I’ve reached a point in my creative life where things seem very wide open. I don’t have any immediate shows coming up and no other urgent obligations, I have the freedom to do whatever I want. I think if this was a few years ago I would’ve panicked or made myself feel bad about it, but currently I feel just the opposite. I’m excited. I wouldn’t necessarily call this a break either, because I’m still working, thinking, reading, and seeking. Ideas that I couldn’t fit into previous shows will now be able to be put to colors and shapes. I can now experiment with different materials and scale. Obtaining commissions and connecting with people online and offline can now take more of a priority. Already I’ve been able to implement a semi-consistent painting schedule and I even look forward to it! At the same time it’s also nice to know that I can completely change the game plan at any point if I desire. Art life is good.
Since moving from DC 4 years ago, I pretty much hit the ground running once I arrived to Reno. I did multiple shows a year, and almost everything that I showed was brand new work. I also addressed different themes almost every time. As great as the momentum was, eventually it felt like something was off and I couldn’t wait for things to slow down. I wanted to focus my efforts and focus my subject matter a bit. After my last solo show in June 2016, I took a long break from painting. I spent a few months just chillin’ out, meeting new people, connecting with friends, and I kept any art-related tasks reduced to administrative work and research/learning. There are some sources out there that may discourage taking a break, but personally it was great for me. I think it’s important to take a step away from creating when you need it, and not to feel guilty about it. You have to recharge, get open again, and have a fresh mind full of energy and inspiration when it’s time to create again. The time away did just that for me, and it was really good.
Now that I’ve returned to a semi-regular art life schedule, there’s been a lot of movement. I’ve casted my net wide this year by applying to artist calls, focusing more on my online presence and trying out new materials in my work. I haven’t yet seen it pay off in a huge way, but the progress that I have been noticing has been great. If nothing else, I think that I’ve come to a stronger sense of who I am and what I may provide to the world as an artist. The internal and external aspects of my pursuits are challenging and exhausting, but I enjoy it all very much. I am very happy to be able to say that this is something that I still enjoy and that even though I have no idea to what end it’s all for, I’m excited to find out what’s next. For now I’m going to make the most out of the freedom and openness that this time is providing for me, and I invite anyone who wants to follow the journey! If you’re on Instagram I started using the hashtag #paintingwithoutdeadlines to help chronicle and single out the work I’m creating during this period. Follow me at @tracilturner to check me out, and let me know what you think!