At the beginning of this year I joined the Art Association of Newfoundland and Labrador. For me it has been a significant step in defining myself as having a place among the people in this province who seek to express themselves in artistic ways. It has been a very positive experience, with opportunities to take workshops and socialize with artists who love what they do, and are willing to share their expertise and experience. I was afraid, as a self-taught artist, I would not be taken seriously but I have not run into any form of disregard. Everyone has just been helpful.
This fall I decided to take part in the Fall Art Exhibit, so with the help of a neighbour and friend, who is a long time member, we selected some of my work that she thought would fit well into the exhibition. My husband framed them for me. As they are not gallery wraps, but are painted right around the edge of the back stapled canvases, I didn’t want to lose the details.
The three pieces are, from left to right:
Frozen Ghost, Dragon’s Teeth at Madrocks, and A Year in a Gaudy Hamlet
Filled with excitement and trepidation, I dropped off my pieces on Wednesday, and walked in to the opening on Friday evening. Would my work measure up? There they hung, among some of the other beautiful pieces! And they didn’t look out of place at all! Can you find the Dragon’s Teeth in this picture? It was so lovely to see so many people there, sharing a love of art and appreciating everyone’s work. And stunning work was on every wall! Gorgeous subjects: horses, boats, boots, waves, flowers; Unique techniques: glasswork, scratchboard, rope frames, multimedia flowers; All sizes: from tiny 6×6 to huge 36 x 48 and more.
As a member of the Association we were invited to take part in a collage project. One large photo was cut into 60 small 3 inch x 2 inch pieces and each person taking part was given one to reproduce in acrylic on an 8 x 10 canvas board. No one knew the overall picture, and we were admonished not to go looking – just to paint what we saw. Toward the end a couple of people were unable to complete their pieces, so a few of us did an extra board. The completed collage was unveiled at the Exhibition Opening, and while you can see it above, there is a clearer picture below. I think it is absolutely marvelous to see the photo, taken from the St. John’s waterfront, done in this way. And it fascinates me how differently the colours were interpreted, particularly the blues.
I’ve titled this post “Affirmation” because of the acceptance and the positive comments I received on my work. Visitors could have walked right by my pieces, but they didn’t, and they spoke to me about them without knowing they were mine. None of the pieces were up for sale, as I’m not ready to let my art babies out into the world yet, but there were queries, and some offers and I promised that the next exhibit I take part in, I will paint pieces for sale. That’s exciting.
So if there is a moral to this story, it is to put yourself, and your work, out there. It’s one thing to know how you feel about it. It is quite another to get the opinions of others. And yes, I know that sometimes people won’t like my work, but that’s ok too. They may well have some interesting perspectives that I can learn something from.