I was listening to a podcast by the Savvy Painter, Antrese Wood, where she interviews successful artists (http://www.savvypainter.com), and the artist was saying he works on 40 to 50 canvases at a time.
Well my studio isn’t big enough to do that, but I’ve been working on one piece at a time. Working small and in oil, wet on wet, it generally requires finishing a painting in one session.
Lately though, some of the techniques I want to use haven’t been working and it would seem the paint needs to dry before I apply the next layer. So working on more than one piece would be beneficial.
Also, a fellow artist point out to me that if you are having a problem with a painting and getting frustrated, setting it aside and working on another can 1) build your confidence back up, and 2) going back to the first painting later you may see the problem in a new light and it has solved itself.
Indeed it seems to be working. I started this tulip painting, and then started a beach scene. Came back and finished the tulips and started 2 more beach scenes. Solving problems in one saves time with the next and letting areas dry for a certain texture is working well. I like it.
“Field of Tulips”, 8×10″ oil, available at http://www.dailypaintworks.com/buy/auction/560288
After I took that e-Course in the winter I wanted to make sure I embedded the lessons in my memory, and since the subject matter we painted was basically florals, I painted several more flower still lifes. I’m quite happy with the results.
Then the weather got nice and plein air painting started (painting outdoors) and I was back out in the landscape. I’m always rusty at first and this year was no different. But going out each week helps and I’m getting better.
In the meantime, back in the studio I remembered some photos I took of a house nearby that has it’s whole front yard filled with tulips! Maybe this would be my happy medium. This could be a nice transition between flowers and the landscape. It was very fun to paint.
People think it’s great that an artist gets to paint all day, and it is. But every day I have to find something to paint. For years I painted landscapes. A couple of years ago I ventured into the still life.
Successful artists tell you to “paint what you love”, “paint what you are passionate about”.
I love a dynamic sky, flowers, and birds. I hadn’t really painted flowers or birds until this last year or two. The online class I just completed (see previous blogs) was all flowers and it was great. Eager to continue with flowers I looked into my photo reference files (we are just coming out of winter here in Michigan). My spring flowers are just beginning to peek out of the dirt, but it will be a few weeks before I have anything to paint from my garden.
I started with an Iris, then a garden scene on a 6×6″ panel—maybe too small for such a large subject.
I saw some paintings by Cezanne of some apples and got inspired. I bought some apples and set up a still life with a white pitcher on a sunny day and painted this 10×8″ oil.
Using what I learned in class I noticed old habits trying to resurface and I kept thinking of shortcuts that might be easier. I only have to step back and look to see those sabotaging thoughts aren’t working. Stepping back from the work is one of the most important parts of painting…
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.
While I’d love to be painting in the south of France in the springtime that’s not always possible (if ever). And while a fresh, white blanket of snow can be pretty, I’m not going out there to paint.
Hence the photographic reference comes into play.
This week’s eCourse Dreama tells us her photo had white shutters but she made them blue in Photoshop®. I also notice some of the flowers have been squiggled in with some color as well.
I do my best to compose in the camera, trying to get a paintable shot. Photoshop allows me to crop out and add elements to those not so perfect shots and work it out before I even get to the canvas. Every little bit helps.
The photo, after all, is not something to be copied, but a jumping off point for so much more.
Here is my “blue shutters” painting from week 6. #DreamLovePaint
Week 4 of my eCourse and I feel like I’m getting the hang of it. Start out with thin paint, bold and bright, massing in the shapes. Then redefine the drawing with this handy tool, the Kemper wipe out tool. It has a pointy rubber tip on one end and a chiseled rubber tip on the other; it removes the paint from the surface.
Moving on to thicker more opaque paint with lively brushtrokes and a variety of colors allowing some of the layer below to show through.
If I fuss too much in one area, instead of blending it starts getting mushy, losing that lively quality, paint builds up, and it gets muddy.
The Kemper tool comes in handy here. I can wipe out a whole area back to the surface and start over. Oil paint stays wet for a long time allowing me to do that. Put back in the brights and be more attentive to the opaques. Way better than wiping out on a surf board.
Here is my blue chair painting from week 4. #DreamLovePaint
Fall weather has been great this year. Sunny and warm is not a day to be in the studio. I took a day to be outside in the sun and fresh air getting inspired and taking pics. Potter Park Zoo and Hawk Island Park provided me with both.
I could’ve set up to paint on site, but I wanted to get as many photos as I could for the upcoming studio time when the weather won’t be so nice. Photos and some notes will provide the inspiration making the creation of the art just a matter of getting into the “zone” and putting on the paint. (Oh, ho! if only it were that easy!)
But for me the vision, the excitement has to be inside before anything worthwhile shows up on the canvas. And the light and colors of this fall day was quite thrilling.
Every Spring I have so much anticipation when my peonies start coming up, and this year they were so big! There were so many buds! It was going to be a bumper crop. When I first moved into this house these plants were on the side of the house. I immediately moved them to the back of the deck so I could see them every day. Some are pink and some are white with a blush of yellow-pink.
Then they burst into bloom and they are gorgeous! And the fragrance is more wonderful than any perfume you can buy. I took lots of photos (which means lots of paintings).
Then a heavy rainfall overnight and alas, they lie limp and wet, too heavy with rain to get up again.
This painting, 8×10″ acrylic on Gessobord panel, is available for $95. http://www.dailypaintworks.com/fineart/andrea-jeris/pink-peonies/392069
Doesn’t this remind you of something? I’m just saying.
Sometimes art shows have themes. When “Still Lifes” came up I said, “I don’t do still lifes, I’m a landscape painter.”
But what if I did? Surely not a bowl of fruit. But maybe á la Andy Warhol I could paint a can of soup, I’ve got that in the cupboard. And some crackers. And so “Vertical Lunch” was created and a whole new subject matter for me to paint. I put it on Facebook to show my friends and it sold the next day. Holy moly!
Then came breakfast, dinner, and desert. I’m liking the still life.