I have always been a collector. I’ve collected rocks, shells, stamps, baseball cards, National Geographic magazines, and most seriously of all, coins. I enjoy the act of seeking out new acquisitions, trying to complete sets, and just the joy of ownership. I don’t collect any of those things any longer, but can envision greatly enjoying collecting artwork.
As a full-time artist, I am privileged to be around many talented creative people working in a variety of mediums and have acquired pieces that I want to own. As much as possible, I think every artist should also be a collector of art. I like having the works of other artists that I admire. Their work reminds me of our association, stretches my experience, and brings me happiness to look at or hold. Importantly as well, the purchase of other artist’s works allows me to feel the way a collector of my own work feels. Allows me to consider the same purchasing decisions, and the thrill of finding, acquiring, and adding fine work to a personal collection.
I’ve been reading a lot lately about the collecting of art and came across a couple good points of view that I’d like to share. In an article by Robin Cembalest in ARTnews (Summer 2014), Dorsey Waxter (partner in New York’s Van Doren Waxter Gallery) speaks about collectors who are “making choices based on an esthetic or as part of the dialogue about art that’s being made today.” I think collecting to express a personal esthetic is a wonderful form of creativity in itself and I would enjoy seeing any such collection.
In the same article, Allan Schwartzman, a New York art advisor speaks about “great collectors as those who seek out “soul and individuality and personality” in art and aspire to showcase “brilliance and greatness where it hasn’t been seen before.”” I am fortunate to exhibit with talented fine artists who are undervalued and whose works are very approachable price wise. In fact, with a budget of even a couple hundred dollars a month, a collector can put together some wonderful work.
In some ways I enjoy the subtlety of late fall more than the peak color period. I find a certain quietness about the limited color palate and less abundant screaming vibrance of November woods. It is then that I respond to the nuanced beauty of fall. A single leaf that didn’t quite make it to the ground but instead is woven between the blades of tall lake-front grasses. I seek these type of situations especially on overcast days when the light is even and soft. To enhance that mood further I worked with a long telephoto lens which allows close-focusing and limited background detail. My composition is designed to emphasize the diagonal “movement” of the grass blades to contrast with the tension of the vertical movement of the Maple leaf momentarily halted but still under the strain of gravity.
For this image I used a Nikon D300 camera with a Nikkor 200-400mm f4.0 lens on a Gitzo tripod with Really Right Stuff bullhead. Like much of my work, this image was made at Lake Galena in Bucks County, PA.
I am still having trouble driving around here in Pennsylvania without getting distracted by the wonderful fall display this year. I like each part of the color transformation starting with the earliest changes and ending with just color accents on the trees. I can’t safely pull over everytime I feel inspired while on the road. Working at Ricketts Glen State Park however doesn’t pose that problem.
This image was made after a heavy rain which really got the water flowing fast and furious. But the image is designed to also emphasize the stone stairway on the left. Pathways have been a theme of mine for many years. In this case the stair path also provides a visual alternative to following the flow of water and balances the fallen tree trunk on the lower right. What I especially like is that the stairs give me a way into the image and a mental place from which to explore the entire scene.
I have been working with a Micro-Four-thirds camera system made by Olympus for some time now and have been pleased with my results. Importantly, I also find that there are certain types of image making and certain kinds of locations where a small profile camera system allows me to stay active and flexible.
My show year still has six events on the calendar including a Sugarloaf show this weekend in Oaks, PA. Go to my website for my full show schedule and additional galleries of work – http://www.paulgrecianphoto.com
During the past 9 months I have been working on a series of images depicting the lives of a group of barn cats residing on a small Pennsylvania farm. There have always been cats in my life and I have found their behavior and beauty a tempting subject for years. I approached this project from a fully visual perspective but can not help be enthralled by their behavioral interactions with each other. I have also become very appreciative of how hard their lives can be even when they are provided supplemental food.
In many ways these cats are living like other wildlife; they are dealing with the elements, sickness, and even predators. I find myself viewing them now as I would have any animal I studied while earning my degree in Psycho-Biology (Animal Behavior). This cat project has become very personal as I have come to know these animals as individuals. Even in what seems like a rather short period of time working with the cats I have seen some come and go, empathized with there feelings of lose and cold, and rejoiced in the new births.
This is a project that will continue over time as the group is a dynamic and fascinating subject for me. I am currently showing a selection of images from this project at Artist’ Gallery in Lambertville, NJ. I will also have several from the series at my regularly scheduled art show events. See my full schedule at http://www.paulgrecianphoto.com.
One of the wonderful things about interacting directly with the collectors of one’s work is that you learn so much from the exchange. I introduced two new works, landscapes, at a Wilmington, Delaware show in July. The images were variations of a single color image that I made in Acadia National Park, Maine. Both images were in black and white and were part of a series of six Artist’s Proofs that I had printed in an attempt to decide how the edition would look going forward.
Ultimately, I decided to offer each of the six proofs and then decide which would be used to make the regular edition. I liked all six interpretations of the image and was comfortable hanging two of them together to express some of the creative process. A couple who collects my work liked the two pieces I exhibited. As we talked, I told them that there were four other interpretations. Their response surprised and excited me. We want all of them then, they said. So the group of six Artist’s Proofs will hang together in one private collection and on one wall. I delivered the works to Artists’ Gallery in Lambertville, NJ where I exhibit my work.
I am thinking now though that the exploration process in the developing and printing of new work can become an interesting and even desired body of work in its own right. When I am convinced that multiple interpretations of a single image are all valid or pleasing to me, I will now consider making those works available as well. Sometimes the “bigger picture” is made up of a group of smaller pictures, even when the base image is the same.
This month started out with me still in the midst of a 9-day long event – the Kutztown Folk Festival. It ended with the news that a show I had been producing with other artist friends would have to be cancelled. In between I did two other events, one out by Penn State, the other in Wilmington, Delaware. None of them went exactly as I had hoped, all of them were great fun and important learning situations.
It has been a long month, a second full moon (“Blue Moon”) in a way symbolizes that. A lot of good came from this July – good sales, good times with friends, good ideas from collaborations. Even with the cancellation of Art Melange for August, I am moving on with the work I would have presented there and with the idea of artists taking control of their own exhibitions and sales.
I spoke with a newspaper reporter yesterday by phone about our cancelled show and after hanging up with her I felt even more determined to make it happen some time in the future.
Due to zoning issues, the venue is no longer available for our show and so we have been forced to cancel. Very unfortunate change for both ourselves, other artists in the area, and a number of non-profit organizations that have benefited from artist efforts.