Revelations of an “Emerging” Artist

First, I’d like to say that today was a very special day. Today, I delivered my three completed paintings to the Gallery at Creative Pinellas for the 2024 Emerging Artist Exhibition. That exhibit opens on Thursday, May 9th.

There’s a lot of excitement leading up to this show. And that excitement is not just from me (and the butterflies that have somehow gained access to my stomach). The staff at Creative Pinellas, who are all amazing and wonderful people, are also thoroughly thrilled and excited as well. I only know what I created for the show and I’m excited to bring that to the table. I can only imagine that since the staff have seen all the pieces of the puzzle, by working with each of the ten Emerging Artist Grantees, that they know just how awesome the entire exhibition will be. I can’t wait for opening night!

But that’s not what I’m writing about here. I’m writing about some interesting revelations that have happened to me over the past five months. It’s crazy but the changes that have taken place would probably have never happened without having the grant requirements and deadlines there to push me to greater heights.

The first revelation is that I realized that I am no longer a “student” of painting. I am a master artist. Mind you, I don’t say this with any ego or a pompous attitude. It’s surprising to me too! It’s actually been the truth about me and my art for a long while, but it’s only with the “stress” of producing art for the grant that I realized just how good I am. My apologies if I sound egocentric, but I honestly never dared to look at myself as anything other than a student or an “emerging” artist.

Here’s a fun example of why I say this also. I take an oil painting class with a few other oil painters on a weekly basis. I take the class mostly for the fun and comradery of hanging out with other like-minded individuals and not for the instruction, but it’s not unheard of for the instructor to offer tips on how to improve the painting I’m working on. For the past several classes however, the instructor will come over to me when I’m done with my painting and her only “comment” will be to tell me to sign it. No corrections, no tips on improvement. It’s done. Sign it! LOL! Well, the instructor is herself a master artist, so I take that as the highest of compliments.

Now here’s another revelation. I realized that I am a professional artist. I say that not just because I’m a skilled painter technically, but also because I’m pretty good at how to market myself and get my work in front of people. So “emerging” is more to emerge in front of other people, so that they know who you are and what you can create. You get your name out there. All of which brings us back to the upcoming exhibition. Interesting how it all comes full circle.

Now here’s another aspect of the revelations. Consider the fact that I’m not a “spring chicken”. I’ve been painting since I was a kid and I’m now a grandmother. It’s been over 50 years, on and off, that I’ve been putting paint and brush to canvas. And I’ve also trained at some pretty prestigious art schools over the years. To a great degree, my art training was as a classical artist, so you’d think (as I have) that I’m stuck in my ways. My style is set, and I’ll paint the same way, every time, until the day I die. Well, that’s turned out to be a big, fat lie also! The paintings I’ve just completed for the Emerging Artist Exhibition are a testament to the changes in my work. The brushstrokes are loose and more “impressionistic”. The colors are bold, and the contrasting tones are dramatic. My backgrounds are blasts of color and movement. And best of all, the three paintings in my triptych all communicate a similar theme or story. That took some figuring out to accomplish!

Just for an idea of the differences in my painting, above is a classical still-life oil painting I did. It’s called “Peru and Pearls”. Compare that to the three I did for Creative Pinellas and the Emerging Artist Grant (which you can see in earlier blogs). Huge difference! And so much fun!!

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