Ever changing seasons.

Isn’t this beautiful? The oranges and the blue sky, just love the beauty all around us. I suggest to carry your camera with you and most use their phones, but if you are feeling somewhat “art-less” and complain you don’t have time to create your artwork anymore for whatever reason carry your cameras with you. Put them in your car and take the opportunity to reconnect with your art once again. You will be surprised how self-fulfilling it can be using your camera vs. the phone. If you are the negative Willie than stop! Stop complaining and start doing. Start to train your eye again and look at what interest you. You are worth the time it takes to stop and take a picture on the way of car-pooling to a kid’s game. You may not have the time to create as you would like, but use this time to gather the information you may use in the future. Tip: Look for complementary colors such as; orange and blue, purple and yellow, green and red. The combinations will make strong compositions.

Painting with Pudding!

Every artist does struggle either with drawing, painting, finding their Nitch, the subject matter, style techniques, approach, subject matter, composition, light source, realism vs. expressive and impressionism. The list is a mile long!  Finding your way with your art is a life long process of discovering new ways on an art that is old as time. It can be very frustrating and if you really want to be an artist you need to press through and keep pressing! You art will define itself if you keep pressing through. Sometimes artist don’t create for years at a time; which I think will set you back in quality. The idea is to keep working and the artwork will become stronger all the way around. You may even be healthier and happier as a result. Eat a piece of cake……like I do!

Have you ever thought when you look at a picture of yourself from way back when and think “What was I thinking!” laugh at the way you looked? Then you even thought you looked darn good then too boot! Art is the same way…..we get better with age, our style improves over time.  This is the second year that I have been going to Life drawing once a week and it has been so beneficial for me. I must have who knows 500 plus hours of life drawing under my belt to this point; the difference is I am not in a formal professor class now. I am in a life drawing for pleasure and my satisfaction of wanting to draw. You must Love your art enough to push through and hang on for the ride. Don’t think when……”When I retire, when I have another job and when I have more money”! Take and make the time at this very present to enjoy what you love to do. Life is too short not to enjoy your time now. There Never will be enough money,,,,,there are always bills to pay. It’s like a parent thinks, “Oh when little Joe gets to first grade and is in school all day I will have the time”. I know….I had three kids and have been there. Talk about not having time for myself and my artwork. I have learned the hard way on a few things. It is hard as a Super Mom to walk away from a pile of laundry that needs your attention and I struggle with all of these issues. I have come to the conclusion if I don’t take care of myself nobody will!  I need my artwork to complete me and be happy. Plus, if I am happy I can deal with everything and everybody else with a better attitude.

There is always the issue of time and not enough time to get the artwork done or get involved in artwork as we’d like. A great way to include the little ones let them paint with Pudding! Yes, Pudding! Put the kiddies in the high-chair and let them finger paint with pudding! Doesn’t matter if they eat it, not like paint. They will love to see their work hanging up on the box and take a few pictures for future reference of artwork to be and enjoy the moment God gave ya!  It teaches the older child they are important too and they feel good about themself. It’s a bonding moment. It gives you an hour or two to work on your own artwork. It works well outside in the hot summer and then you can turn the hose on and wash off the pudding.

Getting back to artwork; Not every drawing is going to be what you have envisioned or meet the expectation you have set for yourself. I suggest focusing on graphite drawing along with life drawing to begin. You need to know how to draw and learn value, form, shape, line and light. After you get a handle on that then introduce another medium such as a paint medium. Even start a painting in black and white. This way you are taking a strong eye of value into the first paintings. Introduce color after value is learned in black and white. Drawing one subject such as a pear for example is a good way to get yourself familiar with a paint medium. Masterpieces will happen after at least twenty paintings into one medium.

