STARVING ARTISTS—is there a charity?

So where are the charities for the starving artists? This is the season for giving after all. Maybe they wouldn’t mind getting clothes with a little paint on them.

I have a rule: I only have so many hangers so if I buy new clothes, something has to go. I open the door to my closet and all the hangers start shaking a bit. It was time to find clothes I don’t wear. 

I am a painter so everything I own has paint on it. Even if I am dressed to go out or in my PJs I can’t resist going into my studio to look at my work in progress. Somehow the simple act of walking into my studio equals getting paint on myself somewhere.

Cadmium lemon yellow: no matter where I put it I stick my hand in it. I have moved it several times—still I stick some part of me in it. One time I didn’t notice I had it all over my hand and I stuck my hand in the pocket of my sweatshirt. THEN I put my hand on the chair, next to my leg and got paint on my jeans as well. And somehow it got all the way up to my elbow. My record is 3 seconds of being in the studio before getting paint on me.

So I have a lot of painting clothes. But I need to find a charity that will accept some nice clothes that are a just a little creative.

My sleeve with Cadmium lemon yellow.

Break On Through (To the Other Side)

Single by the Doors, 1967 

And Finding My Bliss 

In my previous blogs I’ve talked about my struggles this year with my art. And while I’ve always found painting to be a stress reliever I do go through the typical stages most artists go through in the creation of the painting: beginning confidence; why do I think I can paint?; I’m a genius; I’ve just ruined it; okay, I’m happy now.

Recently I’ve experienced something new. A kind of zen or bliss while I’m painting. Even if it’s just a practice piece as when our portrait group meets twice a month to paint from a model. 

Maybe I’ve finally released the need for creating the “Masterpiece”. Musicians practice much more than they perform. Singers, actors, athletes, all spend a lot of time practicing. Artist often have a mindset that each piece they create should be a masterpiece, or at least salable. Maybe it’s because practice piles up in the corner :-).

So letting go of the “product” has put me in a new state of mind and I have found my bliss!

The Road I Travelled
The Road I Travelled, 9×12″ oil

Available on Daily Paintworks: https://www.dailypaintworks.com/artists/andrea-jeris-5884/artwork

 

It’s Been A Difficult Year

Last year was great—I had two successful solo shows, I painted almost every day, and I sold more art than the year before. So I took December off to enjoy the holidays with family and friends, and spent time to read about art and research artists I admire.

It was my intention to get back to painting full time in January, but I found all the information I acquired was confusing. Each artist takes a different approach: one tones their canvas, another does not; they all use different palettes of color; some draw first, others block in shapes. I wanted to try something new but didn’t know where to start. So I didn’t.

January turned into February turned into March and so on. Luckily I have artist friends who have gone through this or know artist who have gone through it (some for much longer), so I felt I would recover.

In May I went on a plein air painting retreat for four days, painting all day with other artists and that finally jump-started my shift back into the mind-set I needed to paint again. Whew!

I’ve learned a great deal this year, and I’ve wiped off as many canvasses as I’ve kept. And that’s a good thing.

I just came back from Chicago where I am again renewed after visiting the special exhibit of John Singer Sargent at the Art Institute. Hopefully I can channel some of his genius into my work (if only!).

Yes, a difficult year, but a year of growth. Who said it’d be easy after all?

Me+Sargent
Me and John Singer Sargent art

 

I Saw the Light…er, White

Garden Tour
“Garden Tour” 6×8″ oil

Many, many artists talk about painting the light ever since the Impressionist put paint in tube and went outdoors to paint.

Lately I’ve been interested with the color white. I say color because depending on the light and shadow, and what is around it, white takes on many nuances of color.

In the late 1800s and early 1900s when John Singer Sargent and Joaquín Sorolla (two artists I admire) were painting there was a lot of full, white fabric around, especially worn by women and children, as well as in the sails of boats.

These white houses and the challenge of the shadows, and the flowers caught my eye.

Back Porch
“Back Porch” 6×6″ oil

 

“Creative Block? No, Not Really”

Nature Trail 2
Nature Trail, 8×6″ oil on panel

I’ve read about artists experiencing creative block, where they didn’t know what to paint or what to do with their art next. In December I thought maybe that’s what I was going through. But really I had all sorts of ideas that I wanted to paint I just didn’t want to paint them. I was having more of an ambition block.

