Sunday, May 25, 2014

Tips on Enjoying Your Painting Experience - May 2014

"Mark of the Potter" - Watercolor  at Cultural Arts Center Show - April 2013
Tips on Enjoying Your Painting Experience - When I retired in March of 2010, I was looking to fill my days with meaningful experiences.   I had been fortunate to have a career that was fulfilling and it had occupied a large part of my life.   A friend suggested that I consider getting outside my comfort zone.    I did several things that were great fun and I learned a lot but the one thing that has been the most meaningful is painting.    Four years ago I went to my first pastel workshop with Karen Margulis.   Since that time I've studied under Barbara Jaenicke and Ann Cockerill.    Of course, I took classes from lost of other artist but these artist have had the most influence.    Here is what I've learned.
  1. Select a great teacher - Choose teachers that you "love"..."love" their work.    You will learn but your skills will be influenced by art that you really love.   I've studied under many but Karen Margulis, Barbara Jaenicke and Ann Cockerill have had the most influence.
  2. Paint often - I was fortunate to take my first class from Karen Margulis.  She challenged us to paint 50 paintings.  To date I've completed 181 paintings.   I still use that challenge to motivate myself.   My newest challenge if to paint 50 "new" paintings from my own reference photos so I will be prepared for a "all new work" exhibit.   In four years I've painted 181 paintings.    Of course there were lots of small studies and "didn't make it" paintings but real framed work 181.    I'm kinda overwhelmed considering this was new just 4 years ago and I started from 0.
  3. Share your painting -  Join art groups.   Even if you don't attend all the meetings they offer networking, opportunities to show your work and mentoring my other artist.
  4. Let the paintings GO!! - One day I was putting together my paintings into a large portfolio.   I asked myself WHY!!    Why spend all this time and money for it to sit in a closet.    Of course I framed things to enjoy personally but I was intimidated to "sell" my art.    Well you don't have to sell it.    If it is indeed a hobby then enjoy sharing it.    I started giving paintings way to friends and family.     Before long I was an "international" artist because my paintings went to people all over the country and world.   I have sold painting ( over 30 actually) but I'm confident I'd personally never sold one if I had not given the first one away.  Several reasons - it feels good, it builds confidence.
  5. Record your progress -   Since the beginning I have taken photos of all my work.   I keep a file and it is encouraging to look back on my work.    It also means when you give away a painting you forever have a copy of the paintings.   It also means when you get ready to enter a show you have a jpeg file ready.    I've also done a painting book each year or a book of one of my major shows.    These are so easy to do on one of the photo center websites.  I actually do mine on but vistaprint is good also.
  6. Post on facebook and create a blog -  Early in my painting experience I found that if I posted on facebook my "friends" were the most supportive and encouraging.    I remember the first painting I posted, a friend said "I want that"......well I gave it to her and it felt good to share the art.   I created a blog a few years ago to motivate myself but to also share my art.    I use facebook to share the link.   While I don't have many followers on the blog, I have had thousands of views of my blog by friends and friends of friends.
  7. Show your paintings - This is hard for lots of artist and especially new artist.   Aren't we always the most critical of our work.   But showing your art is a great motivator.    Why paint if you don't share.    I started by showing my work in a local gallery the Red Cockerill Gallery,  where my teacher Ann Cockerill taught painting.   I joined the local Douglas County Art Guild and showed painting at the Cultural Arts Center when the guild had their special showings.    I entered for exhibits at the Cultural Arts Center.    After four years, Ive had two major shows and shown my work in seven other shows.    Really that was without even much effort.   There are tons of shows it you are motivated.   My goal was not to receive awards and develop credentials but to just have "fun".    I've shown work at the Douglas County Cultural Arts Center, Dog River Library, Red Cockerill Gallery and Douglas County Courthouse.  One of my favorite experience was the April 2013 Cultural Arts Show.   I decided to donate the sales to the CAC and to the Fine Arts Academy at my church.   
  8. Paint somewhere exciting -  I scout out locations that have classes to pair my interest.   I've done a week long painting workshop at Jekyll Island Club Hotel.    Great scenery, good company and fun painting.    When I travel to Tybee Island, which I do twice a year, I take painting classes at the local Art Center.    Again great scenery, building a network, painting and "fun."    I've taken several classes at Callaway Gardens.   My goal is a European trip!!!   I've also started a plein air group.   Sometimes the group is just me....but it's a fun way to see new things and enjoy painting.
  9. Learn something new -  I'm always looking for classes where I can learn something new.    Exploring new medians can be addictive.   I paint in pastel, watercolor and acrylic.    I'm considering taking a class in oil this fall.   Plein air is a great experience.   The Hydrangea Festival in Douglasville always has a "paint" in the garden day.   Great fun.   But there are groups or you can start your own group.   Paint from your own reference photos.    This took me a while, but once I started I was hooked.    You go somewhere great, you enjoy the experience and take photos, then you relive that experience by painting and then you have a permament record of the experience in the painting.
  10. Make new friends -  A benefit of classes and joining art groups and showing your work is making new friends.    I make business cards on vistaprint and keep them to network with fellow painters and friends.   I've met so many great people this way that share the "love of painting."
  11. Have FUN ! -    Paining is fun and relaxing to me.   Learning new things from great teachers is fun.   Going to places and taking reference photos or plein air painting is fun. Sharing your paintings is fun.    Actully at my two major show, I threw myself a "party" and invited friends.    What a good time.  
Ten is a good place to stop but I could resist # 11 which is the "main thing" - HAVE FUN!   There are many more things.   I'd love to hear from others about their tips on enjoying the painting experience.

1 comment:

  1. Great Advise, Janet. You have done very well with your art work.