What are you grateful for being a painter ? #2 - by Valery Bremen


Valerie Brennan / Paphos Cyprus

I am grateful for the solitude and space being a painter. When I am in my studio working I feel in the present, in the moment and alive. I love the openness of process when I paint. Painting feels fundamental to who I am, second nature and it feels authentic. I am grateful that I am still learning

Lucy Mink Covello / New Hampshire USA

I am grateful for Steve, Gianna and Nico. I am also grateful I saw so many friends this summer. I was with my kids outside a lot this summer and inside. I watched my son learn how to fish. I am grateful to be able to go slower as a parent and a painter because things sometimes feel way too competitive and too rushed and that's not where I am. I am grateful for this summer with two kids who are not yet teenagers. I have still managed to paint in between hours here and there and during random days if they were both somewhere else.

Sabine Tress / Cologne Germany

Without wanting to be overly dramatic I must say that I don´t know how I would be able to cope with life without having my studio and my work. It´s more than just an excuse for being able to hide away from the world outside. Being a painter allows me to evolve, understand, sulk, laugh, lern, dialogue and rest. Every day is a step forward even if it sometimes does not feel this way. Yes, I am absolutely grateful for being an artist.


Susan Carr / Massachusetts usa

Painting a poem called  “I am grateful”.

Painting is the moon and I am starting to howl

Painting floating inside of my teacup six in the morning OM

Painting in dusky fingered roses the sea laps my ankle

Painting on the blackboard painting on the test painting no cheating

Paint me another round and make it ultramarine this time baby

Bottom of the ninth bases are loaded and I’m up to paint

Painting fleshy pink knobby knees up to my nose nipple coral red round the top

Painting faster, faster running out of paint

Paint flickers deep in cave wall images of paint in four legs and two

And the wind cries paint

Just one more paint, just one more paint, just one more paint, just one more

If I only had a little bit more paint

In the forest of paint chop wood carry water

Tricky inclusive ironic clumsy chewy frenzied subversive highbrow lowbrow talky talk talk

Paint is on the menu   

Painting next time will be the best time because this painting is almost the one but not quite, not quite

Painting dressed in black without a sound snatching the jewels under cover of night

I am not old; I am not young I am merely a painter

Painting between two day old pieces of bread painting instead of a glass of milk

Watching painting it is a very good show

Sleepy now will cover myself up in old paintings to keep warm

Hey how come you are so poor? Painting stole me away

The dream of more paint it started like this

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Julia Schwartz / Santa Monica Ca

I am grateful that I have a community of friends, mentors, and heroes who have become 'my people.' Even though we so often work in solitude, it is good to know there are others out there. 
It's also good to have an all access pass to art, and that can take many forms- virtual looking; seeing/being/taking in the world- light/air/sound/color; and especially the making. Making art takes so many forms- from luscious oil on linen to the low-brow dirty paint water on scrap paper, and everything in between.  
Art can teach, can hold, can transform, and be transforming. I am immensely grateful for that in this simultaneously long night's journey and too-brief existence.

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Mary Devincentis / Brooklyn NY

It took a lot of years but eventually I realized that being grateful is a state of mind which can be cultivated. So, on a meta-level, I am grateful to have made that discovery and put it into practice.

As an artist, I feel grateful for the entire arc of my life, the good times and the difficult ones, the losses as well as the gains, the highs and lows, the hard and the easy, the beauty and the pain. Because every experience, every struggle finds its way into my work, where there’s a chance some part of it may hold resonance for others.

The freedom that is possible living as an artist is something I deeply appreciate, including the freedom to develop and express a personal vision and the freedom to create my own schedule, structure and pace.

I am grateful for the contemplative aspect of an artist’s life: the spaciousness in which to ruminate, daydream, imagine, be silent, receptive, and solitary.

Until fairly recently I worked in relative isolation, with just enough time of my own to paint and not enough time to seek out and nurture fellowship and affiliation, so I am profoundly grateful now to feel a part of a vibrant and welcoming arts community.


Bonny Leibowitz / Dallas tx

I’m grateful for a rich studio practice. Making work grounds me and allows me to explore, discover and take risks. I’m really grateful to recognize where the work wants to go and for being responsive. So compelling; the way the mind opens up, how perceptions shift and something new emerges out of memory and history.

I’m grateful to experience the work of others, online and in person. I love the way a piece or body of work can so directly speak to the gut, it’s an unexplainable bond with the work and the artist. How fortunate to connect and dialogue with a community of thinkers and makers.

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Rebecca Young Atlanta, Ga / Huntsville AL

My painting is the only place I am able to be my complete self.  Good or bad its the only thing that gives me a complete sense of accomplishment.....a complete sense of me. I think its pretty incredible that through my own language and understandings I am able to create this whole other world that I am able to experience who I really am and share it with others.  Letting out all my awkwardness and quirks, allowing chaos to be chaos,...  "my world exists in my painting"!!