Learn to read what your art is telling you? Do you work meticulously defining tiny one stroke lines, do you like to draw in blurred shapes or do you like your artwork tight or realistic? Look at or examine your first few pieces and find the common thread amongst them. That will be the first clue to what you are good at, your strengths or what “Your Artist eye” is seeing. Work with your strong points, go with it. Use the common thread or common strong suits  to make your work stronger. Every artist walks a journey discovering their artwork. You can only watch how other artist work for so long without working yourself. Don’t worry how other artist do it! Start doing it yourself and discovering your own ways and approaches.

It will help you to keep an art journal, sketches if wanted. Write or jot down what you find interesting and would like to draw. For example; you see a cat in the window and find that interesting or think it would make a neat drawing. Write it down. In the events of your life that influence the art you produce. It will help you to make the connection between your life and your art.

I know it can be hard, but don’t make it harder on yourself by taking on too much too soon. Work on what makes you happy, the rest will follow. Work at what you want your art to say about the artist. I will write more on this subject….I have three people yelling for dinner! My work is never finished or my time isn’t always my own neither!

Okay, I am back.  I know finding time is not always easy. I also know If you are miserable all the time the going through will suck! Try to make the best of it everyday. Here is a secret, we are not promised tomorrow. So, if your everyday sucks then get out of the other side of the bed. Get your focus off yourself and go volunteer at the hospital, help a neighbor or an older person neighbor. Get your sites off yourself and help someone else with something. It is only a season in life, time will go and come. Stop feeling sorry for yourself and think you are the only one that can’t create their art. Seasons change all the time. Do what you can involving your art and the day will come you have more time. Gather the information you need to create your art. If you don’t have actual painting time, gather the pictures you will need for a painting. Use the time you do have towards something productive; this way you are still involved in your art. Not every artist creates seven days a week!  Sometimes an artist doesn’t feel inspired to create.  Keep moving forward and eventually there will be more time to fit everything in you’d like.

My friend Carlos and I were talking one day in the darkroom about how you don’t know if you don’t try. Here I am in my 40’s, working in a college environment {the old lady in the classroom} feeling sort of out-of-place and old….Carlos pointed out how far I have come in a year of just working at my art! I was doing so much more this year vs. last year. So, image where next year will take me? It’s all about there is a new season and seasons change all the time.

Hitting the wall!

Yesterday an artist friend and student of mine were taking about when as an artist we “Hit the wall” when painting or drawing or whatever medium it is. This particular brain freeze of where to go next? How do I put the background in or where do I go from here? It can be a question and answer of simple as skill level needing to be developed and there is the “Hitting the wall”. Most times artist want to give up at this point, but DON”T! This is a crucial time of learning, the art juices are flowing. Press through and don’t put the artwork away and think you will come back and finish because that time usually never comes. Sit the artwork aside for a few days but continue to view the artwork and let the composition speak to you. Let the artwork speak to you and see what parts bother you or figure out what just doesn’t look right. Sometimes I do Not like to show anyone my artwork to a certain stage and I respect that, but someone may see something you do not. A constructive critique is key to any artist.

For myself when painting this last watercolor of the kids in the pool I found myself “Stuck” on what to do with the background. I love painting in realism in any medium, but I also need a balance of subdued color or style for a happy balance in composition. The problem is getting there. I see other artist works that I know I have the same skill level of realism, but how they achieved the balance is a learning process I need to work more in. Watercolor is an ideal medium for loose wash techniques and most artist paint watercolor in that style, but I don’t or have a hard time of breaking free from controlled layers of color or photo realism. This is where Life drawing helps with timed poses and self teaching of “Letting go” from adding too much realism. It’s funny because I have artist friends that tell me they wish they could paint watercolor like I do and here I am wanting to paint looser. Go figure. I don’t think it is has to do with not being content on how I paint I don’t want my compositions to speak “seen it” already. Artwork can become seen and done it, Next! There are some artist that paint and their skill level is amazing but the artwork is steal after twenty paintings completed the same way. That is where I am at, I think? The car watercolor before this pool painting I don’t mind total realism through out because the composition is strong. There is the happy balance once again. Being an artist is a struggle, especially when emotion is attached. That is what an artist is made of, a bag of emotion trying to escape through paint. Add life, experiences in life and it reflects in our artwork and how we have a need to create through all these experiences. Maybe it is growth in our work? It is what makes us accomplished artist? Instead of thinking about it and never really have the answers of these questions being asked through-out time it is best to pick a brush and work it out! Will I get there eventually? I think so, but artwork is never really finished. I guess the finished artwork or when I call it finished relates to where I am at that particular time in life. Too profound today with unanswered questions. Time to pick up the brush, put some Neil Young on and paint…….:}

