Paint By Number: An Artist's Quest for MeaningPROLOGUE
A solo show is a milestone in every artist’s career. I had mine at the Gretchen Schuette Art Gallery on the Chemeketa Community College Campus in Salem, Oregon in the spring of 2013. The opening reception was well-attended: close to one-hundred students, staff, faculty, and friends listened to my speech and made positive comments about the work. After the exhibit came down, I was surprisingly drained, burned out with painting. Why?
I had struggled with disinterest and confusion throughout my years of being an artist. Months of questioning preceded “Tuition/Intuition.” I juxtaposed twelve works from my undergraduate days with twenty-three paintings from 2012 to 2013. When did I become a serious artist? What drove me to paint? Did early paintings hint at my mature voice? How did I find that voice? Why had I been plagued with doubt? The feeling of let-down was not new.
I decided to continue my investigation in a memoir. I looked back thirty-five years to 1980, the year I flunked art and had to attend summer school. I heard a quote by Mahatma Ghandi once: “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” Although I said that I was an artist, I was not happy with my work. Nothing about it felt original. I forced myself to work in the studio, knowing that something was missing. How to foster my authentic voice in painting? This gnawing feeling had plagued me for years. I needed to get to the bottom of it.