Who I am as an Artist
This summer I’ll be participating in three Saturday art shows (July 21, 28 and Aug 4) here in Bracebridge. Known as Art in the Heart (http://www.theheartofmuskoka.com/Play-ArtintheHeart2012.htm) and fashioned after the street art market in Quebec City (Rue du Trésor), emerging artists are allotted a space on Chancery Lane or along Manitoba Street in
downtown Bracebridge to show and sell their wares. It’s a wonderful opportunity to gain exposure for new artists at a reasonable cost. Plus the Town of Bracebridge and the Small Business Development Centre (funded by the Provincial Government), as well as local business owners in the art field, provide three half day seminars to assist the participants to begin thinking about all aspects of running a small business, in addition to preparing for an outdoor exhibit of their art.
For me those presentations inspired and motivated me to hire a company to create my website, create a QR code for my website, order a sign for my booth and begin thinking about how to design my booth.
One of the most important tasks in preparing for this next stage in my business is to write an Artist’s Statement. What is an Artist`s Statement, you ask? Well, it’s a picture in words of an artist’s vision, inspiration, influences and provides potential buyers and galleries with an understanding of what the artist believes about his/her work. This summary will be useful in many ways to market my artwork.
Two things helped me gather the information I needed to formulate my statement. To guide me through the process, the Director of our local arts organization (http://www.muskokaartsandcrafts.com/) provided me with a list of questions to generate ideas. In addition, one of the presenters at the seminars suggested including notes in our photo portfolios of our work to explain what inspired each piece. With the materials I generated from both exercises, I created a Draft Statement. Then I spent hours writing and re-writing it.
I want an interesting, engaging statement, not one written in artistic jargon. It needs to be user friendly, something anyone could easily understand without an arts education. Here is my draft… Your comments and feedback would be appreciated. Thank you.
Born with the heart of an artist, I always wanted to draw and to paint but my only instruction came from John Nagy “Learn to Draw” and Paint by Numbers sets. In my late 30s, I dabbled at art for a couple of years; however, unexpected detours in my life forced me to set aside my education until I moved to Muskoka (Ontario, Canada) in 2010. Here surrounded by walls of pink granite, guarded by tall pines I now have the time, space and a safe haven to explore and develop my creative gifts.
I am fortunate to be part of group of artists studying with dynamic Canadian painter, Pat Fairhead (www.patfairhead.com). Under Pat`s teaching and mentoring I am discovering who I am as an artist. To further my art education I receive additional training through Haliburton School of the Arts.
My Inspiration comes mostly from the natural world around me – afternoon sunlight captured by a grove of trees, an explosion of fiddleheads bursting forth from the stump of an old cedar, a hillside of trilliums looking somehow more like a convention of fairy-like creatures. A painting subject must stir my emotions or the resulting art will be lifeless. I recognize a spirit in both animate and inanimate objects and I aim to express that energy. Even when painting a still and solitary barn or other interesting structure I seek to show the life force poured into the wood, bricks and mortar by the builders or left behind by other human or animal activity. My style ranges from realistic to symbolic and whimsical.
When I start planning a new painting, I most often select one of my photographs as inspiration, trying out different compositions in my sketchbook and determining colours before applying paint to paper. I work primarily in watercolour. This medium allows me to communicate my impressions through the transparent quality of the paint and the layering of colours to achieve a sense of substance and depth in the finished piece.
In addition to painting in watercolour, I work with Chinese and acrylic inks to convey messages and tell stories in a symbolic way. I use stylized silhouettes of Jack Pine trees to represent the human element in these paintings and choose colours to reflect the accurate mood and message. I feel an affinity with these trees; each one has a unique look and personality just like people.
Although I am not influenced by any particular group or style of artists, I am attracted to the work of J.M. William Turner, English Romantic Impressionist painter, and I do draw inspiration from many long-dead as well as contemporary Master artists.
My goal is to produce images that inspire, uplift, bring joy and beauty into the world and touch the human spirit. Beauty can exist even in the darkest places and I will always seek to find and communicate it through my art. People tell me my paintings draw them in and stir them to wonder what lies beyond the horizon, hidden in the woods, in the stillness of a barn in winter. I am a life-long seeker and my art will constantly reflect that search. I hope people discover something fresh, new and exciting in what they see.
©Wendie Donabie 2012