As an artist, I am always more obsessed with what goes on the front of the canvas than anything else.
Recently though, my Ma purchased one of my paintings and brought something to my attention. I had signed and dated the front, but had written the title, name, and date on the stretcher.
Why is this bad? Because Ila McAfee, a prolific painter from Taos, and one of my relations, has many paintings she has left behind that have no title or date. Some even have no visible signature.
For curators and art galleries, this makes it difficult to determine the value of the art. For private collectors, this can be detrimental for insurance, future sales, and even proving the art is genuine.
In a perfect world, artists would remember to catalog an image, title and date in one place. But even the perfect catalog could be lost or destroyed. And even though I often write the title and date on the stretchers of my canvases, I now realize that those can be destroyed and lost (even if the canvas isn’t) too.
So. I am thinking of the future, hoping that I can be as prolific as McAfee, and pondering methods that go with the art to name, date, and my name in addition to vowing to do better about cataloging my art.
To all the artists…leave the peices of your heart and soul with their names, your name, and the date of their “birth” where they are less likely to be lost. They are your legacy.
I have been incredibly spoiled by unseasonably warm days in February and March. I have painted like mad, and finished more than six canvases in those days…
I have worked my usual animal pop surrealism and representational pieces. But I have also begun experimenting. The tremble in my hands is becoming more frequent, but I will not let it stop my painting. Broad strokes, short dabs, holding the brush differently…All things I have used to discover new ways for me to immerse myself in creating art that I am proud of. The experimenting has begun with skyscapes — a page from a dear friend and teacher of mine (you can find her amazing poetry at http://www.wordweeds.com).
The sky is a delight… Ever shifting colors and swirls…
I’m excited for the weather to warm up again so I can get back out there…
I am a gigantic introvert. (I wrote this post a year ago; all 2016 edits are in parenthesis.)
I’m painfully shy. (Obviously. This post was deeply personal and hard to share. I’m forcing myself to share it now.)
I avoid going to new places.
It might take me months to work up the courage to actually say hello to someone, and maybe even longer to try to get to know them.
And so being an artist – which means not that my clients have a connection to my art alone, but also to me – is going to take some work.
Because I’ve always felt like I’m on the outside of everything; never quite understanding people. I tried desperately hard when I was a child…but my version of trying was so much like Hermione (from Harry Potter, of course) it was largely painful…so other kids generally didn’t get me, and I still didn’t get them.
My art has taken on kind of a spiritual quality for me because of my feeling of “outsideness.” It’s not so much about the object(s) but how they connect to each other and the feelings they stir in my heart when I paint them. My animal paintings are about those souls that can connect to them in some primal way. And I fully expect that sometimes, people are going to feel differently about the subject. A painting that soothes me might be exciting for someone else, or vice versa.
I painted this snake with the ideas of rebirth, a pause, and a darker or misunderstood nature in mind. To me, He’s about rebirth, change, different states of being; hence the early stage pomegranate and the ice cube. He was purchased by someone who was leery of snakes, because “He’s cool to look at even though he makes me feel a twinge of fear.” (Pardon the picture — my art photographing needs some work!)
My owl, is of course, all about the other sides, the mysterious sides, of life and death. He emerges through mist and brings a calla lily with him. Both owls and calla lilies carry deep personal meanings for me, in addition the the typical mythology of wise owls and the calla lily’s representation of faith. Though I painted it following the passing of my last great-grandparent (for all my great-grandparents, but especially my Pop-pop and Nanny) this painting is my hopes of the mysteries that lie beyond our sight. I am sure that other people see different things in this – a hope for love, for knowledge, for revelation…
I want people to explore those when they look at my art – it’s not about how it was rendered, but when you look at it, and feel a response…what is it to you? I want to know…how my paintings, how my experience fits into your world, your heart. You don’t have to tell me, really…but the idea that my painting is giving someone an experience when they look at it; that it might remind them of the qualities they like best about themselves… makes each new painting better than the ones before it.
My art is good for me because I feel it in my heart, my soul. It is excellent if you feel it in your heart, your soul.
I have many originals for sale.
Contact me at jmswildhorse at gmail dot com
with the subject “paintings by jms” for more info*.
I also am pleased to make prints available
(and art on other cool stuff)
at my zazzle store!
*This subject line is important! It ensures your communication does not wind up in the Spam folder!
My heart is bent and broken.
It bends from anguish, sorrow, hatred.
It breaks from cruelty, loss, death.
I cannot keep the world out of my heart;
Live streams and feeds tear it open every day.
Fear fills the fresh breaks,
Fear for the unloved, the rejected.
Fear for the parents who are now childless.
Fear for the lovers who have lost their love.
Fear that I will know the things they feel, intimately.
