Thursday, January 17, 2019

Some Wedding Paintings

Here are a couple of wedding paintings I've done this year.  By far the loosest quickest type of painting I do and by far the most fun!  Love having people to talk to while I'm working and who doesn't enjoy watching people head off on their journey together?

Thursday, September 20, 2018


Other than the portrait I'm working on, first time back to the easel in several weeks

9x12 Oil on Panel
See link for time-lapse

Friday, August 24, 2018

Helpful Art Link 0001

When I first began painting information was so hard to come by. As a self-taught artist, I had to find resources essentially through word of mouth or through videos and books that I purchased. Thankfully it is no longer that way and so many artists are extremely generous with their time and knowledge.  Here is a great video by Bryce Cameron Liston on using paper with oil paints. Wonderful inexpensive ideas that are great for practice and finished work.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

The Practice of Making Art

Here are the assumptions. There are more people who want to be artists than there are artists, there are more people actively painting, sculpting and drawing than there are people making a living off of painting, sculpting, and drawing. The people who are making a living painting, sculpting and drawing probably have some talent, exceptional practice, exceptional training, and exceptional circumstances. For those of us who do not have these exceptional things, our greatest need is intentional practice. Thankfully there are now several online options for helping with this, but for my part, in this series of posts, I am going to mention some things that I practice to move my abilities forward. First, a caveat for the young.

Choosing not to attend a dedicated art school when you want to be an artist is a mistake. The reasons for this are simple. To become a successful artist you need several thousands of hours of practice, you need knowledge and you need networking. In my experience, the artist with those three benefits tends to do better in the marketplace. A decent school or atelier can provide the start you need. Obviously, there are always exceptions, but the exceptions have usually traveled a tougher road and they are almost alway's extremely self-motivated and disciplined.

Practice #1: A Sketchbook

For 30 years I heard artists and art teachers refer to the benefits of regularly working through ideas and problems in a sketchbook. My lazy brain would reason that if I were going to take the time to work on a piece of art, it needed to be art that could be finished and potentially sold. My lazy brain is stupid. I've spent many more hours sketching this year than painting.  I won't go into all that I have been learning but I can tell you I am mourning the loss of the last thirty years.

At present, my goal is to do 20 to 100 figures a day in either pencil, ink or ballpoint. If this is new to you check out this Steve Houston videos or his book first.  I saw pretty decent improvement after just a week of doing this.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Have A Beard

This is pretty simple. I needed a subject to try out pen and ink because cameras record the contrast much better than they do mechanical pencil. I still ended up using some pencil but the pen does provide better contrast.  I have a learning curve ahead of me. This is not an attempt at visual poetry but it is really close to a visual pun.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Floral Sketch

One of the greatest options in the history of art, the still life. Flowers are always a winner when your not quite sure what to draw or paint. Their combination of both hard and soft edges (see King Richard's book, chapter six) and their lost and found shapes make them a challenge. One that is usually informative. Draw a still life with a mechanical pencil and make your brain go "weeeeeeeeeee!"

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Four Reasons To Buy Art

Do it For Your Soul  -  Collect the art that impacts your soul language and trade your money for it so that you can enjoy the visual poetry over a lifetime.

Do it For Your Bank Account - Ignore the art and pay attention to the rise and fall of an artists prices.  I'm sure that, as in stock investing, there is a good amount of due diligence involved here.

Do it For Your Ego - Listen to what the important art people are saying and do what they tell you to do.

Do it For Your Decor - I'm not even going to go here, but I understand...  I understand.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Experiencing Art

In the early 90's I attended a national portrait conference. It was the first art event, other than the Kentuck Festival, that I had ever attended. There was this bold, idealistic thought in my romantic brain that becoming a portrait painter was my destiny. After watching the likes of Daniel Greene, Everett Raymond Kinstler, and others wow the crowd with their mastery I became convinced that "destiny" was much too strong of a word.

At the back of the room, there was a vendor selling reproductions of works by Nicolai Fechin. Artists were gathered around the table blushing over how wonderful his paintings were. So I took a look. Immediately it became clear that these onlookers lacked aesthetic taste, loved flat jumbled shapes and were on the payroll of whoever brought the Fechin reproductions. How could anyone consider this guy to be a great painter? I was in my twenties. A decade later I became convinced, that at that moment, I was a naive idiot.

My education came while I was wandering through a gallery In Sante Fe New Mexico. I came to a small hidden corner near the offices where there was a small 8x10 painting of a Native American girl.  It was a Fechin. A visual poem. A masterful array of paint, color, opacity, transparency, scratches, finger painting, brushwork, and edges. An unforgettable experience without parallel.

With the exception of sculpture, graphics and possibly pen and ink, art does not reproduce well. Paintings don't reproduce at all. There is some speculation that with 3D printing we are on the edge of being able to exactly reproduce most works of art.  Not a Fechin. The passion and poetry of that Russian soul are in the original marks themselves.

Enjoy the art that lingers in your memory, collect the art that impacts your soul. If your an artist, strive for the visual poem.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Follow The Elf Part Two

Should I explain? Circumstances will lead you to try things that would never have been possible without them. Taking care of others has led to a choppy schedule.  Sketches don't require large time commitments. Sketches from my head require nothing more than a place to sit down and a cup of coffee. Am I pleased with these? Not very often, but I'm learning. The greatest value I derive is the meditative experience. No pressure. No right or wrong. Just a dancing pencil.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Visual Poems

Several months's after you have been to a museum there are only a few works of art that you remember.  I spent a week in Sante Fe ten years ago and I only remember a few paintings. Some were in a show by Daniel Gerhartz (because he was my hero at the time), a peeled orange by Loran Speck and a small painting by Nicoli Fechin. I also remember the painting I bought, which is always the best way to always remember a work of art.

Why do we remember so few? I didn't remember the thousands of works of art that week because they weren't committed to memory and therefore only the paintings that were remarkable to my soul remained. When you experience a work of art as a visual poem you remember it and often carry the experience with you throughout your life. These poems connect the artist and the viewer on a metaphysical level by aesthetic means even if those means are not particularly skilled.

It is the visual poem within a sculpture, drawing or painting that draws you. It's a soul thing by means of an aesthetics thing. It is the meaning in addition to or in place of the ostensible surface meaning. It is the voice that speaks in a language that can only be heard by the soul. They are rare. They are remarkable, though finding words that properly "remark" on the experiences always fall short.

Have I ever created a visual poem? I'm not sure. The viewer is the one who decides. Modern focus on the "artist" flies in the face of this, but unless your an art investor why would you care? Enjoy the art that lingers in your memory, collect the art that impacts your soul language. If your an artist, strive for the visual poem.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018