Random Thoughts

Things other than art worth writing about

Painting with my Dad, Maurice Jarre and dreams of Grand Prix

I've never been a big concert goer, but music has been a big part of my life, especially when I paint.  As a child when I was stuck home on a sick day or something I often would head over to my dad's record collection, and listen to his music, instead of watching TV.  This is where my love of soundtracks started.  Albums like the Molly Maguires, Zulu, and Maurice Jarre's Grand Prix were always some of my favorites. Some of the LP's had a few pages and photos of the films they were scored for.  It was just enough to spark the imagination, yet a far cry from how spoiled society is nowadays with just about everything online.  I think it was a simpler more elegant time then, or I'd like to believe that at least. I think I've tracked more hours listening to soundtracks than perhaps any other style of music.  It's all instrumental and it sort of carries me away to places, times and things I would day dream about.  When I paint, the first thing that usually happens is getting some music playing after I prep everything to get started: beverage, fresh water, wet brushes and juicing up the palette.  More often than not, Grand Prix gets played, and I drift away at times, imagining I'm one of the famous Formula 1 drivers of the 60's, when racing was pure and UN-commercialized. Actually I'm listening to Grand Prix right now.  :) Therein lies an immortal tie to my father; his music, embedded in me.  He didn't go out of his way to bestow his taste in music on me, most of the time he would put his old school headphones on and spend hours [...]

Kicking the can (still)

Just a few notes to break to engine seize on my blog, after all it's a new year and I'm still painting!  :) I'm currently exploring a new website design.  I've reached out to co-workers and that has fallen flat twice now.  So a call; via Facebook, for available web guru's went out and I think I've found the right person.  Anyways I'm excited again about a re-design.  More later on this as things progress. I'm still struggling with time management, go figure… My nemesis of paintings sits on my desk spiting me to attempt to put the finishing touches on it and I look at it like a tax audit needing my attention.  I'm not happy with this, and I so much wanted it to be a cornerstone piece into sci-fi fantasy art yet I feel I have failed even before its done. What inspires me lately has been the recent Spectrum 20  It's the past years best in science fiction & fantasy art.  I sat up last night paging through the book dreaming a bit, ranking each piece with a "I like" or "I don't like" and at times in awe of the creativity of some of the artists therein. How awesome would it be to see my own work in that book. More tidbits later…


If you know the enemy and know yourself you need not fear the results of a hundred battles. Sun Tzu A few weeks back one of my best friends; Daniel Ionson: http://www.facebook.com/daniel.ionson shared with me an audio book titled: The War of Art by Steven Pressfield.  My friend is a good writer trying to chisel his way into the novel market.  Danny and I have similar tastes and he has a great eye for books.  Anyways, he told me this Pressfield book hits it on the head, so I said sure send it my way.  [Steven, if you ever read this, I promised myself to buy a real copy of your book.] Anyways after a few weeks of procrastination, I uploaded it to iTunes and started it just the other day while painting Ionson's novel cover.  It only took about 30 seconds to realize this book was for me.  The forward by Robert McKee left me wondering where the hell was Pressfield the day I needed his words the most: when I decided to enlist instead of exploring art school with any real conviction. As I listened the prose carried into my soul like one of Caesars speeches to his legionnaires.  Chapter one hit me like a laser guided bullet.  The words were as right as rain.  I wasn't just listening and painting, I was soaking Pressfield in like a dry sponge does water.  I will admit I'm only about 25 minutes into the audio book but I feel like I'm better informed and educated to fight the battles ahead that will assure me art success.  If you follow my blog and are too wondering what it is I'm exactly talking about with this Pressfield book, simply open another [...]

