Art is a tough mistress

While I enjoyed this past weekend’s art show, it definitely reaffirmed my belief that art is a tough mistress. People stop, visit and tell you they like – sometimes even love your work – but they don’t always buy. Here in Oregon the economy is still rough and money is tight – not to be spent on non-essential items. And, it was obvious this weekend that money wasn’t being spent.

Personally, though, I count the Shady Cove Art Walk a success. Not only did I get positive feedback, but I also sold a recent piece, “Ambush at Buffalo Gap”, along with prints of “Santa’s Last Stop”. Finally, my work “Where is He?” (not yet shown on the blog) was featured on the brochure. I can’t ask for better publicity than that.

I love creating art, experimenting with new techniques, refining my skills and telling a story through images. Art and history are my passion and I’m grateful that I now have the time, energy and yes, money to pursue those dreams. Artists are often their own toughest critics, and I am no exception, especially when I compare myself to others, as there are so many truly talented and creative people. And yet, as I look over the collection of my work, I’m happy – my skill is developing, stories are being told, and I’m starting to believe that yes, I am an artist.

I’m looking forward to my next show in November.

The Artist’s Dilemma

I suspect that every artist, whether painter, illustrator or even musician, has faced the dilemma of knowing exactly when a work is complete. Sometimes you step back, look at the finished piece and you are happy – the story you want to tell is there. Other times, as with this painting, you just don’t feel it, put it aside and rework it again.

In the original version of this painting, titled “Storm over Buffalo Gap”, I wanted the viewer to see that both hunter and nature challenged the buffalo. Something about it bothered me though, it just didn’t quite tell the story I wanted.

Storm over Buffalo Gap Gale F. Trapp, 2013

Storm over Buffalo Gap
Gale F. Trapp, 2013

In the final version, titled “Ambush at Buffalo Gap” I brought the hunt closer to the viewer, making it a stronger focal point.

Ambush at Buffalo Gap Gale F. Trapp, 2013

Ambush at Buffalo Gap
Gale F. Trapp, 2013

The story captures the advantage of riding an experienced horse – the shot has hit its mark and the buffalo is going down. The scene is chaos, with buffalo heading in every direction, trying to avoid danger. One mistake by the horse or rider and it is the last hunt for both. Deadly fun for hunter, hunted and horse.

I’m not completely satisfied, but I’m moving on, for now.