3John3Madison3

Marble Madness!

I remember playing marbles back in the 70's when I was a kid living in Michigan.  We played for "Keepsies" on occasion and I lost a few Cats Eye's and Steely's.  I ended up trading back for those most of the time, but it always cost me more junky marbles. It was a different time then I guess. My two sons didn't  play marbles growing up, and I don't think to many kids play these days? Anyways between serious big wheel races, melting my army men down to slag with matches and Lysol, and just running around outside all summer I lost all my marbles. So... I've been looking for some new ones for a while now.  I struck gold when I bumped into Phillip Nolley an artisan glass blower at the Columbus Art Festival a year back.  We had a nice conversations that day and I bought a few pieces from him.  I also asked if he would do me up some nice large marbles.  Boy did he come through!  I guess I should let him know his marbles are flat and in watercolor now. Check these babies out! Marbles don't paint nearly as fast as some of the other smaller paintings I have done, so these four new 5" x 7" paintings took me a long time.  I got better as I went and the last one is my favorite.  There will be a large epic marble painting in my future.  :] I have not figured out names, I'll probably go with Marbles I-IV, yes I know very original. OK shameless plug here: These new originals will showcase at the Spring Bloom Arts Festival coming up Saturday March 30th at the Bloomington Interstate Center.  They will be framed and double [...]

Acquired Inspiration

I had the opportunity to immerse myself into Canyon Road and fill my nearly empty cup of inspiration until it was overflowing
By |December 13th, 2012|Watercolor|0 Comments|

A (cold) day of firsts…

Plein Air painting really forces you to paint loose and fast. It has provided me with some counter balance to the tight representational work I normally do in my studio.
By |October 31st, 2012|Watercolor|0 Comments|

Summer Art

Summer has been good here at Madison Art.  I've not been painting as much as I like, yet the watercolor train is still moving, albeit slowly.  I finished another small painting, which sort of tops off my interest in fruits as a subject to paint.  The newest edition to my collection is "Lunch in the Sun". A small little 9" x  12" with a lovely Glasswing butterfly.  These are beautiful creatures native to Central and South America.  And yes they have transparent wings!  It's a shame they can't be found around central Illinois.  If you are curious about them check out TwistedSifter for some amazing photos. I'm ready to move on to other things.  There will always be a special place in my heart for still life paintings, and I'll probably continue to produce them but it's time to mix in some figurative work.  I've been longing to do this since I did the Pulp Fiction of Oz painting for a friend of mine.  Since then I have has some good conversations with my friend Daniel Vangeli about painting people so I've been exchanging some ideas with him. My wife and I were out to dinner the other night and I was lucky to catch a father and his daughter sitting together waiting for a table.  This beautiful girl was so animated with her dad it was endearing to watch.  I looked over at Jenny and said "You know those two would make a great painting."  She agreed and I snuck my iPhone up from around my glass of beer and snapped about ten photos of the two.  They turned out great and I am really looking forward to using these as reference for a new painting.  [...]

Busy as a Bee

Well it has been many weeks since I've checked in here, so I'm going to cover some ground and get caught up.  Life have been hectic!  Work has been busy and frustrating over the last month or two.  Things at home seem just as busy and in between all of that I manage to squeeze in some art time.  :- The Raven painting got shelved… I got so irritated with the center black book that I had to stop before I killed the entire thing.  It's been sitting facing the wall in timeout at my studio for about as long as I've been neglectful of my blog here.  People ask me about it, and I've finally got back into the mood to continue work on it.  My time will be split between The Raven and some commission work I've started.  I need to dig in and really get some painting done. Speaking of art, I was recently invited to speak about my work at the Eaton's Studio & Gallery http://www.eatonstudiogallery.com/  Herb and his wife Pam have been most generous in giving me the floor during one of their Wednesday Gather at the Gallery meetings.  I enjoyed talking about my art and how things have evolved over the last four to five years for me.  In addition to this opportunity I was able to whip up a few small paintings for the Friends of the Arts 5th Annual fundraiser for the College of Fine Arts at Illinois State University: http://finearts.illinoisstate.edu/support/postcardart.shtml  I donated two small postcard sized watercolors:  'Sunglasses' and an untitled painting. Both are 4" x 6" postcard watercolors. I've come to enjoy working smaller, but it is very difficult to develop the details I savor in my [...]

Moving Targets

We are well into 2012 already and I've had to shift gears and make some adjustments art wise.  The first batch of show applications went out and came back with nothing to report other than try again next year.  I just don't think still life holds much value to jurors in comparison to other subjects.  I'm going to give 'Made in China' one more shot at the IWS National, which I have to submit to today.  After that I think I'm going to shelf the idea of entering my still life work into national competitions.  In order to counterbalance this I have begun to focus more on commissions that I've needed to get started on. Locally I seem to be getting more traction with my art.  I was invited to speak at another artists' gallery and show some of my work there.  The city of Normal has a new large construction going up and they have invited local artists to submit work for the building.  I put in three pieces for my submission and hopefully something will come of that. Speaking of submissions, my son Ed has some art talent and entered a local amateur art show through his high school art class and was juried in.  The show opens today with the awards ceremony at the McLean County Art Center.  I remember several years ago applying to this show myself.  I'm looking forward to going today and it makes me proud to see my son get into his first show.  Maybe he will continue with art and get many years of enjoyment from it.  I'll have some photos of this for my next post. Where the pigment meets the paper has been frustrating me lately.  I [...]

