The Best Therapy

"Whiteside Mountain Morning" 16x20 Oil

“Whiteside Mountain Morning” 16×20 Oil

If your life is at all like mine then you sometimes feel like a juggler. Working on marketing efforts, following through on commitments to gallery and portrait clients, preparing to travel, being away, and getting home and back into the groove, teaching classes and workshops, and just life’s ordinary course can all make it seem impossible to be at the easel!

And sadly there is often less than optimal news at many of these junctures. Gallery sales and portrait commissions may not be great despite incentives and diligent marketing. This or that sale or commission are on “hold”, the six charcoal portrait sittings you thought you were doing on your trip are now three, the painting that went out on approval has made its way back to the gallery, the workshop is not filling up… sometimes things are not looking as good as we may wish.

'Luke At 15' 36x48 Oil

“Luke At 15” 36×48 Oil

So you redouble your efforts; a new resolve to market your work, send email newsletters more consistently, go to greater lengths to stay in touch with your sales team, increase your commitment to get to the pesky last things on your to-do list; the ones that you’ve really been putting off because you know they will truly suck you into a black hole of time and expense. Things like a new website, or brochure, or redesigning your business materials.

Well, I’m here to tell you the best therapy (in my humble opinion). Last week I drew the figure for three hours at our local arts organization’s weekly session. Geez, that felt good. Then I had three full days to work on a new portrait. Somehow those days at the easel have released some needed substance into my brain. I have new resolve that this is what I do, what I am meant to do, what I have been doing for many years, and will be doing until, well… you know. Getting in touch with that inner core, which has been sparking since the start, is a powerful way to get past those nagging fears and doubts that can take the wind out of our sails.

"Lily With Stick" 70x50 Oil

“Lily With Stick” 70×50 Oil

I encourage you to make sure you are getting enough easel time. As we get into our creative rhythm we will be making progress on the most important aspect of being an artist, which of course, is making art and making progress as an artist. Somehow for me, the other stresses fall away and the next steps on my journey become more apparent when I immerse myself in pure creative mode.

Not to get all Pollyanna-ish on you. The world is still here, and it can be tough. But we too are resilient creatures. The marketing and travel and such are critical elements of our careers. They are ‘work’ and we can’t beat ourselves up for giving them the time they require. But be sure to make time for what’s most important. By spending time doing what we were put on Earth to do, we are administering some of the best therapy there is.

Richard Christian Nelson

Upcoming OPA Events

30th Annual National Juried Exhibition 30th Annual National Juried Exhibition
The Thirtieth National Exhibition and Convention will be hosted by the California Center for the Arts, Escondido Museum, located in Escondido, California, from April 9 through May 16, 2021. Learn More!
First Annual Student Art Competition First Annual Student Art Competition
The First Annual Student Art Competition is from January 15 - February 15, 2021 and will be open to Student between the ages of 14 to 22 only. Learn More!
OPA Spring 2021 Online Showcase OPA Spring 2021 Online Showcase
The Spring 2021 Online Showcase is from March 1 - May 15, 2021 and will be open to Associate members only. Learn More!