A Still Life

Two peppers snagged from pizza-making, oil on canvas, 8X6

For several years I asked myself when would be a good time to take a sabbatical from career development, to focus only on painting. Economic malaise presents the perfect opportunity, so I took 2010 as a year to pursue intentional isolation. My plan was simple: no marketing, only one show, even less blogging. Instead, I would spend my time in my studio painting and working with those students who were at hand.

The year of stillness is now done, and I am glad of it—both that I did it and that it’s finished.

Some of the risks proved real—for instance, when you stop showing, you stop selling. Students wander off, and if you aren’t looking for new ones, you eventually find yourself pretty lonely. On the other hand, you’re able to look at your own work independent of others’ opinions, and you become very invested in the students you retain.

I’d like to be able to recount some sort of spiritual journey which resulted not only in enlightenment but also in a tidy little book deal, but if that happened, I missed it. On the other hand, I did get much better at sketching every day—especially in church.

I also got into the habit of doing a daily small still life (6”X8”). These are “gesture paintings.” With rare exceptions, they take me 1:20 or less to finish. This is from New Year’s Day, 2011—a new year, a new decade, and back to engaging with the world.

Five plein air sketches by a student and friend

Students do wonderful things. Here are five landscape paintings recently entered by Marilyn Feinberg in the GVPAP show at Barnes & Noble—all five were accepted.
Expressway entrance at South Winton Road, about 12.5X10, oil. (These are not titles, but descriptions, since I don’t know the titles.)
My backyard when the roses were in bloom, about 12X12, oil.

Adirondack swamp, about 8X8, oil.

Marilyn’s backyard, about 8X10, oil.

Our grill, about 8X10, oil.

These paintings will be on display in the community room at Barnes & Noble, 3349 Monroe Avenue, Rochester, through January 27. The reception and awards ceremony will be on Saturday, January 8 from 4 – 6 pm.

Marilyn is certainly talented—no doubt about that. But she brings to mind that famous Thomas Edison quote: “Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine per cent perspiration. Accordingly, a ‘genius’ is often merely a talented person who has done all of his or her homework.”

And on that note, I’m getting to work.