Friday, January 08, 2021

Real Artists Ship


Plein air painting in progress

My plein air field easel with a Pennsylvania landscape in progress

"Real artists ship."

This quote, attributed to the founder of Apple Computer, Steve Jobs, is one of my guiding principles in my art studio practice. Real artists don't tinker, they deliver. Real artists don't nibble around the edges, they get things done.

This new year of 2021 has me reflecting a lot on what values and goals I want to emphasize in my art. In normal, non-pandemic times, I embraced this mantra of "shipping" while juggling the demands of outdoor art shows, commissions, and regional exhibition opportunities. Whether it was dealing with long distance travel, inclement weather, or unpredictable socioeconomic events (I distinctly recall doing an art show in New York State right after the venerable Lehman Brothers brokerage house shuttered), this principle of "just get it done" has guided me through a lot of static during my artistic career. 

During the peak demands of my summer and fall art show seasons, a beautiful, sunny day was not an occasion to knock back and relax. No, it was an opportunity to go to a nearby park and do some plein air landscape painting. And although I sometimes wanted nothing more than to launch an uncooperative cityscape painting out of my studio window in a fit of pique, I persevered until the late hours and then got back up again at 3am the next morning to finish it to my satisfaction so that it could be dry and ready to display for my next art show that month. 

"Real artists ship."

But as we enter 2021, I'm waiting on the sidelines for a vaccine before I believe I can safely travel to my favorite outdoor art shows. For a variety of reasons, it may be a while before I can receive this masterpiece of modern science.

So, my plan to start 2021 and for the foreseeable future will be to continue to share my new paintings with you online through virtual events and private Zoom showings. I'm also going to temporarily set aside this mantra of "shipping" and take a deep dive into some bigger paintings. While the hamster wheel of my usual schedule is still, I now have the time to explore some ideas that I've had sitting around for years because I was so busy "shipping." This downtime can be a blessing, and I'll do my best to share some different ideas with you in 2021.

I look forward to the opportunity to share these larger scale paintings with you. In the meantime, I wish all of you good health, safety, and happiness in this New Year.