Taking Art by the Business End:

I’ve been doing some heavy duty thinking. Thinking about a lot of things- what’s next for my art, both on the creative side and on the business side; what my goals are; and how best to connect with you (yes YOU), and just generally speaking how to be better at everything. That’s part of why I haven’t written in a while. I’ve been hiding out in my own head. But I’ve decided maybe that needs to change. Maybe I’m in my own head a little TOO much.

So, just to keep y’all in the loop, here’s what I’ve been doing. First off- this blog is going to be moving. Hopefully I can just slide everything over to a different platform with little to no disruption. However, it’s possible that that won’t work. I’ll give you a few more warnings before I make the switch.

Here’s why I’m making the switch. Currently, this blog is hosted through wordpress.com. However, apparently, I should have hosted it through wordpress.org. Stay with me here if you’re interested at all in building a website/blog and in building an audience. If this is not your thing and you don’t have any questions about computer stuff (which, frankly gives me a terrible headache), then here’s a pretty picture to look at.

Oil painting of my little wild child. Still working on a title.

If you are interested in the businessy, computer side of things, (or even more, NOT interested, but know you should be) read on and I’ll try to break things down for you.

I didn’t realize when I started this blog that there was a difference between wordpress.com and wordpress.org, but apparently there is.The way it was explained to me, wordpress.com is like renting a space, and wordpress.org is more like owning a space. So, just like renting an apartment, with wordpress.com the technical things aren’t really your problem. That’s the advantage. However, also like renting an apartment, there are certain limitations to what you can do (don’t knock down that wall!). So, even though the technical side of things can almost make me feel queasy at times, I’ve decided I’m ready to push through the limitations. I have big goals, big hopes, big dreams, and big plans and time’s a wastin’.

As I figure this stuff out, I’m going to keep posting about it. Maybe I can help some of you figure out your “next right step.” By the way, that term is from The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. Have you read it? Just thinking in terms of, “What’s the next right thing?” really helps me when I feel overwhelmed.

I’ll talk to you soon. In the meantime, keep painting.

Let’s Try This Again, Part III

Bit by bit I’m moving along on this painting. I’m loving it, but my little one has decided naps are for chumps so I’m not getting to work on it much. That’s ok. Next week she starts pre-school so I’m trying to soak up every sweet, frustrating, fun, non-work productive, bonding, silly, frivolous, educational, and mundane moment with her. I have the rest of my life to work. Here and there, though, I have made some progress on it.

Last post I showed you my rub-out underpainting:

Now for the fun part- color! Here’s what I’ve done so far, plus a couple of detail shots.

Don’t you love skin tones? Look at all the colors in there- greens, pinks, violets- and I can promise you there’s not a bit of pre-mixed “Caucasian Flesh Tone” on my palette. Where would be the fun in that?

Ok. Let’s Try This Again, Part II

Last post I showed you this value study I did in preparation for my next painting-

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Value study on Ampersand Oil Paper 6″x8″

Now I’m ready to start on the real deal.  First, the drawing:

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Drawing on canvas in sepia pen

Next, the rub-out. I’ve found that my initial little value study helps with this step. The more familiar you are with your subject and your values, the better. 

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Burnt Umber Rub-out

Next up: My favorite part- the magic part. Painting. Stay tuned. 

 

 

 

Ok. Let’s try this again

A while ago I showed you this in-progress picture:

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with the promise that you would see it transform along the way into a finished painting. I lied. I didn’t mean to! Sometimes I just can’t finish a painting. There’s certainly something to be said for committing to a project; working until your idea comes to fruition; pressing on until the bitter end. But there’s also something to be said for stopping when you realize that what you’re working on just isn’t “you” anymore. That is not to say the same attitude should apply to every situation that bores you, or even to every painting, but of all the commitments you could flake on in life this is one case where the earth will not shatter, hearts will not break, and jobs will not be lost (unless, of course, it’s a commission- which this was not so I’m free to do what I want. So there!).

Now, let’s try this again with a painting I know I’ll finish- in part because I’m much more more in love with the subject matter. A portrait of my daily life.

To start I did a value study:

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Value study on Ampersand Oil Paper, 6″x8″

A quick laying down of the lights and darks of my composition. This is done on a small scale (in proportion to the size and shape of the finished painting) quickly and loosely, with no gridding, no drawing, and no blending. The purpose of this step is just to help you check the balance of lights and darks in your painting. For example, this composition stands alone because it is primarily dark with a bright white center of interest. When paintings edge too much toward mid-range in value, they get dull no matter what your colors or subject. Value studies are helpful, though because you don’t get distracted by the pretty colors or elaborate patterns and you can really see the bones of the picture. So far, so good. And I’m not a bit bored.

 

 

 

 

Coming out of hibernation, continued

Step 2: Local color-

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Loosely applied, basically just blocking out the different areas of the picture. At this point I’m trying to close my eyes to detail and just get blocks of color in place. I didn’t even work too hard to cover up my base color, since I want that warmth to ultimately show through.

Coming out of hibernation

February in Alabama is wet, cold, and grey. A perfect recipe for malaise. Will I hibernate? Will I huddle under the covers and whine? Will I crawl into bed with a pan of lasagna and try to get as fat as possible? Not this kid… not anymore at least. Let’s get back to work. And this time I think I’ll try things a little differently.

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Step 1- Underpainting rub-out

Gamblin’s Solvent Free gel mixed with transparent earth orange (about 50/50).

The underpainting acts as a value study- letting me study the dark and light areas of the painting and decide if the composition is interesting enough to stand on its own without the color.

The paint/gel mixture is applied to the entireIMG_1194 canvas (or in this case primed panel) with a large brush, then, using a t-shirt rag I rub out the lighter parts of the painting, using varying pressure to get the gradations of value.

Stay tuned for more… unless I go back into hibernation mode. Then you can find me on the couch with a pot of chili.