Thanks for reading to the bottom [lol], I do read all the comments and I have to say some are crazy! Not exactly sure where they are coming from and please try to keep them to yourself. I need to add video as some have suggested, I still need to figure out how to get the flowers files out of scrapbook program. I am not the sharpest tack on the board but I have tried all that I know how to do on this computer. Anyway, if anyone knows please email the solution. Thanks.

Juried shows.

I have a post somewhere on my blog regarding entering juried shows. It is not as hard as you may think; not anymore since digital land. Juried shows can cost anywhere from an average of $9.00 to 30-40 dollars an entry. Usually if you enter two – three entries it may be around $75 to enter. Most show I have seen lately you enter a digital image at a certain size of usually 1000 or a bit more pixels. The rules on the show page will have a required size in the rules. Follow the guide to what they want. You will need a credit card to enter and pay for your image[s]. Follow the directions. When entering I like to enter at least two paintings for the reason the judges see my range of style and control of watercolor. Entering one piece is good when your artwork is spot on and hits the high mark being able to stand strong solo in composition and all the elements.  Some artwork needs to be seen in a series of three if the subject matter is similar in content and similar compositions. If there is not a strong compositional range in the work, then I like to enter three images of close subject matter. For example; say you paint flowers up close in a size 9 x 12. One painting or drawing is not strong enough or large enough to stand alone. Not every case, but for the most part. It leaves the viewer or judge thinking it just can’t make the cut because it needs just a bit more to take it to the next level. But, when you put three paintings together similar in content they enhance each other in content and become a strong entry. It is usually three or five in a series. After five it’s time to move on and expand your artwork to something else so you’re not repetitive.

When taking your best picture I photograph outside under my porch. I have true natural light with no cast shadows. The natural light is usually crisp and I get a true color read. NEVER photo shop your imagines…..you will be disqualified. If you make the first cut you may be asked to physically bring your artwork to place where your work will be displayed and judged. Some shows they judge solely on the digital images. Find a show that fits your artwork and go for it!

Here is a list of a few magazines that list shows and on their sites there will be a listing in the competition menu or event menu. You can find these magazines at Barnes and Noble bookstore or another bookstore in your town.

www.artistdaily.com, www.artistmagazine.com, www.watercolorartistmagazine.com, www.baltmorewatercolorsociety.org.

American Artist Magazine, American Artist drawing, Watercolor Artist, The artist magazine,and International artist. 

Prismacolor.com also has a gallery to display your artwork, sign on and create your artwork gallery. You can look at other artist as well and share tips and recieve feedback too.

Brushes

Here is a way to contain all your brushes in one neat spot. This is bead holder found in the jewelry department. I am sure you can find one on-line. It is a Bead Bellishment Bench by ArtBin, I found this at AcMoore art and craft store. All I did was buy sand from the Dollar Store and added about 60% in each jar leaving the lid off. Added my favorite brushes and it works wonderfully! My brushes are not as long as oil brushes can be, they are watercolor brushes mainly. As you can see in the picture it really works well. I guess you could use beans, rice or tiny beads instead of sand, but sand works. I like this because I can see where the brush I want easily and I don’t need to put a brush cover on any. When you are traveling with your brushes DO NOT just throw them in the bottom of your bag! If you do not have anything to contain them at a quick moment at least roll the brushes up in a paper towel. If you don’t want to buy anything, at least use a paper towel cardboard tube; simply roll the brushes up in a paper towel and stick in the tube. You can find many tube like structures to use around the house. In the Dollar stores you can buy a straw table place-mat which will allow you to stick or weave the brushes through the straw and roll the mat up.

