02 February 2013

Producing Artwork: Taking the First Step at Small Pond Arts

(This is a guest blog post, written by one of our former resident artists, Christine Legault. Make sure you check out her website to see more of her recent work. - Krista)
Coming to Small Pond as a one-month resident last April was a fundamental step in taking myself seriously as an artist. Being 26 years old at the time, I had an undergraduate in architecture, an undergraduate in philosophy, 3 years of travel behind me, and numerous different directions I wanted to take in life. A bit lost, my desire to produce artwork and work creatively was a starting point that I decided to take seriously. Howwith who, and in what capacity; I had no idea. Wanting to be an “artist” is something that, like any profession, shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Christine in studio at Small Pond Arts; evidence of her nature walks 
is taped to the walls behind her. This practice of incorporating natural, found objects into her work would become an ongoing theme.

To be successful as an artist is the same as being successful as a doctor, a lawyer, a teacher, an architect, or anything in life. Producing art requires a practiced skill of showing up and working. Except, instead of writing, you are working through ideas and you are producing visuals. An attempt, a draft, a sketch of what’s on your mind; that’s all any artwork can ever be. A lawyer shows up and reads, then writes, an artists shows up, and then draws, paints, sings, or moves.

Eggshells by Christine Legault, 24" x 36"

While showing up every day at Small Pond my practice (of producing artwork) grew.  I made deadlines, I developed a routine, I pushed myself to work, even when I was bored or tired.  Krista and Milé considered me an artist, and so, by consequence, I also considered myself an artist. I produced 10 paintings that were 36 x 36 inches in the 4 weeks that I was there. Squares that fit together in colour. It was mindless, not from a photograph, not complicated, not something that I was particularly attached to, but still something that I worked on. Every day.  I knew that the physical outcome wasn’t at all what mattered. What mattered is that I was forced to try and that I had a goal that I had to achieve. I knew that I was at the beginning of what will be a long process for me, and I somehow had to stop being scared of what I would produce. 

From there, I went out to New Brunswick and I deliberately tried to continue the practice I had started at Small Pond. 

Christine in studio in New Brunswick

I was more familiar now with using studio space in the capacity I wanted, and I knew more what I needed in order to produce a series of artwork.  I needed supplies, immediately, I needed to take breathers (week-long ones), I needed freedom and privacy to try things, I needed a way to get around and be in nature. So, I created that environment for myself, I worked on a farm in the odd weeks of being in the studio, I used materials I was attracted to, I didn’t worry about what this all meant. I just worked.  That’s when - the work started to actually be my own.

Paint by Christine Legault, 48" x 60"

Without taking that first step at Small Pond, I still wouldn’t know how I do/don’t work well in certain creative environments. Worse even, I wouldn’t know how fulfilled I feel when I’m working as an artist.  Being an artist-in-residence is important because it says to the world: “Hey! I value creating art enough to make it my job." All anyone can ever do is try, and that’s exactly what Small Pond is there for.  To help you try, and to encourage you to keep trying. Thanks to Krista and Milé for providing such a great opportunity for emerging artists to have a place to grow.

All it Takes, card by Christine Legault

1 comment:

  1. I'm currently reading "The Artist's Way" by Julia Cameron, so Christine's journey is added positive reinforcement for others like myself following our artistic wanderings. Great blog post - thanks for sharing!