More watercolors from the early 90's

A good friend of mine, Gabor Svagrik and I had a two person art show at the Palette and Chisel in Chicago in 1995. Here are a few of my pieces from the show that sold:

The cat's name is Greta, the best cat in the world. She no longer lives with me.

Seeing these makes me feel homesick for the past. it was a difficult time during those post art school years in the 90's. However, it was good. I was doing nothing but painting: painting backgrounds at Calabash all day then heading over to the Palette and Chisel art league at night, and then more painting on the weekends. My mind must have really been in the groove back then. I can see it in the work. Over time, my career shaped my life: I went digital, struggled to make a living, finally got a good job, all of which seems to have changed my personal paintings. I think what I've been doing as of late in my own work has been more tense looking. Maybe it has something to do with the stakes being higher the older I get. What does an artist do when faced with making a living? Art school does not instruct the student in how to protect the heart, much less communicate with it. The desire to paint never goes away; it becomes more intense.


Jamie Baker said...

these are great. I really really like them. I want to see you do some watercolours again. This medium clearly suits you well.

Perhaps the "tense looking" thing you are seeing in your own work lately is due to the media you use now; Oil or digital, which allow you to work and rework a piece, whereas watercolour obliges you to put it down once and leave the freshness alone? Maybe that is the "in the groove" thing you mention?

Protecting the human heart is difficult. Of course, other parts of our body protect themselves by simply developing calluses... not such a good idea for the heart because that means that it is no longer able to feel... and what good is a heart that can no longer feel?

Perhaps it is akin to caring for a child: you try to protect it but not to the point of shutting it off from the world and the chance to make its own mistakes. Pain is a part of a normal life all and we must feel that too. The main thing is to be ready to do it all again, hopefully with the wisdom of age (MINUS the bitterness) and with as much of the freshness of young-heartedness as we can muster, each time we fall (or are knocked) down.

Anyway, I submit to you that the answer to this particular dilemma is best found not in art school but in the art you make itself. If not exactly protection for the heart then at least the healing part that allows you to get back up and go through it all again...

This is a great post, However, I know a certain grey someone who would get bitey if she heard that someone ELSE is thought of as the "best cat in the world"

chris miller said...

Hi Julia,
I don't remember those paintings, but I do remember that male model, and that's a very good portrait of him.


Another wonderful work

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