Local Color

Local Color

Local Color -- 2010

The image above is the postcard publicizing my show of new work opening here in Christiansted on May 15th. I hope those who live on St. Croix will come, and I encourage those who live elsewhere to view the show when it becomes available on my website after the opening. I’ll post a direct link here next week.

Selecting the images for a show is one of the hardest tasks. Often, images that hold some meaning for me do not resonate with others. Even more confounding is the pressure to cover costs — both mine and the gallery’s — and the emotional reward of making a sale. The decorative, whimsical and happy images are often more likely to find a home with someone than those with darker themes. So when choices must be made, some of those less likely to attract a buyer get left behind. While this self-censorship may be rational when assembling a show, it can poison the well if allowed to infect the creative process itself.

On a lighter note, the image below is of a group of small fishing boats and dinghies stacked near the boardwalk in the heart of town. These simple boats have their own kind of beauty with their peeling paint in many colors, and the curve of the stem as it meets the keel.

curve of the stem

The Stem's Curve -- 2010

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23 Comments on “Local Color

  1. yes that is gorgeous, the stems curve. i always like the abstract quality of your work as well as the representational. and you do have to take into account a variety of issues in choosing pieces for the show. congratulations! Its wonderful!
    the postcard is beautiful. especially because color is so important in your work as an artist in st croix you reflect and respond with it so your eye picks it up subllimely. but i think the breadth to investigate darker themes is a given. and of course there are other people too like gallery directors or staff and patrons whose interest you try to consider.
    i bet it is going to be a great show. cant wait to see the post links to it! break a leg! as you say before a big show for good luck!

  2. Wow! I really enjoyed your thoughts about shows and how you self-censor. I can relate. Sometimes we can be too harsh, though. I almost left out a painting that I was unsure about. I loved it but it didn’t fit in with some of the others. I was delighted when it sold and it caused me to reconsider how to approach the issue.

    Then, I saw your stunning photo of the dinghy and exclaimed out loud, WOW. This is so painterly. My gosh, it’s fantastic!

    Best wishes with the show. May you meet lots of new patrons and sell lots of work.

  3. Thanks for your kind thoughts and words, tipota! Perhaps because life is so full of compromises it is hard to break that habit when conisdering one’s art.

  4. Thank you, Melinda! That image of the dinghy was one of those that just happened so quickly, it surprised me too!
    Yes, it is easy to be too harsh with ourselves — or timid — and a certain amount of emotional courage is helpful. Thanks for adding to the supply!

  5. Congratulations on your up and coming show. I wish I could go and see it in person. I hope it is a wonderful success. As far as Art, to thine own self be true. I know it’s hard not to placate to the public, financially at times I have been tempted, maybe a little balance. It’s interesting that some pieces have a greater following the others. Actually in Montana I bet your “darker” pieces would fair really well.

  6. I just realized placate isn’t really the right word. So much for using a five dollar word. It must be Monday. Anyway.

  7. You make such a valuable point…about trying hard not to let the idea of what will sell/what will be liked, into the studio. I find it really difficult to keep that stuff out!
    The image for the postcard is just so beautiful!
    Big success to you!!

  8. O, these are gorgeous gorgeous!! Besides, if you have a true Celtic dark monster heart, you can find it anywhere. I could turn these burst of color and line into tragedy in a second. But, why??

    Beauty also brings joy. I’m focusin’ on that!

    Send your blog readers postcards for our refrigerators!!

  9. Thanks, Starla! I had to laugh about your Montana comment… isn’t that supposed to be “Big Sky Country”?

  10. Karen, it is hard to keep those thoughts out of the studio, and discouraging when the work seems to pile up with nowhere to show it… but I guess that’s just one of the challenges many of us face. Many thanks for your comment!!

  11. Very nice and I wish is was in the neighbourhood so I could come to your show.

    I usually prefer your brightly coloured work but I think that the bottom image rings my bell today.

    Good luck with your show and I hope you sell the lot.

  12. Hey thanks, razzbuffnik! The lines on that bottom image are nice, and even though it’s toned down some there’s still that zippy gold-and-purple play in it…

  13. Hey Don! Good luck with the show man! I’m sure you will do well…..your images are irresistible…….only wish I could fly to St Croix and see them in person!

    I feel your pain on picking work for shows….stay true to your heart …all your work has deep meaning for those who love the islands and for those of us who love well crafted art.

    The boat is great! I’m drawn as well to the curves and chipped paint and history of the old fishing boats.

    Have a good opening!!

  14. Thanks so much Robin! It’s those pre-show jitters, you know… Boats are sweet source material aren’t they? You’ve done some great ones!

  15. Good luck with the show.
    How large are your images?

    I was going to say, “I’m sure you will sell your work easelly”, but then I remembered that these images start out as photos before being Diddamized!

  16. Thanks, planetross! The prints range in size from 5×7 to 16×21 inches. Each image seems to have its “best size”. Check my website after the 16th and it will tell you…
    “Easelly”… the master of puns strikes again!!

  17. I agree with what you said. Congratulations on your show! This boat one is very appealing and I bet appeals to anyone who sees it.

  18. Thanks Jala! The opening went well, and I had several interesting conversations about this question of “uncomfortable” art that is not primarily decorative.

  19. Hi Don, I’ve been meaning to comment on your blog for ages, having seen your work at Bonnie’s and also clicking on your site. Your bug avatar has always scared me!

    Your local color piece is beautiful as is the boat. Good luck with your show. It will be a huge hit!

  20. Hi and thanks for visiting, Loriann! “The Stem’s Curve” turned out to be a favorite for many! Show has been well received. Thanks!

  21. Now Carol, you shouldn’t be afraid of that little bug. He’s totally harmless (except for cotton farmers) and is known locally as a “love bug”. They are found near the beach under the Beach Mahoe trees because the fruit from that tree is a favorite food. “Love bugs” because their most common pose is connected back end to back end!
    The response to the show has been good so far. Lots of good comments, and enough sales to stroke the ego and pay the expenses. What more could one want?

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