"Whimsical Garden" - 12" x 24" diptych, acrylic/mixed-media on gallery-wrapped canvases
This past weekend on Saturday, my husband and I attended the opening reception of the SALI Midwest National Abstract Exhibition. One of my paintings, "Whimsical Garden", was accepted into the show, so of course I wanted to attend! Last year all three pieces I entered were accepted, but this year just one piece got in the show. I guess I shouldn't feel too bad, though, as this year only 49 paintings were juried in, as opposed to last year there were 90 paintings.
My mother also had a wonderful painting in the show (wish I had a photo of it!) and I thought for sure she had won something because she had one of the best hangings in the show. The main wall right as you walk in, which has only five paintings hung on this long, huge wall. She did win first place last year, though!
Gotta brag a bit about this wonderful artist-mother of mine, Shirley Despot. She's an amazing artist and the best art instructor I've ever had! I was lucky enough to study "Abstract & Non-Objective Art" under her for several years at the Indianapolis Art Center before she retired a couple years ago. I've taken many other classes and workshops since then, but all other instructors have paled in comparison.
It's rare to find an instructor who is not only a wonderful artist, but someone who can TEACH their craft, as well. So many times I've taken a class from someone who has truly beautiful work, yet they haven't learned how (or aren't willing) to share their knowledge.
So how do you know when you've found a terrific instructor? We're all given projects or assignments to do when taking a class. What makes one teacher stand out among all the rest? Well, for one, they know how to guide you to be the best that YOU can be... not a clone of their style, but an inventor of your own.
You know how you get to a certain point in your painting and you get "stuck" halfway though? You look at it and know it looks really bad, but you just can't figure out where to go from here. You're saying to yourself "What was I thinking?" You ask your instructor to help you out of this mess and he/she tells you it "looks wonderful" and not to worry. You're in big trouble! You know it's a mess and so does your teacher... only they don't know what's wrong with it either! And even if they do know what's wrong, they aren't able to tell you how to fix the problem or where to go from there. So they tell you it looks great and they move on to the next person.
We all know how to start a painting. That's the easy part! It's knowing how to finish it (and when to stop) that's the tricky part, especially when dealing with an abstract or non-objective piece. How do you know when it's finished? When there's nothing else you can do to make it better! When you have an teacher who can pinpoint what you need to do to improve your work... and is willing to share that knowledge with you... without taking the brush out of your hand and painting it herself (yes, unfortunately this has happened to me numerous times!), then you know you've found what you're looking for. A great artist, who is also a great teacher, is someone special indeed!
Here are the other two paintings I entered in the show:
"Oz" - 24" x 30" acrylic on gallery-wrapped canvas:
"Mystical Lands" - 30" x 42" acrylic on gallery-wrapped canvas:
The colors on this last piece didn't show up very well in the photography. The "lands" or "pods" look black, but are actually a deep purple with a bluish-green mist floating around them. Seems like a lot of my art has various shades of purple, but I've found that purples can be very difficult to photograph!
The SALI Midwest National Abstract Exhibition continues through October 10th at the Garfield Park Arts Center, 2432 Conservatory Drive, Indianapolis, Indiana. Park on the upper level parking lot and enter through the north door. Hours: Sun, Tues, Thurs and Fri 1:00 - 5:00 pm, Wed. 1:00 - 9:00 pm, and Sat. 10:00 am - 5:00 pm (closed Mondays). Show is free to the public and all work is for sale. Contact Garfield Park for more info @ (317) 327-7077.
UPDATE: The show is now over and when picking up our paintings, my mom found out she had won the "People's Choice" award! Yeah!!