I had two solo shows last year, my first solo shows, which are a lot of work. Then there was a plethora of holiday shows to prepare, enter, deliver, and track.

December would’ve been a nice time to be on a tropical island relaxing in the sand, sun, and turquoise waters. Instead I chose holiday shopping and gatherings with family and friends.

I’ve read about how artists handle their creative blocks but I just didn’t WANT to paint. So I continued to look at art, read about art, I watched some instructional videos from artists whose art I admire, and just absorbed some good vibes.

Now in the New Year I am processing all that and working out what I learned, and I must say, I’m doing as much wiping out as I am painting!

Like anything it’s hard to break old habits. I find myself saying, “That’s not what I want”, and so I wipe it out and have another go at it. And I’ve gone back to standing instead of sitting while I paint so I can back up more often to look at my painting. That helps a great deal. Then I put in on my shelf in the living room so I can glance at it the rest of the day for further contemplation.

So here is “Nature Trail”, 8×6″ oil on panel, which I have painted, wiped out, and repainted each area several times. It’s a process. And I think I’m done.

www.andreajeris.com

TOO MUCH INFORMATION!!

Or the day my head blew up

In my quest for constant and never ending improvement I sometimes get too much information in my head. One day, as I put brush to canvas, my head blew up.

It all started when I was unhappy that my painting had gotten too tight (it wasn’t that way in art school and college!). It may be skillful but not very expressive. So I looked to artist’s whose work I admire—old masters as well as currently working artist—to learn new techniques.

I took a workshop, watched some videos, a tutorial, read some books and magazines. After working for years with the colors I used in college I tried a whole new brighter palette and was I having some success. I learned some looser brushwork techniques. I keep going.

One artist uses more colors; one uses a limited palette; one uses 3 colors plus white. One tones their canvas, another does not. Etc.

One day painting, the information was all in conflict in my head. That was the day it all started swirling around and my head blew up. I had to stop, light a candle, meditate, and begin again.

Let’s just try ONE thing and see what happens. Let’s think about just this ONE thing and if it works, fine; if not, fine.

And “Fresh Flowers” came out way better than I expected. Not as loose as I’m working toward, but I pretty much like it. What do you think?

Fresh Flowers
“Fresh Flowers” 10×8″ oil on panel

I Just Can’t Contain Myself

If ever there were a flower bursting with joy it would be the peonies growing behind my deck. When I first moved into this house they were growing on the side of the house. Who could see them there? I moved them right outside my back deck where I can see them from my desk and they have flourished.

I have invited other artists over to paint them, as I just had to share their beauty. I feel like there is a garden party the whole time they are in bloom. I cannot paint them enough.

I present to you “Bursting Peony” available at Daily Paintworks: http://www.dailypaintworks.com/buy/auction/685548

Bursting Peony
Bursting Peony, 6×6″ oil on panel

Who Doesn’t Love Their Dog Raise Your Hand

I thought so. If you have a dog you love him or her to death. He’s a good boy; she’s a good girl. (So don’t ask them that anymore; just tell them already!)

My last post, the dog portrait, got a lot of attention AND a commission to paint another dog portrait, Lucy. What a beauty she is.

I love to paint; it is a joy. It’s like when you “throw the ball for the dog” kind of joy.

Painting a commissioned piece is a bit more stressful I find. It’s more like “sitting there with the biscuit on your nose waiting to be told, ‘Ok'”, kind of fine line between pain and pleasure.

So in the end I do my best see what happens.

Here is “Lucy”.

Lucy
“Lucy” 8×10″ oil on canvas

Don’t Tell My Cats I Painted A Dog

I’ve painted five pictures of cats—not all mine—and two with people walking their dogs but they are pretty small. This is my first portrait of a dog.

My cat, Buster, was rescued from a parking lot when a stray cat had a litter there. When I thought he needed a friend (he told me later he didn’t). I went to the Capitol Area Humane Society to find LeeLuu. She is a sweetheart.

The CAHS is having their annual fundraiser, the Fur Ball Gala, “Casabarka”. I am donating this painting for their auction. My photographer friend, John Diephouse, provided me with a photograph of his dog Cooper, to use as a reference from which to paint. I hope it brings in a good bid.

Casabarka

Surveying Her Subjects

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.

Surveying Her Subjects
“Surveying Her Subjects”, 6×6″ oil on panel

Available at Daily Paintworks: http://www.dailypaintworks.com/buy/auction/664015