Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thankful

Lunatic Fringe

 Reaper

Finally, a little time off to do a few things I haven't done in awhile. I've been scrambling since late spring to make a living. I've been in graphic design and production for over 30 years and worked primarily for one company the last 16 years, up untill late last spring when the woes of the economy steadily decreased my work flow and consequently the number of hours in a pay period until there were none. After sitting around a couple of weeks back in May fretting about the situation I decided it was time to make some serious career adjustments (my paintings certainly weren't selling like hot-cakes). I was able to get a few freelance projects and a couple of painting commissions, but it wasn't enough to support my family, so I took a job at Home Depot in July for not-too-much-payola and continued with the freelance in the off hours. Home Depot was exhausting. The position there was with the Merchandising Execution Team (MET), which involved keeping merchandise stocked in order according to planograms for each bay created by corporate and built by MET. It was nothing too cerebral but physically exhausting. Add to all of this the fact that I have two teen daughters who are both high school varsity cheerleaders. Cheerleading is EXPENSIVE! My oldest daughter and three grandchildren moved in with us so there are 8 of us living here now. Around the first of October I started a position doing web development. Some aspects of the job are challenging and there is a learning curve happening, usually in the evening when I'm not pressured by clients needing alterations or fixes "ASAP".  I really like it though and I'm feeling more and more comfortable with it daily.

All of this being said, there is an up side:

I was determined not to let these times effect my work as an artist. In fact, this year I have sold more paintings and won more awards than in any previous year. I have also taught my first workshop and will be teaching another in January, and have been approached by several groups to teach workshops. Some of the awards I received were: Award of Excellence in the Arizona Watercolor Association's Spring Membership Exhibition (juried by Michael Schlicting), the David Gail Memorial Award in the Western Federation of Watercolor Societies 35th Annual Exhibition (juried by Carla O'Connor) and most recently, Best of Show in the Arizona Watercolor Association's Fall Membership Exhibition (juried by Ted Nuttall). My WFWS painting was featured in American Artist's Watercolor Magazine. I have also had two solo exhibitions. I have much to be thankful for.


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16 comments:

  1. Stan....
    These are amazing!!
    Seems the time taken has been well worth it...

    Your economic woes are going on through the country, hope all gets going in the right direction

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  2. They say "life happens while we make other plans". Sounds like you are coping with what life has thrown your way and you will come out on top. Congrats on the awards and best of luck with the upcoming w/s.

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  3. Wonderful, energetic work--I feel you're flying.

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  4. Some very energetic work here. I especially like REAPER. Your awards are well deserved.

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  5. YOU and your WORK are inspiring.

    I so admire you for your proactive and unselfish support of your family. That you are a phenomenal artist is just the cherry on top.

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  6. Wonderful! I love the black and white ones. :)

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  7. Hi Stan, I greatly admire your work; it's powerful, personal and exciting. Congrats on your wonderful awards and your first workshop. I hope you have many more successes!

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  8. Wow! Excellent work, Stan! I found it hard to take my eyes off of "Lunatic Fringe" long enough to read your news and post a comment. Congratulations for pushing through the tough times and continuing to excel in your passion.

    -Don

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  9. JB - Thanks, it's amazing how comfortable we can become, complacent with our false sense of security. Although I have aspirations and desires of being recognized in cultural arenas, I know if all of my security came to an end I would find some paper and something to mark on it. I would make those marks because that is who I am.

    Deb - Thanks, I really have no reason to complain. Sometimes it's hard doing this art thing and listening to God. When I take a risk or two I somehow seem to make a breakthrough regardless of the immediate results.

    Hallie - Thanks, my fear of flying is lessening with age.

    Zappha - Thanks, Reaper seems to be a recurring theme in my work. I suppose many would associate that with grim, but it's far from it. It is harvest. What do we treasure?

    Pam - Over the years (especially after being diagnosed with cancer 7 years ago) I've developed a way to better manage time based on what counts and what doesn't. Family counts, and I have a big one so I don't often watch television or go to the movies or participate in many meaningless activities I sometimes refer to as "time bandits". I like to spend time with my family, for my family, making art and get an occasional therapy session at the cigar parlor. Love is an act of will. It is sacrifice. I think Robert Hayden summed it up well:

    Those Winter Sundays
    by Robert Hayden

    Sundays too my father got up early
    and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold,
    then with cracked hands that ached
    from labor in the weekday weather made
    banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.

    I'd wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.
    When the rooms were warm, he'd call,
    and slowly I would rise and dress,
    fearing the chronic angers of that house,

    Speaking indifferently to him,
    who had driven out the cold
    and polished my good shoes as well.
    What did I know, what did I know
    of love's austere and lonely offices?

    Rosalie - Thanks, I'm glad you like the drawings. I'm striving to paint with the uninhibited gesture and theme as in my drawings. The essence of my art comes from drawing.

    Don - Thanks, I belong to a critique group which meets once a month and "Lunatic Fringe" received good reviews. Some didn't care for the title, but much of my work reflects an ongoing struggle with the issue of mental illness and how its presence impacts the family.

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  10. A beautiful poem Stan. I'm in tears.
    I'll remember the "time bandits" reference. I have a few to get rid of.

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  11. Stan - Although I'm saddened to learn of all that you've experienced since last May, I'm thrilled to learn that your creation of art is alive and thriving! Your work never ceases to astound me and deserves these accolades and more. Kudos!! While meeting life's challenges head-on makes us stronger, it also gives us focus. You know this already and have eloquently expressed it here in your words and work.

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  12. What a good dad...it will all pay off when you're well-adjusted, albeit expensive, daughters become doctors and start taking care of YOU!

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  13. You are an inspiration Stan! These new drawings are wonderful. It seems unfortunate that we do some of our best works when we are at our most uncomfortable. I guess it's nice to have that good aspect of adversity though. I wish you a most happy and prosperous 2011.

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