3 Things I've Got to Have to Keep Going

The show included works from the past ten years of my career.
My family and I at my opening. Cute bunch, right? The show included works from the last 10 years.

I know it's been a while since I've written. Let's see–the last time was just when I got back from my summer vacation. And now it's….November?!? My, how time flies.

Well, I've been a bit busy. I'm happy to tell you that the project that has been consuming all of my working hours, and much of my personal time, is now on view. My oil painting art is the subject of a solo museum exhibition, Myths and Individuals, at the Saint Louis University Museum of Art. The show opened on October 21, 2011 and will be on view in St. Louis until December 23rd. The show will then travel to The Forbes Galleries in New York City from February 17 – April 23, 2012. There are thirty oil paintings in the show, both portraits and figures, spanning the past 10 years of my career.

The catalog cover for the show.
The catalog cover for the show.

Now that the dust has settled after the opening, I am looking around for all the other balls I have dropped in the past few months. So, I thought I'd write a post that muses on the crucial work-life balance and the ever-elusive goal of being a successful parent and a successful oil painting artist. Can I have it all? Do it all? Simply, no. I can't. At least, not all at the same time. And here's my point–it all takes time and lots of it–and usually a lot more than you think. For everyone striving to balance family and personal life and growth with career, we must learn certain wisdoms along the journey. Lessons that I've been reminded of recently.

First, patience: One of the skills that needs to be mastered is the ability to pace yourself, deal with short term issues, but all the while maintaining your focus on long term goals and the big picture. We all have to deal with the small stuff–but keep your eye on the prize, no matter what. I have a note pinned to my studio wall that says "Don't quit!" It's the mantra of an artist juggling all the things that can fill our lives.

Next, a friend mine reminded me to "celebrate small victories." The plans and dreams you have may take a bit longer to achieve, so celebrate small victories to mark the way along the road to larger accomplishments. Pat yourself on the back, raise a glass with friends, and take a moment to say "good job" to yourself.

Last, gratitude: Have you told your friend, partner, kids, parents, siblings, or close friends how glad you are that they support you and love you? Take a moment and send them an email. Go ahead. (Ok, now you're back, keep reading.) Even in the middle of a serious uphill slog, gratitude can be found all around if you remember to look for it. It will give you the energy and peace to keep pushing through.

So remember, artists–be patient, reward yourself for small accomplishments, say "thank you," and DON'T QUIT!


For more painting instruction from Patricia, check out her latest DVD, Figure Painting: Realistic Skin Tone.

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Oil Painting Blog
Patricia Watwood

About Patricia Watwood

Patricia Watwood has studied painting with Jacob Collins at the Water Street Atelier, and also with Ted Seth Jacobs at Ecole Albert Defois. She earned her MFA with honors from New York Academy of Art.

Watwood paints nudes, figures, portraits and still lifes in the classical tradition. Her paintings draw on allegorical, mythological, and narrative themes. She continues the classical pursuits of representational painting, with an eye on the contemporary world. The recurring theme in her paintings is the spiritual human presence. Watwood states, “Formal training is the indispensable underpinning of my practice. I seek to follow and build upon the artistic intelligence and traditions of the past, and bring them anew to my own generation.”

Watwood has exhibited in group and solo shows in New York, Paris, Houston, San Francisco and Long Island.  Her work is represented by John Pence Gallery in San Francisco. Her figurative paintings have been included in several museum shows, including “Enchantment” at the Hartford Art School, “Slow Painting,” at the Oglethorpe Museum; “The Great American Nude,” at the Bruce Museum of Arts and Sciences; and in “Representing Representation VI,” at the Arnot Museum. Her work has been featured in numerous art publications including International Artist, and a recent cover article in American Artist magazine.
Watwood also does portrait commissions, and is represented by Portraits, Inc.  Her recent projects include a portraits for Harvard University, Kennedy School of Government, and the former Mayor of St. Louis, for St. Louis City Hall.  Watwood is currently teaching at the New York Academy of Art, and at the Teaching Studios of Art in Brooklyn. 

Watwood and her husband and two daughters live in Brooklyn, New York.

3 thoughts on “3 Things I've Got to Have to Keep Going

  1. Great post amd congrats on the exhibit. Your work is inspiring. How did you gather these paintings-have you held onto them or did collectors lend them for the exhibit?

  2. Congrats Patricia! Great looking family! I met you at the PSA conference in Atlanta this past year and loved your inspirational message during the panel discussion! Your posts are a delightful inspiration also!

  3. Hi Mark,
    I was able to put together a combination of loaned work, and things still in my “collection.” I got several loaned in the St. Louis area, and a few from New York, to bring a few of my older “best” pieces in. Then, I recalled unsold work from my galleries. So, with that and new work from the past couple years, I was able to fill out the exhibit with 30 paintings. We had a limited shipping and loan budget, so I hope that my next “retrospective” will be able to include more of my larger collected works. Thanks for asking!