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

Eastern Regional Exhibition 2021 Eastern Regional Exhibition
The Eastern Regional Exhibition will be hosted by the ArtCenter Manatee, located in Bradenton, Florida, September 28 through October 22, 2021. Learn More!
OPA Fall 2021 Online Showcase OPA Fall 2021 Online Showcase
The Fall 2021 Online Showcase is from November 1 - December 15, 2021 and will be open to Signature and Associate members only. Learn More!
Western Regional Exhibition 2021 Western Regional Exhibition
The Western Regional Exhibition will be held October 15 through November 27, 2021 at the Mary R. Koch Arts Center (Mark Arts), located in Wichita, Kansas. More details to be announced as they become available. Learn More!
31st Annual National Juried Exhibition 31st Annual National Juried Exhibition and Convention
The Thirty-first National Exhibition and Convention will be located in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The Convention will be from May 31 through June 5, 2022. The Exhibition will be from June 3 to August 27, 2022.