Saturday, May 05, 2007

May 5 - Lesson Painting, Harness Tracks Auction Piece

Do you have those days when your work just seems to not be "good enough"? I'm going through one of those phases, common to all artists, wherein the work one does just doesn't seem "good enough". It doesn't mean quitting. It doesn't mean I hate what I do. It doesn't even mean that I'm stuck! What it means is my head is ahead of my hands. Happens all the time. My brain knows a whole bunch of stuff, but my brain-to-hand connection doesn't know how to get it out on a canvas.

So what to do? I go to my library, and start studying various chapters and parts of books I have there. Over nine shelves of art books have been welcomed to my studio over the years, and in them I can find answers. I seek bits and pieces of knowledge from them. I invite them to come sit on my taboret, and then I paint. I paint with new knowledge and renewed vigor for the task of creating truly "good" art.

This 12 x 16 oil is a start for a painting for the Harness Tracks of America auction, one I enjoy entering with up to three pieces each year. You can find out more about it here. This one won't be for sale when it is done, but will be up for auction in October of this year.

I've laid in the larger darks and some of the mid-tones on this piece, and will be adding the horse, cart, driver, bridge and bushes tomorrow. Very pastoral. Oh, the Springbok painting is on hold while I absorb more knowledge.

Congratulations to Louise Mellon on her addition of the oil "By the Stream" to her collection!
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Quick Note and Explanation

In trying to figure out why folks weren't getting the dailies, I inadvertently removed the address to send it to all of you on the mailing list two days ago. I'm so sorry you missed your morning coffee image! With this email, it should be fixed now. Thanks to all who wrote.

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Friday, May 04, 2007

May 4 - Roses of Love 12 x 9 acrylic

Remember my mention of the roses brought to me by my beloved spouse of ten years? Of course I needed to paint them! Picking subjects that are near and dear to one's heart is a good start for a good painting. One must remember, though, that the painting and the subject are not as important as the learning that takes place when you do the creating! Many times artists put 'way too much of themselves into a work, erroneously measuring their total success against the success of that one painting. Bad idea. If the painting doesn't work out, learn from it and move on (and paint it out at the first opportunity!)
So paint with joy, and choose meaningful subjects to create. Just remember that the end product ought only be a stepping stone on your progress as an artist.

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May 3 - (Late, hey, it was our Anniversary!) Springbok detail

OK, anniversary and my beloved took me away from the easel for an evening out to celebrate ten years last night, so I didn't post my work until this morning. Priorities!

This is a detail shot of the Springbok as I am working on them. The ones on the right are more complete than those on the left side, and I'm starting to "marry" the foreground to the sky with the addition of a mid-ground off in the distance behind the critters.

Some have asked why they aren't hopping like popcorn, but that's a characteristic of the Impala. I didn't choose to paint Impala for two reasons--one, the Springbok were almost wiped out by over hunting at one point, and I'm concerned about such issues, and second, I liked the dark stripe separating their fawn topside from their white underbelly.

In other news, I have two demonstrations for art groups coming up in So. Cal. next week, one in Murrieta, and one in Upland. If you can come to either (daytime for both), let me know. The only workshop I'm doing in California in Murrieta on the 15th already has applicants. Full day of color for $45!!

I am going back to blogger postings, as it just is easier on me..and I need an assistant!

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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

May 2 - Working on the Springboks, 48 x 60 canvas

I was able to take the oh-so-wet painting out into the sunlight and get an accurate color photo of it, so far. Today's work was spent in planning and plotting the locations of the Springbok. I have scraped the extra paint from the canvas in the area where they are to go, and sketched in the general position of each of the animals. Now, the sketches I sent out yesterday had them all going to the right! But as sometimes happens, a change was in order to help the composition. By making them go "stage left", I see the composition with more continuity and less weight in that sunlit area. Better design! There will be vegetation and trees in the lower third of the canvas as well, coming tomorrow.

However, tomorrow is our tenth wedding anniversary, so we'll see just how much or how little I get done! Beloved husband already came in with a bottle of Wilson Creek's Almond Champagne, a dozen roses and a card! I'm so lucky to be in his life!

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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

May 1 - Sketches for the "big one", Springboks and Clouds

I'm sending a smaller image to see if the folks missing the emails might get this one. It is "just" one of the pages of my sketchbook, covered in Springbok sketches, as I work out the positions of the herd that will soon be coming across the top of the small ridge in the foreground of the 48 x 60 inch canvas I started yesterday. When dealing with animals, I like to do these kinds of sketches, loosely, to get the "feel" of the movement rather than the details. I can always paint details, and who wants to do them over and over? Called "gesture drawing", this is one of the foundation skills developed in most life drawing classes. Comes in REAL handy when planning imagery!

Those collectors who wrote asking how to get one of the Turf Club cards, I asked the representative if anyone can buy them. He said, 'Absolutely not. These are for the VIPs, the press, the owners and trainers only." I was told that cards can be purchased after the close of the racing season--September 5. Since he was comfortable with the question, I am thinking these are sort of a collectors' item!

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Monday, April 30, 2007

April 30 - Lesson painting on the African Series, Springbok 48 x 60 Oil

Oh Goodness! What a marathon day of painting! I hit the inch and a quarter filbert and went to town on the backdrop for the herd of Springbok that will be bouncing and running across this sky. I'm so pleased with how much I have gotten done, and will be looking to plant those mammals tomorrow. I'll do some correcting on the sky as well when the final layers go on.

I have looked at every Springbok in my files and on the 'Net to where my head's spinning. I know the proportions of leg joints to body thickness, and of course having drawn hundreds of ungulates in my career, pulling off a herd of them from sketches ought to be, well, not quite a piece of cake.

On another note, I received in the mail the Del Mar Race Track's 2007 Turf Club Pass with my painting on it. Every person who purchases a pass for the Del Mar Thoroughbred Racing season this year will have my painting in their hand when they go through the gates! How fun is that? I'm honored to have my image (and name!) on every card for this season.

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Sunday, April 29, 2007

April 29 - Starting the Big One, 48 x 60 Oil

Time to begin the big one, and I can already see it finished in my mind. That completely takes out any trepidation. The canvas is a 4 x 5 FOOT gallery wrap, which means the canvas goes all the way around the edges. I'd mentioned that I'd wanted to do the more common African mammals--the lions and the zebra, but I remembered the Springbok, and how elegant they are! Combining that with a tumultous cloud backlit sky, and I think I'll have my painting!

So here I've taken an image of my studio setup, with this huge canvas on my Hughes easel, and it has the tone to get rid of the white canvas already on it. I've sketched in the cloud structure lightly, which makes up the abstract framing element to bring attention and eye direction down to the group of Springbok that are going to be backlit. It's a bit hard to see from this angle. Goodness, photographing this will just have to happen outdoors!
If you have any questions about the easel setup or the taboret shown, please ask. I'm so used to it, that I might overlook something you'd enjoy knowing more about. The hanging covered trash receptacle is a nifty device available from and it uses ordinary grocery bags. No fumes from paint towels!

Congratulations to new collector Anthepy Nelson of Timonium, Maryland on purchasing "The Red Barn" from the dailypaintings site from June of last year. Thank you so much!

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