She came in as the younger, smaller cat in the house, but soon took over as the one in charge. The back of the couch is the highest point in the room that is comfortable. She can see the whole room, the other cat, me, and the backyard out the window across the room. She has great color, sort of black and brown, some rust and white, a pink nose and “odd socks” as I call them, meaning each paw is different.
Quite a demanding little kitty, she yells at me when she wants something, but if I whisper at her, she will whisper back. She is a great model and I could paint her all day long. Now that the springtime sun is making its way into our home, and sunbeam naps are on the schedule, a new painting is inevitable.
I took photography in college so I know how to compose in the camera, which is an advantage when gathering photo references for my painting. I also am skilled on the computer so I can crop and make adjustments when necessary to enhance the photos.
Guest photos can also be delightful.
My cousin took a photo of 3 baby birds demanding to be fed and posted it on Facebook. I immediately asked her for permission to use it for a painting. I think I smiled the entire time I was painting.
Webster defines patron as “a person who gives money and support to and artist, organization, etc.” and patronize as “to give money or support to (someone or something)” OR “to talk to (someone) in a way that shows you believe you are more intelligent or better than other people.”
My niece came over to buy a painting of mine (what higher compliment is there than a relative parting with their hard earned money to buy my art?) she saw on Facebook and as she was leaving I said, “Thank you for patronizing me.” Y e a h…somehow it didn’t sound quite right. We just laughed.
Now the holidays are over, that rush of relatives is warm memory, Michigan grayness settles back in and its time for a cup of tea. Maybe today a bit of honey and lemon will be just fine.
I was driving home from the artists’ breakfast that we have every Saturday morning and in my neighborhood the sun was hitting this tree in full fall colors. I got a couple blocks down and knew I had to go back and snap some photos with my iPhone. I went home and began painting. It’s not often I get to use Cadmium orange and Cadmium yellow right out of the tube. I must say I did get too thick too fast though. I guess I was too excited. It was going so well and then it wasn’t! I was getting picky—painting every leave. So I wiped out the tree and began again, slowly layering the paint. Much happier with the results.
The neighborhood is full of trees in all stages of color and falling leaves. I had a plethora of streets to shoot my photos. This one with its deep shadows complimenting that fiery color activated my “OH!” factor.
We got a bonus lesson in week 6, one last photo to paint and to learn the methods of our instructor. I was feeling pretty confident with most of it, applying the techniques I’ve been learning throughout the course.
Then I got to this mass of greenery from the overhanging tree.
First my strokes were too blocky. Wiped that out. Then they were too spikey. Wiped that out. Third time’s the charm? I am happy with the result now. Hey, if it was easy, everyone would be doing it.
Here is my “pots on a ledge” bonus painting. #DreamLovePaint
The course is over. Now I have to find something new to paint—out there on my own again.
People admiring art sometimes tell the artist, “Wow, you’re good, I can’t even draw a straight line.”
Here are my straight lines. Left hand; right hand.
There are no straight lines in nature. Humans make straight line usually with the help of a ruler or some sort of straight edge. In my previous blog you can see my preliminary drawing where I used a ruler to draw in the building. I do not use mechanical aids when I paint.
I could use a mahl stick which many artists use to keep their hand off the surface of the painting while doing fine work. Or I could tape it off like the artists did in the 1960s when Pop Art became the vogue and crisp, straight lines were part of the style.
I want my lines to show my hand, to look painterly. I don’t want a mechanical look even on mechanical objects. This is not a photograph. This is paint on canvas or board after all.
So if you can’t draw a straight line, maybe you can push some paint around.
It takes a few layers sometimes. I’m not done yet. Still moving paint.
More decisions to make. I’ll keep painting ’til I’m happy.
I know a lot of artists who will roll their eyes or cringe when they hear someone say they are looking for a painting to match their couch. “Art should be bought because you love it”, they’ll say. “Because it speaks to you”. And wouldn’t it be nice if we all had the money to buy the art first and decorate our rooms around it.
But most people already have flooring and maybe have picked a wall color and bought a sofa and tables and lamps and now, maybe have some money to buy art. It’s probably the last thing and they want it to fit in with every thing else. That’s OK.
Then again it doesn’t have to MATCH. You know that technical term the designers use…you don’t want too much “matchy-matchy”.
My walls are forever changing—art goes up when I paint new ones; art comes down when it goes to a show; back up when the show is over; down when I sell it. Anyway…this piece is up on the wall. It is mostly blue. So are the 2 small ones. I have no blue in my living room. I do have brown, which is a darker version of orange. Orange is the complement of blue (opposite on the color wheel) so they go together. Nice! And there is a little orange near the horizon where the sun has set.
See that. It’s all good.
Next time more tips on art on the walls. Until then I want to know…what’s on your walls?
Making art usually takes place in solitude, not always, but usually. So many artists like to have a social outlet to keep them sane and the company of other artists allows them to discuss some of the challenges they encounter.
Every Saturday morning I get together with a group of artists for breakfast at a local diner. We catch up on the week’s activities and discuss the “Art question of the week.” Non-artists are welcome, spouses and friends as well.
An older gentleman has become a regular. I believe he has done some sketching. He is Swiss, looks like Santa with a shock of white hair, bushy white eyebrows, and white beard. I don’t always understand him. He is soft spoken, chuckling while he speaks, and telling jokes I don’t get.
I was showing around some paintings I had done the past week that I have photos of on my iPhone. This gentleman didn’t know how to swipe through the photos and kept bringing up the calculator somehow. He liked the last one I had done and asked what size it was and how much I charged. It was an 8×10″ and I told him it was $100. He said a 16×20″ would be twice as much cuz it’s twice as big as he chuckled. We said, no, that was 4 times as big, and I told him what I have charged for 16x20s. He held out the phone and said 16×20. I said that was an 8×10. He said 16×20. I said 8×10. He laughed and said 16×20. I asked the man next to me, “Does he want me to paint him a 16×20?”
He then asked if I was going to enlarge it with a machine? I asked him if he wanted a print and he looked at me and laughed. “You want me to paint you a 16×20? “Oh that will be lively,” he said. (Not lovely, lively). He took out his wallet and handed me two large bills and said he’d pay me the rest the next time he saw me. “Don’t worry, take your time” he chuckled.
So I’m painting a 16×20″ painting of the 8×10. And I’m chuckling.