Friday, August 30, 2013

Taste the "Lemonade" to be Found in Competition

Here I am standing in front of my piece after the awards were announced

At the end of the day when I'm washing my brushes and turning out the studio lights, I have to think about my current piece.  There is a bonding process of sorts that takes place in the artist heart as your art progresses closer to that final stage and either you are at peace with where you find your creation or you are considering what has to change.  There is just something really satisfying to taking that final step of signing your name to a piece that you are excited about.  My recent piece that I call "Taste of Summer" makes me feel that way.

When you are presented with a themed art show and you know that you have the added incentive of some good competition some great creativity can hopefully emerge.  This summer I knew I wanted to enter the City of the World Summer Daze art show for several reasons.  1.  This is the gallery that I have my art currently hanging in and 2. I wanted to challenge myself with competing against some really good artists. 

My immediate thought of the theme Summer Daze brought me to thoughts of the beautiful summer fruit available at the local stores; watermelon to be specific.  I'm actually writing this at 3:30 am and eating a piece of this amazing fruit as I type.  To me watermelon encapsulates summer in my mind.  Sweet, juicy and refreshing this fruit is not only tasty but beautiful to behold with its bright red and complimentary green.  I was instantly intrigued with the prospect of a painting that focused on my favorite summer fruit.

Also, I thought about how refreshing a few slices of lemon in a glass of ice water becomes under the scorching summer Nevada sun and so my piece called "Taste of Summer" began to evolve in my mind.  I knew that to stand out amongst the other artists that would undoubtedly enter, I would have to make this piece not only bold and colorful but fun.  Since I usually painting desert landscapes this was going to be a challenge but the prospect of a little healthy competition was exactly what I needed to get me working out my idea on a small rendering.

I decided that I would cover 3/4 of the canvas with piles of lemons.  Now I didn't set this up as a still life in my studio but rather painted this out of my imagination looking at only a few examples of photos of lemons and watermelons.  I decided that the background should be plan but what better color to compliment lemons that purple.  Actually, this piece is really based on primary and complimentary colors now that I consider it but at the time I was just painting colorful fruit.  We have the red and green in the watermelon, the yellow and purple of the lemons and the background and the blue and orange of the cantaloupe and the blueberries.  How smart is that, even though I didn't plan that out necessarily in advance?

Last Saturday was the announcing of the winners and I was actually there when the judges were making their decisions.  I know that they had to meet a second time because there wasn't a clear winner in the first go around and when all the dust settled, I was giving second place.  Okay, I know that it isn't first place but I was thrilled just the same as you can see by my "Happy Face" on the photo.  The first place winner was a large and magnificently done watercolor of a man on a boat fishing. 

I'm going to end this blog entry (One because it is 4:00 am now and I'm starting to get tired again) with a challenge and a quote.  Don't be intimidated by other artists but rather take every challenge to put your work up against that of your fellow artists because each time you come away with a feeling of what you are going to enter next year that will be even better.

"Live daringly, boldly, fearlessly. Taste the relish to be found in competition - in having put forth the best within you."

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