imageI have to write a Bio on myself.  My Solo Art Show is rapidly approaching in June.  Not only do I need to finish another 3, maybe 4, proper paintings but now I need to write a Bio.  Lord help me.  For the life of me I can’t think of what to say.

It’s easy to present yourself as this always-fabulous humanoid in the glossy scrolls on Instagram and write something witty on Facebook.  But to write something honest-yet-shiny about your Painter Self that somehow speaks truthfully to my inherent need to paint and capture the natural world… well, that’s where I feel short. So much so, it’s got me up this week wondering what on Earth to say.  How to not sound like some pretentious Artist-Mom-Cook.  Because there’s no separating my creative processes.  Cooking is much like Painting. For me, anyway.  Taking raw ingredients and assembling them into something beautiful and nourishing and lovely. Albeit for your wall, not the plate.

Painting what I see and feel around me is every bit a part of that revelry in food, family and wine that we strive to accomplish here in Sonoma County and beyond in California.  Because I paint beautifully rural CALIFORNIA.  I paint natural SONOMA COUNTY.  And because finding my inspiration in our lands and waters is usually woven into culinary adventures with my family.  Shucking oysters in Bodega and Tomales Bays.  Cheese in Valley Ford or Petaluma. Wildflower picking and picnics around our Parks and watersheds. Driving the preschool run up and down the beyond-scenic Valley of the Moon, stopping at local markets, taco trucks, and playgrounds with my babies.  Who have been incredible sports in this oft selfish pursuit to my Art when I stop to paint, take tons of photos, or just watch the shifting colors in changing Light.  And it’s really nap time.  Or cook dinner. Or get Anni to Ballet.

Studio time is solo time.
Studio time is solo time.

Feeding my family and writing about food is my relaxation and also very much a part of my artistic process.  I didn’t realize that until Gallerist, Ellen Easton, visited Annadel and recognized this truth about myself.  Something I do not feel guilty about because I am giving my children and husband good meals, cooking with my daughter, and creating (hopefully) warm and fuzzy memories in their childhoods.  Whereas painting has me up in the middle of most nights working.  Creating layer upon layer upon layer of natural Light and Lines found here in this most gorgeous of Valleys and States.  But what drives me to do this… and how to express it eloquently… is much harder to pinpoint.

I suppose painting is my form of meditation.  It is NOT relaxing.  But it IS Centering. And what I should be doing right now at 1:56 in the morning.  Not fretting over what to write in my Bio and secretly hoping this important Solo Show endeavor isn’t making me suck as a parent and wife until then.  Don’t get me wrong — Art and Painting can be so deeply satisfying.  And profoundly frustrating.  Where I scrape that damn canvas and start over.  Losing countless hours of sleep to get that filtered sunlight or twilight or sunrise or moonset or watery light or foggy haze or whatever just right.  This takes “it” out of me.  And whatever “it” is feels rather low in reserves these days.

There’s not much that nourishes me in return for these nocturnal hours.  Even after weekends where I sell a lot of art.  Often I feel grumpy the next day.  Not always the best version of my Mommy self.  Where I have that third cup of coffee and read another children’s book a bit on auto-pilot before starting the three meals, 10 diapers, 2 loads of laundry, 2-hour-preschool-commute Day.  But who wants to read that honest truth in an Artist Statement for a famed Art Gallery?

I’ll leave these honest words here with you tonight and get back to painting.  Luckily it’s coming along beautifully.  Maybe somewhere in the lilacs, warm grey blues of Wisteria I’ll find my answer to what the on Earth should I say about myself in my Bio.

Sonoma Wisteria: Inspiration for my current painting.
Sonoma Wisteria: Inspiration for my current painting. Shot by Rachel Hairston.

5 thoughts on “Bio.

  • I couldn’t agree more about Artist’s Statements. Usually BS. But what you said came from the heart. Painting is definitly not relaxing. It’s very hard work. It is fun to read about artists techniques. Why they like a specific technique etc. Hat’s off to you. What you do is hard work. But gracious work. Did your mother move out to Sonoma when you did?

    • No, she stayed in Santa Barbara…or rather she moved there about a year before I left Pasadena. I polled several artist friends and the best one came from John Farnsworth Jr who said any time he reads an artist waxing poetic about shapes and shading, he stops reading then and there. Truth is, theres no one reason why I paint. Or maybe why any of us feel so compelled to paint?

  • Enjoyed reading your post, facing a similar dilemma having to write a Bio about myself for a Bank Calendar that doesn’t sound pretentious and tries to convey my feelings about painting which actually only another honest artist would understand. Painting is what kept me centered and sane whilst helping my husband run our car parts (yawn) business, bringing up the children (now thankfully wholly gorgeous 23 and 25 year olds) and supporting my aged infirm mother-in-law and my Downs Syndrome sister-in-law. It’s been a long hard slog but now I’m painting just for me or doing commissions of art that make me happy and thankful. What an amazing gift we have been given.

  • Abigail,
    I just re read this expression of life once again. I am so proud of you! I enjoy you enjoying the ride through life.

    Love Mom

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