I had some good news this month, I had one painting juried into the Salon International Competition. Yeehah! It is so encouraging to get into these shows. It is great exposure...However, that was followed a rejection of my entries for the Oil Painters of America National Show. Bummer! So what is the lesson here?
Keep your eyes on the prize. I'm not talking about the prize of getting into national competitions, I'm talking about the prize of continuing to strive to do your best work. While getting into these shows definitely looks good on your art resume, and they are a good way to promote your work, it is not the end goal. Painting work you are proud of is the goal and the prize.
click on the painting to enlarge the image
No Sour Grapes
oil on masonite
So no sour grapes! Keep trying to get into competitions and keep painting.
All artists must have an abundance of art magazines. It's one of the rules. ( I have piles and piles of them in the studio,the living room...on my bed stand...the kitchen table) However, the instruction manual for becoming an artist doesn't say what you are supposed to do with all those magazines once you have looked through them over and over and over and over again. Here's a suggestion that is both fun and rewarding.
A few artist friends I haven't seen in a while got together for a painting day. I wasn't sure what I was going to paint, going out in sub-zero winter weather wasn't going to happen, so I brought some of those old magazines and decided to have fun copying from a master.
There are so many ways to learn from this exercise. Look for a painting that stands out to you and try to find the reason it does. Then have fun painting that reason. Make the painting your own and not just a twin of the original. However, always give credit to the original artist in your title of the painting. Always say it is your copy from the original artist's work. Artists have been copying each other since artists first started drawing. So don't be shy, have a copy party with a few friends. At least you'll have a reason to tell your librarian/wife why you need all those magazines.
One of my favorite contemporary artists is Clyde Aspevig. Lucky for me there was one of his paintings in the magazine.
Ok, so last week I attempted a small "easy painting" that ended up not being so "easy". This week it seemed like the obvious thing to do would be to swing towards the opposite direction. Here's the underpainting stage, it almost looks like a watercolor.
Where do you begin? After painting in the sky I found myself thinking " where to start?" Do I paint from left to right? Or work over the whole painting at the same time?
Here is the comparison to the plein air sketch. I mistakenly started painting over it before I caught myself. Sometimes it doesn't pay to try and be efficient. .
I decided to start with the center of interest.
One thing to note is if you have a weakness try and find a solution to help you improve it. I always have a hard time with windows and keeping a clean line in a cityscape. So I use a T-square as a guide, (I also have to remember to keep count of the windows...up and down!)
I thought it would help if I zoomed in for you to see the area I am working on. You can see the guide lines for the windows I drew in with pencil.
This level of detail is very enjoyable for me. I am still watching for hard and soft edges, tone, and form even zoomed in this far. This is the view my eyes have sitting directly in front of the painting. You need to be very careful though when sitting this close. Be sure to step back often because....
This is the size of the painting! Keep your eyes on the big picture!!! (even when working on small details.)