Jun
17
2010

When Art Grants End by M Theresa Brown

 

The art world is all up in arms. Every place you turn to there is some article about the government or the states reducing or eliminating public money for artist grants. Frantic emails are sent out, art groups gather to protest the fund reductions and open Facebook polls. But there is not an organization out there in today's economic climate who has NOT had to tighten their belts.


So why the fuss?  Let's examine the world of art grants a little less passionately and you may find that reducing or even ending art grants could, in the long run benefit more artists than grants!


How many artists do you know who have benefited from an art grant?


How many artist's do you know whose careers were launched with an art grant?


How happy is the public with the art that is awarded most of the grants?


How happy are you, as an artist, with the art that seems to universally get the art grants?


How politically entwined are the monies for the art grants?


Do you know an artist who makes a living from an art grant?


I ask these questions from the knowledge and life of an artist whose living comes from the sales of her artwork. It has not been easy. But nothing worth doing comes easy and therein lies the lure of the grant-easy money. In reality most grants are almost akin to winning the lottery. Many apply, only one wins. But most lottery players do not make winning the lottery their life work-they still continue to work, raise families and produce in their jobs. How many artists could be so much further along in their careers if they took the bull by the horn and did not spend their life searching for art grants?


Before NC  instigated the Lottery, the people I talked to from states where the Lottery was established always prefaced goals with "when I win the lottery." I remember thinking that everything they wanted to do seemed to be on hold until they won the lottery...but what if they never did?


Waiting for help? Look what has happened to the southern coastal states right now, in the throes of the BP oil gusher, facing the biggest disaster those states have ever faced? Where is the help? The government money? The "helping hand?" Small towns all along the Gulf coast have done what Americans have always done before free promises of free money....... getting the job done themselves! It has been all over the news and I could cheer for their efforts.  Actions do indeed speak louder than words!   You get things done by rolling up your sleeves and getting to work. Solve the problem yourself or with a dedicated group behind you.


And for me, that is the answer to many of the problems in the arts...instead of  waiting for free money, make it happen.


What would happen if a core group in each state decided to "take matters into their own hands" and create an art community free of the federal and state restrictions that come with all grant monies? What if public art opportunities were judged by the public instead of a state or federally funded jury looking for political correctness? What if artists learned how to present themselves and their art to corporations, companies, towns and businesses looking for art. What if artists individually took matters into their own hands?
Why not see the reduction or ending of grant money as an opportunity rather than a disaster.  OK, so there is less of what was there before. Everyone is tightening the belt-at home, at work, at play.... is that so bad? With some positive re-thinking of the art grant situation, more doors could open up to more artists. More diverse Opportunities could be available to far more artists who have chosen art as their field of interest if the dream of free money is not there. We all know someone wins the lottery and we all know some artist gets an available grant..but what of the many, many who tried but did not?


Sometimes life becomes less complicated when you decide that your success will come when you begin to work at it...maybe there is something to that saying "when the going gets tough, the tough get going" after all! :-)

Art Career Experts

 

Jun
16
2010

Painting in Your Own Backyard by Deb Bartos

This sounds like something you would do if you were three and your mother was hanging clothes on the line.  It is really excellent art education advice.  Ordinary and mundane objects can be the best subjects ever.  An added advantage is not wasting time or money on the commute to painting expeditions.

Consider the impressionists and what they painted.  Their subjects were their families, each other, a table set for lunch, a vase of flowers.  OK, there was Renoir and the women and Degas and the ballet dancers, but they generally painted every day life.  Impressionism was just a phrase coined by an art critic who said they were not finished paintings, but “impressions.” He saw them as rough sketches instead of the smooth blended strokes of Salon and Academy paintings.  The artists who exhibited their work together and were eventually called “The Impressionists” were interested in capturing the everyday moments that mattered to them.

I always think I’ll paint if I travel, as there will be subjects to inspire me.  Truthfully, I’m inspired to paint when I start painting something.  It gets more interesting the more I pay attention.  When I travel, I am captivated by eye candy everywhere and can’t stand still long enough to paint. I have to go see everything there is to see.

Walking down Santa Fe’s Canyon Road with a photographer friend, she asked me to stop as she just had to shoot something.  It was a cigarette butt.  I got a good laugh and a good reminder of “beauty in the eye of the beholder.”  It was a stunning composition with great color and background design. I would have never seen it otherwise, as I was too busy looking at the wonderful architecture and art in abundance there.

Another artist friend received instruction in an art class to “find something ugly and paint it beautifully.”  This is an interesting idea, and an even more interesting value judgment. What makes something ugly or beautiful? How do we as artists decide what to paint and how? What do we see and invite others to look at?

Art has endless possibilities. There are always enough subjects to go around, and painting from life is more challenging and real than painting from reference photos. You can get away with it if you do both, but life is the best! It is warm outside and summer in most places so even better! Enjoy, and keep on painting!

Poppy Passion 9 x 12 oil by Deb Bartos ©2010                 Backyard Poppies 8 x 10 oil by Deb Bartos©2010

www.bartosart.blogspot.com

Jun
14
2010

Paintings Paint Themselves by Valerie (Valry) Drake

At least in my dreams they do. Vibrant slashes of brilliant hues dance across the canvas. Big wide paintbrushes dip into soft, buttery mounds of paint on huge pallets and then lift and float to add to the beauty. Sometimes I can actually see the paintings in progress. Other times I only see paintbrushes and paints. Bright peacock blue on the brush, the brush meets the canvas and gently bends, the bristles curve, the brush moves along the canvas leaving a bold trail behind. And I can smell the paint, the rich aroma of oil paint and mediums, cleaners and varnishes. Then there is the feel of the soft cotton rag in my left hand, open to receive the brush with paint residue still on the bristles, my fingers close around it and wipe the paint off. Feel the dampness of the paint that now stains the rag, the slight bulge of the paint globules now contained in the rag – the rag which becomes a thing of beauty in itself. I turn the rag in my hand waiting for the next visit from the brush. Then the brush returns to the pallet and dives into a mound of crimson. Sometimes instead of a brush there is a painting knife, its sharp edge scraping across the canvas: scritch, scritch, scritch – blending and squishing, scraping and gouging – vigorous and decisive. So many rich sensations. I wake with my brain itching and my fingers twitching. Ah! The joy of being an artist!

www.valry.com

www.cafepress.com/valry

 

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