oil on canvas, 29 x 16.
oil on canvas, 14 x 14.
||Anakin Padawan, 2009,
oil on canvas, 44 x 28.
I have been blogging this past year about preparing for my exhibit, "Myths and Individuals." Now, it's time for the opening at The Forbes Galleries in New
York City. I can't believe
the show is here at last. I have
been working on paintings, and planning this show for almost three years, so
needless to say, I am just a little bit excited that the big moment has
I had the "out of town opening" in St. Louis, at the St.
Louis University Museum of Art, in the fall. I am including one new figure painting, "Venus Awakes," and
a few new drawings to the list of works in the St. Louis show. I will have over 30 oil paintings and 6
drawings on view, from February 17th to June 9th.
In reflecting on what I have learned through this journey,
there are two takeaways that I want to share with you.
First: "If you build it, they will come." This reflects the principle that in
working toward a goal, sometimes you have to build it first, and then the
opportunity will fall into place.
I have been envisioning my goal of a large show in a New York
venue for a long time. Three years ago, that goal
seemed elusive, but I began to create the work anyway and trusted that
the road would rise up to meet me. When the opportunity came, last year, I was already well underway to
having the body of work I needed to have the exhibit at Forbes. In the words of
Dorothea Brande, "Act boldly and unseen forces will come to your aid."
|Waiting for Supper, 2010
oil on canvas, 18 x 35.
The second lesson: Consider your artwork as a whole—what are
the large themes, the connections, and the persistent vision you are
expressing? My work is almost all
figurative, but sometimes it is mythological, sometimes there are portraits, and sometimes
simple figures. I needed to
reflect on the whole group and see what common themes they shared. I had to think back to the
very first ideas I had in creating a composition, and consider what the
original motivations were. Then I
began to see similarities and connections in intent and philosophy between
paintings, and see the common threads that had been there all the time.
Oftentimes young artists are given the impression that the
artist must start with a vision,
the grand theme, and then you find the tools to express your big idea. I've come to another conclusion through
my personal journey. The artist
excavates the vision out of one's body of work, out of the long process of
becoming the artist and creating the work. Like a refiner's fire, the artistic process clarifies the
vision, and shapes the artist.
So, take a group of your paintings or drawings, and consider them all
together to see the underlying themes in your own work. Make notes of your strongest impressions, or even write a couple
sentences about each picture, asking yourself "Why did I make this painting?"
and "What am I trying to express?" Even if your notes are more word association than sentences, you will
see themes emerge. You could also
gather a few trusted artist friends, and do this together.
Next, you can ask yourself, "Is this
what I wanted to do?" And, moving
forward with your artwork, you will have more ability to consider how you shape
the underlying themes you express in your work.
For more painting instruction from Patricia, check out her latest DVD, Figure Painting: Realistic Skin Tone.
Patricia Watwood: Myths & Individuals
February 17 to
June 9, 2012
The Forbes Galleries
60 Fifth Avenue, at 12th
Free, open to the public
a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Tues-Sat.
Thursdays open to groups by
Patricia Watwood 5-Day Design & Figure Composition Workshop
Want to join me in Northern California? Spend five days in a beautiful north-lit studio, learning how to paint the figure with a live model. Small class = lots of personal attention!