What happened in the past 12 months:
The same thing that happened to me and the rest of the world: COVID. It would be easy to dwell on the negatives of COVID, but life is so much more enjoyable when reframed through prisms that look for positive outcomes even in the most unfortunate of experiences. COVID did lead to some positive impacts. I was left with more time to reflect on technique and on the empty walls that my art would fill which I feel further developed by personal style. As a result, I turned a corner in style development in the past 12 months. I will admit, the time available to paint suffered greatly with school closures. My husband being a physician during a global pandemic wasn’t exactly in a position to help with stay-home duties, which put responsibility mostly on me. From a business growth standpoint, the year ended as a huge success as evidenced by large bulk print orders placed (20-30 at a time) as I was leaving my last duty station.
Being a working professional and a military spouse in some ways feels like a recurring melancholic dream where every 2-3 years your local roots are pulled up and the move brings with it an oddly familiar newness: new location, new client base, homeless living in a hotel for several weeks (in this case 6 weeks awaiting housing), no child care. Paint and paper are portable and easily packed, but hotel rooms do not come with proper lighting, a settled studio, and the right mindset to creatively produce. This coupled with a toddler who is also in a new place, without school or daycare, without friends, and who thinks mommy is the best does not contribute to an artistic ambiance. This past summer and fall I had to limit my online and social media presence to down throttle new orders as I was already booked for weeks out when the PCS happened and the hotel experience brought with it what it brings.
Despite those grumbles, every move has brought with it exciting new undertakings. I’m currently the resident artist at the SHAPE (Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe) Performing Arts Center. I initially offered to help enhance the lobby with a permanent exhibition, but in the process became a member of the artistic production team. These projects have ranged from a corner-set English garden to an entire stage backdrop of NYC Times Square for a production of Annie. I never realized how perilous that stage work could be until I first experienced the disequilibrium effects of a gentle breeze moving a canvas around when I was painting on a ladder 15 feet in the air.
Last week I pushed the copy for this year’s calendar to the print house. The year’s calendar project is my best yet and it was a lot of fun. Every year I feel the calendar topic captures the experience of being me, but this year, at the suggestion of my customers, the exploration of backyard birds tapped into a personal hobby for me and my husband. I’m most excited about the paper upgrade for this year’s calendar. I know, paper isn’t exciting, but for a watercolorist, paper is everything; it’s one of only 3 tools you use, the other two being paint and brushes. As with past years, the calendar perforations allow for each month to become 8×10 prints for your wall if you choose. By upgrading the paper, the calendar is basically a series of twelve legitimate prints that offer an amazing price for the value. The paper quality admittedly cuts into my sales ROI, but I would rather increase the quality for the customer.
Plans for 2022: COVID allowing, I plan to begin staging temporary exhibitions across SHAPE at the International Library, Theater and SHAPE Club. I hope to branch out into a new line of products based on state birds and state flowers. This state symbol series has been in the production process for several years now but the magnitude of the work has been daunting in the midst of the ongoing stream of custom orders. I hope to start teaching art classes again at the SHAPE Arts and Crafts Center. They have a spacious facility that will lend itself well to comfortably spaced groups.
For everyone out there, the beauty is always there, slow down, enjoy it. Creation contains the greatest beauty, discover it. Like a butterfly, beauty lands softly, relish it.
Find Patrizia on the web:
MilspoFAN Interview 2019: https://www.milspofan.com/2020/01/01/an-interview-with-patrizia-k-ingram/
MilspoFAN 2020 Guest Post Update: https://www.milspofan.com/2020/12/09/catching-up-with-patrizia-ingram/
Facebook/Instagram Patrizia K Ingram Art