Apifera Farm - where art, story, animals & woman merge. Home to artist Katherine Dunn

Apifera Farm is a registered 501 [c][3]. All images ar©Katherine Dunn.





Thursday, March 16, 2017

Cloud room of comfort


I've been working on smaller pieces and I really have been pulled into the intimacy of the size. I think this is all part of my transition to this particular place, and my particular evolution as an artist and person. everything at our new Maine farm is more intimate than in Oregon-the size of the house, the barns closeness to the house, the paddocks...I typically like to paint on 12" board, and still do, but Martyn cut me a lot of smaller 7" pieces when he was working on the barn, and I thought it would help me do some pieces that were less costly than my 12" ones, helpful to interested buyers. But I find they are so intimate, and end up being very sensitive little works, like this one called "Cloud Room for Mother & Daughter".

Sometimes I sit down with a general idea in mind to paint, but most of the time it is all intuitive. I suppose this helps me from going crazy, and it keeps me grounded. I admire people that can sit and paint a 'scene' and make it look like the scene-but it doesn't inspire me to paint like that. Yesterday was a beautiful sunny day, and the clouds were really strong. My studio is on the second floor, which is different than any studio I've ever had, I am sure that influences what I paint.

I think I was missing my mom, maybe as it was my birthday recently and that makes you think of the past occasions, and the passing of decades is so fast, and faster even as you age. The party has an end time, it is very apparent. When you are 30 you can party all night, when you are 59 you know there is always a time to go home and you feel it. My brother sent me a care package with lots of Trader Joe goodies and a bottle of Oregon wine which was really nice. But it did make me miss my mom, and dad, as they were avid gift package senders.

Now that we are getting the upper loft ready for workshops, I think there might be some large paintings in my future, again. Part of being a self supporting artist is the constant balancing act of painting what you want, and need, and trying not to let sales dictate what you should be painting. Like the gallery owner who once said to me he could sell anything if it was red and had a horse in it-people comments can lead you astray. I have a lot of larger pieces out at Riversea Gallery in Oregon that are not moving, and Sundance has quite a few. At some point, in my small space here, large, unselling canvases become sort of...heavy load.

The world is agitated more than usual right now, so am I. It seems to be affecting sales for many artists I know. I try to share things with other artists about such matters because I think it is easy to get down, and to assume it's your lack of something that isn't bringing you new work or customers. When I look all the way back to 1997 when I began as a freelance artist, sales always came in surges, and droughts were no different. I learned to tolerate the droughts, and use them wisely-or use them to do something really non art related-like walk, garden, visit my mom, or ride my horse. The worst thing you can do is think that when the sales are high, they will always be-they won't. But it is also counterproductive to think droughts will last forever. every time I have a drought though, i still go through 20 Questions with myself-what am I doing wrong, what is wrong with everyone, blah, bawaaa blah. Then I remember, just like spring has always returned, sales always return.

But see, I still deal with this part of being self employed, and being an artist. I just get up every day and basically forge on, pick myself up and do something, anything to keep going. I try to be kind to myself. And I think that's why my insides painted this yesterday...a cloud room with a mother and daughter seems very comforting.

5 comments:

Ruella Yates said...

Thanks for this, Katherine. Very helpful.

Lisa Hofmann said...

Yes, thank you for sharing so much about your process and really, for so generously sharing your heart through your art and your words. More than ever, I have felt the daily practice of what you said here: I "forge on, pick myself up and do something, anything to keep going. I try to be kind to myself." As hard as it is (and it HAS been an uphill trek daily ... just like my mother's walking to school barefoot ever uphill) I am discovering how strong I am ... or rather, how I connect myself with what sustains and supports me and that gives me immense strength.

I am loving the pieces you have been creating these past few weeks. (I keep "hearting" them in Etsy ... making a list for Santa perhaps!) Funny, not all that long ago I switched from working on larger boards to smaller sizes and in my journals. I think the intimacy of those formats is a balance to the overwhelm in our world right now. A safe place to land & rest.

I have been tracking the moon and her cycles which has really given me an understanding (and permission) of my own outward/inward, waxing/waning stages. The moon is constantly changing, as are we all. Can't wait make a trip to Maine for a workshop (nudge nudge :)

Rima said...

Hi Katherine, I've been enjoying reading your blog for a few months now and just wanted to say that I really appreciate your honesty and perspective in this post. It helps someone like me who is just beginning to sell art in midlife. While I'm at at, I also love your art and I'm very sorry about your recent losses in the farm.

Katherine Dunn said...

Rima, your shop is lovely and I applaud you. I started as a freelance illustrator late in life [somewhat, I was 38 or so] and it was the best thing I ever did in my life. So keep going. I'm posting your shop link here https://www.etsy.com/shop/BIRCHandLOON

Katherine Dunn said...

Oh Lisa, I will get you to a workshop! IN fact, as we speak, Martyn is nailing int he the new stairway [to heaven] he made for the barn workshop! And I am going to get going on dates/workshops.

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Thank you for reading! The farm and my art/writing keep me hopping, so might not respond immediately. Thank you for understanding. ~Katherine & Apifera ~