Thursday, December 6, 2012

Artistic license

     This is a landscape I did a while ago -- 14" X 18" oil on canvas,  a farm house along route 20 in southern Wisconsin.  Now it was my art teacher Tom Cushing who first told us to reach in our wallet and pull out our artistic license when we had to do some editing while painting a picture.  Originally, there was no woman tending a garden plot, no small highway marker along the road, asphalt not grass and dirt along the road and no planter box either.  There was a box there, yes, but what was in the box was the erector-set like ironwork for a windmill.  There was not the blades of a windmill, that was gone.  You can still find this house along Route 20 somewhere near Waterford, WI although it has been restored and looks different.  I've been driving up that way for over 30 years and a lot of the houses I've painted are almost unrecognizable now, completely hidden by the trees and foliage that were much smaller then. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Small sketches in watercolor

These are all small watercolor sketches from a bound volume I have used and carry in the car.  The top two were done on the spot:  in Algoma, Wisconsin and the second along the shoreline in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.  The others were done in a watercolor class that I've taken in the past.  Sometimes when I just don't have a lot of time a small portrait is good to keep the skills sharp.  Something like this isn't always meant to share with anyone else, although I am putting them up here today.  Otherwise they will never see a frame or the light of day again.  As some of my teachers (Ralph Oberg and Marc Hanson) would say:  "You're gathering information".

Friday, November 23, 2012

On the Darlington Road --- Mineral Point, Wisconsin

Finished just this week, I  had to wait a year to get the information that I needed to complete this painting.  Our anniversary is in November and having gone to Mineral Point last year, I got a look at this scene one sunny morning at the south part of town on the Darlington Road.  Darlington is probably twenty miles south.  What I was lacking is info on the left side of the canvas in the shadows.  I spent time getting that the way I wanted it and spent some time developing the center and the tree on the right and them all of a sudden it was done.  I've experienced that many times, that a painting is finished "all of a sudden" or sooner than anticipated.  My favorite part of doing this painting is the right side where the sunlight and shadows is done in an impressionistic way with broken color. 
   Mineral Point is in the southwest part of Wisconsin where the farms are on hilly ground.  One of my absolutely favorite books is The Land Remembers, by Ben Logan, a writer who grew up near there and now lives in Viroqua, WI.  He's from a Norwegian family and grew up learning all the tasks on the farm when they still used horses for much of the work.  I taught a block (a three weeks period of study on one subject) about farming using The Land Remembers to teach from.  Of course, I added some talk about modern farming methods later.  Anyhow all of this background only makes one a better painter. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Photographing art/ Plein air Devil's Lake

These are two photos I took of a painting I did this fall at Devil's Lake near Baraboo, Wisconsin.  Now, any idiot can point a camera and get a decent image of a painting, however you can see the difference here.  The top image was taken in indirect sunlight.  I took it in my studio with sunlight coming in the window.  The bottom photo was taken with the painting put in the direct rays of the sun.  The one taken in direct sunlight is the more accurate one despite the fact that you might think the sun would wash out the color -- not so.  If you are trying to get a painting into a show, obviously take several photos and take the one with the more accurate representation of your original painting.  It really isn't easy as you can tell if you've read the many times on this blog where I've stated that the picture is far below the quality that the eye sees.  If you are a painter who works from photos, I hope you are working from photos that you've taken yourself.  If nothing else (meaning working from life or a sketch or two) at least you have been to the place you are painting, stood in the sunlight or stood in the rain, felt the air moving by and gotten a sense of the atmosphere and mood created by the scene you are intending to paint.  People always want to show you photos of what they think is a pretty scene, but the only successful ones I've done are the ones I've taken myself where I've had to opportunity to have some kind of emotional reaction to what I'm seeing.  It's always better to have a sketch --- black and white or color -- than to just work off a photo alone.
Now, I'm not bashing photographers here.  We do know that photgraphers use filters and can photoshop things on a photo which alters what is seen and that of course can throw off what a painter is looking for.  And let's not forget models -- they can apply makeup to the face and throw you off.  We used to have a model at the school I went to who always had bright color on her cheek where you would not expect it.  After having painted her for well over two years, one day I saw her applying bright rouge to her cheeks and there was the mystery solved as to why she always gave me trouble.  I adjusted of course, but painted her better once I solved the mystery.
This little sketch was done near the entrance to the learning center of the park at Devil's Lake.  I did this on a 6" X 8" canvas mounted to plywood board (should I mention the maker????  Source-Tek).  I don't like to give plugs on my blog because there's always some ********** who has to come along and post a comment and advertise their product.  Speaking of advertising (I'll plug myself) I've just sent along 3 works to be posted on Xanadu Gallery's website --- look for me in the "Studio" artists section of their site.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Plein Air from Devil's Lake, Wisconsin

