Saturday, February 21, 2009

"Morning Shadows -- Silver Meadow" by Hazel Jensen

Quote from John F. Carlson in

"Carlson's Guide to Landscape Painting"

"Power, whether physical or mental (or "artistic") comes from the exercising of the God-given faculties. It is difficult to go forward, but the backward slide comes with no effort. Or, to put it differently, when effort is relaxed we retrogress, whether we will or no. All this does not mean that by mere hard work, or by merely growing old, one can become anything desired. There are men who work and grub incessantly, work so hard they have not time to see! A deserving but pitiful state. The inspirational and impressional moments are shut out.

The true artist works rather in great gusts of effort, and in smaller gusts of apparent lassisitude. He is not lying about 'waiting for some inspiration.' He is in the travail of the dreamer entering into expression."

Preparing for an Art Show

This past week I have been working on two new paintings for an art show at the Western Heritage Museum and Gallery in Vernal, Utah. It will be on display from March 3rd to the 27th.
It's nerve-racking to prepare for a show, but it also gives me a real rush.
It feels so good to choose that perfect reference photo (one I or my husband have have taken, so I can view it on the computer screen in my studio), pick out just the right sized canvas, set it onto the easel, set a brand new palette and start playing in the paint. Time ceases to exist and away I go on a wonderful adventure, all the while thinking,"This is the one. This is going to be my best painting ever."
Kellie Buckner, a fellow writer, said on her blog, that her Bestseller
novel is always in some stage of development.
That's how I feel about every painting I begin. Yet, when I get it finished, even if I am fairly happy with the results and someone else likes it enough to lay out their hard-earned money to purchase it, I always know that it isn't quite my "bestseller." Not yet.
Disappointing? Yes, a little.
But when I begin the next painting tomorrow or the next day or the next (I have to have at least one in the works all the time), I will be in the same frame of mind I was in when I began my last one. Even if that one is better than any of my others, it will never measures up to the painting I saw in my mind. But -- if it WAS perfect -- would I still want to paint? Would I think to myself, "Wow! I did it! Now I can stop painting."
No. I would most likely say to myself,
"Wow! I did it! But can I do it again?"
Actually, I think it's good to always have the ideal of perfection in our minds to keep us ever reaching for progress. That principle works for life and all the other achievements we pursue. But we must never let that ideal discourage or disuade us. That would be the worst outcome to striving for perfection.
What amazes me is that I see perfection in someone else's painting.
My friend and mentor, A. D. Shaw, does PERFECT paintings all the time. But why, after creating hundreds of fantastic paintings, does he say he's still striving for that perfect painting?
I think our obsessions to create perfect art are terminal conditions.
Actually, I hope they are. What a wonderful way to go.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

First Time Playing Tag

When I took the photo for this painting the temperature
was minus 15 degrees F.
I did not do this painting en plein air

* * * * * * * *

I have been tagged by Cindy Beck. I hope this works.
I am suppose to tell 25 (or less?) random things about myself.
Then I tag 25 (or less?) people and link to them. So here goes.
1. I am married to the greatest Valentine in the world. We have spent 44 Valentine Days together except for one (while he was on active duty). He's definitely the one
I want to spend eternity with.
2. My family is the most important thing in my life.
3. I am a pushover for children and will always take their side in any situation.
4. Mountains feel, to me, nearly as reverent as temples.
5. I dearly love plein air painting. It gives me a wonderful sense of freedom and joy.
6. I -- like Cindy -- am a dog lover and have been blessed with several of them. They have enriched my life greatly. Having never purchased a papered dog (one someone else names) I love to take a week or more finding the perfect name. Then I hardly ever call them that, but substitute some dear little nickname I find when I know them better. Examples: Sandi=Sami Jo; Chico=Beaker; and Trixie=Mrs. a-Whiggins (remember her on the Carol Burnett show?) Strange maybe, but it works for us.
7. I am and always have been, an optimist. It's so much easier, but drives some people crazy.
8. I have a story published in the book "Forged in the Refiners Fire: co-authored by Candace Salima and Elizabeth Cheever. I appreciated them giving me this opportunity.

So there are 8 things. More might be boring.

I am going to tag: Joyce DiPastena; Christine Bryant; Ronda Hindrichsen; Karen Hoover; Carol Morse and Rachelle Christensen (then she can see if I did this right.).

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Being an Artist: A Blessing or a Curse?

My friend, Barbara, a fellow artist, and I were having a discussion one day about our art. We were both discouraged at the time and quite stressed about getting ready for a big show and neither one of us were feeling well at the time.

One of us made the comment, “Maybe we should pray about being artists. If we’re not supposed to do it, why can’t Heavenly Father remove from us this awful drive to paint?” Then the other said, “Is having this talent a blessing or just a curse?”

I hate to admit it, but there are times I look around and think, “Wouldn’t it be nice not to have to get a project finished by a deadline? Not to have to spend so much money on painting supplies? To have lots of leisure time to do some of the things other people my age do?”

Yes, I know. That is called “judging” another person and their life, but there are times I feel just a little bit envious. A little bit? No, if I’m going to confess, sometimes it is more than a little bit. I always—rain or shine, ill or well, stressed or not—have this awful drive to create art.

My friend and I both said, at almost the same time, “I’d stop painting, but I can’t NOT do it!”

We both laughed—at ourselves and every other poor artist who has the same problem.

The very next morning, around 4:30 a.m., I had this wonderful idea for a new painting. Oh, I could just visualize it and felt that wonderful surge of—well, whatever it is—engulfing my mind and heart and I couldn't wait to get dressed and into the studio to begin creating it. This truly was going to be my very best yet.

Could this be inspiration? I was absolutely sure of it.

So … there I was, out in my studio before sunrise, putting a Vivaldi cd into my stereo, whipping out my brushes, squeezing that delicious, creamy paint onto my palette and setting a new blank canvas onto my paint-spattered easel. Soon I was totally immersed in the magical, amazing joy of creating something that has never existed before.

Then what did I do?

I said a prayer to my Heavenly Father thanking Him for blessing me with this lovely, wonderful curse.

"Leftover Snow"

"Leftover Snow"
by Hazel Jensen (sold)

"Promise of Spring" by Hazel Jensen Winner of 2nd Place Award at the Lucille T. Stoddard Women's Art Show in Orem, Utah

Dry Fork Sentinels

Dry Fork Sentinels
by Hazel Jensen (sold)