Friday, December 18, 2009

Surfing art websites on a cold night

One of the things I really like to do when I have time to sit with my laptop on my lap (as opposed to a cat) is to surf other artist's websites and blogs. A few of my favorites are Carol Marine, Karin Jurick and my sister Adele. Once I look through the blog posts I haven't read and check out their new paintings, I start clicking on the blogroll links and look at the other artists they link to. Some new favorites I found just tonight are Aaron Lifferth and Doug Braithwaite. Another artist Carol turned me on to in the workshop I took two weeks ago is Qaing Huang (pronounced Chong Wong).

There are certainly some incredible artists online! With the amount of artwork they sell, there must be lots of collectors out there as well.

I hate posting a blog post with no photo but I can't post someone else's work without their permission. How about a painting I did right after the workshop with Carol? For a person who doesn't like to draw, and who does primarily landscapes, this was a challenge!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

New gallery reception in Keystone

A new gallery in Keystone called the Keystone Mountain Gallery shows some of my artwork. Last Friday Donna Causland, the owner, had a reception for artists and guests as we kicked off the Holiday Minature show. She did a great job getting PR in the local paper and had a good turnout. In the photo above, clay artist Sue Schmidt and her husband look around the gallery.

As we really enjoy getting together with other artists, Bonnie Norling Wakeman and I decided that we would like to organize a group of painters who will paint together on a regular basis. I paint weekly in the Breckenridge Arts District with friends, but would like to do it twice a week, and this time, a little closer to home. I will let you know where we end up doing it (Lake Dillon Art Center?) and what day or evening we decide on. If you would like to join us, let me know!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Fourth day of a five day workshop

This has been a busy week! All frustration is gone (I realized I have been using that word a lot lately, so no more....I have banished it from my vocabulary!)

The first photo was taken during the morning demo. Carol believes in doing what she calls the most "vulnerable" colors first, or the ones most likely to be contaminated with other colors. She started with the pale yellow of the apples. Her canvas is toned with umber, but that varies according to what she is painting. She sketches in with Burnt Umber.

We are learning lots in the workshop. Carol is a good teacher and has plenty of great information. Her paintings are amazing and if I can just do is 10% as well as she does, I will be happy. I have enjoyed her demos every morning. I did finally get a couple of apples done myself that looked respectable. The big difference between the way she paints and the way I do is that her paintings are very planned out, while mine tend to be pretty spontaneous and inituitive. Planning works better!

The painting in this second photo was done this morning and it is about 3/4 done here. It might be my favorite of the four she has done so far. On each of her paintings, the composition is well thought out and every brush stroke is considered, mixed and applied carefully. Most times she remixes her paint after every stroke and adds more medium. She paints very thinly and the medium spreads the paint nicely. She knows exactly what color she wants and she knows where she is putting it and why. That is the biggest thing I am taking away from this workshop, and when I use the information it should have an impact on my paintings. I remember in my workshop with Tim Deibler, he also stressed that no two brushstrokes be the same color, and here it is again. It must be something I should do more :)

Monday, November 30, 2009

Attending a Carol Marine workshop in Sedona

Today was another experience with the F word (frustration, in case you didn't read my last post). But it was good frustration as I know I will learn from it. Trying to paint a lime that looks round should be is really nothing but a green egg! But I couldn't do a round lime or an oval lemon. Normally I would have turped the panel out, but I decided to keep it as I will compare Friday's painting with it and see the progress I hope I have made. I am sure I will get better. That is why there is no photo attached to this post. Perhaps there will be one later in the week.

Part of the issue may be that I am reversing how I paint. Normally I get my darks in first and then move to lights. Carol does the reverse, painting what she calls the "vulnerable" areas (the ones more likely to be contaminated and become muddy) first. It will take some practice for me to get that down, but painting for 5 days, all day, will give me lots of practice! I spent this evening studying round forms like apples and oranges on her website. They are all done with straight lines. No curves at all.

A quote from the class handout that I liked " There are no rules in painting, only consequences". That is a good one for this person who likes to know the rules.

Carol did a fabulous demo of four apples (not 3 or rules). Simple, but wonderful. Hopefully she will post it on her blog in a day or so.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The F-word I really dislike


I don't use the other f-word at all because I think it is an ugly word, but this one is almost worse! I find the frustration that comes from painting difficult to handle as there is more emotion involved when I paint. In my business career, it is easy to say "next" and move on when something doesn't work out. I can let the lost sale or listing go and move on to the next one, but there is more of "me" involved in my artwork and the frustration is harder to handle. It is also easier for me to let it spread into other things and affect them too. In my business career I have always been able to put the frustration into a box and keep it there. I will have to learn to do the same thing here.

So what was the frustration this time? I entered two paintings in a show, and discovered after entering them that they were too big for the size restrictions. My own fault for not reading the entrance requirements more carefully. I knew the paintings were small enough, but didn't think about what the frames added to them in square inches. A lesson learned the hard way.

(Another frustration now that I have uploaded the photo....not a good image! I had to lift it from my website as the original is on my computer at home and I am in Arizona at the moment, about to attend a weeklong painting workshop. )

I will use the lesson to my benefit from now on, but was disappointed that these two paintings, painted expressly for the show, were not able to hang. The same art center has a juried show in the spring and once they put the prospectus online and I know the requirements, I will see about entering them then.


Saturday, November 14, 2009

Entering a poster competition

About three weeks ago I found out that the 24th annual Bach Beethoven and Breckenridge poster competition had a deadline of November 15th. I had never really considered entering the contest as I have always painted fairly small. For me, 16x20 was big, and I knew the Breckenridge Music Festival liked a larger image.

