A Cohesive Body of Work
Last October I had my first art show. It was at New Seasons Market, and the space was large enough for ten 16 x 20 inch framed paintings. This October, I will be showing there again. I took inventory of my paintings this summer and found myself at a loss for what to hang there this fall. I recalled last year’s show and the factors that made it a success:
The ten paintings were all in a similar style (textured abstracts).
They had a similar subject matter (landscapes).
And they shared a palette of mostly warm colors.
Here is the display of last year’s “wax paper landscapes” at New Seasons Market.
I was very pleased with the appearance of this group of paintings, not realizing that it would set the standard for all of my future shows!
Last month, I found myself sorting through my paintings with this October’s New Seasons show in mind. I certainly have a larger body of work now (I have painted close to 100 more paintings since last October), but it was a challenge to find ten pieces that looked really great together, in my eyes. I’ve been taking classes and workshops and learning so many new things, and my painting portfolio represents all of these teaching influences. I have loose paintings, tight paintings, abstracts, florals, paintings in black and white, paintings with lines, paintings with shapes, and numerous color charts I’ve made. I have groupings of three, four, even five paintings that look good together, but a cohesive collection of ten paintings was proving to be a challenge.
I thought about those characteristics of last year’s show: similar style, similar subject, and mostly warm palette. I thought about the orange walls of the cafe area these paintings will be up against. And I thought about the food that people would be buying and eating in the space these paintings would occupy.
With as much ambition as I could muster on a hot July day, I decided I would paint ten still-life paintings of food for the upcoming show. Today I have finished number 8, and I am pleased with what I have learned.
I’ve learned the effectiveness of a limited palette.
I’ve learned that it’s ok to paint from a photo. In fact, for some of these paintings I actually enlarged my reference photo and traced it onto the watercolor paper.
I have learned that individually these paintings tell a small story, but together, in their grocery store setting, they will tell an even larger story.
And I’ve gained the satisfaction of meeting a challenge I created for myself, and sticking to it without changing my mind. As a painter who is always experimenting, it took discipline and focus to complete this self-imposed summer assignment.
All ten food still-lifes will be on display during the month of October at New Seasons Market, Orenco Station. I hope to see you there!
New Seasons Market – Orenco Station
1453 NE 61st Avenue
Hillsboro, OR 97124