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Vol 1 issue 1
All the news that fits
1/25/2021 8:35:16 AM

A column by world renowned artist Julie Vanalstine -
An Artist's Perceptions in the Valley


The Eye of the Beholder Rules in Grand Valley
by Artist Julie VanAlstine

Artists sometimes take themselves too seriously and the best reality check for the ego is to start a freelance art business in a small town.

The customers in Grand Valley will tell you exactly what they think of your creations. They may laugh outright at what you thought was your latest Rembrandt or shower you with praise.

I find this candor refreshing as the " Art World " as a whole is so subjective in its opinion that the artist is often left not knowing if they are any good, or worse, frustrated and with lowered self confidence.

That's why, whenever I take on another commission in this town, I get the thrill that comes with taking on a challenge. And boy, do Grand Vallyites make it a challenge. One day I may be painting a picture on a strange shaped rock, and the next I'll be designing a bizarre tattoo. I find the variety exciting as no two jobs are quite the same and every project teaches me something new.

I find that the very best and most honest critics are children. They have a natural sense of composition and know when something doesn't look right. They haven't yet learned to judge things dishonestly. They will spend ages watching me draw or do a painting, and when one of them says the dragon I was sketching looks like a pig, well what do you know, when I get past my ego ... they are always right. I've actually run some really important commissions past the eyes of children because, as the old adage goes "out of the mouths of babes ".

Here's the best example of why Grand Valley keeps my perspective clear and focused. I had a sign to paint for an old farmer. He came to pick up the sign and had to walk down the hall filled with my works of fantasy. I had a painting of a three headed dragon of which I am very proud. He paused and stared at it for a long while, then said solemnly, " Julie, if it was born in my barn I'd shoot it. "

So, even though I quite often drift back into the " Art World ", I always end up running away screaming for the breath of fresh air I can only get in Grand Valley.

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