Meeting Notes, December 11, 2014

At today's meeting Loretta, Susan, Tim, Jeanne, Kristina, Barbara, Kay, Anton, Jeanie, Khanh, Eunice and me Celeste. 

Today's suggested table topic: Slump. Have you ever experienced a slump if so what did you do about it? 

Comments on this topic are provided in random and anonymous order: 

I think I am the poster child child for the slump. I've been in a slump for a while. I can find all kinds of excuses for not painting. However, once I am into it, I feel being in my studio is as good as being outdoors. When I'm in the zone I feel that "I'm back". I know that is right around the corner for me. I love coming here it does inspire me. 

I definitely went into a slump. It coincided with the recession. Honestly, we almost went bankrupt, so it was a reality slump. I had to work at something that was not art-related. Now I am back to working in the art field, but I still have to fight against feelings that I'm not making enough money. I just keep at it, and I feel that things will get better for sure. 

Yeah, I feel I have a slump every single week. (Laughter)!

I recommend this book: Art and Fear. It is written by artists. Each chapter builds on itself. It's a lot about how art gets made and what can go wrong. The book indicates that there is no such thing as genius. I've read it more than once.

If I experience any kind of a slump (especially at Christmas time) I watch movies. I like uplifting good movies. I also have  separate files with references that I look into if I'm feeling I want to paint. One is of photos that I like that I have taken. Another is pages I've ripped out of Southwest Art magazine for inspiration. If I like another artist's color combination... I will use it to paint my own painting from my own reference. That can be very helpful and satisfying.

I read somewhere a statistic about how 85% of people who take up oil painting quit oil painting within the first year. I don't know how they arrived at this, but I can sure believe it. When I first started painting someone mocked me and laughed at my effort. It threw me for a real loop. I didn't paint for a full year after that. However, out of the blue, someone invited me into an art exhibit. There was no entrance fee and all I had to do was show up with some paintings. I did that and it lifted me right up. It was a very fun show and I really enjoyed everything about it. Sometime, if you can do it... invite someone into something because you never know who you might be lifting up. 

If I experience bad feelings it is because I am trying to learn something new. I tell myself I am learning. I brought in a book about creative block. It has exercises in it that you should do if you find yourself immobilized. 

Once a juror didn't jury my painting in and they even went further to tell me: "this painting isn't up to snuff".  I went to the show and felt the work there was not good! It was perplexing and I took a full year off over that remark! The second time I had a slump was when my Dad died. I took another year off. The third time I had a slump was in when I returned to school I felt somehow bogged down. Now, how I got out of the last slump was by journaling. I journal just about art. It is so helpful! Another suggestion I have is to do something physical. Or do something that's in a different medium from what you're used to. 

I don't think I have been painting enough time to really have experienced a slump yet. I've been painting since 2010. I do know that I have hit plateaus. Jeffrey Watts says that plateaus are good, but I really can't see how. I have not enjoyed my plateau at all. 

I don't think what I experience is a slump, No, it isn't a slump. It's mere frustration. Workshops help me. Another thing, I take out my frustration sometimes by really painting with abandon! I just paint crazy-like and hurl paint at the canvas. It sounds bizarre, but one of my favorite paintings came from exactly that situation.

I try not to allow myself to have a slump. I make it my business to keep my brushes and my palette wet. If my paints ever get a skin-over then I know I'm letting too much time go by between paintings.  I get frustrated and I don't like some of my work. Or I am painting the same thing over again and it is boring me. Then I try to build things. I do things and make things that are different, but still somehow related to art. I sometimes get lazy. If I'm denied entry or criticized it's definitely painful. One really great thing to do is to read! Just paint a lot and paint over paintings you haven't liked. Turn your work upside down. Try to explain your process to someone else. Teaching someone else to paint is a great thing to get you out of the doldrums. 

