Thank You for Patronizing Me…Wait…What?

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.

honey-lemon
Honey & Lemon, oil on panel, 6×8″

Available at Dailypaintworks on auction: http://www.dailypaintworks.com/buy/auction/637275

Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket

Cutting Tulips

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.

Holy moly!

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.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Yard of Tulips

“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.

What do you think?

Florals:

Lansing Art Gallery

There is more than just painting to being an artist. After the painting is done there is choosing a title, photographing it, recording it in my database, adding it to my website, and deciding where to sell it—a local gallery, a distant gallery, an online gallery, in a show, with a frame or not, and of course the price. And then how to market it.

Today I delivered these four pieces and they are now available at the Lansing Art Gallery, 119 N. Washington Square, in downtown Lansing, Michigan. It’s a beautiful gallery just a block from the state capitol if you are interested.

What should I paint?

Apples and White Pitcher

Apples and White Pitcher, 10×8 oil

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.

Iris    Flower Path 2

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…

…So is deciding what to paint, at least for me.

It Can Make You Happy

blue jar

A huge winter snowstorm is a great reason to be inside painting. The 10″ of snow makes it quite bright outside in a basically black and white world.

My painting from week 5 of my eCourse is also bright, but very colorful and much more cheery than the blowing snow outside. It makes me happy to be reminded that Spring will come again and flowers will bloom. It makes me smile.

I was about to wipe out one area I didn’t like to repaint it, when I took a few steps back to have a look and saw it looked really good. Sometimes we are too close to something and we need some distance to see it clearly.

When I was just about finished I took a photo and was amazed at how a few problems stood out like a flashing lights. So a few more tweaks to take care of those and I’m happy.

A good reason to paint and a good reason to have art around me—it makes me happy.

Here is my flower painting from week 5. #DreamLovePaint

Breaking Out Is Hard To Do

sunflower

Painting realistically is not hard for me. Pushing it to photo-realism is challenging but not impossible. (I used to think I could’ve been a forger.) But I find it tedious, and with cameras what they are today, why paint that way?

I want to make my art look like paint, show my brushstrokes and marks, and show my interpretation of the subject.

But breaking habits is not easy. This week’s painting of a sunflower proved that. When watching my eCourse DreamLovePaint video and Dreama said to “mass in the shapes of the petals”, boy I wanted to paint each and every petal!

This is going to take some practice.

Here is my sunflower painting from week 3. #DreamLovePaint

FRUSTRATION! The Learning Struggle

Oh So Sweet

Every time I take a class I want to know everything NOW! Just open my head and pour it in. I am always frustrated in the beginning because in any class there are always various skill levels of people signed up and there is a certain amount of basics to get through.
My eCourse is no different. I want to paint. But there is setting up the studio, setting up the palette, loading up the brush, cleaning the brush, yada, yada, yada… all good information, and I want to PAINT. And I learned a lot in spite of myself.

I’ve always known certain pigments didn’t cover as well as others and this was annoying. These are the transparents, and now I know how to use them to my advantage. As a thin underpainting they provide a rich glow of bright color, which work with the next layer of thicker opaque color to provide depth and richness.

The second week we painted! After switching to acrylics for the past 3 years I remembered why I like painting in oils. Thick and buttery, there is nothing like it. And it’s pretty easy to wipe out and paint over if I don’t like what I’ve done (which I did several times).
So I’m getting the hang of this loose brushstroke thing, at least while I’m watching Dreama do it. We’ll have to see if I can do it on my own with my own painting. But I’ve still got 4 weeks to go.

Here is my cupcake painting from week 2 #DreamLovePaint.

Workin’ It—Continued 2

acrylic painting in progress
painting 4

More work on the bottles. More work on the background. Back and forth. Keeping it balanced. Darken the darks. Lighten the lights. Add the reflections. Ooh that pops!

The more I look, the more I see. I can put in too much. Wipe it out and keep it simple in one area. Add some detail in another. I don’t want to get tight. I don’t want to get photographic. I’m finding more and more value in scraping out areas and repainting. I usually say right after I scrape it out, “Oh, I shouldn’t have done that.” But as I’m painting again it always looks better.

shelf where I look at my art
Wall of contemplation

Now it goes on my wall of contemplation, so in the evening while I’m reading or watching TV I can keep looking up and see it and in those glances I see things that make me happy or that are just not right.

acrylic painting in progress
Painting 5

I thought I was done with this but I see that white beam in the back is bothering me. So more painting is to be done.

To be continued…

Workin’ It—Continued

In a landscape painting I usually work back to front. In this still life I wanted to block in some of the background to have an underpainting of color and then as I work on the bottles I can throw some the color I use in the bottles into the background so it will tie into the whole painting.

acrylic painting in progress
Painting in progress

I worked on some of the bottles and blocked in the other 2. I’m not sure why I chose that color. I just wanted something that glowed a bit. Neutralized the background so I can keep things relating to each other. Also starting the tabletop. I have a feeling this will go through many changes before I’m happy.

Acrylic painting in progress
Painting in progress 3.