Last week I traveled with an old friend from art school to Devil's Lake in Wisconsin.  We painted there for  three days.  This is the painting I did just one week ago at the north entrance to Devil's Lake park.  It looks better in person -- the color of this is a bit off.  This is oil, 6" X 8".  we managed to get there (luckily) just when the color of the trees was incredibly beautiful.
This is a long shot from high above the level of Devil's Lake.  This photo is just a shadow of the color that is there for the eye to see.
And finally, my painting "Farm at Fox River" was awarded the Award of Excellence at the annual show of the West Suburban Art League.  This is the second award that I've had for this painting.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Boathouse at Humboldt Park

Usually I am working on a Saturday when the Chicago plein air Painters are meeting and painting.  About two weeks ago I saw their plan to meet at Humboldt Park in Chicago and decided to go there.  Not having read the instructions carefully I completely missed the fact that they were about 600 yards away to the north on the other side of this building.  Since it was windy and cold, I just moved over to the passenger side of the car and began painting.   I spent about an hour on this (looks better in person than my photo does) little 6" X 8" canvas.  This is the east end of the boathouse.  I still never met any of the Chicago Plein Air Painters, but I did see a large group of people bringing their dogs past the parking lot where I was painting.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Plein air on Madeline Island

Two weeks ago I was at the weeklong workshop that Marc Hanson did at Madeline Island School of Art.  The painting is a 6" X 8" oil which I did (yes, that's me painting it) in the field behind the School.  We drove about 8+ hours through central Wisconsin to the town of Bayfield, caught the ferry to Madeline Island and arrived at the school in about 5 minutes.  The school has a great facility for painting -- plenty of light if you're painting indoors.  We did our painting at the beach at the town park.  While I liked the painting I did (I'll post those later), I did not like the larger painting I did from the study.  That was Marc's plan for the class: paint outdoors and then do a larger one from your studies.  We did a black and white value study, then a larger full color study.  I did what I was supposed to, worked on the larger one.  When I had had enough I stopped and went outside and did this one.  Marc's comment??? ---- he liked my clear and bright color and brushwork.  In case you are interested....Marc is a very nice person, an excellent artist and a good cook -- he makes an excellent mango salsa.  OK, so now that I have taken 3 workshops --- Frank Serrano, Ralph Oberg and Marc Hanson --- what have I learned??? --- I learned that I know what I'm doing while I'm painting.  I paid a lot for the classes, gas money and lodging...but I'm sure that's worth knowing.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Door County co-op

This is an oil painting I did a long time ago. It's a 12 X 24" oil on canvas. The interesting thing about the whole thing is that it is now a part of Door County (Wisconsin) history. These buildings are no longer there. When you go to this site now the trees and buildings have been replaced by moorings for boats and on land and up the hill are a lot of condominium buildings. Like any resort area there's a lot more money to be made in condos than in an old grocery store and fish warehouse. This was in the town of Sister Bay. It's still a nice place; the park here has concerts often in the summer for all the tourists, fishing boats still take people out onto the Bay to fish in open water.You can go to a fish boil almost any evening in one of the Door County towns in the summer. Even after 30 years of mowing down some of the past, Door County is still a charming place to visit. There's even a plein air painting festival in July. While these buildings are gone, there are still some remarkable old buildings still standing and I intend to paint them.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Portrait / Kotah Moon

I met Kotah during a residency I did called the Fields Project about five years ago. I lived for about six days with a farm family as did the other artists. It was a good time and I would do that again. One of the other artists lived at the house across the way. He's about as tall as I am but outweighs me by 30 pounds and presents an imposing figure. When I got to know him, I found him to be friendly, generous and a kind and sensetive person. He changed his name for personal reasons. Kotah drives a converted ambulance which has the space and carrying ability that would serve a metal sculptor --- carries a lot of weight. While I was out plein air painting, Kotah was using a torch to cut designs in metal. When the weeklong art experience is done there's an art show on the following Sunday in a park in Oregon, Illinois. His work is quite beautiful -- metal sculpture and jewelry. Kotah, from Poland, Indiana, does a lot of outdoor art shows during the year -- traveling here and there in a scheduled pattern week by week. Me, you ask?????....I just don't like to do outdoor shows and especially mall shows. I used to do a few shows in malls when I first started painting, but then I heard people walking into the mall saying "Look there's an art show going on." They are there to buy shoes, clothes and snacks, not art. Whoops! almost forgot --- the details on the painting --- this is a portrait I did from a photo -- about 11" X 14", oil on linen.

