Preserving My Dreams

Brooke Shields - Woman's Head StudyOla!  What a great idea, and how much I enjoy and grow and am empowered by reading the thoughts, musings, and experiences of these real and great painters.

Reading Alan Wolton’s post (once I drove from Nashville to an obscure barn way outside of Chicago to see this extraordinary collection of his water lilies)what a great blessing to see inside his mind a little about layering in those transparent washes, and then to preserve them – discipline.  This struck a chord in me (finally?).

About the same time I was going through Architectural Digest – and there was this painting on a bedroom wall (Brooke Shields) of a woman’s head study, all in black, and white, basically a beautiful value study.  She wasn’t framed, looked half finished and is exquisite.

"Music Man" by Wanda Choate OPA

"Music Man" by Wanda Choate OPA

I had the privilege last January of going to the Prado and Sorolla’s home.  Go, hitch hike if you have to.  What struck me about Sorolla’s things was; First. The great, unfinished, quality of his work.  It looked like over and over, unless it was a formal portrait, that he would get about 2/3’s done and go onto the next one.  Good enough.  Next.  Also, he has hundreds of those tiny paintings, 5 x 7 or smaller done with 7 or 12 thick brush strokes.  Next…Nothing was too precious.  He stayed inspired.  He painted gorgeous fruit garlands and portraits of his daughters “on the walls” for himself.  He painted for joy.  Please, Dear Lord, let this be my process shifting.  Anyhow, this was where I was when I began “Music Man”.  Ah, to be as Sorolla, and still be on that great plane of hope, magic, inspiration, the great challenge to capture something so elusive – when I finish a painting as when I began.

I think that the key for me, the only hope is in being present, moment by moment, choice by choice, focus, discipline. To decide truthfully as I see it. What is my darkest dark, my lightest light, and focus; remain focused on the goal of preserving that value scale.

“A man is what he thinks about all day long.”   – Emerson

Frank Loyd Wright has inscribed on the beams of his studio, “What a man does, he has”.

“For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he”.  –  Proverbs 23:7

What I’m thinking about when I’m painting is what I’m going to create.

This discipline, sustained focus for me, is the key to producing not only work I love but a life I want to live.

I’ve worked out with a trainer (I must be forced) for most of the last 7 years.  I want to be strong, but mainly I go for the discipline.  I know that if while doing the plank, or attempting push-ups, if I ALLOW myself the luxury of a negative thought I will drop.  My strength truly drops 30% because of what I’m thinking.  So, whether it’s dieting, exercising, being kind to our mates and small animals, not eating that bowl of cereal at 11p.m, or holding onto that brilliant, childlike elusive transparent under-painting…

I’ve got to stay focused and hold onto the reality of what I think about, I bring about.

Upcoming OPA Events








OPA 2015 Western Exhibition


Begins: August 7, 2015
The OPA 2015 Western Exhibition will be held at the Wild Horse Gallery, in Steamboat Springs, CO from August 7 – September 7, 2015.


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OPA 2015 Eastern Exhibition


Begins: November 6, 2015
The OPA 2015 Eastern Exhibition will be held at Eckert & Ross Fine Art, in Indianapolis, IN from November 6 to December 5, 2015.


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Virtuosos of the OPA Exhibition at New York’s Salmagundi Club


Begins: September 17, 2015 Deadline: June 1, 2015
The first-ever Virtuosos of the OPA Exhibition is to be held at the prestigious Salmagundi Club, one of America’s oldest art clubs located in the heart of New York City.


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  • HolliHarmon

    Thanks for the great thoughts.  I will revisit this post.  Holli

  • http://twitter.com/LiveAttuned Liz Wiltzen

    Wanda I love how much of your heart you showed in writing this, and I love your work! Paint on sister.

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