A Day In The Life

    "I read the news today, boy     About a lucky man who made the grade"  John Lennon There is a false sense of security one can wrap themselves in when accolades start coming your way.  This year has been very good to me in the awards department.  I pulled in $1650.00 in prize money in three out of four juried shows I attended. Make no mistake, winning awards is great, they are confidence builders and nice annotations to the art resume.  They don't equate to sales; 2012 was far better for me.  I think of what new paintings I had showing compared to last year: only four small 5" x 7" marble paintings and one 5" x 7" fruit.  The latter was only on display for my last show in Lincoln Illinois.  Ultimately I feel my booth presentation improvements have helped considerably.  It's a bit easier to spruce up a tent than it is to churn out 20 new paintings.  Consistency  and uniformity in frames, mat quality and cutting as well as professional signage are all important elements to having a good both presentation.  Yes the art is what matters most.  I feel as if I am riding on the coat tails of my older paintings.  Why?  Let me explain. Working a full time day job sometimes makes painting after hours seem like a second job.  Often I get home and simply don't feel like painting.  Don't get me wrong, it's not that I don't want to paint, I just don't feel motivated to start after working all day.  Ever feel like that?  Yes I know, the picture isn't going to paint itself, you're right.  I want to paint but I simply don't start.  I'm sure there [...]

Art that is Personal

Connecting your creations to the viewer is another skill altogether and I think the artists at the top of heap are masters of both mechanic and the transcendent.

The Little Art Exhibit

Wine and art, a complimentary yet toxic mix that can easily empty a buyers pocket book at auction.

Paying to Play

If I’ve learned anything about art festivals it’s this:  Juries are fickle, shows unpredictable and having high expectations, No! Having any expectations is foolish.  The only consistency I have observed is inconsistency.  Last year I applied to six, maybe seven art festivals and about five exhibitions.  I was juried into four festivals and one invitational.  Not bad really, but not great either.  It was my first year doing festivals and I really didn’t know fully what I was getting into and it really wasn’t until the last show rolled around that I really figured out the nuances of showing outdoors and knew exactly what I wanted to do the next year. I was very energetic back in January, the entire show season was ahead of me.  I made my lists of festival and exhibitions I was going to apply for.  I had a short season of experience and was showing improvements in my painting, so I figured my chances were better than hitting four out of eight festivals and a mere one out of five exhibitions.  I labored off and on for six months on a painting I thought was amazing.  This was going to be my centerpiece for the big art shows I was hoping to get into. I started in on Zapplication ( https://www.zapplication.org/index.php ) first rounding up the local shows list first and then extended my tour to places where I could stay with friends.  Columbus Ohio, Bloomington Indiana and Kansas City Missouri were the furthest shows I was looking at.  I reapplied to the watercolor society exhibitions I was a member of, joined  new one and was waiting to join more. Queue the rollercoaster…. I guess the details aren’t really worth going into, lets [...]

The Deep Pensive

How music helps an artist escape from our technology saturated world.

Thoughts about the studio

Well it’s been almost a month since my last post here.  I’ve finally opened the studio up to the public.  If I had to guess, I think I’ve had the sign down on the sidewalk half a dozen times and have had two people come up over the course of the last week or two.  I think being up stairs is a big deterrent for people. Ok, I’m trying to write this while I’m watching the Bears implode… Cutler is out after 9 sacks in the first half and Todd Collins got hit hard too, and is out.  Seems we are doomed to lose to the Giants. Back to this art stuff.  I had a chance to attend the Itaska Art & Wine Festival, but I opted not to go.  There were some red flags I was concerned about:  the jury fee was waved, and the organizers were taking applicants up to the week of the show and I really didn’t feel like spending ~$500.00 just to get up there and show for three days.  A fine artist I met at the Lincoln show attended and I’m hoping to hear back from her about the show. I worked on some smaller pieces for a fundraiser a few of my friends organize.  They turned out fair enough; I spent only about two hours on each, including matting them.   I hope they generate some money for the American Cancer Society.  This sort of set me back on resuming work on “The Collector” until today. Oh I almost forgot, I decided on short notice last Wednesday to enter into the Illinois Watercolor Societies Members show.  That required me to take a painting up to Chicago for hand delivery to the American [...]

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 [...]