Hints 'n' Tips
Happy Art Year To You
Utah artists on their goals for 2014
As a planner and goal-setter in all aspects of my life, including art creation and marketing, I’m afraid I may overdo it. I fear that too much planning and scheduling may leave one blind to those serendipitous opportunities that could enhance creativity, not to mention joy of living. But without a vision and goals for the year, I fear I might not get off the couch. What’s an artist to do? I checked in with other artists to get a sense of their planning/visioning practices and perhaps a few specific goals. Here they are, in no particular order.
Willamarie Huelskamp Yes, I do set goals for myself, my artwork for the coming year. Never have I actualized these, but I am striving towards them. Last week I was so lucky to spend time with the work of Chagall in the NYC Jewish Museum. I am so inspired, in the coming year to make the commitment to continue to make my art from a deeper and more personal place. So that it is my very heart which is making my art.
Abbi's Brush Goals get in the way of my vision. For me it is about observing, being present to beauty and open to the mystery that is a gift as I apply paint to canvas. I have to commit to the process, but my paintings if they are any 'good' are always an unexpected surprise.
Toni Youngblood I keep record in the form of images (including sketch studies relating to ideas I have for future artworks), as well as lists of ideas. If I have a show or other deadline, I make a time "budget" for myself to be sure I keep on track to meet deadlines and I include buffers into the timeline to allow for “unforeseen" events, when possible.|1| I discovered the importance of this also in my practice of architecture beginning while I was still in school. I don't feel this process takes the life or spontaneity out of the art work, because I am a firm believer in what Chuck Close describes thusly:
Inspiration is for amateurs — the rest of us just show up and get to work. And the belief that things will grow out of the activity itself and that you will — through work —bump into other possibilities and kick open other doors that you would never have dreamt of if you were just sitting around looking for a great ‘art [idea].' And the belief that process, in a sense, is liberating and that you don't have to reinvent the wheel every day. Today, you know what you'll do, you could be doing what you were doing yesterday, and tomorrow you are gonna do what you [did] today, and at least for a certain period of time you can just work. If you hang in there, you will get somewhere.
Sherry Meidell I have goals that I'm always working towards. I don't figure them out at the beginning of the new year. I'm always working towards something and trying to improve how I paint. When I reach one goal I see something else out there ahead of me.|2|
Jerry Hardesty I set my 2014 goals in mid-November. I want a running start for the new year. I keep them in a three ring binder along with a spreadsheet of my accomplishments and my evolving artist statement.|3|
Janell James I tend to buy myself new art books to put under the Christmas tree, on artists who inspire me, or evoke a longing in my soul, that make me want to paint. This year I purchased George Iness and The Science of Landscape, Frederick Church and the Landscape Oil Sketch, and Intimate Vistas: The Poetic Landscapes of William Langson Lathrop (suggested to me by my friend Brandon Cook). I feel myself being pulled to create work more along the lines of tonal Impressionism. I want to paint landscapes that are more about light, and evoke a deeper core feeling from within.|4|
Anne Lloyd Becker As a busy mom, who works part time, I absolutely have to set goals. They can seem overwhelming, but if I am persistent, and break them down into small, manageable, chunks, I can accomplish them.
Tom Howard My goals for the coming year include a set number of paintings to produce, and a venue I haven't tried before. Just a couple of things that will help me reach a little further than I have in the past. It's good for one's own sense of purpose.
L. Aerin Collett My goal is to have three galleries by the end of the year and to be making a profit sustainable to live on without the help of an outside job. Artistically my goal is to not stay comfortable for too long but to breach my boundaries and add invention.
Gene Klatt My hope is to take all the advice and teachings from workshops and classes, bring it inside, make it part of who I am as an artist and finally, find it reflected in my work.|5|
Kay Hale I have set some goals to get my online presence dealt with, updated and such. But paintings and art work are a whole other thing. Every morning I lie in bed, in spite of the urgings of pets to get up, and think, think think about what art I want to do. For me, I have discovered that I spend more time thinking than doing...but when I do, I do quickly, without much hesitation or introspection. I find that I allow the materials to help me move along. I am more willing to let things happen. I have thoughts about what I want to accomplish but I can say that it never turns out the way I first envisioned. I cannot get trapped by my ideas and make them too precious. I can only let the art happen as it goes along. I used to think I needed to tighten up my way of doing things...but it created too much worry. Now I do a lot of daydreaming. It is my productive happy time. I also am able to solve art and design problems during those inactive times. I am currently happily anticipating the delivery of my first gelli plate. I have already decided the practical how to's by my thinking ahead. I love printmaking and this will give me an affordable means of monoprinting. And knowing myself I am sure it will turn into a series, lots of layers and bright colors.|6|
Susette Gertsch Most major ideas appear in the early hours of the day. I sit in bed and ponder what I "know" and simply play with what "might be," then I write it out (good process from the Artist's Way). As a result, the door is (literally) opening for me to enjoy a home-based "Open Studio/gallery" for the first time. It's an entirely new venue for my paintings. It's meant using considerable resources to finish a section of my home, but the location is great and the "vision" of having people from my community, plus visitors from the two nearby resorts "come to me," is very appealing.|7|
Mark Slusser In the coming year, I have a goal to complete three different series of paintings... large narrative pieces with figures, trompe l’oeil paintings involving alcohol, and urban landscapes.|8|
Karen Horne I do like to take a general overview of the work, and see how I'd like to project it into the coming year. Last year I had a few objectives: 1. Since I often work large, try a series in a small format. This led to a 12x12 figure in the garden series. 2. Do more live model and portrait sessions in pastel to keep my skills sharp. 3. Translate some of the airiness of the dancer pastels into dancer oils. I will continue to work on these three goals through 2014.|9|
Sandy Brunvand I end the year by considering the new year ahead. I usually have broad goals for each year. They are generally much the same every year. I strive to create balance between my three major facets of life, making my art, teaching full time, and the other category, which includes, family, hiking and playing as much music as possible! My goal for my art practice is to have at least one solo show a year with ALL new work, then utilize those new pieces later in local, national and international group shows. My goal for teaching is to foster new sparks of creativity in students. My final goal is overlapping family time with hiking and/or music! All of this leads to a very good life that I appreciate immensely.|10|
And how about you? How do you find the balance between goal setting and the freedom to daydream, play and explore? You’re welcome to share your practices or specific goals/visions in the comments.
