Monday, November 23, 2015

The Chase
After a packed couple of months, my m.o. has always been to go fallow. Not on purpose; it just happens. I shut down creatively and productively for awhile. That time period varies, but it drives me crazy. Because of that, I'm always looking for quick ways to re-ignite the art-fire and get back to The Chase.

One time it didn't come back for a few years, and I'm not gonna lie--that scared me. It happened after a large show for which I had to create many works in a few short months. After way too much fallow time went by, I took a student's advice and changed media--I started working with clay, engaging in a different sort of chase. Eventually (nearly 5 long years later) I began to produce illustrations again. In the meantime, I learned a lot about ceramic clay, and I made some cool stuff.
This year it's happened again, and I decided to not only change media, but to suspend my inner-critic and experiment with media. Thanks to a bunch of un-critical fellow illustrators, I'm able to do it and also have a good time. The painting above is one recent experiment with life painting using acrylic. The life painting sessions at Helikon Gallery are a blast--mostly because the gallery director and fellow participants are chill and unpretentious. Some artists might need a competitive atmosphere, but not me--I want to enjoy camaraderie and the freedom to do the art I need without feeling like anyone's sneering at my efforts.
Above are some recent experiments with water-soluble oils at relaxing plein-air excursions--again, with friends who are lots of fun to be with... of whom had an interesting encounter with an avian critic as we were leaving the field.
 (And yes, that experience seemed to get a bit of creativity going again.)
Being able to hang out at weekly drink and draw sessions with a great bunch of artists also helps. Again, these sketches don't feel like my best, but they were experiments with unfamiliar media in an informal setting.
Just the kind of thing I need right now--the chance to explore, experiment, talk art--and get the field planted and producing again.
And because of all this, it's not taking me 5 years to re-plant the field. And I have to keep reminding myself that it's not about chasing success or contentment, it's about feeling success and contentment within the chase.

Thanks for reading!



  1. Keeping the creative fires burning. You do it well, sir....

    1. Well thank you Miss Gladys :) I have no choice but to keep trying--and as a fellow artist, you know how that is

  2. I always enjoy your reading your blog posts, Tom. It's good to hear that someone else has fallow periods. If I stop working for more than a couple of weeks at a time, I am in danger of never making anything again!

    1. Very glad to know that you read my posts, Ruth. I keep telling myself that these periods have always ended, but when I'm in the middle of one it's just plain scary


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