With the goals for the year published, this weekend was spent pondering where to go in the next six months of Roaring 20’s. Fortunately, my brain was prevented from overheating by a few mundane tasks.

I decided to take a workshop in a couple weeks with Dawn Emerson through Tubac School of Fine Art. Therefore, I had to go to the Merri Artist to get supplies. The Merri Artist is a fabulous independent art store over in McMinnville. I have shopped their selection when they came to WSO, but this is the first time I’ve been to their store. What a great store! Well supplied with knowledgeable (and patient) staff. If I hadn’t had a budget I could have been in serious trouble. Actually, with a budget I was still in serious trouble!

I returned home with my loot and went to work with some simple reference photos to discover how to use pastels. I’m sure it will be a short learning curve.

Or not.

I’ll work on a few more studies so I’m prepared for the workshop. One thing surprised me. I was expecting the white to really come back when I used it, but I mostly got a toned area.

Then I sat down tonight with the goal of writing about my goals for the next six months. And my brain really did overheat.

With COVID still rampaging, I feel like all the little goals and shows that typically crowd my head are gone. It’s like staring down a clear runway. But where do I want to go?

A few weeks ago I had an online chat with Ruth about wanting to work more within the equestrian tradition. I want to be an equestrian artist. I can do other things, but that is what I want to produce. So, where should I focus? We reviewed a couple of shows and came up with this list of what I’d like my paintings to be:

  • Strong light & shadow
  • Story
  • Lost edges
  • Infuse with color

As I pondered that, I thought about my workshop at Keeneland almost six years ago. While the “public” part of the races is exciting and beautiful, I’d like to concentrate on what I witnessed when I toured the backstretch. With that in mind, I printed out a selection of videos of horses on the training track, being washed, eating in their stall, getting shod, and similar subjects. I’m going to work with these images over the next few months and see if I can develop them into a body of work. However, the “body” is going to be a study.

From Wikipedia: In art, a study is a drawing, sketch or painting done in preparation for a finished piece, or as visual notes. Studies are often used to understand the problems involved in rendering subjects and to plan the elements to be used in finished works, such as light, color, form, perspective and composition. Studies can have more impact than more-elaborately planned work, due to the fresh insights the artist gains while exploring the subject. The excitement of discovery can give a study vitality. When layers of the work show changes the artist made as more was understood, the viewer shares more of the artist’s sense of discovery. Written notes alongside visual images add to the import of the piece as they allow the viewer to share the artist’s process of getting to know the subject.

I can’t promise to not get distracted or go off on tangents. But I feel like this is a good direction. Now… to do it.