What does it mean for you as a fan or art collector of my work when I shift to a longer-than-usual spell focused on studying and painting? Well, it means the new “Cozy Season” show is being given a extensive run in the gallery’s Garden Room. It means the Arbutus Room will have a different kind of show opening September 7th to October 7th with more artists than usual. The Terrill Welch Gallery has sponsored an artists direct show where the gallery will take no commission off of the work shown and sold because the artists will facilitate the showing and sales directly. The “Sparks Fly” show is presented by A West Coast Spark Painters Group. This group of painters consists of my former students, new island artists and myself. We are a group of 10 in total and have been painting together for a couple of years now. We also have a weekly zoom call where we check in and encourage each other. However, not all of these painters are able to show in this first group show. There will be five artists plus myself with work on the walls. The Terrill Welch Gallery has undertaken this event as a way to support the continued development of our island artists communities. It also gives me more room to focus on my painting practice and spend less time representing artwork in shows, without our audience missing out in the process. The “artist direct” show is only for a month. I had hoped to go visit my parents during this time. But that doesn’t look likely to happen because of high Covid-19 numbers. If we are lucky, maybe we can go in mid October. However, this month of respite from marketing and representation efforts will be well used, I promise!
But this isn’t what will be most different for you as I dig deeper into my painting practice. What will be most different is you will get more access than usual to my studio musings, my excitement and even my frustration. For the cozy season, I expect that I will immerse you, as well as myself, into the life of a painter who is gently shaking up her painting practice. Do you remember how Vincent van Gogh wrote frequent, long and detailed letters to his brother Theo? Yes? How he sent sketches and paintings of his work? In practical terms, as readers of “A Brush with Life”, you are my Theo.
There are risks in being this vulnerable in one’s painting journey. Things that are emphatically proclaim by the painter one week can be completely dismissed as rubbish the next. Foundational practices can be set aside for a new approach to an old path or completely uncharted territory can be bumbled around until it ends up being scrapped off or worse, tossed into the burn pile. When a painter is setting off on a study and painting adventure, the destination is frequently unknown. Both the painter and the fans and art collectors must trust that during the journey a suitable outcome will eventually be reached. There is no way of telling ahead of time how near or far all this will be from the present painting practice and results. There is no way of knowing how much of any new approach will stick over the long haul. There is no way to know if the painter will press on or retreat to previous familiar ground. I only know one thing for certain. The current pandemic has kept me physically in the same location long enough that I must find new ways to travel over the same intimately familiar geography. So this is where we are at. Are you game for the adventure?
To offer some reassurance, a colleague reminded me that I have done this many times before. Some of you might remember “The Moon is No Longer There” series.