Sunday, September 24, 2017

Wisdom for us

Suddenly summer is over, the garden is heading toward completion and I can spend more time in the studio painting, blogging and teaching. 

Gouache on UArt 600, underpainting for a pastel commission.
I have been teaching private sessions in my studio. Each session is tailored specifically to the artist I am mentoring that day but for a couple weeks after we meet, I continue to think about them and to send them links and bits of information that I think they will benefit from.

A recent post by artist Nicholas Wilton caught my eye. It pertains to all of us. I am sharing it here.

"Sometimes being an artist can feel hard, while other times it can feel inspiring and joyful. In trying to keep things more the latter, I try to keep the following five points in mind. All of them are available at anytime and there is no cost involved. I believe they all contribute significantly to building buoyancy, productivity and joy in one’s art practice.
1 Show Yourself
Show yourself. Let people see what you have made. Show your enthusiasm generated by your art. In return you will receive additional energy and illuminating feedback that will help sustain your momentum from those around you.
2 Be Generous
Be useful and helpful to other artists. Do not be concerned with being secretive about your art. No one can make work like yours if you are being authentic.
3 Stay Connected
Your success, energetically, financially and even spiritually is directly connected to those that support and follow your artistic journey. Never lose connection with those that express interest and resonate with what you are doing. Cherish them.
4 Be Discerning
It takes a tremendous amount of life energy and optimism to sustain your creativity. Do not spill any of it on people or situations that you already know are not in alignment with your art or you. Conserve all your energy for situations and people who support what you are doing.
5 Remain Exceptional
Your artwork is a visual expression of your authenticity. To have the courage to listen and show what is within you to the outside world is rare and tremendously brave. Making your art makes you feel more alive but also has the same effect on others. This is why people will desire and, even sometimes, buy your Art. Your art, if it is authentic reminds them of their aliveness. Your art is your gift to the world and you are the only one who will ever be able to create it. It is simply an opportunity of a lifetime.

Keeping these 5 points in mind will help keep your art and you steadily on course. In the end it might not be about arriving at any particular place with your work but more importantly how it felt as you journeyed towards it."  - Nicholas Wilton

Now, just as I was typing this and getting ready to post it, I received more wisdom, this time from artist Marla Baggetta. I have included a few excerpts below. By the way, both of these artists give permission to share just as I encourage you to pass my blog post on.

"Working as an artist means all of the following and not in this order:

  • Knowing that I am amongst a very, very, very… small and fortunate few that have ever or will ever walk this earth that get to express their manifest existence in paint or in any other way for any length of time much less my whole life. 

  • That I have an obligation to those who came before me that were also thus fortunate and those ahead of me to do it well and not to waste it and to share, share, share.

  • Inspiration comes from the work. Inspiration does not come out of ones butt.

  • If I stay in the same place for a while that’s good. If I stay in the same place too long, I won’t be able to move. 

  • Painting to sell paintings is fine. Painting to move hearts is better. Sometimes that heart is my own.

  • Thinking about painting is overrated. One only has to look to art criticism to remember this. Painting is not overrated. Better to paint than to think about it. 

  • At the end of the day, the thing is to make better paintings. That means work and study and dedication. It doesn’t come any other way. 

  • Inspiration is not ours, it comes to us. We simply need to be ready for it. 

- Marla Baggetta

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Closet becomes office

As you may know from my posts on this blog, I have been in the process of bonding with this new Studio for more than two years. Much of it was about if I wanted my office in my Studio. When we moved to this new house, I insisted I wanted my office upstairs - far away from the area where I make art. And, I loved my sunroom office but I found I didn't really like my studio. It helped when I painted one wall of the studio a raspberry color (realized today it is pretty much the color of my BFF glassybaby that is part of my last oil painting).

Anyway, my office eventually made it's way back into my Studio then yesterday I had the brilliant idea of turning my art storage (+ furnace and tankless water heater) closet into my office for real. That meant painting walls. Very cozy in this 8x10 ft. space with my flat files and old iMac and new iMac but I love it.

Looking out into the Studio from the office, the Studio is a disaster now because I threw everything out of this room into that one. Note the desktop image on my computer - it is the scene when standing in the Studio looking out. Makes me feel less claustrophobic.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Best Friends Forever on the wall

Best Friends Forever, 2017, oil 16 x 20 inches
Since my last post on September 8th about this painting, I've loosened it, tightened it, loosened it. I have to declare it done simply because I am tired of working on it. I will put it in a frame and hang it on my studio wall to ponder while it dries. Sometimes, before varnishing a painting, I see something I must change.

Friday, September 8, 2017

BFF in Progress

Last week I took photos for new oil paintings. This is one of them and includes my Glassybaby BFF. 

This was the painting after a couple hours, 16x20 inches on Gessobord.

Today, when I began to paint again, I started with the color of the Glassybaby referring to my oil color charts. The sunlight in the reference photo is warmer than my studio lights so Alizarin Crimson + French Ultramarine + white with the addition of Cad Red Light works.

This is how "Best Friends Forever" looks after today's painting session.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

When things don't work out...

...they work out better.

There was a fourth painting in my "Everything old is New Again" series but after struggling with it for several painting sessions I lost interest so I turned it upside down and with Titanium White, I painted over most it of following an idea I had for a new painting - a bowl with several pieces of fruit and a vase of flowers in the background?

Next I needed a bowl, several pieces of fruit and flowers. I gathered the objects (well, most of them), arranged them on the dining room table (no room in my studio to paint directly from the setup) in approximately the same composition and took a photo.

This is the reference photo. Morning sun is the light source for form and cast shadows.

I drew the new composition
with charcoal and started painting.

Time for a value check. A few corrections to improve the value structure of the composition. "Value does the work, color gets the glory." -Richard McKinley, I think. See the finished painting below.

Brown Bowl, oil 18x18 inches

Monday, September 4, 2017

September Song in Oil

September Song 2017, oil 18x18 inches


September Song 1997, colored pencil 15.5 x 14.5 inches 
The original "September Song" was nearly square so it took minimal cropping to prepare the reference photo for my oil painting. This drawing was purchased out of my studio by H.D. when she came to consult on a commission portrait I painted of her husband. Private Collection.

The first step for this painting was sanding away an old oil landscape painting on a cradled wood panel.

Next, with my pastel study as reference, I began blocking in the new September Song.

Lightest values, darkest values and a little alizarin crimson thrown in. Set it aside to dry.

Added a glaze of Indian Yellow.

Working on it ...

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Infatuation in oil

Infatuation 2017, oil, 18x18 inches


Infatuation 2004, watercolor 12x15 inches
The original "Infatuation" was a watercolor painting. As a reference for my oil painting, I cropped the photo of it to a square format. Around 2002, I began using watercolor but before painting this one, I always added colored pencil on top of the watercolor foundation. This one was my first watercolor-only painting and I was fortunate to have it on the showcard for the NWWS exhibit and purchased from that show. Private Collection.

To identify areas that need adjusting, I use a grayscale image. I make the adjustment in Photoshop and then go back to my painting and paint the correction. In this case, I felt I needed additional value or weight in the red circled areas.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

A Fine Romance in oil

A Fine Romance 2017, oil 18x18 inches

A Fine Romance 2000, colored pencil 16x20 inches
The original "A Fine Romance" was a colored pencil drawing created in the year 2000. As a reference for my oil painting, I cropped the photo to a square format. I just discovered that I still have the original tucked away with other colored pencil drawings from 17+ years ago.