Past Present & Future

Fourteen blog posts in 2011. Not bad I guess, but not good either: New Resolutions:  1/5/2011 First Salvos:  1/20/2011 Losing Momentum:  3/1/2011 The Good the Bad & The Disappointments:  3/31/2011 Paying to Play:  4/15/2011 Small Watercolors, Small Steps:  4/18/2011 A Little Art Exhibit:  5/3/2011 Reading the Signs:  5/25/2011 Picking up the Pieces:  6/11/2011 Art that is Personal:  6/29/2011 A Short Break:  8/12/2011 Making Time:  8/26/2011 Art Galleries are they worth it?  10/19/2011. I just skimmed over everything I wrote from 2011.  Looking back I have to say it was a tough and expensive art year for me.  My festivals were hit and miss, mainly miss.  The exhibitions, contests and shows I applied to were mostly filled with rejections.  I managed to complete twelve original paintings of which seven sold.  I made it into the TWSA National and won a Juror's Choice award at the McLean County Art Center's first local watercolor exhibition.  I even found an artist roommate to share the studio space with which has helped on costs. Towards the tale end of 2011, I started teaching watercolor classes at the McLean County Art Center and also began individual lessons at my art studio.  I have always thrived on learning from other artists and it has been nice to give back and teach others what I know about painting.  It sort of feels like I've come full circle in some respects.  I'm still clawing for success and validation with my work but whether that manifests itself now, later or never doesn't really matter.  It is the journey that is important right? What will this year bring?  An end to the Mayan calendar for sure!  Other than that, probably more of the same, but maybe there will be a show or two I get into this time, or an exhibition [...]
By |January 16th, 2012|Watercolor|0 Comments|

Art Galleries, are they worth it?

If my blog was one of my kids, it would have died from neglect.  I can't count the days that I had passing thoughts about writing something insightful or interesting but the moments passed and I guess I just got caught up in the day.  Days fade into weeks, weeks into months and before you know it your online journal is old and dusty.  It is not just being busy that keeps me away from blogging as much as one 'ought' to.  The fact is, at times, I don't think anything I may write is worth reading.  I guess it's better to say nothing than to just vomit out posts on the basis of being regular. Regardless I'll press on from where we left off at the tail end of August,  galleries.  I really don't have much experience as an artist interacting with the art gallery scene.  Initially I thought galleries to be a waste of commission money, but I have come to learn that a gallery can be worth the money.  Promoting yourself as an artist requires many different hats, all of which require time to wear.  Most painters I know just want to paint and we all wish the rest would just fall into place, but it doesn't.  To be successful as an artist, you have to be a marketing manager, a publicist, a web designer, blogger, a tax adviser, business manager as well as the crafter.  Good galleries can wear a few of these hats for you. Galleries and artists have to possess a symbiotic relationship in order for both to be successful.  I  have found such a gallery, The Pod.  It is co-owned by artists Bekah Berry and Natalie Wetzel.   The Pod [...]
By |October 19th, 2011|Watercolor|0 Comments|

Making Time

I don't often take the time I should to just do nothing.  Life these days always seems busy and I feel that I lose touch with the things that I enjoy a lot.  Obviously painting is one, but I often find myself longing for the outdoors and nature.  Right now I'm sitting out back on my patio… it's dark out, and there's a refreshing cool wind blowing from the north.  Considering it is still 83F out at 10:00 PM, the breeze is nice.  There is a choir of crickets and every other nocturnal bug singing in unison as if under the sway of some conductors baton.    Stars twinkle overhead between passing clouds and the world around me prepares for sleep.  Some soft music is playing while my faithful companion, Sam lounges just out of arms reach watching over me and the yard while I tend to this blog.  Topping this off is a fresh glass of red merlot.  One could argue it doesn't get much better than that, and frankly I can't see much in the way of disagreeing.  I can only ask myself, why aren't you out here more than once or twice a month?  The answer is time. Just as much as I would like to sit out after a long day and soak up the evening I don't.  Our family is very busy.  Our house in a total disarray due to some remodeling, and Jenny and I are blessed with three active kids.  It seems like the choir list and  running never stops.  Perhaps I will miss these days, when the nest is empty and I have only time on my hands.  I miss my art too, much akin to the feeling [...]

A short break

Just a little note here, I don't have time to elaborate like I would prefer, but rest assured I am still here and kicking. I've been meaning to write... really I have. There has been a lot of good things happening for me but I have been awfully busy. I will be showing every weekend this month (August) at three fine art festivals around central Illinois. Tomorrow I'll be at the Washington Fine Art Festival: http://www.washingtonfinearts.org/ The weekend after on the 20th I will be showing at the Champaign Downtown Festival of the Arts: http://www.champaignparkdistrict.com/events/dtfoa/index.html The weekend after I'll be returning to Lincoln Illinois for the Fine Art and Balloon Festival on the 27th and 28th: http://www.lincolnillinois.com/ABF.aspx Company is always welcome, so if you're itching to see some good art I encourage you to make a day trip to one of these shows. Cheers
By |August 12th, 2011|Watercolor|1 Comment|