Proof reading

As many times I looked at the painting of Adam and his car I never noticed I forget to paint the “e” in the website that is painted on the back of my car. Joan noticed it today!!!Thank goodness she did and I had enough time to fix it and resubmit it to the juried show. Wow! Can’t believe I missed it. Maybe it wouldn’t have mattered? IDK,,,,but glad the mistake was caught in time, the deadline is Monday. Tip: double and triple check the spellings in the composition. Plus, when you sign your work give a bit of space; in other words don’t sign on the edge. Awe…what an art day today!  Also, do not write your name large enough to see it before you notice the artwork itself! Do not be so vain……it kills the attitude of the artwork. If you want to write your name in large print….do a painting of your signature. Seriously, your signature should be discrete towards the bottom not seen unless looked for or in the pattern of the composition. Look at the Masters.

Watercolor continued.

I knew when I started to draw this times three this was going to be “One of those” pieces! Very frustrating composition….maybe it’s my summer so far? Hot and humid as anything outside and just crappy weather. I wanted to paint a few landscape watercolor paintings this summer outside, but It is really hard to enjoy the day in the blazing heat. Anyway…could be 100 inches of snow.

Saturday; I need to draw up some lessons plans on how to Follow the form 101 for an artist friend of mine and I will post them. Maybe they will help some whom need drawing advice regarding realism. I will post these by Wednesday.

I had a chance to work a bit more, but I made the man’s head too small. So, now I need to figure out how to make the head larger on established wc. I can do it, “I mmm skilled” lol… Tip: when working realism use one color for the flesh tone; Burnt Umber is a nice base for flesh tone. Watercolor realism is about layers. FOLLOW THE FORM. Paint in the direction of a shape or form.  All the tones so far on the people are a base of Burnt Umber. After the forms are in then I will start to add washes of pinks, crimsons. Paint your people with the base color first. Every layer added even with the same base will add increased color to the form or shape; every layer adds to the depth of color. There are NO LINES on a face; they are creases, hills and vallies. In my old set I don’t have fancy colors, I am trained “Old school”. Make your own shades and colors. “Learn how to paint with less” Mr. Sorrels would say. If you need a richer brown add a bit of Vandyke brown. If your portrait needs more of an olive skin type add a bit Raw Umber; found in Fancy sets. I was taught the less you have in a paint selection the better you will learn to mix color! It is true. Today there are too many colors, shades of color, hues of colors and you don’t learn how to mix colors on your own!  With the 12 pan set or less you learn how to mix any color you may need. I just knew I didn’t have the money as some of my peers in college for art supplies and felt quite poor actually. BUT,,,,I can mix you any shade or color you need from my tiny 12 pan set which I still have. So, who benefited? I can afford the 45 pan set now and it really doesn’t impress me as I thought it would.

This is the point I painted too. I need to detail the hands and fingers and start to work the detail. I have time, the show isn’t until Dec. something deadline. I also need to draw up a background. I don’t mind comments and some are really nice, then there are ones for enhancing drugs and porn ads….please don’t send me them! It is a pain in a**  to weed through the crappy nasty sex comments and I have decided to pray for you all with such conflict or feel you have the need to email such exposing subject matter to everyone in your lives. Thanks. I do appreciate the nice comments and look forward to reading/answering them……over 500 and counting!

Watercolor 101

I believe I will have a window of time to continue working on this watercolor,  it is quite large. Which is obviously taking longer to work the entire composition, but taking more time and patience on my part. I wanted to finish this and enter two watercolors instead of one for a juried show in New York, but I realize if I rush it will not turn out like I expect and envision. So, the mature thing is to wait, not get frustrated, finish on a timely manner and look for another show to enter. There will always be shows to enter somewhere. Why add more stress to already the stresses that come with each new day? Just do the best you can today and let God handle the rest.