Monday, July 30, 2012

pencil drawing / Waterford, Wisconsin street scene

This is the final version of my pencil drawing, although not all of it is pictured. This final piece is 17" by 20" and is matted with a 3 1/2 inch mat. I am waiting for the frame pieces to arrive and I go to a local hardware store for the plexiglass. You will just have to come to the Shades of Gray show later this year to see it. I intend to enter the show with this. I have had a difficult time photographing this to my satisfaction, so even this one is not to my liking. I will try again when I send in my entry for the show. I did check on my use of perspective in the drawing, but it's one thing to get a drawing correct and another to do an architectural remdering. This is leaning on fine art, not architectural rendering. I did this without ever feeling that I was too stiff in my treatment. I used Stonehenge paper and several 6B and 8B pencils. It takes a delicate hand and iss quite a test of patience, but I love doing this and I never have a moment's frustration.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Secret Life of the Artist, part 10

"Happiness is...." is the title of a cartoon, giving happy incidents in one's life. So I am adding two of mine as a microcosm of other artist's lives. The top picture I shot driving ---yes, never mind the danger of driving with a cell phone --- I defy danger with a camera in my hand. This was taken along the road, Route 12, in Wisconsin on the way to Cambridge, WI. The sky and clouds and sunshine on the land was so beautiful it would take an artist to appreciate it all --- and I did!!!! Happiness -- yes. Farmland along the highway, how I wish I could have grown up there. The second picture is just that subject -- growing up. Here is the secret life of the artist as a teacher with his second grade class, then in Winnetka, IL. All of the children you see were 6 or 7 then and are now 22 or 23 and have graduated college. I don't think many of them have ever seen my oil paintings unless they've hunted me down on the internet. Before this I worked as an artist and was the assistant librarian at a research library. After this I went back to art. I was a little bit too old to be dealing with the younger generation. I now have the good fortune to be able to paint and draw. That was happiness then -- believe me, we had a great time. I told then a story every morning and did a chalk drawing too -- set me up for pastels later. Happiness now is the beauty of the moment, like the picture at the top. Man, I love Wisconsin.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Hot time, summer in the city

If you are an old timer, you will remember "hot time, summer in the city" as an old rock and roll song. This summer it has been so hot here (90s and even a few 100s F) that painting in the studio is just not practical for me. So, making lemonade when given lemons, I brought my work downstairs where it's cool. I still have one sitting on the easel upstairs waiting for me to finish. Painting outside en plein air just doesn't appeal to me when it's this hot; when I was younger it didn't matter. The title of this blog is "Slimjohnsonpaints" not "Heatstrokeslimpaints." As you can see, I'm not a big fan of summer.
This drawing is on the board now. The final size will be 18" X 18" and this is a section of that. The scene is from the main street in Waterford, Wisconsin which I have traveled almost anytime that I drive up there looking for reference material. Turn left here.....follow that van up the street and Uncle Harry's homemade ice cream is on your left at the stoplight. I like these old buildings and the street with its tar filled cracks. Which brings to memory the street I lived on as a kid which had tar patches like this one. The street repair crew comes by with molten tar and they pour the hot tar into the cracks in the street. When the temperatures got into the 90s, the tar would bubble and you could pop the bubble with a finger. It was fun, but then you'd have hot tar on your finger which is hard to get off. Incidentally, doing a drawing of this size requires care: no dirty little fingers!...the pencil will come off on your sweaty little hand, so you have to keep a clean sheet of paper under your hand to protect the surface -- by the way....this is a sheet of Stonehenge drawing paper. While I'd rather be painting, this is a great way to test your skill in determining values. In fact it might be too much of a test -- it can be too time consuming and lose a lot of its charm when you have to constantly adjust values and time consuming just doing the drawing. But I love this street scene and knew I had to do something with it. Lastly, I did not do this by any means of projection or tracing --- I just drew it by placement and comparison. If I finish it soon I will try to enter it in a shades of gray show.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Secret Life of the Artist -- Part 9 we have it -- the secret life of the artist or it could be called "Things you do as an artist that you never thought you'd be doing" as an artist. The funny thing is: I don't even remember the project I was working on when I did the South America map. I think it went to a filmstrip project ("filmstrip" what's that? Most people now have no idea what that was.) The South America map was done with acrylics on an illustration board. Acrylics, I hate thee, let me count the ways. Did I ever mention how much I hate acrylic paints? Now I even teach painting with them ---- see? another instance of "things you do as an artist that you never thought you'd be doing." This may have been for a series of educational films on the explorers of the New World.
The second map -- Europe -- I did for a film about Acid Rain. That was a big subject in the 1980s before Global Warming took the stage. This was an animated scene where I had to devise a cloud blowing over the earth carrying acids to drop over the land mass below. Animation --- another "things you do as an artist that you never thought you'd be doing." I could easily segue into a series of that along with the Secret Life of the Artist. What comes after that? -- you ask. After that I was a Waldorf teacher who had to do maps of all the continents and islands and states of the US. I did them teaching geography to the students. I used chalk on a large blackboard, which the students drew in their lesson books. Then they were erased --- yes, erased and I have no pictures of them (sadly)....and by the way....the South America was photographed top lit. The Europe map was shot bottom lit, which gives it a luminous quality kind of like a slide --- the difference between them is like the difference between a photographic print and a slide.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Autumn on Route 12

