Creativity has not only been my life's work, but my savior when going through very difficult times. Creating SOMETHING----ANYTHING is the productive escape that allows me to cope.
I had not painted in oils since college days in the 60's. My senior uni-project was a 6'x4' oil of a Kansas Wheatfield. I did have enough work to exhibit and was a participant in Wichita's Art Museum FIRST art in the park in 1967 after graduation. However opportunity sidelined me into commercial art for the next several years.
Home town is Wichita, Kansas, the air capital of the world! Home of Beech, Cessna, Lear and others. My first job was as artist for Sanderson Films, a firm that made flight ground school training programs, using skills of the day which are now antiquated. A 'eureka invitation' as the first woman artist for Cessna aircraft fell into my lap. During employment there, I was offered for free their Cessna flight ground school which I did take and complete. Final exam coincided with my leave to become a Mommie. The class, as well as my work in the field enabled me to fly in various small Cessnas on many missions, often co-piloting as well as navigating. Especially exciting was to be a 'body' as a passenger visible in the window of a new Cessna model, ie Cessna Centurion, by a photographer within the very close flying photo plane. These images would be included in Cessna marketing brochures and fliers. Fantastic was the job of being directly involved in the production of materials geared toward marketing of Cessna airplanes used by the sales reps. As the sole woman in those days in a sea of men reps, the artistic challenge, as well as the attention and respect I got, well, it didn't fill the need for that instinctive creative freedom. Although I was privileged with indulgence of creating the monthly in-house flier cover, at Cessna I remained an individual on a team, helping create an expected result. I knew that the pursuit of commercial graphic arts, fell far short of my artistic pipe dream.
I had been playing with the new untested not yet popular medium of acrylic. I found that watercolor dried too slowly for my innate, fast paced nature; acrylics proved to be the ticket for me....a 'happy' medium. Acrylics dried very quickly used as a watercolor, thus eliminating my tendency to 'muddy the waters', so to speak. In addition to watercolor technique, acrylics could be rendered as a fine oil, or as a thick impasto.
In 1976 I decided to become a 'bona fide' artist. I signed up for not one, but many shows that first year, as is necessary in order to attain admittance in advance through the jury system, and all that particular process entails. A commitment; the only way I know how to proceed. I might side note here that I went home bawling after my first show in 1976 (top picture on this page). A plethora of positive feedback, but did not sell a single piece. Oops, too late....
Amidst all this new adventure, another invitation to work part time for a noted industrial designer, Ben Baugh, gave me more commercial art experience. His clients included Coleman, NCR, and Cobalt boats, among many others. I got to be the little mouse, observing the genius of this British, very talented gentleman, as he dreamed up ideas, designs, and presentations. I observed how he miraculously very cleverly sold those ideas. He was amazing. I only worked when needed or when there was a deadline crunch. The commercial experience in creation, presentation, and marketing provided knowledge that was key in the ability to promote my own works of art.
Also in the interim, I was doing live painting demonstrations for groups, and on-air demonstrations on public television. Simultaneous were one-woman exhibits at libraries, banks and public spaces throughout Kansas. Add in entries into juried exhibits in adjacent states when I would need to ship the work if accepted entry. I was on a mission to support my passion for creativity. Exposure in the art world is critical to success. Shows over 20 years took me across a 12 state area in the mid-west, averaging 40 shows a year.
Remember those art shows into which I had been accepted and to which advance non-refundable fees were paid? I was committed. Outlay of cash can do that! Moving forward was the ONLY alternative.
Creativity is my life sustenance, but selling my works supported all that goes into the process of creation. If I could support my passion, I'd be content. During those many years, I also explored other mediums creating cast paper and fiber sculptures, hydrostone sculptures, original sayings as well as self published books of my original poetry in calligraphy, "Artfelt Thoughts" by Simon.
After moving to Washington in 1994 with my soulmate, husband, and love of my life, my creations turned to other mediums; wood carving, wood birdhouses, shutters, signs, carved gnomes for extensive gnome garden, as well as learning to play the fiddle. My husband Ray, was a retired electrical engineer, as well as an inventor, with 3 patents to his name. In these wondrous days of retirement, he took up fishing, smoking salmon, building additions to our cabin and ultimately his final love of chain saw carving. We were a regular two artist commune. He always said that he was an "artistic engineer", and I, an "engineering artist". It was a fairy tale existence at the foot of Mt. Elinor and the Skokomish wilderness on Lake Cushman, 11 miles above Hoodsport, 7 miles from the Staircase and National Park. The Mt. Rose village remoteness however, after 16+ years proved to be too challenging in distance and curving roads for doctor and hospital needs.
We still had our travel trailer which we used two years, doing shows around Washington with the intent of finding our ultimate Mt. Rose Village retirement home in the woods, near a lake and mountains. 18 years later, our kids welcomed our move here in our trusty, comfy travel trailer, to Idaho on 2 acres with my daughter, husband, and their 3 sons. With Ray's engineering, and carving skills, and my fine arts background, we helped in our small way, my daughter and son in law to home school the young lads. 8 years now, my Ray has passed. Time seemed to stand still......"Is that all there is?"
What is one to do, eh?
Since widowed, I have traveled extensively throughout Idaho while staying with my grandsons attending U of I in Moscow. In May of 2021, I watched all three graduate with chemical and/or electrical engineering degrees.
My Honda Pilot is home on the road when I explore scenic vistas in Idaho and surrounding states allowing me 'plein air' opportunities. My main abode and studio is here in Nampa, in a tiny house on my kids' 2 acres. We have many chickens, dogs, cats and 2 geese on our mini farm.
Throughout the years, the fond memory of the literal 'feel' and unctuous properties of fine oil paint, I recognized a deep yearning to experience that alluring 'touch and feel' once again..........a wild notion which would necessarily entail quite an undertaking of financial investment, as well as time, effort, dedication and pure stamina throughout the pains in sweat and tears, 'relearning' the handling of this now foreign and quite expensive medium. Nonetheless, that is exactly what I did. Downright determination made it come to fruition. The undertaking has not been in vain. Consequently, I am absolutely loving every moment of this experience. Besides leisurely painting in my little home, I can also now paint plein air, which I did not have the time nor opportunity in the past to do.......out on site, in the open air, painting the scene before me. I have discovered that oils have NOT slowed me down; quite the contrary. I can't seem to paint fast enough so that I can fast forward with each new experience in my repertoire, manipulating the oils in ways I have just discovered. The new-found knowledge stimulates my mind, giving me a reason to get up in the morning. I not only find these artistic revelations to be most enjoyable, but genuinely therapeutic. I desperately need both; renewed joy, and certainly therapy!
The paintings are on the small scale due to my tiny house living. Gone are the days of the double booth gigantic shows with massive paintings.....all of which had to be created, matted, framed, carted, set up, take down, etc. and so on, week after week. No, no, no, my dear friends.....been there, done that, and unfortunately I CAN remember! Smaller works are 'a good thing'.
My aim is to continue living with love and passion, seeing my grandsons now well beyond their uni-graduation, being there for my kids going through "empty nest syndrome" while watching each of them as they enter into another stage of their lives. I desire to be an inspiration and example for them, a positive influence and a listening soul.
Colorist Impressionism is what I'm attempting to attain; more 'free spirit' strokes, with abundance of color, contrary to the early days of tedious 'realism'. I hope you find joy in viewing them as I do the joy in their creation.
Simon Tate Impressions
Copyright © 2018 Simon Tate Impressions - All Rights Reserved.
Powered by GoDaddy