Yaara Oren / Tel Aviv

  1. For the fact I found an occupation in which staring and observing are an advantage and are not considered as being distracted or daydreaming.

  2. For the fact I get to keep on playing.

  3. For the fact that my fellow artists are creative, thinkers and sensitive.

  4. For the possibility to do things exactly as I think they should be done without the need to settle or satisfy anyone.


Magda Dadziak / Chicago

I’m grateful for the ability to do what I love (even when it gets frustrating, impossible and hard), to be able to express myself freely, and to be able to spend time working in the studio problem solving and playing around. I’m grateful for quiet time alone, solitude and to be able to spend hours working and contemplating.  I’m grateful for artist’s communities, meeting other artists, exchanging ideas,  having a dialogue, being inspired. And I’m thankful for my supportive family and friends.

Kimberly Rowe / Berkeley CA

I am incredibly grateful for having the ability to paint.  I feel like I’m so rich because of it.  I look back and remember when I began studying art and felt removed from it.  It was something outside of me.  I wanted so badly to be in a place where art was my life, but I was observing more than being.  I did assignments and didn't have a particular point of view.  Yet I couldn't help but keep plugging away.  I think of the title of a book by the late Wayne Dyer, You’ll See It When You Believe It.  It seems to me that it took me so long to get to a place of truly believing it.  And then somewhere along the way I must have crossed over the bridge.  I enter my sanctuary when I walk into my studio.  It is the place where I can make my own magic.  I always feel like I’m dancing and playing, even though there are times of hard work.  Painting is being totally present.  It is being intuitive, improvisational, and discerning at the same time.  It is accepting and expressing my own power.  I feel a sense of complete freedom and joy; I feel like I can do anything.  Since I began painting, I have transformed my own being and gotten to know myself on a deeper level than ever before.  What an incredible gift that is.


What are you grateful for? by Catherine Hagartty

Lately I've been talking to my friend Catherine, about how lucky we are to be doing what we do, and so together we decided to set on a journey to find out what other painters feel grateful for, here goes:

Being a painter, what are you grateful for ?

Katherine Bradford

1. Never having to get dressed up

2. An intense, immersive kind of life

3.  The chance to look at interesting things all the time.  My horror of being thrown in prison is mainly that I’d have nothing to look at...but maybe after awhile I’d adjust and form a new aesthetic.

Eleanna Anagnos, Brooklyn, N.Y.

"I’m grateful that coloring outside the lines is my job; that embracing my weirdo self is encouraged; for the privilege of learning from and being inspired by creative, thoughtful idiosyncratic humans; for existing in a place of wonderment and finding the magic in the everyday; for living in this stimulating, crazy, diverse city, that I call home; for community and the privilege of being a part of a very special art collective, the love and support I’ve received for being me and doing what I do ~ the privilege of choosing the path less chosen, off-roading, so to speak, there are more obstacles but it's WAY more fun!"  



Paul Gagner, Brooklyn, N.Y.

"This will sounds strange, but I'm grateful for my anxieties. The reason being, is that I believe that my anxiety prods me to work harder and to keep tweaking a painting until it's reached an ideal state of "compelling awkwardness." It's also that same awkwardness that can be it's own kind of anxiety. 

I'm also grateful for time. While I'm not the slowest painter that I know, I'm also not always the fastest. Sometimes a painting comes really easy. You don't have to think about it and it just flows out of you. Other times, it feels the painting is sabotaging you ever step of the way. Time is a crucial component to making a painting. I spend a good deal of time looking and thinking. I'll write down everything that's running through my mind: what the painting is trying to say, my expectations of the painting, any associations, my frustrations with it and life, etc. It can get ugly. But it can also be profound and "time" is the crucial ingredient. 

Finally, the most important thing to be grateful for is an audience. While my paintings are very therapeutic for me, they would be meaningless without someone to share it with. For that, I'm especially grateful for my wife, Maureen, who is my favorite critic. She's very supportive, but always honest and insightful. If a painting doesn't cut the mustard with her, I'll rework it until it does. Also, a larger audience is important too, but I often feel like I'm making paintings for her and it's so satisfying when she likes them. That's the best feeling."


Eleanor Ray

1. The community of passionate people that comes together around art, including painters and gallerists and writers — people who have committed to this very specific field of interest and are finding their own ways to be immersed in it. I love that painting culture connects people so strongly around the world and locally. I see that kind of shared vocabulary of interests as open and expansive rather than insular. It opens up possibilities.

