Thursday, May 24, 2012

My Studio - my sanctuary NOT!

On the advice from the Artists Helping Artists Blog Radio, I ordered the book Organizing for the Creative Person. I was hooked before reading all of the first chaptor.

Organizing for the Creative Person: Right-Brain Styles for Conquering Clutter, Mastering Time, and Reaching Your GoalsSo, without even reading further into the book, I dove in and started a major purging and packing in the art studio. I have a box full of artwork that is going in the fire and it feels great. I mean, do I really need that horrible self portrait, or still life artwork that looks more dead than alive?

I can actually see the floor of my closet. However, all that stuff is now in the center of the room. I was going to post a  photo but I was too embarrassed.

This may take time away from actually producing art, but I expect I will be more productive in the end.

The book is not expensive, and says a lot of things that may seem obvious or we have heard them before. And perhaps I am just ready to hear them now. But the information is written clearly and not long winded or rambling.

I might even post a photo of the studio when it looks presentable.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Sunlight and Shadows - SOLD

Sunlight and Shadows sold at the RNS sale last weekend. And I was thrilled that someone whose art I respect purchased it.

There was a lot of art at the show and we found that no matter how many times we walked around, we would find new pieces that we didn't remember seeing before. Lots of choices for the buyers from large, bright, colorful cityscapes to wee tightly painted landscapes.

The unfortunate aspect of a show held in the RNS gym is that there are a few spaces that are not as well lit. One of the buyers was using a flashlight to view the colors on a painting.

But the organizers do a splendid job of arranging the artwork and providing a opportunity to show artwork locally.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Adding emotion to your art

I must give 100% credit to Keith Bond who wrote the following wonderful post on cultivating emotion in artwork. I wanted to share it, as well as keep it as a reference for myself.
Please consider siging up for Clint Watson's Faso newsletter and check out Keith's post direectly at Fine Art Views Newsletter Monday April 30, 2012

Spend Time With Your Muse – Think of it as a relationship. Court your muse. The more time you give her, the more your muse will give you in return. Creativity begets creativity. Spend time creating. Have a regular date with your art.

 Spend Time With Your Subject – Know your subject intimately. If you paint landscapes, spend a lot of time in nature (or with whatever your subject is). Walk slowly. Observe, feel, respond. Smell the air. Smell the pines and sage. Explore. Contemplate. Discover the underlying rhythms of nature. Find metaphors in nature. Meditate. Do all this without your art supplies. Simply build a relationship with your subject. You will strengthen your feelings about it.

 Create Art With Your Subject in Front of You – Create from life as much as possible. If your muse speaks to you while you are standing on a river bank, why would you just take a photo to capture the scene and hope you can remember what your muse said later in the studio?

 Get Clear through Thumbnails – Before you begin a piece of art, draw several thumbnails. You will dig deeper into yourself and into your subject as you do. You will begin to become more aware of what you are responding to.

 Write – I find it helpful to write a few words while doing my thumbnails. I have also on occasion written my thoughts, feelings, and impressions while simply meditating in nature. Also, writing after the fact also helps solidify ideas and helps you become more aware of how you respond to your muse. It will strengthen your ability to identify those feelings in the future.

 Title Your Work Before You Begin – Sometimes simply giving the work a title before you begin helps you stay clearly focused on what you want to say.
  Develop Your Memory – As much as I advocate painting from life, there is a time and place for memory painting. Superficial details are forgotten and impressions and emotions are retained through memory. Let memory guide your work, and as a result you will have more emotion in your work.

 Create a Studio Environment Conducive to Getting Into the Zone – Create a safe haven in your studio free of distractions. Fill the space with things that promote introspection, creativity, memory, happiness, etc.

 Identify Emotional Triggers – Find things that bring you back to meaningful memories or strong emotions. They could include music, smells, images, tastes, etc. Fill your studio with these.

 Develop Routines the Get You Into the Zone – Basketball players have routines at the free throw line. Golfers have routines for the critical putts. So do performers and boxers and many others. These routines aren’t just quirky habits. They are choreographed methods to get you to focus intently on what you are doing so that you can be at your peak performance. They are designed to get you into the zone.

 Use rituals, emotional triggers (see #9), arrangement of your colors on your palette, placement of easel in your studio, other routines, etc. to get you into the zone.  Do this each time you create.
  Meditate – Yes, I included meditation as part of spending time with your subject (#2). But spending time to meditate on the bigger questions in life, on family, on spirituality, etc. is also important. Your choice of subject and how you respond to it is in direct relation to who you are as an individual. Your beliefs, philosophies, personality, relationships, etc. all play an important role in shaping you. Pondering on these issues, though not directly related to your art, will strengthen your inner-self. Your art will benefit. Your creative muse comes from who you are holistically.

 Spend time developing your emotional voice, coupled with your technical development. If you do, your work will have much more meaning.

 Share what other things you do to cultivate and nurture your own emotional connection to your art

Thank you Keith for this great information. Hope the readers will check out the FASO site.


Saturday, May 5, 2012

Fundy Low Tide FINISHED

I am thrilled that this painting is done. Firstly, because I had a deadline for the artshow next weekend at the Rothesay Netherwood Art Show and Sale, and secondly, I can't wait to start a new painting.And that is my favorite part, working out the design, the colors, the light.