This watercolour had been a challenge for the size like I said before and I decided to paint the two boys a bit older when this photograph was taken. I don’t know why….I drew it three times and I realized the painting was coming out that way so I went with it! Maybe a bad idea? Sort of has a new level of challenge. I have too much time in now to toss it….and never just put a piece of artwork to the side and think you will finish it sometime,,,,,later never comes.  I like the way the forms are starting to define themselves in the legs for example. This wc has a long long way to go. As you can see in the photo the background is a bit busy, I need to tone that down when I sketch that out. I like the idea of the fence on a diagonal, it adds to good composition. You want objects in the composition taking your eye through the painting. So, the diagonal fence I will sketch in and some blacked eyed Susans, other than that I am stuck. If I raise the fence in the background I can add more grass and less sky? I don’t want to paint trees in, the subject matter is a more up close view. Always look at the distance in composition and how the foreground subjects are. Awe….this needs a lot of work. This new show called Splash 15 has a deadline Dec. 3rd., so that works.

watercolor painting

I got pretty far last night and than this morning. Watercolor is all about adding layers of the same color to create form. In realism it is hard to just jump to the darker forming colors at the beginning. You must paint the form first. I want to work the entire picture first; then I will go back and put in the major details. I’d say the top child is about 70% done. The darks or darker values will go in last. I like to work the composition to a certain point, let the paper rest and go back with more dry brush wc. If you are impatient then wc realism will kick your butt and it will frustrate you. You must play by the watercolor’s rules. Watercolor is not to be feared….you can paint with any medium…you must respect the medium and learn how to use the paint and what it can do. Keep working on your skill and learn the medium.

It is extremely difficult to paint abstract anything until you know how to draw it realistically. How can you paint abstract  if you can’t draw it first? Start by working in life drawing; work on drawing skills and values of graphite. Start by drawing a sphere, if you don’t have a sphere [ball] get an egg and draw that. More later.

watercolor painting

LOL! This doesn’t look like the people in my picture….augh. At first the hair didn’t look like it should, then the highlights! Remember the highlights when painting, not after. Adding lighter highlights  afterwards is harder and the paint [watercolor] looks thick then. Plus, the flesh color layers of color are really sun-kissed and that is throwing me a bit too. Just remember to paint the face as form and normal color first, then add the tan rosy hues. I only had about an hour to work on this late last night, so once a background goes in I hope it starts to resemble Adam better.

It has taken me until to now to realize I rather paint up close realism, but I need to expand my artwork subjects and not get stuck painting the same subjects just in different comps. If I do that my work will get boring even though the skill is top-notch. This wc is large and hard to arrange the board to hold or put the board an angle to actually paint. The size is a bit overwhelming at first. I drew this three times! Once it came out too small for the subject matter and the second I had it drawn larger and beautifully….I had spaghetti sauce on the back of my hand and didn’t see it and I even washed my hands very well! Guess where the sauce went? If that isn’t a kick in the ass…..I drew it again. Understand, this is what it is to “keep pressing through” the situation you’re in. Here I have this great composition to paint, which I think has a good shot at least getting a mention in a show if I paint it well. Then here is the devil coming against me trying to destroy me through stupid sh** like the spaghetti sauce. He knows the Great things God has for me and if I give up too quickly or don’t keep trying I will lose and he wins. Thought for the day; Don’t give up and be defeated….keep pressig through”.

Sometimes in your drawing or painting  [and the actual artwork skill is good] but, something just does not look right to you? Maybe it is the size? Are you drawing it too small? Some subjects need to be larger drawn to “MatcH” the subject matter. For example; when I drew this smaller it didn’t look right to me. When I drew it again larger it “Fit”. But don’t overwhelm yourself at first with size…..work your way up to sized compositions.

Thank you to Gabrill and the office mates for all the kind words and checking out my artwork…….God Bless.