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About the Artist
                                                                

                                                                                               

 

    

      Artist's Statement

 

        

  

     “When standing before a blank canvas, I’m filled with anticipation and excitement, the idea of creating something new and original. It is the process to surrender unto, and sometimes wrestle with, that is most important and I welcome the adventure. In many ways, my art is a healing journey. I work best when my motivation and subject matter evolve intuitively, each piece taking on a life of its own. My inspiration comes from the ‘realms’ within, as well as visual responses to my myriad surroundings, life experiences and the mysterious ‘unseen’…or unforeseen!

     Primarily acrylic on canvas, my work has been described as “enchanting…alive with color and (e)motion…a meeting of the earthly and spiritual”. Like many artists, I’m inspired by Mother Nature’s incredible color palette and never-ending beauty, intensity and drama. It is certainly a joy for me to blend colors and behold the variety therein. Music also plays a big part in my life and I enjoy painting while listening to certain pieces, depending on my mood. But, mostly, I enjoy creating in ‘silence’ or without obvious outside influences or motivation.

     As a natural, self-taught artist, I believe it is important to possess skills that allow me to portray, on paper or canvas, whatever I see and feel. Though I’m drawn to create something new and unique rather than duplicating or re-creating the world around me, I feel it’s necessary to have the tools and technique[s] at hand for displaying a wide-ranging and varied body of work. These days I’m most attracted to the freedom of painting abstract expressions. Even so, most of my pieces continue to contain some hints of realism, while my [prior] representational and figurative pieces always seemed to contain abstract spaces. Go figure! I just seem to have a lingering inclination to ‘make’ something specific happen or something ‘familiar’ appear. My work has often been called “a combination of intuition and intention”…and I have to agree. I also prefer not filling in all the blanks or completing the picture so to engage the viewer’s imagination and, thereby, welcoming them into the creative process.

     Some pieces evolve more easily than others and ‘mistakes’ sometimes prove to be breakthroughs. I can also be working on a painting one way and by turning the canvas a different direction a more powerful image and/or feeling takes place…and I’ll go with that. It’s important try new things and not to get stuck in a rut. I like taking chances and challenging myself! Because of the time and energy I put into each piece, it’s easy to become ‘attached’ and I’ve been reluctant to part with certain paintings; I do have my favorites! On the other hand, I’m always eager to start a new creation, so I’ve learned to say ‘so long’, gracefully, trusting that they are in good hands. Some pieces remain, however, decorating the walls of my home, sweet home.

     I’m often asked how I know when a painting is finished. Most of the time, I just have a feeling, a sense of balance in color, form, space and movement, or that I’ve conveyed a certain message. [Being a Libra] I’m drawn to create something aesthetically pleasing, beautiful [in my mind’s eye] and balanced. Certainly, I hope for that ‘aha’ moment when everything looks and feels right, but I’ve also embraced an I-can-live-with-that feeling, knowing that a painting is ‘perfect’ as is. You have to know when to say “when” or a painting would just keep on evolving…forever.

     Sometimes, people comment that being an artist, living the artist’s life, is ‘easy’ or ‘lucky’ or ‘not REALLY work’. I guess that could be true if you are independently wealthy, living off a trust fund and/or that your creative pursuits are just a past-times or hobbies, not ways to actually support yourself. Maybe, you are ‘lucky’ enough to impress a wealthy benefactor who funds your efforts or, perhaps, you do have access to family money or such. I don’t. But, I truly feel it’s a blessing to be able to use my natural gifts and talents. With hard work and dedication, it’s satisfying when your efforts actually pay off. Everyone loves being successful. Being creative, applying your skills and imagination with integrity and consistency, takes practice, persistence and patience. There is the creative time and energy in and out of the studio, not to mention the expenses and ‘business of art’: supplies, framing, prints and reproductions, advertising, self-promotion, exhibiting and pricing, shipping and handling, managing a website…and ‘life’ in-between.

     While selling one’s work is necessary, it is important to remain true to yourself when figuring how much each piece is worth [to you] and what you may have to ‘settle for’ in terms of working with a gallery’s consignment contract. It can be challenging, especially in today’s economy…and frustrating. We must earn a living, though, and agreeing to a gallery’s usual 50-50% split, or higher, is not ‘easy’. The artist may have to adjust the worth/price of their effort and product, accordingly, so the gallery owner can actually sell their work and make his/her own living as well. We have to learn to negotiate and be flexible. Easier said than done. Of course, things were a lot easier in that respect when my husband, John, and I operated our own gallery! Don’t forget there are other options and venues to consider as well, like upscale restaurants, lounges, hotels and banks who are happy to exhibit good art and usually only ask a small 10-20% consignment fee. Some ask nothing except for the pleasure of showcasing your beautiful work on their walls! You can invite clients to view pieces at your studio space as well or get involved with your local artisan’s market or cooperative. Be inventive. And, if you want to do the research, there are [still] options out there available to artists needing financial assistance via scholarships, fellowships, gifts and grants.

     In some ways, the ‘charmed’ existence of the artist can be more stressful than the norm or more conventional ways of earning a living. Income from one’s work can be very sporadic, if at all, and no pension awaits retirement; structuring and organizing your time in a beneficial way, while allowing your creative energies to flow, is always a ‘balancing act’; the long hours [years!] spent at your craft can tax certain body parts as you age; and, constantly, putting your very being and talent on display, baring your Soul, is not such an ‘easy’ thing to do. Being an artist can also carry the weight of social and moral responsibility, as well as the commitment and awareness of being a vehicle of inspiration and conscience, past, present and future; a visual and/or historic reference of the times; a voice of reason, warning or insight; and, with knowing or without, a harbinger. So, although ‘blessed, not stressed’ is a wonderful and workable affirmation, an artist’s life, or anyone’s, for that matter, is usually both. It takes a lot of work, determination, vision, luck [yes!], and, for the most part, talent to be successful at anything you choose to pursue in life…or what chooses you! There is a lot of talent in this world. Some will succeed…and some, not so much. But, that doesn’t mean we can give up our work, our reason[s] for being. We need to keep doing what we love and, hopefully, sooner rather than later, the universe will smile upon our efforts, one & all.

     My life has been shaped by deep sorrow and tragedy. I have suffered many losses. I’ve also known times of true happiness and pleasure. Most creativity is borne of pain and struggle, the agony, as well as the ecstasy. My personal life has affected my career choices. I’ve always had varied interests and could have gone in many different directions, some for which I received education and job experience, including television & radio news [reporting/anchoring], costume, fashion and/or interior design, acting, singing, creative writing and photography. Any of these might have provided me a more consistent income and/or a more social, adventurous lifestyle. Who knows? Some are still possibilities. Meanwhile, I am fortunate that my abilities, and destiny, have allowed me to share my talents through the visual arts, poetry and music, my own clothing designs and creating sacred home & garden spaces. It’s all a matter of Soul expression and I’m privileged that my ‘work’ speaks to others on many levels.”

 

Brooks Garten Hauschild/Artist

 

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