This is a little (10" X 18") oil I did of a farmhouse along the road in Walworth County Wisconsin. I'm still not sure I like it --- yes, I painted it faithfully, it's drawn accurately and painted pretty well and the colors are done well on the house (which was difficult), but still it's not a top of the list painting --- with, as they call it, the "wow" factor. Maybe I should just paint and not be a critic, after all painting is all I've ever wanted --- I don't want to be a critic and I don't want to run a gallery. It actually was difficult mixing the color of that house - a warm color in the shade -- not always easy. This is a farmhouse in a nice setting along Route 12 west of Fort Atkinson, if I remember correctly. On to the next one.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Old Repin copy and a completed street scene

While moving things around in the "studio", I found an old copy I did of a Repin painting -- the Actress Strepetova. Without measuring, I think it's an 11 X 14" painting done on masonite board. It had a lot of dust on it and cleaned up pretty well. As I said before, this is a good way of pushing yourself and exploring another artist's way of painting and using color. Secondly is the final version of the Chicago street scene I started a short time ago. I did a bit of repainting and adding some tree details but decided to not fuss too much. This was quite a diversion for me and I did not feel that I needed to finish in the same way I do with other paintings. The final version will be put onto 14 X 20" stretcher bars. I was watching the Jackson Pollock movie a couple days ago and really liked his work and approach to his work as portrayed by Ed Harris. I've never been an abstract painter, but certainly appreciate some of it.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Music Store - unfinished Chicago street scene

This is another canvas I painted mounted on a board. The advantage? can use really good canvas and then stretch on stretcher bars later if you are satisfied with the result. I use a really nice, heavy cotton canvas which I prime with gesso giving it some texture as I go along. I do have an oil primed linen, but I find the priming too slick. I like a matte surface with texture. So...about the painting ---- I will stretch this 14 X 20" (that is, if I like the final result). I have a number of paintings which I have sitting around which I don't like for some reason or another which will never see the light of day outside this studio. The location of this is about two miles from me in an older neighborhood which still has storefronts which are original. There's a lot of remodeling going on which takes away the original 1920s kind of look that these stores retain. I like the three bullseye porcelain decorations at the top and the recessed entryways. I used a lot of knifework to get straight lines, but you won't see the knifework (I just don't like knife paintings -- you know what I mean -- people who have decided to paint the whole painting with a knife, because their work with mixing color and painting with a brush is terrible -- I've heard that, "I'm a knifepainter" -- sorry that doesn't make you special). I will be cutting off about half the street and keeping all of the sky. I did not draw this in with a pencil first -- I just used thinned paint and did all the measuring with the brush, made things square by checking with a T-square. I did not slavishly copy everything -- I don't like photorealism. The last thing about the painting is the influence. I have always wanted to do a painting like this, but while I was working on it, I thought -- this reminds me of an Edward Hopper painting. I had to look up Hopper's paintings to find "Early Sunday Morning" which has a group of storefronts. I saw the Hopper show at the Art Institute of Chicago some years ago --- so what happened? Did the image of Hopper's painting put this in my head or did my painting make me recall Hopper's painting? Since I've never done a painting like this I can't say Hopper has ever been an influence, but I do like his work. I will post the finished version when it's done.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Field at Mineral Point

