Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Daily Painting Practice - Painting Fishing Boats and dealing with doubt

click on the painting to enlarge the image

(title pending approval by the CTO
Chief Title Officer/wife)
oil on canvas

I almost named this Dream Boat because I like to dream that someday I will be able to live and paint in Nova Scotia or Maine, then be able to paint scenes like this every morning.

I will let this painting sit for about a week or two before officially declaring it finished. Also, my
Council of Four must file their critiques before it is officially released. Every emerging artist should have an entourage he can depend on for critiques, titles, encouragement and suggestions because art can be a dangerous career choice.

Left alone to his own thoughts of what it means to be a successful artist, the artist in training can quickly become overwhelmed and discouraged and begin to slip into melancholy and despair.

So I thought it would be a good idea to post the warning signs of artistic depression for all those artist support people out there. Post these on the refrigerator at home . (That is the first place a depressed artist goes.)

There are four stages that lead to creative impotence that every artist- wanna- be should be aware of. Have your support team look for these signs and have an intervention plan ready.

The first warning sign is,
not caring enough to clean the studio. This leads to using dirty brushes and getting lazy with putting out enough fresh paint. Also playing Barry Manilow over and over again in the studio is a dead give away something is wrong. Catching artistic depression early is the key to a quick recovery.

The second sign,
the artist begins to take a lot of breaks. You'll begin to hear the excuses roll out " I need time to recharge my creative batteries", or "I need to take a step back", and the 911 call for help..." I'm working it out in my head"... At this point he may begin to drink an excessive amount of tea. This is usually followed by binge eating and weight gain, or compulsive shopping in art stores for " just one more brush".

Third, the
self pity and self doubt stage. " I can't paint, I'll never be good enough..." this requires quick intervention and encouragement by the support team. However, they need to be very careful. Giving the artist reminders of how Aunt Martha still loves the painting he did in third grade, may do more harm than good.

Last, the
artist stops showering, brushing his teeth, combing his hair. He makes statements like" I can make more money at McDonald's" Now is the time for emergency action , and a dose of reality.
The support person should sit the artist down someplace other than the studio, make a nice cup of herb tea to calm him down then repeat these words very gently.
If you think making money and working at McDonald's or Walmart will make you happy... then I'll support you in that effort."

Don't be surprised if your artist's creative output for the next week is at a frantic pace. Fear, when applied by a trained artist support person can be a great motivator. Good luck!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Daily painting practice - Making progress on the still life

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Summer Still Life - Work in Progress
oil on canvas

I finished teaching my oil painting class at the Joslyn Art Museum. By the last class you could really see the improvement everyone had made. ... ( And they still enjoy painting!). Since they have done so well I figure I should move along on my still life. Here is the latest stage. Still adding color but trying to control the values.

In my class I talked about picking the star of the composition and making sure everything else played a supporting role to the star. To me, the star of this show is the cantaloupe. Even though it sits behind the grapes ( and the grapes are trying hard to upstage the star) I feel the grapes offer the support of contrast as they go back into the rich color of the melon. The apple doesn't take away any of the spot light and the brass bowl does a good job as the backdrop. It works well as a neutral tone to help set off the orange.
Thinking of your composition as a Broadway stage play with stars ad supporting characters is a great way to check that your painting will still hold interest long after you are finished

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Daily Painting Practice- Northwoods painting Completed

Back in May (May 13,14 and 16) I posted a few progress shots of this painting. I decided to post them all together again to let you see the progression.
Some paintings sit for a while before I complete them. This is one of those paintings.

click on the photos to enlarge the image

Northern Woods ( still needs a title)
oil on canvas

I haven't come up with a title yet. Actually all painting titles go through another department... My CTO ( chief title officer)/wife runs that show. She my need to recruit our Wisconsin tour guides for some help.

I'm sure she would love to hear some suggestions.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Daily Painting Practice - Starts and Finishes

I love Nova Scotia. I could paint there for several lifetimes. Living in Omaha, Nebraska is quite a world away from Nova Scotia, but I can go there anytime by sitting in my studio and painting.

Here is a new painting I am just beginning to work on.

When I start adding more color, the boats seem to take on their own personality. It's almost like painting people.
click on the painting to enlarge the image

Last Days at Rosenblatt Stadium
oil on canvas

Speaking of painting people... I finally finished my tribute to Rosenblatt Stadium. No wonder I needed to escape to Nova Scotia. This baseball painting may be the longest I have ever worked on a single painting.

My next adventure is to explore how to make prints of it.... Wait , that means I'm not done with it yet!!

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Daily Painting Practice - Stage two of New Still Life - Adding Color

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Still Life -Work in Progress
Stage Two - Adding Color

OK. I 'm slowly adding color now, not because the drawing was perfect, with every detail sketched out or because the values were all correct in the under painting. (definitely not the case with either item) No, I just want to get to the color because that's the fun least for this painting.

I put a cool blue wash over the background making sure to include the same wash and color in the shadow side of the objects. Then I add small bits of color keeping the colors muted and the paint very thin at this point. Keeping the edges soft is always on my mind at this stage, I wish I had a good song with those words in the lyrics... I'd be humming it now.

" keep the edges soft and it will be alright, keep the edges soft and you can paint all night..."

Now if I add a Pickup truck, a dog and some prison time to those lyrics I may have me the start of a good country music song. Yee Haa!