Last weekend I taught my first official painting workshop. This was a bit different than the six week classes I've been teaching at the McLean County Art Center back in my home town. The latter is geared for beginners so I go through a lot of details on materials, techniques and hands on guidance. My one day workshop was very accelerated in comparison. I arrived ready to paint and narrated my process from the first brushstroke and kept engaged throughout the entire days worth of painting. In short I tried to explain the method to the madness of how I paint. So I drove down to Sullivan IL, a little farm community just north of lake Shelbyville and started in on a 16" x 20" glass demo. There were ten to twelve people in attendance from the Sullivan Art Club. The challenge was trying to get through an entire painting in six hours. I didn't think I could do it and by 3:00 PM I finished about half of it. I'll need to find a better balance that will allow me to finish a painting in a day that is large enough to use as a good demonstration piece. Glass is always one of the more complex subjects I paint, and rushing does it no justice. I had a lot of fun doing this and could see myself doing more workshops. I really enjoy sharing my knowledge with others and meeting other artists. It's flattering to get painting demonstration requests, especially by my peers. I have to pinch myself at times to accept that I have come a long way in the medium in the handful of years I've been painting, I guess being asked to [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
"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 [...]
In two days I will likely attend my last art festival for the season, unless my wait listed status for the 4th Street Art Fair in Bloomington Indiana changes, which I doubt, as it’s the 4th year in a row I’ve been wait listed. Actually Lincoln may be my last festival in the Midwest. This festival has been good to me over the three years I have attended. I’ve enjoyed decent sales, a great booth location and most surprising two wonderful awards I was given by the jury. The first; a Best of Show, and the second a First Place in Fine Art. Last but not least was Marty Ahrends who organized the show the first two years I attended and was a wonderful host. Looking back at my July blog post, I was in much the same place as I am now, a few days out from the next art festival hoping for good weather and crowds. Sugar Creek ended up being great. The crowds were wonderful as was the weather. Topping it off was a First Place Award in Fine Art. So after five years of banging away at watercolor paintings I think I’ve established myself locally with a solid body of work, a handful of notable awards and some great opportunities to teach others my craft. Now there is a strong possibility I will be packing my bags and moving to Oregon. Getting roots down somewhere else won’t be as difficult, but I will be leaving behind some friends and a community of artist and patrons whom I’ve enjoyed working with and painting for. Tonight the tent gets packed and we drive to Lincoln to setup. The weather forecast looks good, my booth spot is [...]
Well I'm overdue again for some news but better late than never right? :) Let's see, since my last post here, our basement flooded and our upstairs bathtub drain decided to leak into our kitchen all on the same day! The basement sump stopped working during a torrent of rain and it only took one hour to flood our entire basement with about one inch of water. That ordeal set me back about 30-45 days in cleaning up and getting the basement back in order. Such a pain in the butt. The icing on the cake was the fact that after my first art show back in April I brought all my paintings to the house and put them in the basement… Yes, the basement. Fortunately I had them wrapped in plastic wrap with bubble corners on all of them so nothing got wet. Anyways, after a lot of wall painting, new carpet and a new sump everything is back in order. Then we tackled the upstairs leak and decided to gut the bath and remodel. Add another 30-45 days of tear out and work and contractors and we have our new bath upstairs. The next big deal was the decision to move out of my downtown studio and setup the garage so that I can paint from home. With the kids being older going back to a home studio makes more sense. Before I could consider that, we had to get a shed built to make room for an art studio in the garage. Thanks to Jenny; who deftly handled that all by herself, it got done in between two weeks of almost daily rain. It saves some money and gives me enough privacy to work [...]
Not bad for a quick little painting is it? Some might argue that 5.97 hours is a bit slow for the 4" x 6" class but who's racing? I decided my first car painting would be donated to the Post Card Art Show sponsored by the Friends of the Arts at Illinois State University, my Alma mater. This will be my 3rd year participating in the show. My previous paintings have raised a good deal of money for the program. Want to see the finished original before it gets snapped up by someone else? Then you best head down to the CVA Galleries on the 27th of April for the opening. You will get a shot at owning it or many other fine originals while raising money for the school of art. Your ticket to the show guarantees you will walk away with one original painting. Oh did I mention there is a plethora of hors d'oeuvres, wine, live music and yes a boat load of postcard art. The first Lotus car painting is drawn out now and I'll be starting that this week. I'll be attending the Skip Watts Memorial Exhibition & reception on April 20th in Springfield. This was a watercolor show open to Illinois artists only. Paul Jackson AWS, was the juror of selection and awards. Paul has had considerable influence on my work and I look forward to seeing him at the reception. I will also be traveling up to the IWS 29th National opening in Dixon on May 11th at the Next Picture Show Gallery. One of my favorite pieces: 'The Collector' was finally juried into a major show, by Ratindra Das AWS. Even better than going to an art show in Dixon is driving there [...]
How my car got me into an art show.
A man who needs no introduction in the world of illustration; and now film, John Howe ranks as one most praiseworthy fantasy illustrators alive today.