It looks a lot better in person. Sometimes you get a nice image from the camera, but I just don't think this is the best one. That said, the painting is done and since it is 36" X 48" it is impressive for size alone. It took about a month to complete: plenty of time to paint it, but also plenty of time to carry an image through one's thinking. By that I mean that a painter is thinking of the next step and (shall I call it meditating?) how it will be painted; does what I painted look alright to me now and next morning. Sometimes there are more hours thinking after the day's work is done -- thinking while watching tv or eating dinner. I remember when I was working on other jobs not art related and thinking/wishing that I was painting. So all of you painters working at non-art related work, you can still carry out your art in your thought life.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Old Sawmill

This is the old sawmill which is no longer in use at the John C. Campbell Folk School at Brasstown, North Carolina. It was the tin roof all rusted and colorful that attracted me to painting this. I took away a utility pole and converted it into a tree and added a tree where there wasn't one. If you look at the second picture you can see that I painted this on a picec of canvas taped to a piece of cardboard rather than put on stretcher bars. I thought I would try something new (to me), something I have seen other artists do. I found it to have a nice feel and it allowed me to just do the painting without worrying about fitting it onto a certain size stretched canvas. When it's dry I will take it off and stretch it to 10" X 16" stretchers and have to have a custom made frame. After working on a 36" X 48" canvas over the last month it was a relief to finish one in about two days.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Mineral Point painting

This is another stage in the painting I've been working on for the last several weeks. I've gone down the right hand side and center putting in the weeds, reeds, rocks and snow. Right now I am in the midst of working on the left hand side (will post that soon) and making adjustments as needed. You just can't "complete" one piece of the painting without making changes to what you thought was finished elsewhere. My plan is to enter this in the Farms and Barns show this fall. If the painting does not sell there I will offer it on the Xanadu Gallery website -- I am one of their "Studio" artists. I have about ten of my paintings for sale on their website at any one time.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Secret life of the artist part 8 least I think this is part 8....I haven't looked to see if I'm in numerical sequence. I think I started this "Secret Life of...." series when I came back from the John C. Campbell Folk School some years ago. The point of it is, of course, that artists often have many abilities, some undiscovered. My wife and I were down in Brasstown, North Carolina at the Campbell school. She quilted as she usually does and meets the same excellent teacher and many returning friend quilters. I have to find a class for myself or else I just go painting in the local area. As I did last year, I chose Woodturning. Pictured first is my Woodturning instructor, Steve Ainsworth. My wife took this picture and got him to smile. In the classroom he is quite a bit more serious, but yet funny and helpful. He does some incredible bowl turning and turns pewter as well. Last year he told us if we take Woodturning again, to take someone else. Well, I was so excited to see that he was teaching the same week as my wife's favorite instructor that I signed up immediately, but with a little trepidation. All was well and I found a groove and turned (woodturned) out twice as much work as I did last time.
The next picture has three "natural" edge bowls -- bowls with the bark still on. The other picture has two bowls and a goblet with a captured ring. At times I had 4 to 6 inches of wood shavings at my feet. The next thing for me is to find the funds to buy a lathe of my own. All this will take time away from painting, but bowl turning is fun -- tough, but fun. The last picture is of the large painting that I'm working on -- the "Starting with a mess" painting. I prepared to work down into the foreground reeds, snow and rock. I'm much further on now and will be posting soon.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Painting a tree

These are three images of the tree in the landscape I'm working on: the block-in, second stage and third stage. I've since added a few brushstrokes to it. What I can say about it in a few words (pictures are worth a thousand...) is that there's a simple value study to begin; light and dark, or sunlight and shadow with plenty of airiness from the first image to the last. I'm trying to keep it light and airy because of the tree being against the sky. Don't be afraid to pop in a few skyholes to keep it light and don't reach for anything too dark in the shadows. This takes a lot of work -- comparing, keeping the whole painting in mind without focusing totally on the one thing you are painting. And.....don't paint that trunk too dark. Yes, it's dark, but it's a dark surrounded by a light sky and a light background. It pains me to see tree trunks painted in black by new artists who haven't gone out and painted outside. I am now working on the reeds, snow and sticks in the right foreground. I was away for about 10 days on a trip to North Carolina to the John C. Campbell Folk School doing a Woodturning class. More about that later.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