I had made some changes to the buildings to break up the skyline more and added more color to the foreground. My favorite part of this painting is the gull.I think adding something live to artwork changes it somehow. However, I wanted him to pull attention to the wet muddy surface rather than be the focal point, so I hope I achieved that.

Take a look and I would love to have your comments.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Fundy Shoreline WIP

This painting is closer to being finished. Some refinements and final adjustments - mostly on the foreground rocks, the buildings and the boat.

And then it will be shown at the RNS Art Show and Sale.

This has been a challenge for me - working on a larger piece (36" x 24") I think I need a larger studio so I can step farther back when accessing colors and values.

Hmm. Yes. I do believe I need a larger studio indeed.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

It's my painting and I'll change it if I want to

How often has someone (well-meaning indeed) looked over your shoulder at your art and expressed a concern that something is wrong; that tree is not in the same spot or that building is a different color? You know the scenario.

As a beginner, I painted everything exactly as it was presented. I did not have the experience or skills to, good heavens, change something. Though my art teacher once asked me in a still life class why I had changed the color of the cloth. I wanted it to match my kitchen.

But as we develop our skills, our confidence grows, and we know that to create better compositions, we need to create masses consistant with planes, balance, better lines and lead-ins.

And we are free to remove the unnecessary. This leads to, in my opinion, one of the harder lessons. John Carlson's Guide to Landscape Painting ( a bible for any artist) has a wonderful illustration of how you can take one scene and focus on different aspects. Make it ABOUT something.

And you grow your skills in color choices. James Gurney has written a great book on Color and Light that clearly demonstrates how to choose a limited palette to create harmonious paintings.

Take time to enjoy a history tour of your artwork. See how your skills have grown and you have developed a style. And sometimes, it is good to switch it up - step outside your comfort zone and try something new.

For anyone thinking of starting to paint - don't be intimidated. Rules will come. Just call it coloring - we were not afraid to pick up crayons as children. Have fun.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Being unconventional and squinting your eyes.

I was pleased to see local artists attending Krista Hasson's Unconventional Watercolor Art Show this afternoon. Krista's unique use of wax, watercolor and rice paper created glowing pieces of art. The comments I overheard were all very enthusiastic and positive.

Krista's ability to produce incredibly detailed and realistic artwork has morphed into something loose and exciting. I think we were all picking out our own favorites.

Congratulations Krista. Well done.

On another note, I stopped on the way home to capture some images at a local nature trail. Quispamsis has created varied trails though wooded areas, along streams and in this case, along a marsh. I got lucky and found this show-off.
The problem with my camera is that there is no "through the lens" view-finder - only the LCD screen which is not viewable in most daylight conditions. So I am essentially shooting blind. Time for a camera upgrade. Oh, Bruce honey...birthday hint.

I have a difficult time narrowing down something interesting to focus on. There is so much information. I found a solution. It may not be the safest, but if I close one eye, and partially close the other, then I can see light patterns more easily.

So if you happen to come across what you think is a crazy lady stumbling through the woods, its just me - looking for that perfect shot.

Have a great weekend all.


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Goal setting 101

Goal Setting 101.  I have my business degree. I have read all sorts of books on goal setting. But I seldom apply them to my artlife. These books all talk about SMART goals:
  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Time Limited.
Does such goal setting limit our creativity,
or drive productivity?

Who wants to take time to track hours spent sketching?  Is it realistic to paint 30 pieces within 12 months? 

For me, I just want to paint. And keep painting. I don't want to think about registering my own website domain or creating the perfectly designed website. For me, I paint like I do jigsaw puzzles. As soon as I put the last piece in, I tear the puzzle apart. As soon as I have completed a painting, I am on to the next one.

It is in the creation, that I find such joy - not the result.

But the truth is, I should dedicate time and effort into the business aspect - which means a good website to showcase the artwork, make it look as good in a 2" x 2" space as it does in 20" x 20" and make it easy for others to discover my work. They just might like it.

So for a while, I will be SMARTER (no jokes, please). And I will continue to spend my days with paint under my fingernails, spots of gesso on my shirts and a big smile on my face.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Sunlight & Shadows on Spy Glass Hill

At this point, I am calling this painting done.

10 x 12 acrylic on gallery wrapped canvas

Monday, February 13, 2012

WIP 3, February 2012

Winter Fence
12 x 16 acrylic on canvas
I found a lovely spot to paint - this path leads to the Hammond River - frozen in the distance. I loved the color of the rusty, old fence.

This painting is just about done.

Fundy Coastline - Low Tide

Fundy Coastline - Low Tide
24 x 36 Acrylic on Gallery Wrap Canvas
This is the largest painting I have worked on so far and it is great fun. I want to capture the lovely wet mud and pools of water reflecting the sky

I was not happy with the sky and some of the land so used gesso to give me a cleaner base to work with.

The next time I post on this will be the final version as this painting will be in the Rothesay Netherwood Art Sale in May.



Latest WIP's

I am excited about my latest paintings in progress.
Spy Glass Hill Sunlight and Shadows
10 x 12 acrylic on gallery wrapped canvas.

We had taken a hike on a beautiful Sunday to the top of Spy Glass Hill - not enough snow for snowshoes.