Blazing Stars to Racine Art Museum


Blazing Stars along Dead Rivier

http://www.zhibit.org/melissabluefineart

A couple of summers ago the Blazing Stars blazed brightly at Illinois Beach State Park.  They made a spectacular show, and I’m so glad I was there to witness it.  My soul is happiest when I am able to drink deeply of the beauty I find in one special place, and it has been amazing to see what nature has offered up for me over the past, er, several years.  I’ve seen wonders, such as the time the Dead River blew out it’s sand bar, creating sine waves far out into Lake Michigan.  Some years one plant is ascendant, other years it might be rare turtles.  What a great journey!

I see my life as a quiet one, hunkered down in one spot, learning to see it deeply, celebrating it in paint.  Pursuing my career pushes me out into the wider world, however.  This doesn’t come easily…I read the business books and quail at the advice.  Mailing list?  Newsletter?  EEK!  What I have found is that I can fold my career right into my life until it is a natural extension of myself.  Focus, and do the next thing.  The next step always appears, as if by magic.  It has also become an interesting journey.  Most recently, it has led to my being invited to take this painting to the Racine Art Museum to be part of their rental and sales program.  I’m so excited!

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40 thoughts on “Blazing Stars to Racine Art Museum

  1. Melissa, this is a lovely insightful post. I’m excited for you too, my friend. Oh and I just love Blazing Stars, and would love to see them in a natural setting like that. xo Kim

  2. Jim in IA says:

    That is a beautiful painting. I hope it does well for you in Racine. I predict it will.

    I don’t make physical manifestations of my creations such as paintings or quilts or pottery. Mostly, I write and teach, giving away insight into things I know. I was paid for that in my career. No more.

    Melanie and I have been talking about her accumulation of beautiful quilts. What to do with them? One option is to stop making them. No. Another is to keep all of them she ever makes. No. Gift them to special people or places. Yes. Sell some. Yes, but that is a challenge. As you know, the time and work is seldom balanced by the $$$. It is an ongoing topic.

    How does one part with their creations so the giver and the receivers are each happy?

    • That is a challenge, Jim. I confess I have a growing collection of paintings I want to keep. The best medicine I have found is to carefully select one I am willing to part with, and ask myself how much money I’d be willing to let it go for without feeling resentful. The difference is that I intend these to for sale from the beginning, so it is (usually) easier. If possible, Malanie should interact with the people who might be buyers, so that she can feel the love coming back to her directly. That feeling is enormously sustaining. Since most people cannot pay the $$$ amount that would really balance the time and work, the difference must come from the satisfaction of placing it in a home she knows will cherish it. There are artists in all genres who command serious prices, but usually this is a result of master marketing plans and aggressive use of connections that I am unwilling to pursue.

  3. Eliza Waters says:

    Beautiful painting! Congrats on the invite, I’m sure it will lead to more. I know what you mean about monetizing your creativity. It isn’t an easy thing, and for most of us doesn’t come naturally.

  4. shoreacres says:

    The painting is lovely. I was particularly interested in your mention of the “rental program.” That may be a common thing, but I haven’t heard of it. It seems like a very good idea — encourage appreciation of original art by allowing people to have it in their homes.

    I’ll be interested to hear how it goes for you. While everyone says they want to make $$$ and gain fame, I’m here to tell you the first time I signed a contract with a publisher for some of my poetry, and gave up all rights to it — well, it was unnerving. Even to publish one of the poems in my own blog, I had to request permission in writing. Strange.

    Of course it’s all part of the deal, but the issues are complex, and sometimes surprising.

    • I’m sorry to hear about a publisher requiring you to give up all rights to some of your poems, but I hope that was a long time ago. When I look at the conditions that apply to contests and magazine submissions now, there’s usually a statement that the submitter retains rights. If the opposite is true, I don’t submit anything.

      I’ve always felt bad for painters because there’s only one original and you have to part with it when someone buys it. We photographers get to keep our originals (negatives in the past, digital files now). A painter could repaint a scene, but that’s a lot of work.

      • shoreacres says:

        I couldn’t remember how long ago it was, and then it struck me: look in the danged book. It was 2009.

        It’s true that most magazines, journals and so on allow the author to retain rights. In this instance, I agreed to relinquish my rights for a very specific reason: it was a chance to be anthologized in a book published by an established house. It’s often the case that only published authors are given opportunity to submit work and self-published material, whether in books or blogs, isn’t acceptable. So, it was a chance to begin establishing some bona fides.