Exhibition Review: Provo
The Awkwardness of Being
Georgia and Rob Buchert at BYU
Light has been many things to artists, from the scientific explorations of the Post-Impressionists, to the primary place it took in the Modernist agenda of formalism and even its place in contemporary atmospheres of total transience. What are we to think, then, when a contemporary artist calls something so fundamental and so sublime “awkward?”
“The Awkward Intrusion of Light,” a large-scale installation by artist team Rob and Georgia Buchert, up at BYU’s HFAC through mid-January, takes its form in numerous fabric columns suspended above the ground of the college's Fine Arts center. Buchert calls these columns “veils,” a term which in the LDS faith represents the division between the temporal and the eternal. “It doesn’t matter where you stand,” says Rob Buchert of the installation, “inside the column, outside the column, the veil is the same and the metaphor of light is the same.”
Buchert sees this light as “the representation of anything that enters an individual reality to cause a fissure in that reality causing the individual to act upon the intrusion.” It creates, he says, an “awkwardness,” and is a superb semiotic metaphor for the meanings the Bucherts are trying to convey. Along with the fabric columns, the installation features two tall, rectangular boxed listening stations playing a recording of an abstract narrative of recorded voices. These voices are the omega to which the light is the alpha. The luminous alpha is a pure element, but the abrasiveness of living causes disruption that somewhere along the distance between alpha and omega leads to all sorts of dialectical awkwardness.
Philosophers are not the only ones to engage in dialectics. We do so all the time. Every moment we as existential beings are faced with a choice, between what may not be exactly extremes of opposites, theses and antitheses, but choices nonetheless — we must decide not only what to choose, but how we ourselves will decide to create a synthesis of our own being.
Ultimately, the purpose to our perpetual discourse of personal decision-making is progression. In the context of this installation, then, what is the desired progression? The progression made less awkward and of more light, less manufactured and more pure. In the Buchert installation, the elemental is accomplished naturally in a nonlinear progression, the manufactured is accomplished artificially in a linear progression, nudging the viewer to consider the ways they might live that contribute less to a manufactured, linear artificial progression and more to a natural, nonlinear progression. The irony of this dichotomy is that one desires a nonlinearity to be less awkward instead of a linearity to be more awkward.
Yet surely the Buchert’s intent was not to be so scientific about the factor of awkwardness, however it might be demonstrated on a scale of purity of light and the abrasiveness of the abstract sound narrative of every-day living. Nevertheless this scientific method is sure ground to what the Bucherts are presenting, which is a general consideration and awareness of everyday freedom of choice and responsibility, its potential sources, and one’s responsibilities to them, for one’s self in one’s own progression and how everything done has an effect on not only the self but the world around us.
Artists of Utah News
LeConte Stewart: Masterworks
Utah Book Award for Art Book
Artists of Utah is pleased to announce that LeConte Stewart: Masterworks has been selected as the recipient of the 2013 15 Bytes Book Award for Art Books. From beginning to end, the book was a collaborative effort, and the result shows what can be done when a community works together. The book grew out of dual exhibitions of the artist’s work held in 2011: LeConte Stewart: The Soul of Rural Utah curated by Robert Davis at the LDS Museum of Church History and Art and Depression Era Art at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts under curator Donna Poulton. Published by Gibbs Smith, this hefty scholarly tome features over 300 paintings and works on paper and scholarly essays by Davis, Poulton, Mary Muir, James Poulton, and Vern Swanson. As Ann Poore wrote in her 15 Bytes review of the book, "It took a village to make this book. The panoply of Utah’s art community in the acknowledgments should be noted before turning a single page. We are indebted. It’s a mesmerizing volume, a real page-turner, perfect . . . "
The 15 Bytes Book Awards was inaugurated in 2013 and celebrates books by Utah authors or books that deal with Utah subjects. Awards are given for Fiction, Poetry and Art Books. For information on the 2014 15 Bytes Book Awards, which will celebrate books published in 2013, go to page 8.