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Catching Up

Just a quick note here is all I have time for at the moment. Last weekend was busy with the Washington Art Festival, which ended up being a good show for me, though there were evident signs of a struggling economy going on. Art has been sort of on a stand still over the last week, in lieu of matting prints and preparing for shows. I have one left for the season coming up at the end of this month so I'm going to try to finish the books painting. I have a frame ready so if I can get this done over the weekend, I will have time to get it scanned and have a few prints run off. I'm also going to open up my studio to the public, keeping hours in the evenings and some on the weekends. I'm hoping since the students are moving in at ISU here that there will be a huge influx of parents looking for something to do in the downtown area where my studio is at. It would be nice to get my place open for others to see. More later, work calls..

Painting books in watercolor

I managed to get a few hours in the studio over the weekend, but I didn’t get a lot done. The place is a pigsty from the last art festival. When I tore down I pretty much just hauled everything upstairs and left it where I dropped it. I didn’t have the energy to clean the place thoroughly and I’ve slowly been picking up things here and there over the last two weeks. I need to get my son down to help me load the tent gear up into the van and take it home so I can re-set it up and take my time to learn how to put in the door exit, my banner sign and the awnings. Then I need to mark the setup so I can be better prepared for the Washington festival coming up. I also need to store that monster thing at home instead of the studio floor My weekend was so busy with my kids swimming. The annual intercity parks and recreation conference swim meet was Saturday and Sunday and we were there most of each day watching them compete. I had some proud moments as a parent and I will relish these times with my kids. My daughter set a conference and team record in the butterfly, so her name will go up on the record boards until someone else comes along and eclipses her time. She already has younger girls knocking off her old records from last year. Both my sons did well also, making it to finals on Sunday in a few events. I even brought my sketchbook but didn’t drag it out [...]

The Art of the Art Festival

Making it through my first fine art festival: A challenge in organization, presentation, confidence and salesmanship.

Early Stages – Genesis

Intelligent Design: The narrative of an artist's paper, pigments and thoughts on creation.

Self-Imposed Deadlines

The financial stress of transitioning an art hobby into a career.

In Between Paintings

Cleaning between paintings is something I usually do.  It seems as my paintings progress, the area around it digresses into a clutter.  After I have pulled the finished painting off of my board and table I wipe down the area, run some water over my porcelain palettes, add fresh water to all my jars, add some paint, clean the brushes and re-organize the table so I can find my notes, mail and have an area to eat lunch at while I’m working.  After all that I finally get to sit down the next blank sheet of paper and start working.  Before I actually put the first drop of water down on the paper the logistics of stretching paper has to happen. I figured since there is a handful of people reading my blog, I would explain some of the things I have learned outside of the technical mechanics of my art.  Often I have found myself staring at photos of other artists work areas.  It is almost like a puzzle that tells me a little bit about the artist that isn’t often gleaned from their work or some how to book. Often and artists work area is scantly covered and the photos in books or on their websites leave a lot to be desired.  Alas I digress, back to stretching… Stretching paper seemed easy enough back when I first started doing it in 2007.  Since then I have gone through several generations of how I do this.  I remember the first time I stretched a big painting, I used this brown packing tape that had glue on one side.  All you needed to do was add water and lay it down.  Well that was a one-time [...]

#10 è finito

I finally finished “Reading Time”.  It was challenging in many ways and I learned a great deal.  I estimate about 50 hours of time was spent on this painting.  That makes for a long week of work given I could do this full time; however, I paint around my day job and family so getting this done over a month is a bit longer than I wanted to take. One thing I have noticed is that I am no longer intimidated by complex imagery or subjects, it’s only the mechanics of laying the paint down with absolute precision that continues to challenge me.  The unique artistry that often eludes me is still present and this I think will be the most difficult obstacle to clear.   Regardless I continue to press on with more work. “Reading Time” posed some difficulties that I want to illustrate.  First and foremost was the lettering.  There was a lot of it in this painting and I was very concerned about the bookbinding and the letters at the top of the book.  These required absolute control of the pigment throughout every layer.  I did not achieve this to the level I wanted, and the letters suffer in part because masking fluid is almost impossible to lay down straight.  Painting around the letters isn’t an option either because you lose uniformity of color with the rest of the book.  I worked to isolate the book from the rest of the painting by masking and taping everything off.  This allowed me to make sweeping wet in wet green washes, mixing massive amounts of greens and blues together.  What this does is provide a brush-less smooth color distribution and blending.  The caveat to this is [...]

