I know I always say it’s hard to let go of one of my paintings. And that’s true, even when I know they’re going to a loving home. But letting go of NOLA Night is especially tough for me.
A few years ago my sister and I went to Painting With A Twist here in Slidell. We had a blast, but it also whetted my appetite to paint again. For those who don’t know, I actually have a BA in Visual Arts from Southeastern (SLU) in Hammond. But the real world came a callin’ after graduation and I went to work. The younger me was a gypsy at heart, so I moved a lot. One year I moved 5 times, but typically I moved at least twice a year. Trust me, there’s nothing that will get you to pare down your belongings like a move. Lugging my art supplies around, which are all big and bulky and take up a lot of room for stuff I never used anymore, got to be too much. I got rid of it a little at a time until the only supplies I had were some expensive colored pencils and one small wooden box with some paint in it.
All of my artwork was gone too, but that was no big loss. The only thing I semi-regretted letting go of was a plaster bust of myself. It was life size, and pretty accurate. It’s very disturbing to have your own white plaster face staring at you all the time. Plus, it was really heavy. The only other artwork I produced in college that I really liked was given to a friend as a gift. My education in the visual arts in college, and frankly even in high school, consisted of learning one, two, and three point perspective, color theory, and gestural drawing. That’s not to say that’s all I learned, but it’s all that my teachers taught me. For the most part art teachers point at the medium and maybe give you a theme, and then you’re on your own. If you’re lucky you might get a demo, but they do not teach technique. They do not teach you how to get a certain effect with a brush. As far as that goes, I learned way more technique from Bob Ross on PBS. 🙂 So basically, all of the artwork I produced in college were assignments and I felt about as attached to them as you might for all the tests you took in high school.
Back to Painting With a Twist. The combination of drinking and time constraints meant I could not finish the painting the way I wanted to. At first, I was just going to do a better job of the original project. I purchased a desktop easel, paints, brushes and set to work. But I wasn’t really satisfied with the simplistic shapes of the houses, so I altered everything but the shape of the purple building on the right. I put it on my wall for a long time. Well over a year, but then I got inspired and completed the painting I eventually called NOLA Night. That was in October 2016. Since that time I have completed 13 paintings and have sold 5, including NOLA Night.
I can hardly believe it, but I’ve sold another painting! This is the first painting I completed when I started painting again. It’s also the first painting that I’ve sold that’s not part of my Little Jewel Collection. In fact, NOLA Night is the largest of my paintings thus far at 16″ x 20″. I can honestly say that I am a working artist. Still not making a living on my work, but I still feel like a successful artist because people actually like my work. And that means everything to me.