Monday, June 29, 2015

Daily Painting Practice - the composition you want... or a surprise

Continued with the painting hoping to  unbalance the composition. At this point I was leaning towards  making the  bird feeder the  focal point.

Tea For Two
But surprise surprise the hydrangea flowers just kept pulling me back.... so forget everything I wrote about last time.  Flowers or bird feeder... the focal point is out of my control.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Starving Artist Sale -Maine Composition and Color studies -

Starving Artist Sale:
Composition and Color Studies - $200 Framed Free shipping-
To purchase see the Starving Artist Sale on my website (

Coastal Study #1
oil on hardboard panel 
A great way to start a collection.  Composition and color studies are paintings not brought to the same degree of finish as my usual work but do capture the feelings and sense of place I hope to bring to my larger pieces.

Monday, June 01, 2015

Daily Painting Practice - Too much balance in the composition

When is balance in a painting a bad thing?

I knew when I started this composition there would be a point when a decision had to be made. Of course this decision should normally be made before you start to paint, but then my approach is hardly ever normal.
 The problem is the ever sought after and much in demand...focal point. Where does an artist want the viewer's eyes to begin and how long does he want those eyes to remain there? These should be deliberate decisions by the artist. When I have a painting that is weak in composition it is most often because I haven't made a decision about the focal point.
 The analogy is often made that the focal point should be the star of the picture and everything else is part of the supporting cast. Not having a focal point in a painting would be like not having a main character in a play or movie. The audience needs a reason to care or in the case of a painting a reason to spend time looking.
 So here we are right at the point of deciding, two actors are standing on stage, one on the right and one on the left. Who should be the star of the scene?  
It is too balanced, even though the bush is round and fat and the pole is thin and straight, that diversity is not enough . We need a star to care about. So, I must make a decision: the hydrangea bush or the bird feeder? Something must stand back and support the other.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Daily Painting Practice - Caught in the act - Bad habits of an artist.

Caught in the act -

The crime: Starting a painting without thought and with malice toward a canvas.

The Facts:
On the morning of May 20 an artist walked into the studio and began to attack a young canvas. It was primed and waiting patiently for the next stage of its development. Without reason or forethought, and with no explanation, the artist picked up an unclean brush and began using it on the victim. Luckily the artist was caught in the act before he could inflict some real damage.

Warning: the following photo is graphic and disturbing.
When asked, "What were you thinking?" The artist broke down and ran from the studio. He was last seen in the kitchen ... near the refrigerator... Sad very sad.
 It could have been worse.  The assailant was caught in time and the little painting is now recovering from the attack with no damage to her image.  It is hoped it will develop into a fine painting.
 Let this be a lesson to all who paint...  
 Remember ... It's a crime to start painting with a dirty palette or brush.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Daily Painting Practice- Paintings for the gallery

There is a lot of prep work  before sending work off to a Gallery.

 Framing is always the most time consuming and there is no way to get around the expense. After many painful experiments with different frames, (and trying to buy cheap) I've finally learned my lesson and will not by frames from art supply companies any more. I recommend not skimping but not going overboard either.
Standardizing on good frames takes a lot of the hassle away. 

The day before is the norm for me to get everything ready to deliver.  First is varnishing each painting, I am trying Gamvar now but in the past I have used Liquin or a Windsor Newton mat varnish.
 Not much room left to maneuver. I also photograph each painting before putting them back in the frames. I hang tracing paper in front of the light to cut down on glare and hot spots while taking several exposures of each painting. Then I need to select the best ones and photo-edit each for the website.
 After this the hard work begins, I need titles... I try but I really am terrible and giving titles to the work. ( I'm of the  "Seascape Number 14" school of thought). However, she who must not be named, has taken on most of my titles... after mine get rejected. 

This one I did name however.
oil on canvas
Make a list of which paintings are leaving, give them prices and make sure they are added to the database and website. Then find a box for each one and pack the car.  Then wait by the phone and hope to hear of a sale  or two.