Focus seems to be a theme that has revisited me the last week or more but very “in your face” the last few days. God is speaking to me. I decided I would go through one of the courses that I was really interested in a few years ago or so. A wonderful artist and person Pam Caughy has a course called PDPC powerful design and personal color. I purchased the course as I was really interested in learning more about oil and cold wax. Encaustic had been on my radar for awhile and I went through a myriad of courses, study and experimentation with encaustic and really enjoyed it, I thought cold wax would be awesome. One of the tenets of Pams course was some help in finding your personal voice, a benefit for most artists and certainly something I needed. In some of my past artistic and business ventures finding ones personal voice was the number one question that popped up. Interestingly those that do very well specific to supporting themselves at a higher level financially with art seemed to have that figured out. It is not necessarily indicative of ones particular style, level of skill or medium although many times that seems to be a part of it. (side note-I love the artist who has financial success selling in a particular genre and style but continues to stretch and grow even though the risk is that the “new” imagery may not sell as well as the previous “style”. Example Craig Kosak…love his work too) I digress, speaking of rabbit holes and focus, he he. So, back to finding your personal voice and focus.
I began Pam’s course with the best intentions but could never get into it. The course material was great, presentation and content was great, support was amazing but I was struggling and didn’t know why. I thought perhaps that cold wax and oil wasn’t for me or that my “style” was not conducive to the more lose and abstract interpretation that I was looking for. I was definitely looking to move to more abstraction. I was/am bored with painting the same old portrait forms in the same style. A few years ago I remember beginning to put up a new website and looking at a large part of the work I had available for sell, to me they all looked the same. It was the same color palette, mostly the same size and largely the same area of subject matter, western art. All of that might be okay for someone who has reached the pinnacle of the art market and wants to maximize exposure and income utilizing the art canon that exists for gallery and collectors. That was not me and still is not me. I certainly didn’t sell most of the canvases that came off the easel, wall or table. In fact, like many of us I didn’t sell much, I didn’t care and really have never spent adequate time marketing to garner much in sells. I really would only sell an average of a piece or two a month, barely enough to support the habit of creating and making. My focus was on creating, not marketing. So, I WAS BORED with my art making and looking for change. Why couldn’t I get into Pam’s course and really love it? I know why. Focus.
When I purchased and started the course, I was only beginning the second semester into the pursuit of a Masters Degree in Art History. When I looked back in my records to see the date that I started PDPC, here are some of the other things I found; A character design class on Udemy, another oil and cold wax short course and book, an abstract course online, a course about selling art online that I was critiquing for a friend, a video production masterclass, yet another short course on abstract acrylics…umm. That was in just in the month of January of 2019. What a ding-a-ling. You can’t do that much and really deep dive into ANY of them. I love to learn, I do learn fast and I get an incredible amount of work done but seriously, being a full time Masters student, teaching and coaching full time AND starting all these other things is just ridiculous. Focus.
I believe I need to focus and to strip down many of the things I love to learn about so that I can work through Pam’s course and find my voice. I believe my voice is in there yearning to break free, it is thoroughly muted by all of the noise and distraction. When I finally can recognize the voice calling out, I know it will move my art up to the next level and more importantly give me rest, peace and a personal introspection of calm. I noticed as I began to go through the PDPC course again that there are resources there I didn’t know about, or maybe I just didn’t remember. Sometimes the memory damage West Nile gifted me with gets in the way but I don’t think that is the issue here. One of the first things I found was “studio notes”, 109 pages of them. What a gift! One other thing from beginning the course that I missed the first time around is all of the information on a sketchbook. I think I will do a whole post on this but I am right now moving to get my sketchbook started. I have been a visual artist for over 40 years and I think developing a new sketchbook is going to pay huge dividends and likely become part of my workflow in a different way that I used my sketchbooks before.
Seek and soak. That is what I will use as my guiding thoughts and words as I move through the next few months in going through PDPC. I hope you stay on for the journey.