You know that song, “One Week” by Bare Naked Ladies? it goes, “it’s been one week since you looked at me”..etc, well sometimes that’s how I feel about my paintings, or I should say, that’s how they feel about me. This wedding portrait I just shipped off to Miami, Florida, took me the better part of a year to complete. Not because I was avoiding it, but because lately it seems I am being pulled in more and more directions, and time has become the rarest of all commodities.
Travel and art are two of my greatest passions.
In the span of this one year, I have traveled to England, Saint Lucia, California, Upstate New York, Norway and have attended no less than three weddings, in addition to hosting my parents and in-laws for the Christmas Holidays in NYC.
I am also working–at a glacial pace–on completing a historical fiction novel I started on my first ever trip to Norway way back in 2008. 8 years in progress, and still I find the story developing, characters revealing themselves and plot twists burning holes in my imagination. Then there is my graphic novel, also still in progress, also since the late 2000’s, a trilogy no less, which I am sure will be a wondrous achievement…if I can ever finish it. Mind you, these are all projects I am dedicated to finishing long before old age has its way with me, but beyond the fact that I have a full time job at an Ivy League University, a home to maintain, friends to entertain and a beautiful and culturally rich world to investigate, there doesn’t seem to be much time left over for creating art! This, is the main instigator in my life these days, causing much grief where only inspiration and meditation should be.
Most artists I know, have similar struggles, I am not the first and won’t be the last, that is certain, but the question becomes, how can one person live between so many worlds and maintain control over the focus it requires to create, and create high quality work at that? New York City, they say, never sleeps. Sorry, but I am and will always be the #1 fan of sleep, and sleeping in late. Dreaming can often lead to new works, new ideas and scientifically proven to aid in revitalization! But this city… it demands more of artists than I ever imagined. How else are you supposed to find fame and fortune than to work harder than you ever thought you could, right?
Well, being a commercial artist, though challenging at times, is possible here, if you find a way to balance your passions, your livelihood and your search for creative notoriety. It can be done, I’m sure of it, I don’t know how yet, but from what I am experiencing presently, it has more to do with drive and focus than anything else. I’m sure you’ve all heard the saying “choose your battles wisely”, well the same applies if you consider each commission a battle that has to be won. Set deadlines for yourself for each step of the way, stick to them and remember to have fun along the way.
In the span of 2015-2016, I have illustrated a children’s book on health and fitness, started a massive 5 foot x 4 foot Master of Calamarca inspired classical portrait, finished this wedding portrait above, written several new chapters of my novel, and started the layout work for the first book of my graphic novel, while continuing to work on sketches for the second, a European Dragon Tattoo for a loyalist in California, and lastly an illustration for an ad campaign for my brother’s film festival in Pennsylvania, “Movies at the Mill“.
It has been an arduously busy year so far, with no signs of slowing down soon.
I have just been commissioned by an office in Paris, France for three artworks which will go on permanent display in their lobby, with little more than two months to complete all three pieces. Am I excited? Well, let’s just say I am somewhere between excited and out of my mind with anxiety, but hopeful. Once I am able to set down my paintbrush from that project, I will be able to shift my focus once again to my novel for a couple of weeks, before heading to the Caribbean for the holidays once more. By which time, I will most definitely need a Piña Colada on a beach. 2017 will undoubtedly be, a whole new animal to tame.