I have now been retired for two years. That in itself is something pretty amazing, but what follows amazes me even more. This past year has been a whirlwind of learning and growth, settling into my new life as a full-time artist.
It was only 18 months ago that I took my first drawing class – I wrote about it below in Me? An Art Student?. I look back on those posts in this blog, and laugh at how awful I was at drawing. Today, my paintings are selling, and selling for a whole lot of money. If you had told me that I would be a successful artist with a new, burgeoning business at this time two years ago, I would have laughed in your face.
It’s been a lot of work, and is now full-time. I study with my mentor, Robert Semans six hours each week, split evenly between drawing skills and oil painting. There are several talented artists who study with him, and we look forward to our time in the studio. Each day I’m not in class, I paint or draw for at least 5-6 hours, depending on the light availability. I’m getting faster, and each painting is better than the one before, which is encouraging.
I’ve even developed a “style”, which is something all artists strive to do. No, I don’t mean I put in gimmicks into my paintings, but my brushwork and color mixtures suit me and my particular tastes. I adore landscapes, seascapes and unique architecture. It’s popular, too. I have more work requests than I can handle right now. A very nice problem to have. All proceeds from my paintings go to various charities. I call it “Art for a Cause”. I just got my business license for my new enterprise – The Second Act Artworks.
I’ve also entered a few art contests in the US and Europe. For some reason, my art is appreciated more in Western and Eastern Europe than in the US. I’ve placed in the top 10, top 3, and Second Place in three European open art contests. Here’s the painting that did so well. It’s also the first one I sold, with the proceeds going to the Junior League of San Jose.
My goal in 2018 is to do well in some of the US based shows. To that end, I’m starting to accumulate some inventory of a few good pieces that I can lug to shows. The cover photo of the statue from the larger Casita at Hearst Castle is one I’m keeping for now to show, and will sell down the road. I just finished one that I’m particularly happy with. It’s going to be hard to part with once I decide to sell.
I’ve also been asked to donate paintings to various fundraiser auctions in the San Francisco Bay Area. I have two in progress for fundraisers in the first quarter of 2018. Here’s a painting I did for the Arthritis Foundation of San Francisco’s recent silent auction. It did well for them, and it’s such a worthy cause.
So now you see why I’ve been absent from blogging this past year. I’ve developed enough of a rhythm that I can now add in a few other things, so there will be more posts going forward. I’m very happy to say I found a purpose and a life beyond my former career, and one that makes me very happy. Can’t say fairer than that.