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.

Monday, April 27, 2015

daily painting practice - Maine fog, rocks and foggy rocks

Painting Fog

I find fog so interesting to paint.  The light is bouncing around within the atmosphere, dispersing color all over the place . Yet at the same time it holds everything it touches together.

Rocks on the other hand are an extreme mental excersise for me.  Meaning, that I must constantly think about the surface angles or planes, and figure how the light reacts to those planes.

Ah, but foggy rocks are even more interesting, because the fog softens the edges but reflects the light in weird ways.  It is very difficult to get just the right delicate balance between soft edge and hard edge, weight and atmosphere, depth and concealment when  trying to capture that feeling of fog lifting over the water and the rocks. I paint the fog in very thin layers and wait until the paint drys before scrumbling in another layer, wiping off the paint as much as I put it on the surface.

Painting in progress continues...
Portland Head Light  in the Fog


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Daily Painting Practice - Portland Head Light a Maine lighthouse

Today's Problem: How do you paint an icon.
I'm not talking about the religious type of icon painted on a wooden panel , I mean an icon of a place. The Portland Head Light located in  Cape Elizabeth, Maine is an iconic image if ever there was one. It is probably the most photographed lighthouse in Maine. Nearly everyone has seen a photograph, calendar, postcard or print of it.  So why am I going to paint it? 
 I have been there many times and painted the surrounding coast line but only a few times have I tried painting the lighthouse. Once, it was foggy and raining and I stood 6 inches from the edge of a cliff to do it.

 Every artist I know likes to eat. Some, more than others, and some  think drink is more important, but the end goal is the same. Eat to live and live to paint....... but we must sell something to do either. 

  Since gallery owners who represent artist's have the same interest in eating, we both make compromises in order to  attract collectors. Sometimes that means painting subjects that everyone has painted before. This is not a new problem that the artist faces but it always brings up the same questions for us. Who do I paint for, myself or a potential collector? 
Portland Head Light in the fog
  If you paint still lifes, ask yourself how many apples or sunflowers have been painted before and by how many artists? Yet, people love and continue to buy paintings of apples and sunflowers... and this has been going on for centuries. 
So I have no problem at all painting a lighthouse that is an iconic image... well, I have lots of problems painting it  just not a problem selecting it as a subject.   

And so I begin.....

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Back to daily painting practice

Back in Business!

After a long absence due to an acute case of blogatosis ( a debilitating disease caused by laziness leading to an addiction to posting art on my Facebook page),  and a long hard winter here in Maine, I am back.  

For my grand re-opening of Daily Painting Practice I will be going back to basics, that means, posting more progress pictures and showing how I develop ideas, what techniques I am using, and as a format for discussing what I find of value in developing as an artist.
While Facebook has been a great place to network with other artists and to display work to interested groups of certain types of art, it is not a good place for descriptive writing, teaching or sharing anything in developmental stages. 

So I will be posting regular (a very subjective word) installments again. Stay tuned ... hello, is anyone still out there?