Friday, May 30, 2014

Use of reference photos from friends - May 2014

"Lonely Sky" - Pastel - 9x13 - May 2014 - West Texas near Pecos
"Lonely Sky" is a pastel done from a reference photo of a friend.   My preference in painting is to use my own reference photos but occasionally a friend post a photo I can't resist.    I want to paint this one again on a bigger paper in order to capture the vastness of this landscape.    This is a pastel on sanded paper 9x13.   I really think this painting needs a space more rectangular.    This is a field in West Texas near Pecos.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Revisiting the Gold Mine - May 2014

"Gold Mine Path" - Pastel - 9x13 - May 2014"
Revisiting the Gold Mine - May 2014
I painted the first one quickly because I was so excited to finally get a photo of the Gold Mine ruins in Villa Rica, GA.  It was posted earlier and used purples, yellows and greens.    I revisited the painting a second time and made all the colors more subdued.   I like it better.    Purple is always my go to color.   I've noticed other artist also have similar color palettes in their paintings.   Some artist I can recognize their work simply by their color use.   I think I will lay out some colors I rarely use and make myself paint this with a very different palate.

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.

Gary Curtis - Watercolor Workshop - May 2014

"Still Life" - Watercolor - 19x12 - May 2014
Gary Curtis Watercolor Workshop -    I received an invitation to participate in Gary Curtis' Watercolor Workshop at the Red Cockerill Gallery.   While that style of painting is not my favorite, I learned some things about watercolor at the workshop.   Gary does beautiful work and is a very patient and deliberate painter.   This is a wooden bowl, book and a silver cup on a wood desk.   I'd say I captured the wood desk, the book and the wooden bowl but I never quite got his silver cup.   Oh well 3 of of 4.   He also showed a tip on painting a dark background.   I obviously didn't follow it.   First mix lots of paint - paint the detail next to the figures in the painting - paint the rest in quick horizontal strokes - then the real secret--take a flat brush and paint in vertical strokes.    You can see that I missed next to the figure and there are some white peeking through.     Figures definitely stand out against a dark background so getting it right is very important.  

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Gold Rush in Georgia?

"Gold Mine" - Pastel - 9x13 - May 2014
West of Atlanta in Villa Rica there is a Gold Museum with ruins of the gold mine.    There was a Gold Rush in Georgia in the 1820s and it was not just in Dahlonega.    Villa Rica had 19 commercially mining operations.    This location is not far from Villa Rica but you have to look to find it.    I tried three times and the fourth was the charm.   This pastel is a quick study working on the painting composition.    I want to redo this one with different colors.     It is a shady hill overlooking the present day museum.   Definitely want to go back and visit and explore all the grounds.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Ducks in a Row - Pastel - May 2014

"Ducks in a Row" - Pastel - 9x13 - May 2014
"Ducks in a Row" are really geese but could not resist the name.     My brother was on a golf trip and posted this picture.  I loved it and knew immediately I wanted to paint it.     Trying my best to get back in a routine of painting.   When I first started I painted every day and that is definitely the best.    My goal is 50 new paintings this year from my own photos or original photos given to me by friends.   Maybe I will throw in a plein air or a still life!     While I've done numerous paintings this year at classes, etc, I'm only counting the original ones.    So with that in mind I'm a little behind   I think there are only two.   #1 - "Daffodil Morning" from a photo at Gibbs Gardens in Ballground, GA and #2 "Ducks in a Row" from a golf course that I'm waiting for my brother to name.     I visited the Gold Museum in Villa Rica, GA yesterday and that one is next on the list for #3.  


Monday, May 19, 2014

Catching Up on Painting - May 2014


Catch Up on Painting May 2014 - The year has flown by.   My life has been a little caotic.   It is good to get back to painting.    I was fortunate to have another Art Show this year in April 2014 at Dog River Library.   Thanks to Douglas County Art Guild.   While I rarely get to go to meetings, I am fortunate to be a member of this group that provides opportunities for local artist to share their work. 

"Christmas Home" - Pastel - 9x13 - December 2013

 "Christmas Home" was inspired by a snowstorm during the 1960s at my childhood home in Beulah Community in Douglasville GA.   While I took some liberties with the photo, it is an idealistic view of my only snowman I remember us making as kids.   It was my 2014 Christmas Card. 

"Gibbs Gardens - Daffodil Morning - Pastel - 9x13 - May 2014

Gibbs Gardens is a treasure that I found a couple of years ago when I visited with friends.  Located in Ball Ground in North Georgia it is a beautiful place.    A real treat was a visit I made with friends this spring to see the daffodils.    This painting helped me capture a memory but certainly doesn't do the daffodil hillside justice.    My goal is to get back to my daily painting this year and to have 50 new paintings before I do another show. 

Currently I have three paintings in the Douglas County Art Guild Show at the Cultural Arts Center in Douglasville.   "Shady Path", "Pear" and "Christmas Home"