It. Breaks. Me.
My heart is full.
It fills with love, compassion, kindness.
It fills with little hugs and kisses.
It fills with the sound of laughter.
Unplugged moments heal my heart.
And I find that at least for today,
I will stand.
My heart will beat.
I will love.
The whole, hurting world.
I have not done a great job of keeping my sites updated. My facebook (facebook.com/paintingsbyjms) has more updates than anywhere else, but even there, I fall behind.
I can say I’ll try to do better, but it’s likely that won’t happen for a while. See, I’ve lost a whole month of painting time this year. Our next door neighbors had a fire in their apartment, leaving the connected units uninhabitable. My family of four has been living in a hotel, eating way too much fast food and waiting for one unit to be habitable so that we can exit this holding pattern.
The landlord is saying that…maybe…Friday will be the day we can have the keys, and put our salvageable belongings back to some kind of normal. Once that happens, I’ll build myself a new easel and paint like mad trying to make up for lost time.
So…fingers crossed…prayers…candles…positive thoughts…and I’ll see you on the other side of my painting season.
Summer break is in full swing, so things have gotten a little crazy over here. I’m loving it, though really hoping that soon I’ll figure out how to get some time to do some painting again soon. Heh. Just when you think you have it all figured out, something changes.
For about three years (maybe a little more?) I’ve had a CafePress store. I am currently planning on closing it. Why? Well, while CafePress does a great job and offers great customer service, my commission prices sometimes get slashed significantly when they sell one of my items from their marketplace. That’s kind of frustrating, especially as the fees they have for the stores wind up eating into my commission prices.
I have been looking at other options, and have started putting my stuff over on Zazzle, which has at least as good customer service and many good reviews on the printing quality. It’s true that they don’t offer all the same things that CafePress does, but what they do have is pretty beautiful, and the prices, even with my commission prices, are comparable to CafePress.
Over time, I’ll be building up my inventory on Zazzle, so don’t forget to bookmark my store or come back here for the link (which will be on the side of my blog as my CafePress link has been).
In the meantime, if there is anything over on my CafePress store you’re really wanting to pick up for yourself or as a gift…I would do so very soon. If there isn’t, there’s some great new stuff at my Zazzle store!
Long time no write…anything other than poems anyway. I’ve been keeping busy – since the weather started to show spring, I’ve been out on the deck painting like a mad person. I have had more paintings going in the last month than I had in six months before we moved to the city (almost three years ago). Most of them are on the small scale (I think the biggest one is only 20 inches by 20 inches), but it feels amazing to be making art again.
There have been some phoenixes, some flowers, some other animals, and even revisiting old canvases. It’s been wonderful. Eventually I’ll be putting some of them up for sale, and getting some prints/products up on my CafePress store.
But even among all the greatness of painting again, there’s an undercurrent. My painting style is going to have to change soon. I’m going to have to embrace something different. Today, I had to put away my paintings because my hands were shaking. I’d eaten breakfast, and lunch, and had plenty of water.
But even now, my hands are trembling. An edge, on canvas, is impossible. Keeping my hand out of wet paint is unlikely. Loading a brush with just a touch of paint becomes an overloaded blob.
Most likely, it’s genetic neuropathy.
It is an incredibly frustrating prospect – to stare down something that is going to change what I do. I know that these things happen to people, especially as we get older. I’m not letting it get me down, though I’ve grumbled about it to myself more than once.
So, while I’m still going to do as much art the way I have for the past 5 years in oil (and more in acrylics), I’m going to start experimenting…keep a raw canvas or two around just for the days when there’s no chance of a clean edge, when the strokes are going to be thick and wobbly, and learn a new way of making art. I hope you’ll all stick around.
The Sun and Moon have
Seven and Two, with laundry piles each.
Running to and from Seven’s school.
Counting, colors, letters and spelling for Two.
Assemble the block tower, again.
Homework is too hard, Seven says.
Moon tries to teach without doing.
Seven and Two need to be fed.
Seven won’t eat things that are not orange.
Two eats anything.
The Moon has not picked up the bright blocks.
Or managed to get the vacuum run.
The sink is still full,
And clean dishes are not in the cabinets.
The Sun does these things,
And the Moon weeps.
Because the Sun already has the harder job;
The Sun loves her.
Grasping and groping
The touch that confirms it’s me.
In the dark,
Seeking and scratching
In the fight against sleep,
To be sure it’s really me.
In the dark,
Soft and still,
Cradle my cheek,
Finally certain it was really me.
Were you who I thought you were?
There’s no way to tell,
Who I thought you were,
Because you’re invisible.
But somehow threads still link
Me to what I thought you were.
How could we have been so sure?
What was bent and broken,
Begins to stand tall,
We still can’t see.