        I don’t regret the decision, but it still felt like selling one of the kids.

      • Indeed. I hope it has provided the entree you were hoping for.

    • Thank you. I, too, am dismayed that the publisher required you to give up rights to your poetry. That doesn’t sound right. Your writing is so moving~ I always enjoy your beautiful posts.

      Rental opportunities pop up from time to time in different settings, and this is a really good one. I’ve even rented movies for TV shows! I never saw them… I suspect they landed on the cutting room floor, but still it was fun. The Racine facility is wonderful because they have a lot of children’s programs there, so the kids are surrounded by art and encouraged to make their own.

    • From the late 1970s into the ’80s I used to submit articles to The Mathematics Teacher. Almost all my articles made it through peer review and got published, but the magazine not only didn’t pay but also insisted on keeping the copyright to my articles. That, and my disagreement with the radical educational approach the magazine began to push, alienated me to the point that I stopped submitting articles.

    • Judy says:

      Some things are a trade off for sure. Sorry you had to give up all rights to your creative property, but understand that it can be done for good reasons and worth it. It’s nice to be able to share copyright in such a fashion were you can display it as your work for credential purposes, but just not be able to sell to other publishers if that was the concern. I have heard of shared copyright with some photographers but every enterprise has its contractual choices to make!! Congrats on having been chosen for a great anthology!!

  5. This is an outstanding work, Melissa. Congratulations on being invited to display and good luck with sales. I hope it leads to more.
    I think all artists have difficulty putting a price on their work and most often success requires more time spent promoting than creating.

    • Thanks, Steve, I hope so too.
      You’re right, and I can often feel it when I’m spending more time on promoting than creating. It’s almost like coming down with a cold! Then I have to rebalance.
      By the way, it is snowing again…we’ve easily got 3 inches this morning and more is merrily dancing down. AAARRGGH! I’m going to Hawaii! well. not really.

  6. That’s a pretty picture you’ve shown us, Melissa. It strikes me as pastel but bright at the same time. Do you happen to know the scientific name for your blazing stars?

  7. Thank you Steve.
    We have 3 species of Liatris that grow at Illinois Beach. I believe these were Liatris aspera.

  8. Yes, it is fun to find things in common at such a distance. I remember feeling that way about pencil cactus when I found it growing 1000 miles from home in Arizona last fall.

    Texas is at the confluence of several geological and climatic regions, so we get some species that are also found pretty far north, south, east, and west.

  9. Just like Yosemite Sam 🙂

  10. myrsbytes says:

    Oh, the warmth of summer! I bet the place in your painting has lovely sounds. I’m surprised by the abundance of pinks and purples. So decadent! I’ve never seen a place like this but maybe some day… The bright green of the grass in the foreground is so perfectly summery and I dig the copperiness of the water. I hope your creation finds a nice home :-).

    • Thank you, I do too! Let me know if you want me to take you there, I love to share the Dead River Trail. It really is a gorgeous place.

      • myrsbytes says:

        Oo, that sounds lovely. So nice of you to offer. I will keep it mind :-). I think the closest I’ve been to Illinois is Toronto.

      • I tend to forget how different the world looks in different places. My sister, who grew up in a different family, came to visit once. She’d only lived in desert and semi-desert places. I’ll never forget her amazement at our green trees and grass. She even wondered whether we watered 🙂

      • myrsbytes says:

        :-). I’ve been thinking about that lately, with respect to photo blogs. There are photos I can feel because I have memories of those places. There are photos that feel familiar. And there are photos that feel completely foreign. Interestingly, there are “foreign” photos and stories I can relate to more than “local” photos and stories. Because even within a region, different people focus on different aspects of a landscape. I like that life can adapt to so many environments (with limits).

      • Yes! You have perfectly expressed a phenomenon I have experienced here. Pretty neat, huh? (within limits)

  11. Oh my that’s so exciting! I’m thrilled for you!! That little pond is sweet, and I love the color palette, and composition. I’ve seen the wildflower Blazing Star out in the California desert, but I’ve never seen the purple variety that I think you’ve painted here.

    I hope this lovely painting finds a nice home, and your exhibit is a great success!

  12. Judy says:

    Melissa, this is a gorgeous painting. I love the stillness and the layers of color with the different plants. Really lovely!

  13. bluebrightly says:

    That’s great! Sounds like you can just keep doing what you’re doing, at your own pace. Beautiful painting!

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