I took a class through the local junior college in September and October and one of our assignments was to paint a large painting. I did a 24x30 landscape and found that I really like painting larger! I liked the way my painting turned out and it started me thinking about trying for this poster. What you see here is one of two paintings I entered. I know that as of Friday there were seven other entries, at least two of which are by a past winner, and there will probably be more before tomorrow's deadline.

Tuesday the 17th there is an event at Ski Hill framing where I think all the entries will be on display, and I don't know when the winner will be announced. As new an artist as I am, I doubt I have much of a chance, but you never know! You will certainly hear about it if one of my paintings is chosen!

Friday, November 6, 2009

A Conversation with my Artist Sister

I just spent about 45 minutes on the phone with my sister, both of us on our computers, looking at all the paintings in the Gilcrease museum's annual miniature show. For me, it is all about learning. Dell has always told me that I have a good eye, which I think means that I can tell good work from not so good work (unless it is on my easel!) However, I don't always know what makes it good, so these long conversations are, for me, a way to recognize why I like something, rather than just know that I like it. It helps me know what good composition looks like, why color combinations work, and how different styles and paint applications create the artist's own look. Spending time with other artists is the best way to improve your own work! Just don't wake up with a headache the next morning....

The Gilcrease show is a prestigious show, and has the likes of Matt Smith, Kevin McPherson and a lot of other well known wildlife and western artists. Yesterday was the last day for the show at the gallery, but they will continue online sales until November 15th. The above painting is the one that my sister, Adele Earnshaw, did for it. It was a true miniature, only 4x4, and has sold. She has a great way with cows!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Remodeling the gallery

Most of my time this week will be spent at the gallery. I am part of the Arts Alive co-op gallery in Breckenridge. It is run by volunteers who are the artists in the gallery. We decided it was time to add interior walls rather than the temporary pipe and mesh walls on loan by one of our members. Today we brought in and attached the walls made of metal studs that my husband put together in our garage ahead of time. We added sheetrock to one side of them, and after the building inspector takes a look at it tomorrow we can put sheetrock on the other side.

We will be closed for about a week and a half while we do the walls, replace the tile in the entry and do some general painting and sprucing up. All this for $1,000 and lots of volunteer labor! When you are a non profit corporation, as the gallery is, we do everything very inexpensively if we can.

I am currently working on an 18x24 painting that will be my submission for the Bach, Beethoven and Breckenridge poster for next year. It is due by November 15th, and if all goes well I will have at least two to submit. I still have some tweaking to do to this, the first one, but I will post it here later in the week. I will have trouble finding the time to paint this week!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Finding time to paint

The biggest problem I have with improving my painting ability is finding (making) the time to paint. I have learned to do it the same way I find time to exercise; I schedule it ahead of time.

A group of painter friends and I paint every Tuesday between 4pm and 7pm at a place in Breckenridge that is part of the Arts District. We pay $2-3 each every week, which helps to pay the heat bill, and as it is used as a studio anyway, don't have to worry about messing the place up too badly. If we didn't have this place, we would meet at someone's home, or look for other alternatives. One added benefit is that we have others available to critique our work if we want it. I find that having another eye on my work really helps me to see things that somehow I was blind to while I was painting it. How did all those trees get lined up in a row, all the same height and same distance apart?

I am a Realtor, and this summer had a new construction project listed for sale. I spent many weekends there doing open houses, which can be very boring and not pleasant to do. I took my painting gear with me and set up in the garage with the door open. If it was cold, I put a tarp on the floor in the entryway and painted there. I really enjoyed those weekends and got a lot of work done!

On Thursday mornings I take an art class at the local junior college. It doesn't really matter what I paint, just so I do it, but I really do prefer landscapes. Some of the classes have been still lifes and in others we have had models. This summer it was plein air. The painting above was done in that class (and then tweaked at home in the studio.) All are good for me, and I won't get any better without practice! It seems strange to me that people complain that they are not getting any better, when without spending the time painting, there is no way they can improve. At least, that is the way it is with me. Our last project in my last class was to paint on a 24x30 canvas. I have never painted larger than 16x20 and normally I paint pretty small, but I really enjoyed that project. I have ordered some large panels am going to try doing another one or two.

My exercise classes are three hours a week, and my goal is to paint at least 6 hours a week. With a full time job, that can be challenging, but I generally find a way to get it done. If I can do more, so much the better. Having just starting painting in my late 50's, I have a lot of painting time to catch up on!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What Is this blog about?

It is about the frustrating, yet rewarding, goal of being able to call myself an artist. When my artist sister introduces me to her friends as another artist, I often say something like, "well, I try", or "I paint". I want to get good enough at painting to be able to be comfortable being called an "artist".

For now, it is a hobby that seems to be turning into a small business. A third career, if you will. I am 61 and looking at the opportunity to retire from my job as a Realtor in a few years. I will turn my clients over to my daughter who works with me, and paint full time. Currently, I hang my work in the Arts Alive Gallery in Breckenridge and in the Art Gallery at Keystone Mountain in Keystone, Colorado. Arts Alive is a co-op gallery and I am very active in it.

When I first started painting I had no clue that I would ever be able to sell any of my work. After a while, I was wondering where I was going to put all the paintings! Why keep painting and stick them in a drawer? I found out about the gallery, applied to it and was accepted, and now I have a way to keep painting. The gallery has done well selling for me this year and I am learning lots of things about galleries, framing and how to present my work. Also, where to buy frames and supplies. I often take workshops and classes and will be sharing all that information in the hopes of helping other beginning artists as we go along. Tonight I will be doing a workshop for the Summit County Arts Council members on setting up your own website, so there will be more on that too. Keep coming back and I will keep writing!