Boy was I surprised when I was awarded the residency. I had just recently moved to Spokane and needed a way to feel connected to the local community. I’ve been watching Spokane Art Calls on Facebook and when the residency application popped up, I decided here was an opportunity that shouldn’t be missed. I put the appropriate information together and applied. Then with unpacking, doing art shows and sorting out my new life; promptly forgot about it. You could have knocked me over with a feather when I got the call!

So here I am, moved into the warm embrace of the Spokane Art School. I have my own space, my own key and unfettered access to a place that isn’t my home where I can be sidetracked by sorting, cleaning, the refrigerator or the TV. I am the first the school has had as a resident artist and I feel honor bound to do a good job. That means I must CREATE!!!!

Everyday I come into the studio and put color on a surface. One day I came in and started 3 different pieces. I will admit that I grade my own art and I am a tough critic. The first one I do each day is a simple 8×10. Nothing fancy, just a little image of a tree or clouds… anything to remind my hands and my brain of what it feels like to put pastel on my surface. It doesn’t have to be great, or even good; that isn’t the point. It is about developing a habit. That studio should be a place where your mind automatically kicks into gear for art. No one ever has to see your warm up piece. You can throw it away or burn it but remember, it is about starting somewhere. I give each creation a grade of 1 through 5. Most of my warm ups will be a 3 or less but, it is a beginning. I might then go on to work on something I started the day before. I will end up with a few I am working on at one time. Sometimes it is because I don’t know where to go with one. It can wait; I will turn it to the wall and not look at it for a time.

The biggest thing to consider is this, a professional is disciplined. Being able to court the muse is great and all but it will never get you to grow as an artist. If you are going to stretch and flourish, you must throw caution to the wind and try. You will fail, but you won’t always fail. Being an artist isn’t about success all the time. Personally, I would find that boring. If you wanted a guarantee of success, buy a toaster and follow the instructions. Being an artist is one of the bravest things I know because it is trial without a safety net. You will find mentors, but you need to find your own way, ALONE! You can ask questions but think of yourself as an explorer seeking a new way to define and communicate an idea or concept. We are engineers of the psyche; scientists of the soul and we are delving into universes that others haven’t mapped yet. It only requires that we start somewhere. So, I will be here, in the studio; with my 8×10 surface.

Care to join me?