KUDOS: I am deeply grateful to Andrea Jetton and friends, Tim Novak, Rosemary Hickman and the rest of the wonderful Pearl Museum staff for hosting my exhibition, providing the perfect culmination of my Kentucky Derby adventure. You are indeed a beautiful 'pearl' in the northwest Houston community, and I love what you are accomplishing with your wonderful museum bringing art to all.
I would also like to thank the owners of 'Race Day' (the official Kentucky Derby limited edition image), for graciously allowing me to show their painting. (They also happen to be owners of the 137th Derby winner, Animal Kingdom.)
Thought for today:
During the past 12 months, my derby year, I did not have much time due to a very difficult travel schedule. I was distracted by obligations, and did not have much peace with which to 'germinate big ideas'. It's impossible for me 'not' to paint though; and with no way to transport major studio equipment, I decided to paint small and portable. The Derby 12's idea was born, each commemorating personal expressions of my adventure, but not in the way you might think...
Paint artists tend to think of every piece they ever do as a grand performance. A trip to any art league show will reveal a steady parade of "first timers" proudly displaying the 'still life du jour', or the 24" x 30" 'grandchild in cowboy boots, with puppy' painting, painstakingly painted for at least 10 months or so. It's as if painters think they're better than dancers or musicians; It's like little Mary Sue coming home from her first piano lesson, then plonking out "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" not for the adoring family, but at the local community theater! It's terrifying to contemplate, yet we artists do it all the time. It's true what they say about us.... We must be mad!!
Musicians practice. Dancers practice. Singers practice.... they all "play their instruments" in between grand performances, and often in the solitude of their own studio. Why don't paint artists "play" paintings? Why should every one end up in a gilt frame, marched out for ooh's and aahs?
Contemplating this, I realized that, even though I may not have many "grand paintings" in me this year, there was no reason in the world why I couldn't or shouldn't play; Why I couldn't I be like the dancer or the musician? Why couldn't I play daily, 'practice my instrument', testing its depth and breadth and pushing boundaries well away from the public eye? Why couldn't I pour my ideas into mini concertos, whether on my iPad in a hotel room or in a makeshift studio in our condo? The Derby 12's are expressions of me 'playing the music', in paint. (A nod to Kandinski, one of my faves, here.)
Isn't it ironic: My first one-person show was at a fine arts museum and it consisted of one ultra-finished piece, one unfinished piece, and 12 unframed exercises in 'testing the instrument'....The latter being the very idea most intriguing to the Pearl as way to educate people about the artistic process. So play your instrument to the best of your ability, and if you do, your platform will find YOU.
Now... go and play ART!
My best wishes to you, as always.