I Can’t Even Draw A Straight Line

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.

lines

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.

Cat at Old House, starting to add color.
Cat at Old House, starting to add color.
another layer
Adding more layers; do I want branches in the upper left corner?

More decisions to make. I’ll keep painting ’til I’m happy.

On the Other Hand…Was That the Left or the Right?

4th painting - Beach
4th painting – Beach

Surgery on my right shoulder January stopped me from painting for about a week while I was tethered to an ice machine and on some serious pain meds. I’m left handed and it made life difficult but I got by and got back to painting as soon as I could.

NOW I’ve had surgery on my LEFT shoulder! Oh boy. (My rotator cuffs have just worn out) I probably use my right hand more than most right-handed people use their left, but this is a whole new ballgame.

But what the hey, I have to paint. And I’ve wanted to loosen up my brush style. Let’s see what happens when I paint with my RIGHT hand!

3rd painting - On the Penninsula
3rd painting – On the Penninsula

What do you think?

Oh, and on the 4th one after reaching across to my paint I realized I should move my palette to the right side!

2nd painting - Grand River
2nd painting – Grand River

When I was 4 I broke my left arm and I still remember throwing my crayon across the table because I couldn’t color. At least now I don’t have to stay inside the lines.

If you have a story where you had an obstacle to your passion that you overcame tell me about it. I’ll send one of these right-handed sketches to my favorite story. Ends 9/9/15.

1st painting - bottles
1st painting – bottles

Art is a Time Machine

What’s on Your Walls–part 2

If you have a blank wall in your home it’s dead space. It’s closing in on you, closer and closer, making your room feel smaller than it is.

When you put art, or photos, or a mirror on your walls you’ve made your space larger, opened it up…ahh more breathable.

A mirror placed strategically on a wall opposite a window reflects the outdoors and the light, and almost acts as an inside window.

Art or photos hung on inside walls give you portals to other places, people, and feelings. A landscape gives you a vista in another place in the world—somewhere you’ve been or would like to visit. A still life might remind you of a special place in your mom’s house. An abstract’s swirling colors might relax you or excite you.

Art is like a time machine. All the feelings of the piece take you right there. Your home is expanded across time, space, memories, feelings—better than a dream—and all is right with the world.

I painted this on a weekend trip when I lived in California and I look at it an remember every bit of that weekend. Do you have a photo from a trip that would make a great painting for your wall? Maybe we should talk.

http://www.dailypaintworks.com/buy/auction/415898

Oil painting of Sycamore trees
Dance of the Sycamores

I ALWAYS Learn Something When I Paint with Others

acrylic painting 6x6
“Dock of the River”

Thursday was no exception. I go out painting “en plein air” or painting out doors with a group or artists on Thursdays. There are 2 dozen artists on the list and one beautiful artist coordinates a place and communicates to us via email. Those who intend to paint respond so no one ends up showing up alone.

Last week 5 were supposed to paint; only one other artist showed besides myself. But we had a guest.

A well-known and local artist, Tim Widener, was bicycling through the park and spotted Theresa, my fellow artist, and stopped. He had been painting nearby the day before, would like to come out and finish his painting, and asked if we would like to join him. He’d be glad to give us some instruction as well. Uh, yeah! He is also a well-known instructor.

His spot was on a lookout right on the river where you can see the boat dock. Seeing another artist’s color choices, brush choices and process is always interesting. Watching him work on Theresa’s pastel was cool too. I had blocked in my sky, trees and water and was going to put in the boats later. He said I needed that white line in there almost immediately to be able to relate to it. Seems I remember hearing something like that from an instructor long, long ago, and it seems I had forgotten that.

Tim working on Theresa's pastel
Tim Widener giving some suggestions to Theresa.

Thanks Tim. It was a joy painting with you.

“Dock of the River” 6x6x” acrylic on gessobord panel, unframed, available for  $50 via http://www.dailypaintworks.com/fineart/andrea-jeris/dock-of-the-river/399857

When Artists Socialize

acrylic painting River Twilight
River Twilight

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.