A New Community

It wasn’t unusual to wake up at 3:00 in the morning to let the dogs out, but what was unusual was the thought process that followed.

Two weeks ago, I wrote about taking my first steps toward my new goal as an artist. Since then, I’ve been thinking about changes I’d like to make to my Artist Statement, the potential to apply for more online exhibits, and how I’d like to develop my skills. I connected with artists whose work inspired me and learned how incredibly supportive this online community can be.

I had been thinking about Mona Lerch’s suggestions for writing an effective Artist Statement, but until last night’s early morning puppy excursion, I hadn’t had the words to express what I truly wanted to say. It takes time for me to clarify my thinking and my goals, and maybe I was putting too much pressure on myself. Apparently having a sleepy, relaxed mind worked better for me, so I quickly grabbed the notepad on my nightstand and scribbled down my thoughts.

The timing of this sleepy epiphany couldn’t be better – I had noticed the looming deadline for Visionary Art Collective’s latest call for art, and now that I had a potential statement that worked for me, all I had to do was to take a few pictures of my art.

This is where a few more people stepped into my community of artist friends who were willing to share their expertise and experience with me. I reached out to Alex McLaughlin, whose work has inspired me over the past year. Her paintings appeal to me because I am mesmerized by her ability to capture beautiful textures and movement in her landscapes – and she is an Ontario artist, so I secretly hope we can meet one day to hang out and paint together around Georgian Bay.

Alex explained how she takes advantage of outdoor lighting to capture images of her paintings, making sure to use a tripod and using props to reduce reflections. We also spoke about the differences between using a DSLR and a camera phone, because I was concerned that I might not be able to get pictures that were good enough for submitting my work. After sharing so much advice (thank you, Alex!), she also shared links to a post from Opus Art Supplies, where David Ellingsen (of Dazed & Confucius) provided tips on how to use a phone to take pictures of artworks.

Another opportunity presented itself when All She Makes shared a post allowing artists to ask questions to Alicia Puig, CEO and founder of @pxpcontemporary.

I highly recommend reading through the article suggested by Alicia. It’s easy enough to understand for beginners like me, with opportunity for growth if you’re looking to build your skills (also me). I know I’ll be investing in a tripod soon, and I intend to take more pictures of my work outside whenever possible.

So, here I am, sipping coffee and writing down my thoughts after submitting my work for an exhibit. I’m nervous, but also happy and satisfied. I know that I’m doing what I need to do as an artist and I’m following my heart. If you’ve made similar decisions for yourself (which I hope you have), you’ll know that this is a wonderful feeling.

If you are beginning your next steps as an artist, I hope this helps you a bit. At the very least, I have more stories to share with my students.

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