I didn't paint last week and I haven't painted again this week. I guess that's wrong... but on the other hand, maybe I'm just contemplating. I like taking a break with something different. I really like collage, for example. I can lighten up and do more collage.

Additional notes:

I (Celeste) brought in a landscape that I painted over (an old painting) and a practice portrait from a photo reference. George Broderick sold several of my paintings last month during "A Year of Paint". Yay! (Thank you, Broderick)

Susan brought in a painting of two children. She has been in Chicago. Her dad has been ill. She has to return to Chicago again in January. (Get better soon, Susan's Dad). 

Susan brought in a painting by Jim Menzel-Joseph. This painting was bought by her mother many years ago. Jim Menzel-Joseph was one of Susan's teachers at the American Academy of Art. 

(We know from Facebook that Diane Marks-Bestor's dad has also been in the hospital. Good thoughts going up for Diane's Dad too). 

Tim brought in a painting from Oxbow Road in Gresham. 

Jeanne brought in a large plein air painting that she returned to Sauvie Island to finish. 

Kristina brought in a plein air painting and  painting of city lights/bridge lights at night. 

Khanh recommends a website for free reference photos: Croquis Cafe.  YouTube rotating versions (Free)! 

Khanh showed us two paintings. The first painting was done on Clayboard. The clayboard just soaked up his paint. It was very difficult to paint on. He couldn't return the Clayboard  so he painted toned acrylic gesso on top of the surface and that completely solved the problem. He showed us the 2nd painting he did on the better surface. Khanh took a Stephen Early portrait workshop in May. It was five days. It was a great workshop and he got a lot out of it. 

Kay took a workshop recently with Tim Horn. He showed the class how to do shadow shapes that are similar to Notan... but different. She showed us the value viewer that Tim Horn recommends. She also brought in a catalog from Gallery Russia in Scottsdale. Recently Bill Stanton and Kay got together to paint each other. She showed us her painting of Bill. If anyone wants to pose for Kay (and visa versa), let her know because because she really enjoyed this experience. kayzine2(at)yahoo(dot)com.

Anton has classes coming up again January 5 at OSA. He has been working on the curriculum for the new classes. They are drop-in at OSA. Here is the website to go to to find out more:

Susan showed us notecards that were printed of work that her students have done. These are very young students and the work is really wonderful! Tomorrow (Friday) there will be a reception for Susan's students at Hayhurst school. The location is not far from O'Connors. (5037 SW. Iowa). The reception is at 2:15pm

Susan is thinking about offering modeling sessions on the "East side". This would be at the location where Hipbone studio is located. Likely upstairs. It would be in mid February and possibly Monday nights. It would be drop in. This would be a costumed model. The costs would be split. Please email Susan to let her know whether or not you would be interested in something like this. susankuznitsky(at)gmail(dot)com 

Barbara Wilde showed us a painting that is a different process than what she normally does. It is a "Japanese print" process that was done in separate passes. 
(I forgot to get a photo of the painting Barbara brought in today...sorry Barbara! I will fix this when you send me the photo).

Eunice has been working on a 24 x 24 painting of Sunflowers.

The big 500 show is this weekend at Pioneer Mall. Many Portland artists are participating. 

Lawrence Gallery in Sheridan is open. Their location at the coast is not. 

The second meeting of the Thursday Drawing club took place today. There were just three of us but it was still definitely worthwhile. We went to the big building down the street that houses Loaves and Fishes. There is a quilting group that meets there on Thursdays. We shared the room with them and tried not to bother them, staying on our side mostly. There are some photos in the slideshow. Next week we will also go somewhere in Multnomah Village. We will meet directly after the meeting and go from there. 

Thank you everyone for coming today and sharing your ideas and art. 
We hope that the big winds didn't blow you away today....see you next time. 

Next meeting: Thursday, December 18. Suggested table topic: More on composition! Do you have a "go-to" (favorite) composition that you especially like? Or is there a composition that gives you a problem? Tell us. 

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