Friday, February 7, 2014
11 times a year, The Banana Factory Arts and Education Center holds a First Friday event in conjunction in with the South Side Business Association. At the BF, it's an opportunity for the community to come out to see new exhibits in the art galleries, watch art demos, and visit with all of the resident artists whose studios can be found on all three floors of the building.
On any given First Friday I show off a clean studio with new work hanging and priced for sale. I make myself available to speak with anyone who comes to visit (sometimes it can be a few hundred people) by not being preoccupied but for December's event, I decided to try something different.
With my studio assistant Laura on hand, I felt comfortable enough to try painting for the whole night. (Three hours, from 6-9pm)
At about a quarter to 6, I didn't know what I'd be painting. I wanted it to be large enough so people could see me work and since I didn't have anything currently in progress, I grabbed a 30x30" canvas that I had previously gessoed black along with a yard stick and a borrowed blackboard compass and quickly put a few forms onto the canvas so I could start doing something.
Purple is one of my favorite colors and it was no surprise that it made it to my canvas first. I literally have no plan other than to allow this piece to progress organically.
The first time I ever painted in front of anyone was for the Lehigh Valley Art Wars - a local live art competition. I found that I enjoyed working in front of people and that I didn't experience any difficulties staying focused while answering questions.
One of my favorite moments of the night was when I got lost in the zone and turned around to find a crowd of people standing, sitting - all just watching me paint. Believe it or not, I often experience moments when I doubt who I am as an artist - or that I have any right doing what I do or that it has any value at all. Seeing those people watching me with genuine interest really hit home and touched my heart. I am an artist. What I do is important and has value. I have value and I am grateful for my gifts and the opportunity to express them in an unrestricted manner.
There was no rhyme to my reason aside from finding all of the places I could put purple while leaving a certain amount of space for another color. (or colors) It is all done through feeling and intuition.
This was as far as I would take the purple for now...
I begin to add a light ultramarine blue.
My biggest challenge was my vision - looking over my glasses to paint.
This is where I'd end for the night. Stay tuned to see how I've continued to add to this piece and be sure to come visit on an upcoming First Friday. You can also feel free to contact me if you'd like me to paint at an upcoming event.