Watercolor portrait paintings
Yong Chen (b. 1965), "My Father," 2019, watercolor on paper, 9 x 12 in., on view in the 100th International Open Exhibition of the National Watercolor Society

From the Fine Art Connoisseur September/October 2020 Editor’s Note:

Turning Lemons Into Lemonade

These are extraordinary times, and we hope that you and yours are staying safe, healthy, and productive. My colleagues and I believe that you will find inspiration while exploring the bumper crop of articles in this issue, and we look forward to receiving your feedback whenever you have some.

Fine Art Connoisseur magazine
Scott Ponemone (b. 1949), “M & P: 1st Pandemic Pair” (detail), 2020, watercolor on paper, 32 3/4 x 18 1/4 in. (overall), on view in the National Watercolor Society’s 100th International Open Exhibition.

I was recently reminded of artists’ impressive creativity and adaptability when I received an upbeat e-mail from Karen Blackwood. She wrote that the “small painting campaign I’m pursuing is drawing lots of collectors who are eager to buy, but in smaller 6 x 8-inch sizes. I even had one collector ask to buy one sight unseen because they are so popular; they were selling within minutes of my newsletter going out. Lately I had been feeling a lack of focus, as have many other artists, so these small unframed studies have helped me keep my creative juices flowing in a scaled-down format and will then serve as studies for larger pieces.”

Naturally I congratulated Karen on her initiative, and I mention it here as further evidence that the anxiety and economic upheaval caused by the pandemic need not discourage us from pursuing the positive strategies that remain in our wheelhouses. This pertains both to true artists — who should always express their aesthetic visions without constraint — and to true collectors, who always seek out beauty and inspiration whatever the economic circumstances may be.

Some call this turning lemons into lemonade, and however you describe it, it’s a fact that visual artists are unusually well positioned to weather the storms that have beset the world. There are plenty of challenges, to be sure, but what an advantage to focus on the next project in one’s own studio, perhaps even to pursue creative possibilities that had to be pushed off previously because there were too many distractions. Please rest assured that there are still plenty of admirers and buyers out there rooting for you.

We are eager to see what’s coming out of artists’ studios this year, and one key example appears on the cover of this issue. How much more “of this moment” could Scott Ponemone’s depiction of two masked ladies be? Many thanks, as ever, for your encouragement and collegiality.

P.S. Heads up… We have some recurring names in this issue. Historic Master Emilio Sanchez and Today’s Master Sandra Sanchez are unrelated by family connections. Ditto for Today’s Master Mario Moore and the author of the article about him, Charles Moore. Happy coincidences!

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