Berries and heavy cream... and a little sugar.
Sorry for the light blogging over the last week or so. I have been hustling making contacts and doing self promotion, trying to scare up something like a steady income with this art gig. That end of the art biz has always been difficult and not something to which I am naturally inclined or motivated to do. I have to stir myself up and put on my salesman hat... or my plaid Herb Tarlek coat, as it were.
But, I have had some encouraging response and have finally taken the step of being represented by a gallery. It only a small, local gallery, but showing locally is an idea I like, even if I add some better known and commercially successful galleries as I go... which I need to do.
I'm also taking steps to move toward more explicit religious imagery in my work, and stepping into a role as a Catholic illustrator and fine artist. It is what I have always wanted to do (since I became a Catholic, anyway), and I'm a little surprised at myself that it has taken me this long to get started. I can count the number of truly religious images I have done on one hand. I expect that Paul N. and some others will have an opinion on that, and I look forward to hearing them.
Suffice to say that I do believe there is a meaningful and healthy difference between religious art and non-religious art, between craft, design, illustration and fine art, and that there is an important role for each and all of these things (and a great deal of potential overlap, as well). Saint Francis said, "Preach the gospel at all times. If necessary, use words.". To do explicitly religious art and illustration is simply to recognize that sometimes it is necessary to "use words", to speak plainly and openly, even as one tries to preserve the mystery and profundity that should characterize such work.
Simultaneously, my thinking about the direction of my still life art has been undergoing a change and I have been stewing and mulling and meditating on that, getting the creative equivalent of a deep breath before taking the plunge into articulating a different point of view... actually, articulating in a more mature and fully realized way a point of view I have carried with me since I was a graduate student. More on that soon.
Anyway, the pictures above illustrate what we did this past weekend. We took Darling Daughter and went berrying, getting about eight pints of organic raspberries in an hour-and-a-half of delightfully leisurely picking. Perfect afternoon for it, and the great thing about picking your own berries is that you get to play The Berrying Game.
Oh, you can buy berries in the grocery store, but then you don't get the entertaining challenge of spying out the really good, ripe berries. You don't get to weave your hands in and around the thorny branches, like some kind of leafy, pointy version of Operation (Bzzz!). You don't get to learn anything about the habits of bees, or get to develop your Bee Whispering skills. You don't get to race anyone to see who can pick faster (though if you spy out the last pint of berries at the grocery store, you may end up racing someone who also spied it).
More than just a great time or an afternoon's distraction, our berry picking excursion was the kind of fully-orbed human experience that becomes a meaningful memory (if a small one). I like to think it cancels out and heals a little bit of the time I have spent channel surfing or aimlessly poking the cold ashes of the internet in the wee hours.