Five Questions

Another artist I have been following since finding her online is Crystal Cook.  She does a wonderful job blogging about her work and has some great talent in watercolors.  Her Five Questions seem fun, and after that long 'Uncreative' in the watercolor category,  I thought it would be good to answer these.  I've tagged her in this link at the bottom so that you read her answers as well as mine, and if you care, post up the same five questions on your blog and link my blog and Crystals, you can proliferate the fun. :) . Where were you five years ago? I was busy working on projects inside our new home that we purchased.  We were several months settled in and had lots to do.  I wasn't doing any artwork and had not even thought about going back to the university to take some art classes. Where would you like to be five years from now? I would like to see my son off to a good college , and my daughter and youngest son enjoying their high school years very much.  I'd hope to be established with my art to the point it can pay for itself.  It would be nice to have made signature status with the MoWs, TWSA and have a well rounded festival circuit to attend yearly. What is/was on your to do list today? Finish this painting, take some new photos of some still life ideas I have and get to work on the next painting after I go see Robin Hood with my boys. What five snacks do you enjoy? 1. Kettle Krinkle cut sea salt & pepper chips 2. Mandarin Oranges & Pineapple over Cottage Cheese 3. Dark Chocolate 4. Oranges 5. A good apple with some [...]

Being Uncreative

I believe many things in our existence happen in cycles.  We see it every day: when the sun rises, the seasons, time measured in increments of minutes hours and days, and yes the near daily trip down to my studio.  It is supposed to be a haven; my artistic fortress of solitude where I can turn the art muse on like a light switch and produce what it is I am striving for… art. Some days I feel my uncreative mind manifests itself like a ball of lead chained to me.  Often I drag it, willingly, trying to parse the hundreds of mundane thoughts about art that run across my mind on any given day and channel them into productive action.  Sometimes I feel neither desire nor energy to cope with it, I find myself looking down trying to muster the strength to even drag the lead ball again.  There are more times than I’d like to admit that the old ball and chain wins, and I give up.  It is in those windows of time at the studio that I produce nothing, think of nothing good to paint, fail to draw, or plan anything that would benefit my rocketing art career.  Every so often I will look down with a bit of resentfulness, as the ball laughs at me in victory.   I often see its weight stifling my creativity, but also choking my pocketbook. “Yes John, that is a great idea for a painting, but you know you’re going to have to frame it and get some prints, and that means you’re going to be broke until payday again if you do that.” This mindset easily transforms from a short cloudburst into a hurricane of negativity, [...]

Moving Along…

Things are progressing well enough, and I’m reaching the point of over saturation with this piece.  There comes a time in every painting that the interest level begins to wane and you begin to start thinking about the next piece.  Well I’m there now with this and want to finish it by Sunday.  I think I have been working on this for nearly four weeks.  Too long! I’ve spent considerable time on the watch, which proportionally doesn’t seem like much but it seems to consume a lot of my time and I’m barely half way done with it.  I’m also beginning to notice that the face seems lop-sided: being too narrow between what will be the six and nine o’clock numbers.  This of course was planned due to the viewing angle, but is seems I’ve overcompensated for the circular distortion.  I hope it is forgivable enough to not be noticed, I know it is beyond adjustment so I will have to live with it. In addition to extensive watch attention, I have darkened the backdrop map with some more Naples Yellow and Cadmium Orange to richen it more and add a bit more contrast to the green of the book.  I’ll probably add another wash or two more and re-outline the map text before I call it finished.  I’ll need to spend some time blending out the book area south of the watch winder loop and get that blotch of green to look more like a faint brass reflection.  Last but not least I will finish the chain and then give this a long once over examination for details I may have missed.  Then I get to pull the border tape off and get her scanned [...]