mediums and showcase their art in two adjoining studios. It is a wonderfully supportive group—a place not only to do one’s art, but a place where an artist can get feedback on a regular basis, express her frustrations, and feel secure in the knowledge she is among friends who know first-hand the struggles all artists wrestle with. Since joining last February, my life and my art have changed considerably.
The second opportunity was becoming a student of artist Brian O’Neill. Brian’s method focuses on the basics of drawing, which demands repetitive exercises dealing with value and shape, and evolves into more complex renderings. Not only have these classes improved my drawing, they also have brought my painting to a higher level. I’ve learned that there is no substitute for practice and perseverance. Finally, my stubborn nature has become an asset!
To those artists who feel their craft is stagnant or feel stuck in a rut: Seek out a class you can join or a group of fellow artists with whom you can create and discuss your art. We all have knowledge we can transmit to others, and there is so much we can learn from others. Being with artists who share your passion and understand your struggles has brought me immense satisfaction and the desire to continue my art with renewed focus.