Ch..ch..ch..ch..changes….

Going home....
Going home....

Anatole France, french poet and novelist, wrote “All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.”

When we moved to Wisconsin from the Chicago area, I was longing for a “shot in the arm” sort of change but must admit I wasn’t truly as prepared as I thought.  I was not one of those kids who travelled and changed homes as a kid…I was the “rooted forever in my town” sort.  I fully embraced change when I went back to school and loved every minute of it.  When I went to Wisconsin I tried to fully embrace change again, but this time the playing field was much larger and I initially struggled.  However, after I got acquainted, just like with school, I loved every minute of it.  Looking back now I believe my struggles were caused because I had to give in to the idea that part of the old me had to succumb to what was to become the new me.

Whenever a big change comes into our lives, I absolutely believe we experience significant transformation both physically and psychologically.  Wisconsin gave me the gift of getting to know myself better, redefine my passions (such as arts and their advocacy), and meeting an incredible community of artists that belong to the Cedarburg Artists Guild.  I would suggest all art guilds, councils, commissions, and cultural centers take notice to how things are done in Cedarburg, Wisconsin and use them as an example of how to become, by combining resources and talent, a strong beacon for the arts.  There is a passionate partnership between the Cedarburg Artists Guild and the Cedarburg Cultural Center that I have never seen before and one that I believe benefits each party, allowing them to focus on various pieces of arts involvement without overlap.  I am so fortunate to have been able to examine both to see how they work together and apart, which has renewed my passion for arts advocacy.  Artists in Cedarburg are heralded and cherished in their community and are recognized for the large influence they have.  In turn local businesses and government open up their doors and spaces, promoting local talent at a level that I haven’t seen yet in Chicagoland.  Artists come from near and far to be a part of this group and their focus on promoting the arts is the best I have seen thus far.

While introducing myself to the Cedarburg Artists Guild, I was fortunate enough to meet Susan Hale www.susanhaleart.com, who is an extremely talented, successful, and well known artist.  I owe so much to Susan.  She reached out to me, mentored me, and became a friend in Wisconsin who showed me what being an artist can be and I would have remained balled up in my shell if not for her.  Looking back at my time with Susan, I see how important and valuable it was to have a resource to bridge the gap caused by being new and unfamiliar.  I know from my experience, getting to know Susan gave me the comfort and confidence to meet others and for that I am so grateful to her.  Plus Susan is just great anyway…a fabulous friend.

However, now I am back home but not as the same person I was before.  I am starting the next leg of my journey  to discover how the new and “changed” me will contribute to the art communities here. While trying to let go of the person I was both here before and in Wisconsin, I am looking forward to meeting artists, seeing old artist friends, and doing what I can to help in the progress and pursuit of arts in general.  I hope to take some of what I have learned in Wisconsin, as an artist, and create that same energy here.

If you know of an opportunity in the arts where a passionate visionary is needed, I would appreciate the connection.  Not only am I looking forward to picking up a paintbrush again, but I am looking to jumpstart a long career in the arts as well.

Cheers!

What I have learned about Plein Air….

Plein Air Painter

I am unabashedly a studio painter.  Oh sure, occasionally in the summer months I set up an easel system in my garage and paint.  In my old neighborhood the kids would sneak over, filled with curiosity as to what Mrs. Barron was up to in her garage with the music blaring.  But that was about as close to Plein Air as I have ever gotten.  Now I am living where there is a major Plein Air Competition held by the Cedarburg Artists Guild (www.cedarburgartistsguild.com) every year.

I love my intimate environment with my canvas and paints.  It is important for me to build a relationship with my subject matter.  So I was rather perplexed trying to figure out how to be involved, enjoy the weather (when it was nice this past week), and meet other artists now that it’s no longer too cold to be out and about.  While at a Guild meeting I realized that I could use my time to walk around, meet some of the artists who have come here to participate, and do some interviewing with photos to share with all those who are friends of the guild’s Facebook page.  During this time I have benefitted more than I thought I would.

I have met some amazing artists and seen how they treat their canvases for outdoor painting.  I have seen many different ground colors used.  In fact, one artist used a very bright green undertone which he felt would be difficult to paint over but halfway through the painting he discovered that bright lime tone gave such inner light to his landscape.   We have shared discussions on numbers of brushes to bring, use, and the challenges with whichever they have decided.  However, I believe the most important lesson to be learned from plein air painting is the need to make quick decisions as the light changes so rapidly.  As an artist we forget to use our instincts and I believe plein air painting encourages us to push our talents to the top without allowing our safety devices to get in the way.  A lesson that I hope will stay with me forever.

Most artists have enjoyed the conversations by passerby people walking down the sidewalks and have been so gracious to allow me to invade their space with my pad, pen, camera, and questions.  I’d like to thank them all for their time!

Even though I didn’t paint this year in the competition, I do believe I came out a winner for having met those that I have talked to and for learning all that I have which will provide me that additional courage to participate fully next year.  If you are in the Cedarburg, Wisconsin area I hope you’ll come on out for Strawberry Festival on Saturday and head over to the Cedarburg Cultural Center (www.cedarburgculturalcenter.org) to see the plein air paintings and perhaps bid on one in the auction that begins at 4:30pm.

Hope to see you there!