Tonight is the opening reception of the 62nd Annual Members Show at the Sharon Art Center, here in Peterborough. I put my painting “Fading Light” in the show. This is the 5th year I have participated. Because the Sharon Art Center is also a gallery they charge a 40% commission. I came to understand what that meant the year I sold a painting at this show at my usual low price, not taking into account the commission. Live and learn.
Attending these events is an interesting mix of emotions. It’s always nice to have a reception even if your’s is only one of many. Mostly its the participants that attend but there are those few who are actually potential buyers. In this particular show juried members and instructors also submit their work. I can’t help myself, I do compare what I’ve submitted to everything else I see. I also look at what others charge for their work. It seems with each successive year I gain a little more confidence.
The first year I submitted “North Peterborough Dam”. When I attended I was truly humbled by what I saw around me. Although I wouldn’t say mine was the worst, it was sure in that general vicinity at least in my eyes. The more I compared myself with others the more I was determined to work harder. At that point I wasn’t even sure what I needed to work on, just that I needed to improve.
The next year I was even more ambitious, submitting a larger painting. Bigger is better right? It turned out to be not such a good idea. With so many paintings and so many people you could stand back away from it and so it was less than a perfect pick. Another lesson learned. Still it showed a little more sophistication. It has always been a painting special to me because I painted it from a photo I had taken on my way home from dropping Rick off for his first business trip to China. That’s the only way you would have gotten me up early enough in the morning to see the light skimming the treetops. I was glad I went for that extra drive around town that early morning. I couldn’t wait to show it to Rick when he got home. But still comparing it the the other in the Member Show, once again, I felt I was not making the grade.
By year three, I had a painting that had received many compliments. It was one that I had painted plein air. I had asked permission to set up and paint on the property and they were fine with it. The man said however that if I come back the water level may be different since they control it for hydro-power. I explained to him that actually I can make the water any level I want, at which we both laughed. “I guess you can” he said. It is a definite advantage painting has over photography, Photoshop aside. I was ok with this painting at the Members Show, even with the comparing – notice I said ok.
Last year I went for a watercolor. I thought this was the right venue for this one. I painted it from a photograph I had taken while driving around Peterborough looking for things to paint. This is a place that is sometimes beautiful and other times it just a swamp. Those are the places I like best. The other bit that made this a good venue was it’s title, “Spring Thaw”. Putting Spring in the title of a painting filled with snow is something New Englanders can appreciate, its not about the snow, its the melting water and the hint of grass at the base of the tree, that’s what we desperately look for when we’re looking for an end to winter.
This year I submitted another painting of a local scene. I find people enjoy seeing scenes the recognize. I do too, it’s also fun when other artists have painted the same scene. “Fading Light” is it’s title, I decided to go out and paint a sunset as the daylight hours were getting shorter. It was a way to ward off the doom of the upcoming winter and celebrate the change of seasons. It is also one I did with a pallet knife, another evolution in my painting. This seems to have become the venue for that too for me. It’s a rather bold painting, filled with the light of a setting sun that has those special colors or Autumn’s evenings.
So, maybe I’ll see you tonight, or if you’re in the neighborhood, stop by the gallery at the Sharon Art Center and see what you think.