Friday, June 14, 2013

Doing What I Love

Yellow-crowned Night Heron. Conte Drawing by Ken Januski.

I realize that any complaints I make about my art, its acceptance in juried exhibitions, etc. as in the last post is always going to be subject to the possible charge of 'sour grapes' and/or 'artistic whining.' The odd thing is I have no sympathy with either, especially the latter.

It is no doubt true that most artists of whatever sort cannot make a living from their art. That just seems patently true and not open to argument. I wish it were not so. And I suppose I could complain about that, especially when compared to the amount of money that goes to sports and some of the idiocy that is on television. But it seems fruitless. I wish our culture cared more for art but it doesn't. Silly to complain about it.

The other side of this though and where I criticize the self-pitying artist is that I have no doubt that I'm doing what I love and that I'm exceedingly lucky to be able to do so!

My Studio - June 2013.

I thought of this a week or two ago as I looked about my studio, seen above. I think I might have been reading a book on birds or dragonflies at the time. I realized that I am now able to combine two of my great loves, art and nature, and spend most of each day on them. If I don't get distracted by other things this really is the perfect setup for me personally. It would be nice to get greater appreciation of course. But seen from the perspective of being able to spend most of each day being able to do what I love, it's very hard to complain.

My love of art I think is older than my love of nature and the outdoors though I recall that even in grade school I couldn't stand having lunch in the classroom and would instead ride my bike over to the nearby woods and have it there. I also remember being scared out of my skin once or twice when I found snakes crawling near me. I don't think I've ever fully recovered to the one crawling through the spokes of my bike.

In any case I think it's a lucky person who can spend most of their time with lifelong loves. It would of course be nice to see more income from this but outside of that I truly do think I'm a very lucky person.
Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers. Conte Drawing by Ken Januski.

I've continued to experiment with Conte crayon sketches. At top is an immature Yellow-crowned Night Heron seen at the Manayunk Canal in Philadelphia almost three summers ago. Above are a couple of studies of Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers. I particularly liked them because the photos showed some clue as to their structure, one that as in many woodpeckers is hard to decipher because of their complex feather patterns. In all of these sketches I've tried to accentuate the structure and not worry about superficial details. That to me is one of the appeals of Conte. If forces you to work somewhat broadly as Rembrandt did so successfully in his sketches.


anna malcom said...

It's to bad you have to go through groups like the magazine to get exposure so people can see your work. I've been painting only a few years and have had only one show which was poorly attended. Getting out there is hard. But,creating art and being inspired by what nature shows us is thrilling, and joyful.
I like the crayon drawings. They seem more 3-D, it's like what your eye really sees as the birdies moving around in the tree with out binoculars or the perfect field guide picture to show you what to look for.

Ken Januski said...

Hi Anna,

Making your work and selling it are two very different things as I've discovered over many years. I did participate in a large art festival last year and it was interesting to see the response of people. 95% ignored it I'd guess but you could see that the other 5%had varying degrees of interest, even if they were hesitant to buy. I do like that aspect of selling in a face to face venue. But the lack of sales in that type of venue just doesn't make it worth it to me. Oddly this was about the same experience as I had in my first art fair about 30 years ago in San Francisco except then I think my work was ignored by about 99% of the people walking by.

But as you say creating art and being inspired by nature is thrilling. You can't beat that!!

Glad you like the Conte drawings. I have accentuated the 3-d a bit more in them than I do in some of my work.