Every once in a while, in unexpected places, I find a quote that seems to be just what I need to contemplate at that moment. On a plane heading to the Western Federation of Watercolor Societies Conference in Denver last week, I found such a quote in Southwest: The Magazine. The article was an interview with actor Patrick Wilson; but the arts are the arts, and all artists grapple with similar frustrations. He was referring to the many years he has worked toward getting significant acting roles.
You can’t look at the top of the staircase and want to be there. You have to look at the step directly ahead of you and ask yourself, “How do I climb that step?”
I had just been thinking about some of my long range goals: getting into shows, getting signature memberships, and earning various accolades-- you know, the pie in the sky stuff we artist dream of yet often find more obstacles than open doors. The top of the staircase. But this quote made me think about what is really right before me--the next step, which is the next painting. That is really what I can control and have power over. If I approach each next work with a passion for that piece of paper which I will adorn with paint, I have climbed the next step. When I take time to really “finish” a piece, I have climbed the next step. When I have the courage to put it out there for a juror to look at or the public to see, I have climbed the next step.
It is very rare to make a grand entrance into the art world right off the bat. Successful artists work very hard and very long for recognition. And it all starts from where you are now and the piece of paper in front of you!
|The Watercolor Society of Oregon team in Denver|
Ruth Armitage, yours truly and Anji Grainger