I took Hunter's Safety as a young girl and remember sitting in classes horrified by the hypothermia and gun safety videos we had to watch but always loving to pull the trigger. I failed the class the first time because although I loved to fire my little rifle I wasn't ready or responsible enough for the certificate. I took the class on the next round and passed, perhaps more for the fact that the instructor was tired of my step sister and I chatting each night he taught than anything else. Two weeks after getting my card we were out dove hunting and I accidentally caught one of my dad's friends with some stray birdshot- OOPS! It seems I forgot to consider the whole picture before taking aim, if I took aim at all...
Why am I telling this story? It seems my whole life I have been firing, not always aiming, often forgetting the whole picture. Pulling the trigger haphazardly (metaphorically speaking). Shooting things out in to the world around me but not always with much aim or readiness. My husband even bought me a tanktop one time that said, "Fire, Aim, Ready". Funny… until you realize the energy and optimism that goes in to firing blindly is wasted. It wastes time and energy and in some cases is downright dangerous.
One area in my life this has become quite evident in to me recently is my artwork. I have been firing for decades. Making and sharing and sometimes hitting a target, most of the time not. At times I have stopped firing all together through sheer disappointment, other times I decide to fire faster, harder, more just hoping something will hit.
Recently I have started to feel more ready. I have started to gain focus and consistency. I have been making and teaching and sharing consistently. I have been finding clarity. In the readiness I have realized I have wanted to create in a way that would allow my work to be shared in various ways. Through illustration, reproductions, on products one lives with on a daily basis. I suddenly had a target, one that feels really good.
Now how to find aim?
I am excited to share that I signed up for Lilla Rogers Make Art That Sells course. There is a part of me (the atelier artist who wants to paint wildly with little to no care of the outcome) that cringes as I read the title of the course. There is a bigger, happier, and more focused part of me that feels ecstatic and responsible as I step forward to explore these new possibilities.
I have the technical know how to create traditionally. I have the creativity to think outside of the box. I think after so many years of painting I have a strong enough voice it won't be lost on assigned projects. Finally, I have always loved to learn and I'm excited to be diving in to this new subject matter. I am also excited to own the fact that, yes, I am an artist. More importantly and new to me is I am ready to own the fact that, yes, I know I can make a good living doing something I love.
What I don't have is the know how on so many other things. This is where the class, and the amazing community that gathers, comes in.
I have fired in to various markets a few times in past years, always with out aim or readiness. The time I took out a booth at NSS without ever having made a card. Then there was the year I showed up with Suretex with a bin of paintings and a box of business cards having no idea really what the show was all about. One time..... Wait, that's enough embarassing stories for now.
This time, I am ready, I am focused, I am learning to aim properly with Lilla, and with any luck when it's all said I done when I am firing it will be totally on target.
Above is a sketch of some radishes I prepped for a mini exercise in the first week of class. I smile when I look at them because raw, I am not always a fan. This summer however, I learned how to prepare them properly. Washed and sliced and sauteed with butter in a pan and they are delicious.
This summer I learned something new about cooking radishes and it was wonderful. As I draw radishes now and follow all of the coursework I can feel already that this class will be bringing me a similar experience, absolutely wonderful.