It's spring time! After a winter hiatus things are swinging back into gear in the illustration world. New projects seem to come into the inbox every hour as creators plan ahead for their own year, paints and pens start flying in an attempt to nail down some kind of schedule, and convention season is coming into full swing.
After assisting at the recent Emerald City (I missed the application cut off but you could find me skulking around) I went for a brief tour around the olympic peninsula and have spent the majority of the remaining time since planted in the studio, head down, working. Up ahead, though, I've got Norwescon coming up. This will be my first time displaying there, but I've done shows like it before.
Some favorite shots from Emerald City
As much as I love the amazing experience of getting out and meeting up with other artists and appreciators, I always find it a little forlorn to leave the studio and my paintings. I view my time within the act almost like worship, hoping and sometimes achieving to experience something greater than myself but brought on by my own force of will and experiences within it. There really isn't anything else in the world like it for me.
To quote Donato, "It is my first and most all-consuming love..."
Convention season means leaving that wonderful place and handling more mundane of printing, packaging, and planning. Even a show that's more hands-off like Norwescon comes with that prep work. I'll also have to handle setup, tear-down, and demos along with some downtime reconnecting with friends. I always return from ventures like these humbled, better than I once was, and ready to tackle painting again. I know this, and yet walking away from the studio for those few days is one of the hardest things. It feels like losing an old friend.
Like i said, I recently got to take a trip around the Olympic coast here in Washington. At nearly every point were outstanding views of tall hills, snow capped mountains, and exotic shorelines like Rose Beach. It was a real blast and honor to have that experience and I would recommend that anyone take the chance if it ever arises. Despite that, I'm always happy to return to my studio where I can create. Again, I always find myself renewed after these great journeys and it's not the first or last one I'll be happy to take but in the moment, surrounded by those crashing waves, I can close my eyes and be swept up in the idea of a painting I can pull from the world around me and I am back in the studio, laying down brush strokes.
I once read a story that when Monet's wife died, he hated that he could only focus on the wonderful shades of green and blue her poor health had brought to her usually vibrant face. He would eventually paint her portrait after her life had faded away. I've heard that he cried the entire time. When I was learning to paint I had taken Monet as exaggerating, but as I've grown I now fully understand what he was saying. Although we are artists first, there is the business of feeding that conflagration that is living life.
What can we take from this? Not much. The second we step into a career doing this we know the terms. You take your life and yourself and you use that to make pictures that encompass those things. You show them to the world and if the emotions you were putting on the page make a connection then you make some money. Don't get me wrong, the romanticized notion of the writer with a scotch staying up all night tapping away is still very real, and we artists are all still in awe of the world, just as Monet was, but as it's always been there are "the other things" that allow us to keep doing what we do, even if it takes us away from what we love. And yes, this is true even if we love "the other things." And we will all return refreshed to our alters because we must, hopefully having given an honest gift.
You can find me at Norwescon this upcoming week! Come have a drink with me at the local watering hole. Let's see some amazing artists together! After that I'll take to the studio again until the summer cons start flying. Cheers!