2. The availability of such a rich history in painting. Paintings that are communicating across centuries. 

3. Less pressure to be tidy or have great clothes. Painters should get a free pass there, right?


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Joshua Bienko

"I don't know that I am. I mean, sometimes, certainly, I am grateful to be a painter, but the question is nonetheless difficult. It feels more like a disease sometimes that you can never be rid of. You can sometimes hide the symptoms, but not for long. I don't mean to be dismissive or overly artsy, but you know, sometimes folks might say, 'Hey, you should make a big painting,' or 'Have you ever thought about painting on panel?' It's difficult to respond. I don't know that I consciously make all of those decisions. Like I wish maybe I had more control over the process of making a big painting or a small painting or a drawing or a rap video. I don't know that I have that control. I feel like a hunting dog that catches a whiff of something and then pursues it. Sometimes when you go a-hunting, you don't come home with a bunting (re. The Black Rider). Sometimes you do. You find out afterward. So, for painting and drawing (which should be thought of a prolegomenon) and curating and any other mode of thinking, I think I appreciate the hunt, or the pursuit or what Lacan might call, the "drive." 

I like the way that this relates painting to life. You can not ever love fully, you do not ever spiritually 'arrive,' you never score an 18 on the golf course, and you never make the painting perfect. You never play enough with your children, you never prepare enough for your job and you never exercise, practice or devote your self enough. But you can get close. It's the 210yd 5 iron from the fairway that gets you back on the course. It's a moment with Cobalt Yellow Lake and Chromatic Black that make you feel like you've gotten a glimpse. It's a drawing that comes so much from you, that it appears foreign to you at first glance. 

These are the things I appreciate about being an artist, in as much as I am a painter as such.'


Benjamin Pritchard

"I am grateful that as a confused alienated youth, I stumbled across a medium that exists in time like a small plane; that functions like a perch to look out into the heavens,  like a map that unfolds and extends into space, and that opens up below into a deep well that extends far down into the depths.

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David Humphrey

"I’m grateful for the opportunity to immerse in the visual as if it were a hallucination, for the ability to conjure images that connect to the known world as much as to the unknown and to make objects that have a capacity to look back at me with feelings or knowledge I don’t possess."


Helen O'Leary

1. Freedom & equality:  I found painting early, with tar brushes from my father’s boat building on the white washed walls on the farm. I painted what I knew into the lime whiting, which we used both as color and disinfectant. It grounded me, even as a young girl. I wanted to paint myself out of a society that seemed to diminish me based on  class and gender.

2. Family & the community of people both local and global: The crime and punishment of that time for me was sexuality and adventure, and leaving the strict prosthesis of rules and customs behind. I had a real love of the land, of the things that our people had made, of songs that were sung and objects that were constructed out of need and tradition. I knew our land, every stone and ditch, by heart and yet, I knew I would leave it. 

3. Solitude:  I can be alone when i paint, in the most internal and meaningful way. It is the thing that wakes me up in the morning- and I see the world clearly through its lens. its a language that is deeply personal that for me communicates above and beyond other languages.


Jennifer Coats

"I'm grateful to be able to sit in my studio alone for hours on end trying to make flat things breathe via puddles of colored goo via repetitive hand movements. 

 I'm grateful to be able to contemplate the ancient past and pretend I'm part cave person while painting. Painting is a portal to the past and the future. It encourages you to contact aliens and think about spiral galaxies in other parts of the cosmos. It encourages you to shrink down to the size of an tiny speck and engage in quantum shenanigans.

I'm grateful to live in this city and know so many amazing painters whose work inspires me and who I love to talk to."

Rick Briggs

"I feel lucky to have this contemplative life in the studio, away from the world, in a space that allows me to make my own world. I'm grateful for my close friends who inspire me with their words and their work as well as the opportunity to be a part of a much bigger, multilayered, and always changing art community in NY. At museums, I'm thankful for the potential to time travel while standing in front of a painting via the magic of imagination, to be transported to the mind and hand of the artist who made the painting and then return again, both feet on the ground, eyes and mind wide open."

Clarity Haynes

"I love that you’re focusing on this theme. Gratitude is so important, and we rarely give it a forum. I’m so grateful to be an artist – to be able to work with my hands, to do something that’s therapeutic, that produces something concrete. Also, the fact that it is nonverbal! To be able to at least try to formulate a response to living in this world, in a medium beyond words… is really exciting. And truly, you yourself don’t really understand it. It’s a mystery for sure. You’re like a detective, following clues. It’s like a game; it’s play. (Although we’re always calling it work, a noun.) Painting is a craft so, no matter what, it’s grounded. It saves you."

Julie Langsam

"I am most thankful that I get to do what I love and live the life I want to live."

Catherine Haggarty

"The space between a paintings creation and resolve is something I am grateful for. The dedicated life of observation that painting has afforded me keeps me present & it keeps me company...even when I am totally alone. Ultimately, the company the paintings keep me in memory and the joy it brings me in dreaming it's conclusion is one of my greatest rewards. 

More than anything though - I am most thankful for the community it has afforded me. Painting has opened up a world which once seemed too hard to enter and it has encouraged me to live a brave, challenging, and generous life. Being an artist lets me partake in and contribute to a living history that is part of a continuum greater than anything I will ever do by myself."