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Art Shows and Inspiration by Cindy Gillett

Art Shows and Inspiration:

I was honored to have the painting below juried into several art shows last year including the Red Rock Pastel Society of Nevada’s (RRPSN) online member show, Pastel Society of Southern California (PSSC) online show, the International Association of Pastel Society’s (IAPS) web show, and it flew to NYC for the Pastel Society of America’s (PSA) Enduring Brilliance Exhibition after which it was shipped to The Butler Institute of American Art where it’s currently on display through Feb. 23rd. WHEW! What a year this little painting had!

Table For Two - Southwest Charm

11x14, soft pastel

So, why enter art shows?

In the past I rarely entered art shows/competitions. I had a very loud voice inside telling me I’m just not good enough yet. I recall telling a workshop instructor once that I’m just not that competitive and feel my work isn’t up to par. But, she gave me advice that I think was quite useful. She told me it’s a great way to gauge how well you’re doing (you know how it is, we are our own worse enemy when it comes to evaluating our own work). They help us gauge our artistic progress and we have the opportunity to win art supplies and/or cash awards. I thought, ”Oh wow…more art supplies!”. Who doesn’t want more art supplies?

There are plenty of times I don’t enter or don’t get juried into a show. Last year, this piece was lucky…others not so lucky. So it’s always sort of a crap shoot. The jurors and only human and the competition is stiff. But hey, I don’t win the lottery often either…but once in a while I will still buy a ticket.

How do I get my inspiration?

Painting in a series is something I really enjoy doing. I typically try to have several series going at once especially if I’m painting in a 30 paintings in 30 days challenge. Currently I have a series of fishing flies, still life interiors, and tables for two. Other times I just paint whatever inspires me. Sometimes it works…sometimes not.

The reason I’m painting “table for twos” is because to me…they’re just so romantic! I intentionally don’t include people in them because I like to imagine who has dined there before, who will be there next and what was the conversation about. Was there a proposal? An elderly couple dining out? A first date, a mother/daughter luncheon, or good friends reuniting? The painting leaves it to the viewer’s imagination (needless to say, I’m a diehard romantic).

I’ve taken literally hundreds of pictures of tables, tableware, centerpieces and dining scenes during the past few years. “Southwest Charm” started out as a small watercolor study at The Hermosa Inn in Paradise Valley, AZ last January.

After the study, I knew I wanted to paint it larger. So I took a few photos too. We were in AZ for a short time but I bought a small table easel and set it up on the kitchen counter. The painting was such a joy to paint, it was one of those rare times when it felt like it painted itself.

So, that’s the story on this little piece, from watercolor to pastel. I learned a lot painting it, enjoyed sharing it with others, and will continue my search for that perfect table for two.

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Happy painting everyone!!!

P.S: Don’t forget to buy your next lottery ticket - enter the IAPS exhibition! The deadline is tomorrow - January 10th.

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