Faith, Strength and Perseverance...these were the words I heard in my head over and over as I was painting this piece. Just a few days before starting this painting, I was with my Dad at the doctor's office when he was told his cancer, which had been in remission for four months, had returned and had spread. After his first round of chemotherapy several months prior, no one in our family expected him to choose to go through chemo treatments again. It had been very hard on him and he didn't want to do it again. However, on our way to the appointment with his oncologist a few days later, where we were to learn what his treatment options would be this time around, Dad told me "If I have options and I don't try, I'm basically volunteering to die...and I'm not ready to do that." Today will be his third treatment out of a series of five. Dad is so strong. He has faith. He is persevering. He's not giving up. He is an inspiration. This painting is dedicated to him.
Faith, Strength and Perseverance...as I painted this piece, I thought about how these cliffs have stood through centuries of crashing waves, winds and storms, how they've been shaped by the adverse conditions and the challenges they've endured. They were not destroyed. On this day, they were shining, beautiful and majestic in the sun. So it is with life...we all face challenges and adversity. We are shaped by those challenges. We can let the tough stuff steal our dreams and our joy, destroying us, or we can have faith, choose to be strong and live a life filled with joy. We can give up or choose to persevere, live our lives to the fullest, realize our dreams and reach our full potential.
Faith, Strength and Perseverance...as an artist, these are often difficult things for us to remember in pursuing our art career. It's very hard to put your work out there and subject yourself to judgment and possible rejection. Our work is so personal..it's a part of who we are. We want to be accepted, and we want our work to be accepted. When you experience rejection, whether from a gallery, a show or even from family and friends, or if your work doesn't sell, it's terribly difficult. It's personal. It creates self-doubt...if we let it. It can defeat us...if we let it. The more you paint, sculpt, draw (or whatever your medium is), the better your work will be. Scott Christensen once told me, "Paint the very best paintings you can, and the rest will fall into place." I've had several roadblocks along my artistic path. I've known since I was old enough to hold a pencil in my hand that this is what I was meant to do with my life. I have worked very, very hard over the last 15 years to learn and improve and do the best work I can. It's working...over the last six years I've been fortunate to be invited to participate in some wonderful plein air events and have been juried into some prestigious exhibitions.
Faith, Strength and Perseverance...there is one exhibition which has eluded me for the past thirteen years. This year was the thirteenth time I've submitted work to the Oil Painters of America National Juried Exhibition. The first twelve entries resulted in rejections. I thought about not even trying this year...but decided I just couldn't quit now. Ironically, or maybe it is poignancy, on my 13th try, this painting, "Faith, Strength and Perseverance" (24x24 oil) was been accepted into the prestigious 2012 Oil Painters of America National Juried Exhibition of Traditional Oils, which opens on June 22, 2012 at Evergreen Fine Art Gallery in Evergreen, Colorado. What a thrill! And what I would have missed had I not kept trying. Have faith. If you love what you do, have faith and be strong. Do the very best work you can do. Keep working hard...you can do it! Persevere...and don't ever, ever give up.