—Artists have relied on commissions for income throughout the history of art. It’s a sale before you’ve done the painting. What could be better? Well…
Hopefully the client has chosen you because they like your art style. But still they have the final say on how the painting comes out. And if it’s a portrait the pressure is great, even if it is a pet portrait. They know the person or pet intimately and you don’t.
Ideally you get paid half upfront so if they don’t like it in the end at least you get paid for materials and some of your time. And showing the client a sketch before painting can be helpful.
I was painting a pet portrait with added sunflowers for my neighbor for her daughter and the fact that she is a friend made it a bit more scary because I wanted to do a really good job. When I emailed them a photo she said there was something wrong with the eyes. My heart sank.
This was not a technical term I could deal with. But she sent me another photo and I could see a difference. She had said he looked angry and I could see in this new photo the eyes were softer.
The joy of oil paint (which stays wet forever in my house) is that it is easily changeable. I worked on it some more and in the end, mother and daughter had tears of delight and sadness (at the loss of Chauncey).
Starting out with that first box of 8 crayons was quite fun but oh! when I got my first box of 64 I was ecstatic! And then there was more!
So when I hear of artists using a limited palette I ask, why?
Anders Zorn used yellow ochre, ivory black, vermilion and titanium white. That’s it! And he produced brilliant masterpieces.
Many artists choose a palette that includes warm and cool primaries, red, blue, and yellow, plus white. Scott Christensen uses just red, blue and yellow with some grays as values to modify color and tone. Carol Marine adds burnt umber to her primaries. Kathleen Dunphy includes Naples Yellow Deep and a gray.
A limited palette has many advantages. If you are a Plein air painter (painting outdoors) you have less to carry. Also when you mix all your colors from these limited colors you should be able to create harmony in your work.
On the flip side there are artists such as Karin Jurik who love, love, love color and with maybe 80 colors in her studio, puts out probably 45 or more on her palette—a pizza pan. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xAIs1S_zAMI) Having so many to choose from can make you lazy. But Karin mixes every paint she uses.
As I read about artists whose work I admire I like to buy a color or two that they mention as their favorite or a color they find highly useful. So although I basically work with a split primary palette (warm and cool) plus white, I have collected indeed my box of 64 and more!
Here is my latest piece, “On the Road Again”, 10×20” oil on canvas.
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.
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.
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.
When we are quiet, when we observe, when we are still, we let it in. We let in nature, as it will begin to trust us. We let in beauty as we see more. We let in peace as we connect with the heartbeat of the universe.
Or, like this little kitty, well, he is trying to let in his next meal I suppose.
“Bluebird” is a song credited to Paul and Linda McCartney that was originally released on the Wings’ album Band on the Run.
These cute little guys don’t visit my yard. My sister is lucky. They even nest in her yard from time to time.
They’ve been used as symbols in songs by Paul McCartney, by David Bowie, by the Moody Blues, and Judy Garland’s “Over the Rainbow”. I remember a childhood rhyme that was something…”Bluebird, bluebird, in and out the window…”
Originally posted on Art of Quotation: ? “Studio Ghosts: When you’re in the studio painting, there are a lot of people in there with you – your teachers, friends, painters from history, critics… and one by one if you’re really painting, they walk out. And if you’re really painting YOU walk out.” Philip Guston, painter
Creating a piece of art is not enough if you put it out into the world. A titled is required. Some artists think the art should speak for itself and “Untitled” is sufficient. Most viewers would like more. They would like to gain a little insight from the title. What was the artist thinking when they created this piece?
More likely, what was the artist thinking when they created this title?
Obvious titles such as “Apples in a Bowl” at least allow a way to inventory the work. I am guilty all too often of taking this easy way out. Other options are to pick a small, bright spot in the work, or the focal point.
Some artists look to poetry, songs, quotes, religion, books, or humor to find their titles. If you paint a lake you might avoid the name of the lake or you may turn off potential buyers because it’s not their lake.
Every once in awhile when I come up with my concept for the piece, I come up with the title at the same time. That’s the best. I feel like I’m on a first name basis with my art before I’ve even painted it. How can that not turn out good?
After much soul searching and staring at my new painting I came up with “Ethereal Glow” for the title. I didn’t want to be obvious—”Fish in Pond”, Koi and Goldfish”, or “Sunlit something”. They certainly did glow in the sun, and looked somewhat heavenly as they swam in and out of the green and blue depths. What do you think?