the mess continued

The second and third stage of the Mineral Point painting are here. Since I am quite a bit further on with the painting than these images, I actually feel quite good about it. Mr. Hall, responding to a student's question about their feelings about their own work, said "You'll always feel about your art just the way you feel right now." And he was correct. No matter how accomplished you become, you still see flaws or have trouble painting certain things. Don't get all emotionally bent out of shape about it. So about this painting.... some days I like it and some days I don't, but when you are dedicated to painting you just step up to it with your brush in hand and carry on and you will soon forget that you didn't feel like painting or had any problem with it. Walk away for a while, even several days if you have to. I had started working the sky and then what's in front of it -- working from the back to the front. It's hard to get the type of edges in a tree unless the sky behind it is still wet. I've had to repaint the sky on some of my paintings just because that. I had been called away from my painting to do something else and by the time I returned to it the paint had dried. Just paint over it and carry on. This is what is so great about oil (and not great about acrylics) -- it stays wet for several days and you can work into it like it's still fresh on the first day. As I said, I'm quite a bit further on, but as I work on the background I am constantly working a wash or a few strokes into what I am going to paint next -- the foreground.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

"Start with a mess..."

When I was an art student in the oil painting class, my instructor, Eugene Hall came up with a number of really good and/or oddball quotes. One of them was: "Start with a mess, it can only get better". I was traveling in southwestern Wisconsin to the town of Mineral Point, a town that has a good number of artisans -- artists, woodworkers and potters. The small photo you see clipped to the right side of the canvas was taken in the morning one day. Most of the days I was there were cold and dark, but this was a sunny morning. Since I had stretched two 36" X 48" canvases at the same time and finished painting one of them, I have been waiting for a subject to carry on with the next canvas.
I like to get information onto the canvas quickly and so wielding a large brush I began to block in areas of darks and some shapes to help locate things. So you see the result of starting with a mess. I even begin paintings that become quite accurately drawn later this way. I just don't like forcing myself into a "paint by number" scenario where you feel compelled to color in your drawing --- that's not painting. In case you find yourself lost here, the foreground is snow and grassy plants making their way uphill with a high hill on the left and a far away backgound to the center right. I've never followed a painting from start to finish taking pictures along the way, but I am going to try. I am going to try my best to do the kind of job I want on this painting or else this will get painted over, or possibly destroyed if I don't like it when it's finished. Talk about pressure.... Anyhow, starting with a mess allows you to come about the painting slowly and find new things. Today I found a circular path of darks which I intend to use as a compositional device. If I thought I had an audience, I would write Eugene Hall's biography. He was an outstanding teacher and an even better person.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The art world and the rest of the world.

I'm not such a pompous self-important ass to think that artists are somehow more important than anyone else. Artists have to learn that what they do other people either appreciate, don't appreciate, don't understand, haven't been educated to understand or just don't care. I've posted five of the demonstration paintings that I do for a store (not going to tell which one) -- they are hanging (or shall I say screwed to the wall?) in the classroom. I will admit that it does bother me a bit that the manager who put them one the wall, sees it as just a marketing tool -- kind of like a poster, I guess -- to just hang up on the wall. If you look closely you will see the screws right through the paintings. There lies the difference -- artists just don't do things like that --- although sometimes they tear apart an unsuccessful painting -- but that's their decision. There you go -- the difference in understanding art between those who make it and those who can't really appreciate what's going into making it. So ----- five paintings I did in acrylic, all 9 X 12 inches. The one on the lower right is the only one that came from the curriculum book I was given. The rest are my own. Not the greatest work I've done, but I only give them about an hour and a half and then I'm done.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Secret Life of the Artist Chapter 6

Forty years ago I started art school (yes, forty -- freaks me out too!!) I had already been to college and had a BA degree in Linguistics and thought I would be the old guy among a bunch of 18 year olds, but that was not the case. There were quite a few people in their 40s to 60s in the classes. Pictured here is a shot in the oil painting class with me on the right in my old denim shirt form the Navy; my buddy Dan is on the immediate left; next to Dan is a woman -- not sure who that is, and then Bob Clark. I once did a portrait of Bob and gave it to him. I did quite a few portraits that I gave away, even to some of the models. Since I was a bit older, I was going to honest enough with myself that if I didn't think I was good enough to continue semester to semester I would quit art school and just work at the job I had at that time -- doing animation. I was fortunate to find myself improving and doing good work and exceeding any expectations that I had. I went there to be a portrait painter and did very well. One of the few students to take oil painting in both the morning and afternoon sessions, I worked hard and also painted at home after school if I wasn't working. At home is where I did all the copying of the old masters. I had enough credits to graduate after 3 years, but I stayed another half year just because I loved painting there so much. Some years later I looked at the information brochure for the school and was blown away by how much the cost of the tuition had gone up. Considering that, I could never have afforded to go there in the present time and never had the experience.