Wednesday, December 23, 2009


5x7 inches, oil (sold)

We have just passed the solstice, the darkest day of the year. I find myself attracted to painting images of sun. This is a little exercise I based on an exercise in a book I checked out of the library. I have been experimenting with using water mixable oils over acrylic under paintings. The biggest challenge is finding somewhere to put the paintings while they dry. For now, that's a disused bathroom in our basement. I painted this a couple weeks ago and it seems dry.

Winter with its cold weather and darkness turns me into a brooder. I enjoyed making art this year, and have worked with paper collage, mixed media, watercolor, acrylic and oil. I've made it into some shows, won a few awards, sold a few pieces. One of my pieces that feature recycled materials was purchased as an "eco-friendly" award for a local business. Most mostly I have a growing stack of painting slowly filling up my closets (and bathrooms). A part of me asks, what is the point? I buy materials, pay out entry fees, take classes, and mostly it drains my bank account and fills up my storage space. Is the enjoyment I get from making art worth it?

Most likely I need to market myself more. I have pieces in a local gallery and coffee shop, but this year nothing sold from those places. I did sell by simply showing people my work, one on one. I have not tried selling online, though I may do that. Of course selling isn't everything. I enjoy the company of other artists. I enjoy making and showing art. But I worry about if I am getting any better, and if my enthusiasm will become a financial burden for us.

This uncertainty may be a function of too few sunlight hours. Maybe I should fret less and just go to the studio.

OK, that's where I'll go, but first a poem from my desk calendar.

Sunsets on My Farm
by Candace Hennekens, 2009 Wisconsin Poets Calendar

A flaming peach blazes
through green needles,
the pine bough marking
summer solstice.
As the crow flies

fields of soybeans
groves of trees
an abandoned farm
lying in the rays' path.
As summer wanes

the sun slips down
to Westphal's farm,
then Albert's place,
drifting faster now
past trees, barn, silo

until the sun sets
at winter solstice
behind the old oak
standing tall
in the fence line.


Carol said...

Love your blog and art and commentary. Right with you on "what's the point?" questions and bank account. Sometimes it's just better to turn the thinking off and just do it.

Ann said...

Lovely painting! It sounds like you have had much success with your art work. But the point is more about how it challenges you when creating. I think you should check out selling works online, even if only to free up space for making more artwork! I have done pretty well with my Etsy shop. It's not what I'd call an income, but I do make enough to keep me in art supplies :-)

laura said...

So beautiful, Sherry. The texture and energy of the surface remind me of Albert Pinkham Ryder ... I love the blue greens in the tree and sky; the peach sun diffuses softly yet brilliantly: this is really a masterwork!
Best wishes for a happy holiday.