My blog has been silent for a week. I think that’s nearly a record. I’ve been thinking and catching my breath following the end of a long “plein air” season.

The season runs from roughly early Spring to Fall. In that time, I participated in events like Hidden Villa, Vahona, Estes Park and San Luis Obispo. A lot of work, but hey, it ended well. So it feels like the day after Christmas. All the hype and work leading up to a big day, and then… And then… That’s the thing. I’m not sure what’s next. I know I have a winter off of plein air shows to focus in my studio, which provides me time to rethink things, relax and decide where I want to focus.

I had a great dinner with Brent Jensen the other night, who–in 2006–has done an incredible job (with Steve) of building his career. He’s now in some of the most influential galleries in the country. He’s also a great painter.

So, should I leverage my recent wins, advertise the hell out of it and get into some high profile galleries? To be honest, I think the answer is no. I’ve always been insecure about my art–usually under-pricing work (according to other artists), not applying to the best shows, etc–and I still don’t feel I’m ready. Do you ever feel ready to really push your art?

As the days are noticably shorter now (and colder, less sun), I will sequester myself in my studio and continue to focus on becoming a better painter. I’ll experiment and have some fun. I hope you’ll stick around and enjoy. I know I’ll keep learning from you, all the artists around me. Can you share your experience? When did you decide to focus on Marketing and growing your career? Did you have an “a ha!” moment?

Ed Terpening San Luis Obisopo Plein Air 2006

Ed Terpening at San Luis Obispo Plein Air 2006

7 thoughts on “Like The Day After Christmas

  1. Congratulations on the 1st Place! Wow. Your summer was a great success. I think it is good to slow down and plan. “They” say to have goals both short and long term and it seems you are doing that. I do not have a goal to be in galleries so I can’t tell you about the “a ha” moment. I do know that I enjoy what I am doing now and feel good about it. I don’t have to depend on art for a living .. I might feel differently if I did. Now, it supports my “habit” and that is good. I do strive to keep improving and marketing my art on-line and locally, though. I enjoy your blog, so keep that going. 🙂
    Jo

  2. Hi Ed,
    I have been on Jeff Hayes’ Painting a Day blog for about a month now. I noticed that you had commented on Jeff’s recent painting and that led me to look at your own web site and blog. What struck me was that this was the first time I had read any blogger comments around the subject of shared insight. The typical reaction of most people (I am guilty to some extent too) is to say on seeing a painting “Wow!” or “Beautiful”, “Tremendous” and it kind of stops dead the conversation in a way. Sometimes a brave soul will venture to say “This one didn’t really work for me but I am showing it on the blog anyway” . Predictably no one responds to that. It is like we are afraid of helping each other in a conversational way. One of the things that interested me was that you used the term “conversation” which in my opinion is the most basic way in which human beings learn. By this I mean conversation not just with each other but conversation recognised and going on in our own heads about our own performance. This leads me to a more “holistic” view of what I and others (I am sure you will include yourself here) are trying to do – that is see our whole lives as part of a progression, a development. I see you have had a wide number of jobs. That is the same for me, mostly in the librarian and university programme director fields. The latter job provided me (and still does to some extent) with the privilege of working with many under-resourced people in poor communities in Africa and Asia.
    You asked when did people decide to focus on “Marketing”. For me it was when I retired 2 years ago. I tried galleries, national competitions, getting magazine articles published about my work. I tried blogging and ebay. On the whole I have had little success although these were all conscious “strategies” to push my work forward.
    Ok, this comment is getting too long already but I hope yourself and others will be sufficiently interested to join in the “Learning Conversation” about painting.
    Cheers, Sheila

  3. As a designer, I’ve found the same problems at times when it comes to pushing my art and designs. I’ve found that although you’ll never feel ready or even be ready, there is never anything to gain from not pushing your art. By pushing it out there, you’ll have everything to gain if it wins a show, or if it gets the praise you’re seeking. I still have a hard time practicing what I preach, but once you start doing it, you’ll come to find yourself asking why you hadn’t done it sooner. I’m sure others can chime in and tell you the same. So just do it! If it all fails, you can always go back to NOT advertising your art. 🙂

  4. Thanks everyone for your really thoughtful comments. You’re the reason I blog and I hope my reading/commenting on your blogs helps you equally.

    To answer Vincent’s question about why not jsut go for it? It’s the time commitment. I can either spend time painting and becoming a better artist (to satisfy myself) or focus on galleries (to satisfy gallery owners and collectors).

    I’ve been in both situations: too many galleries, not enough time to paint; and no galleries, lots of time to become a better artist.

    Like I said, the Winter is a great time (for me, at least, barring the usuual hectic holiday season) to “chill”. Sit in my studio, paint while the rain taps the windows with my dog Gracie sitting behind me in her bed and a good playlist on my iPod. Ah…I’m there already.

  5. Ed, What? You don’t paint in winter? (tongue in cheek) It’s the best time, especially for the coast. You don’t have to get up as early or stay as late to catch the dramatic light; less chance of catching fog; the sky is usually prettier, especially after a winter storm; and the seas are bigger and frothier, A breaking storm along the Big Sur coast is wonderful!

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