“For it is in giving that we receive.” —St. Francis of Assisi
During this season we focus on giving. Days are spent shopping and trying to think of just the perfect gift that will tell those we love just how special they are to us. As artists, we give of ourselves every time we produce a painting. We give possibilities to those that view our paintings, opening windows to new ways of seeing and feeling. In return, we receive the gift of having connected with a fellow human being. There is little as rewarding as knowing someone really understands what our painting is about.
The pastel community has grown over the years into a large diverse family. Every time one of you explains with a smile that it is “not chalk” but “pastel,” you open doors for others working in the medium. There is still considerable prejudice toward pastel within the gallery community, but due to the gifts of persistent explanation, we now find pastel being represented in most major art markets and getting the respect it so justly deserves.
Every time one of you volunteers to help mount an exhibit or sponsor a workshop, you are giving exposure to the medium, and we all reap the benefits of that individual effort. Every time one of you asks a question during a workshop or demonstration seeking clarification, you are giving a gift to the audience of enhanced understanding and continued growth. Every time one of you teaches, you give the gift of your knowledge and experience. From this largesse, the pastel community thrives.
Personally I have been blessed to receive many gifts from the pastel community. The ability to see others fashion a painting has pushed me to new creative expressions. The knowledge that’s offered in many of the fine magazines and books published on pastel has allowed me to continue my education—even in the wilds of southern Oregon. The hard work of so many volunteers in managing national exhibits has afforded me the ability to exhibit in many wonderful venues all over the country. The dedication of my gallery owners in continuing to educate the public on the beauty of pastel has exposed my work to a wide market. And finally, the friendship and camaraderie of so many wonderful painters has given me the gift of a shared experience.
For every little bit of extra effort given to an organization, gallery or fellow artist, we receive two-fold in return. By sharing our experiences, we add to the collective spirit of art.
I wish everyone the happiest of holidays. May 2008 bring all your pastel aspirations to fruition.
Winter all Aglow (above; pastel, 15×18)