A Dreadful Flood of the Unexpected

19 Dec 2012

While it was a lousy summer for tomatoes, something in the air made the pumpkins and winter squash particularly prolific, and we find ourselves with a workshop full of the stuff.

What we are convinced is a flood of trouble may actually be a sea of opportunity. Golden Opportunity by Steve Henderson of Steve Henderson Fine Art.

What we are convinced is a flood of trouble may actually be a sea of opportunity.
Golden Opportunity by Steve Henderson of Steve Henderson Fine Art.


Like most people of my generation, my primary experience with winter squash is baked, smashed, and slathered with butter and brown sugar, and while I've become remarkably adaptable in my grown-up years, my inner child simply refuses to eat, or make, this stuff, which means that I have to get really creative, and I am, thinking, dreaming, cooking, and even writing all things squash (Awash with Squash).

In the process of dealing with this abundance of unusual, unlooked for, and unrequested bounty, I came to realize that this is the story of our lives as artists and painters, because if we don't realize what we have, then we will 1) miss out on our ability to advance as artists and hone our oil painting techniques and 2) possibly squander or let rot valuable painting resources in ourselves.

Maybe you, like me, have been presented with a lot of something that you're not familiar with and don't want to use. How much better, you think, to have buckets of strawberries, or chocolate, or asparagus.

But you don't have those things. You have squash -- and if you forget about feeling bad because you don't have strawberries or chocolate or asparagus, and concentrate, instead, on using what you do have to the best of your ability, you will 1) advance in your oil painting skills and 2) learn to paint using those valuable resources that are inside you ready to be tapped.

Are you not a dynamic, exciting person who does ad lib demos and wows audiences to the point that they snatch up everything in your art booth? Strawberries.

Then talk to people, quietly, and get to know them, and share sincerely about yourself and your oil painting art. Squash.

Do you get cold easily, shudder in the wind, and squint at outside light during a plein air painting session? Chocolate.

Then brew a cup of tea and enjoy the cozy atmosphere of your studio. Squash.

Look around you with your painter's eye. See what you have a lot of, and use it. It won't be the same as what your neighbor or another artist has, but if you worry about what you don't have, you won't focus on using what you do.

--Carolyn


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