Modern Contemporary Abstract
Acrylic on 24" x 24" gallery wrap canvas
Anniversary special: $175.00-
(through this weekend)
..... a new year has begun! One year ago I began this new chapter in my life. I had resigned my position as a tenured high school art teacher the previous spring. Unknowingly the years of dealing with the classroom as a teacher had taken it's toll. I had developed an extreme amount of anxiety, became irrational in my thinking and began questioning what a nervous breakdown was all about. .... yes, at that point I began wondering if I wasn't having one and so when the pain of staying became greater than the pain of leaving it was time to go.....
I knew deep down in my heart that I was an artist. Touching it through my education and classroom experience helped verify if for me. I'd rather have been known as a great teacher than a starving artist. That was my intention. I was not at all a practicing artist. Over the previous years I had dabbled in my own art and the desire to work as an artist began growing. There have been many people at just the right times that were placed as influences and encouragers along the way.
My first summer out was spent mostly learning technology type things and playing in art. I had absolutely no idea- and I do mean NO idea of what I was going to paint. No idea of subject matter, style, medium and the list goes on. .... and so I started with what I knew. As fall and the new school year began it was time to get serious. The familiarity I knew all so well was gone. I began that first week just as if I was going back to work at school! I went to my studio at 8:00 in the morning and sat there until 11:00, lunch break- then went back for the afternoon. What do I do???? ..... and so I decided to begin with what I knew. I had taken private watercolor lessons for several years after school when I was in high school from an artist who lived in our town. I knew watercolors. I had some close up shots of a white iris I had taken off of our back patio. This began the Snow Princess series of which there were ten. For two weeks I went to work just as if I was going to school and painted these flowers. ...... in October I began blogging and the beginning with these flowers can be seen.
Of course there where many a morning of waking up and thinking... omg... what have I done? many days of doubting... but always provided were many encouragers and those who have influenced me. My biggest supporter, encourager.... and collector! is my best friend- my husband Don. Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin,..... Zechariah 4:10 is a verse that hangs in my studio that was given to me by him. Many a times I have looked up at this and been reminded that it's about using what we've been given whole heartedly in the present time that really counts and not so much about the end result.
This week has had it's mixed emotions and as I reflected I realized that it was the back to school thing again. I decided I would do a painting as part of that reflection. This week I painted what I have posted today- "New Princess" I began this painting from memory of the Snow Princess series and as it progressed I got the old photographs out. The very first one is posted here at the end for comparison. In January of last year, yet another influence was sent into my life, Laurie Pace, A Texas Contemporary Fine Artist. Please take time to check her out. This artist contacted me through having seen some of my watercolor flowers on line. Little did I know that she would so change my ways. Through a few e-mails she offered advice and encouraged me to BELIEVE in myself.
I had spent months day after day working on these watercolors of which I had developed a good technique. There had also been a few abstracts as well. My husband had been telling me he really enjoyed my abstracts better, but I was resistant and hard headed. Bound and determined was I to continue the realistic transparent watercolors. In one of her e-mails Laurie had told me she thought my flower watercolors were good, but the abstracts were strong. ..... still I resisted.
Around this time I had taken some work into a local gallery, Hawthorne Galleries. They had liked my flowers but I could tell they were more interested in the abstracts. Also, having enough work they asked me if I would like to have a solo show! OMG!!! it would be in June.... still some time. I resisted a bit more, but knew I would need some more abstracts for this show. Finally, one day I walked into my studio, switched mediums and layed out every large canvas I had bought with the intention of doing an abstract and began..... I had resisted long enough....
The result were the abstracts.... Ocean Opera, Sewing Frenzy, Mirage, Garden Life,Vibrant, Two Fold, Night Life, Red Abstract, Italia, The Show, the more thought out Nine and the blended Red Tulip. It was an exciting time. They just flowed out of me..... It was beyond me.... I knew it was a gift that was given to me... I was free to express....the artist was emerging and the resistance was over or at least for most of the time.
As I go into this new year, it truly feels like the beginning of a new beginning. I now call myself an artist. I have so much more of an idea of who I am as an artist, the confidence, boldness and idea of what it takes to work as an artist. Somedays I feel as if it almost seems unfair, that I should have to work so much harder for so much less... but I am happy and am working in who I was created to be. I still teach, but privately and joyfully! Art has also played a part this last year in the healing and I am feeling so much stronger in so many areas of my life.
Much has changed over the last year and so much more than I ever expected has occurred. The biggest influences and inspirations are most usually the closest to us and perhaps taken the most for granted. I am speaking of my children who have been and continue to be a major inspiration in my life as I have watched them leave the nest and begin to go in the way in which they should go with much courage and faith in who they are.
So how long did it take to me to paint "New Princess"???.... all year long! and how am I beginning this year??? ....... well, today I'm taking the day off! catching my breath and... then... hello... it's me THE ARTIST!
"Snow Princess I"
Elizabeth Chapman Daily Abstract Painter