Time: Why Can't I Bottle Some? (+ PRO PRACTICE TIPS!)

Wow, it's been awhile! Has time ever gotten away from you? I bet it has. Everyone has periods of varying intensity in their lives, but time continues on whether we're ready or not, and doesn't give a tiny rat's ass how busy we are! Because of that, I'm coming at you with TONS of tips this week (in bold, as always)!!! I won't even count 'em- let's talk life and art!

The rest of January was quite busy- between work, play (important- trust me), and planning out my upcoming show (more on that below), your girl didn't lend much time to working on the blog. I also did something that was a big (and a little scary) step for me- I removed my work from the co-op gallery that was representing me. I took down the work for several reasons, but I won't bore you with the details. The main reason for removing myself from the artist membership was time. I simply didn't have enough to devote to the gallery (though I'm still very much involved as a board member), my job, my profession as a painter, and my personal life all at once. I had to let go of what served me the least, and was most feasible to walk away from. It's okay to be selfish sometimes; always do what is best for you, your artwork, and your wellbeing. This is absolutely essential to your success as an artist and a person. Sometimes these decisions will be difficult, or damn-near impossible to make! Even if one of those decisions involves walking away from something that seemed like a wonderful idea when you first chose to embark upon said idea. The gallery was one of those ideas for me; however, there are more galleries out there and so many opportunities to discover!

Overall, January proved to be a big step in personal development, which is just as important, if not more so, than the professional variety. 

 A friend I met on my way to a committee meeting last month ❤️ 

A friend I met on my way to a committee meeting last month ❤️ 

Now, what about February? I am currently planning my upcoming solo exhibition at the Clinton County Council of the Arts in Lock Haven, PA. The show, opening September 14th, is my first solo venture since my MFA Thesis show in 2016! Because this is my second show (and I've changed quite a bit in the last two years-WAIT. I've been out of grad school for almost two years? Shut the front door... That time, she really does wait for no one...), I've decided to change up my work, or rather, evolve into the next step of what I'm trying to communicate. Though it may not be a tip for you personally, I like to view my artwork as a continuously developing conversation about who I am and how I navigate this thing we call life- Try it on and see if it fits!

This body of work, though visually similar to my last (Chasing the Ghost), is more grounded in living than in the acceptance that death is inevitable. Though I could paint about death and impermanence forever, it was simply time to move on to new thoughts- one important tip that can branch beyond the artistic realm is to reinvent yourself and your work when you feel it necessary. Never let yourself paint something to death- I mean that. Painting something to death can cause you to burnout, and that's not what we're looking for! (However, if you do feel burnt out, I recommend a break. Take as long as you need, but always keep thinking and dreaming to build upon what you'll create next.) I’ll elaborate more on the new work as we get closer to the show (with progress pictures- Eep!) - for now, let’s talk about how I plan for upcoming exhibitions. As always, please leave me comments and tips of your own for how you tackle your goals and plan for success! 

Before I do anything involving paint, I sit down with a notebook and write down everything I want my work to communicate to my audience. This builds off one of our previous tips of writing down your goals- Whether you're writing down detailed narrative or piles and piles of word vomit, writing down your goals can not only help you achieve them, but can also allow you to visualize what it is you're trying to do and how you can get there. Brainstorming allows me to do this, though sometimes it gets messy! While I'm writing down my goals for communication and revised artist statements, I'm also doodling- YES, doodling is a tip. If you're reading these tips as a fellow artist, you probably know the importance of sketching your ideas for compositions and goals! I'm always surprised to find out just how many artists don't sketch. Don't stop sketching, friends! Drawing is the root of all art forms! Well, kinda.. At least It think so.

I'm currently in the sketching phase of my show- I always sketch my compositions before I draw them onto canvas (or even photograph the objects/set up the still life!). It has to be right in my brain before I can even consider making it (semi) permanent on substrate. Sure, I over-plan. It's in my nature. One great thing about sketching, though? It keeps me sharp- my skillset, my brain, and (believe it or not), my memory. More on my memory later, and how I'm relying on it a bit more for this body of work. ;) I can't divulge any more, or I'll give it all away!

Tell me, friends: how do you plan for shows or new bodies of work? How much of the process do you make public, and how much do you keep to yourself? Let's talk! 

Also... What are you reading right now? 

Talk soon, friends! I can't wait to continue sharing the process of this show with you. For more consistent updates on my life in general as a weirdo, follow me on insta! @claira.bug - For the professional updates, follow @c.l.a.i.r.a :)

Happy Sunday- make this week a great one!