My students often ask me how I know what I want to paint. They also say that they don't like to paint the same thing over and over. I am then reminded of this quote: "Write what you know," which is attributed to Mark Twain. I have read different opinions about the quality of his advice over the years and have come to believe that it is sound counsel. I also think that it can transfer to painting. Read on to see what I mean.
"Illuminated," 20x20 inches, Oil on Canvas, ©Lynn Goldstein Inspired close to home
Think about it. Many of us are fascinated by other cultures. Personally, I am inspired by travel and seeing the unfamiliar.
That said, I believe that my most successful paintings evoke a feeling stimulated by being in a specific spot, and I find it most easy to express those emotions when painting something that is deeply entrenched in the core of my being.
My morning walk. Do you see how my work is inspired by the familiar?
We all find our peace in different places. My balance is always found in and among the trees and around water. Therefore, inspiration from my frequent walks finds its way into my work, whether I am in my home of Virginia or in distant locations as in the painting below.
So if you are looking for your next idea of what to create, look no further than your own backyard. You may be surprised by the wealth of inspiration to be found there.
When you look at the video that I have posted here, what do YOU see that is a common thread in my work? If you were going to emphasize something in the scene, what would you choose? Let me know in the comments below.
"Path to River," 20x16 inches, Pastel, ©Lynn Goldstein Inspired by a location in southern France
Happily, I recently found out that one of my paintings was selected for exhibition in the Pastel Society of America annual show, "Enduring Brilliance." The exhibition will be taking place in New York City from September 4 through September 29.
Having work selected for this show is always competitive, and this year was no different. I sent images of 3 of my latest pastel paintings to potentially be selected.
Unfortunately, I can't show you the one that was chosen for the show until the exhibition is hung on September 4.
Making lemonade out of that lemon, let's have some fun.
Tell me your favorite painting and why you think that your pick should be in the show in the comments below.
I will then put your name into a hat and whoever is selected will receive a gift of a package of notecards with my artwork on them.
Can't wait to see what you think!
PS. I will announce the winner on September 5. Be sure to check back here then. I will announce the winner in the comments, and we will figure out how to get your prize to you!
PSS. If you are interested in purchasing a reproduction or the original of one of these pieces just hit the little contact rectangle on the upper right of your screen (with my email address), and let me know.
Remain Standing, Pastel, 12 x 12 inches, $575
Terrain, Pastel, 12x12 inches, $575
Haze, pastel, 12 x 12 inches, $575
Look Closer, Pastel, Acrylic, Watercolor, 24 x 24 inches, ©Lynn Goldstein, $1500 Included in PSA Exhibition 2016
I got an email the other day that discussed commitment versus completion. I’ve been thinking about this idea of commitment and completion being different ever since I received that email. The writer clearly felt that completion and commitment didn't work hand-in-hand. Having thought about this, I believe that completion is just a step that we take toward commitment. In other words, one completes chores or assignments in order to reach a goal. That's one way to show commitment to something.
You see, I love completing tasks. I make to-do lists as long as my arm. I enjoy checking off what I have done. When I make a list, I am committed to completing what I have written. Making that list helps me to ascertain what is really important to me to finish, which adds up to commitment to a larger goal.
Now, sometimes those chores have nothing to do with my passions (the things I am committed to doing) For example, laundry often lands on the list. That’s not really a commitment except to maybe living my life cleanly.
Anyway, one of the things that I am certainly committed to is improving my artwork and always doing the best that I can when creating. After working hard, I want that effort to be recognized. So, I have for many, many years worked toward having my artwork respected within the pastel world in which I was living. For those who know me, you know I have branched out into other media, but I digress.
I had a goal, and the goal was to be awarded the coveted Pastel Society of America (PSA) signature membership. You see, I have tried to get that designation for over 15 years. Needless to say, this was a goal that I had for the long haul, and that, my friends, is a commitment.
Why was it so important for me to get the signature membership from PSA? At this point, I’m not sure. I certainly don’t like to think of myself as someone who needs to have validation from others so badly. Some of the artists I most admire are those that bucked the trends. Think of Gustave Klimpt, Van Gogh, Louise Bourgeois, Emily Carr, or any one of the Impressionists, and you get the idea.
Maybe I did need it for validation. I certainly felt that it was helpful with regard to my teaching as so many of the teachers that I admire have signature status.
So, over the years, I kind of forgot why I really wanted it, and instead just kept working toward it. The goal became almost like my “White Whale.” I tried to gain signature status through the membership jurying process no less than 3 times. Thwarted every time. Curses!
After getting some much-needed advice, I decided that my best course of action was to enter the annual exhibitions. These exhibitions are exceptionally competitive. To give you an idea, there are generally over a thousand entries and only around 180 are accepted. Felt like a long shot. You see, as an associate member (which was no easy task either), you are awarded signature membership if you are accepted into the annual exhibition three times, and it doesn’t matter how long that takes.
Just so you know, it took me 4 years, and I finally, FINALLY have my signature membership.
Commitment paid off, but so did completion. Without completing what I did, with commitment, I would never have reached my goal.
Thanks for coming along on this ride with me. Do you agree? Do completion and commitment go hand-in-hand? What milestone did you reach by completing tasks to a bigger goal? Let me know in the comments below.
Layered Individualism, Pastel, Acrylic, Watercolor, 16 x 40 inches, ©Lynn Goldstein Sold
Included in PSA show in 2014 and was selected for an award
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