Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Some of my Favorite Tools

Hey Guys! I just thought I would share some of my favorite tools with you this week.

1. Color Reducer - Value Finder

The first thing I think you have to learn to do either in drawing or painting is understanding value comparison.  This is one tool that is really great for that because it cancels out all of the color into one color, in this case red (sometimes comes in green too). So that you can look at your scene and your painting with it and make your comparisons.  This is just to help you learn to see value instead of color, as some colors can really fool our eye into thinking they are either lighter or darker.

You can purchase this particular one here: http://www.cheapjoes.com/cheap-joe-s-value-sketch-and-composition-finder.html
 2. A Value Finder-  I like this one because you can hold the little cut out holes over an object to judge what value it truly is.  Simultaneous contrast is especially something that can make us misjudge a value. For instance when you are staring into a shadow that has a brilliant reflected light, the more you stare at it in that isolated way the brighter and lighter the reflection will look. Always compare it to something in the light to get the true value or brilliance, but if you just can't see it resort to a tool like this to reveal the truth.
You can get it here: http://www.dickblick.com/products/gray-scale-and-value-finder/

 3.  A Good Ol' Color Wheel - This can help you come up with pleasing color schemes for you painting or can help you if you are struggling with judging your saturation levels or hues.  A lot of times student may resort too much to white to lighten and they lose the brilliance of the color. You can hold up the scale to the object that you are painting and to what you painted to see where you are off.  Also, it's a good idea to go through paintings by artists that you admire and just see what kind of color schemes they are using. A lot of times they are altering reality to fit into a pleasing color strategy. I like this particular color wheel because of the gray overlay and that it gives you some color theory education too!
They have this one here: http://www.amazon.com/Cox-3389-Creative-Color-Wheel/dp/B005F6S0BU or if you have a Hobby Lobby they have them there too.
Okay. That's it!  I also want to thank everyone who has been supporting me. All the MINI sales, likes, comments, shares, watching you tube videos and purchasing video lessons at www.openstudioonline.com  You all keep me able to live the dream as a full time artist and I am so grateful to you!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Get Back in the Saddle

I can't believe it is already the middle of March!  Wow. I have to admit that the beginning of this month really  sidetracked me from my goals that I set at the first of the year. I had committed to a show last fall that I was invited to and while it was an honor to be asked (and I even won an award so what am I bitching about! ha ha) at any rate it was a big time consumer, distracting and not very profitable. I will say, I really had some help from some wonderful fellow artists and students and I do not regret at all the time that I had to spend time with them and their help was so appreciated.  I did however get pretty bummed out after the show, which was my fault, and so I spent a few days in the deep well of defeat and self pity! I am laughing now ;)

What did I learn? 

Don't just focus on this one moment!
This is my biggest trap that I fall into. I tend to forget all the previous past successes and possible future opportunities. Remind yourself of where you came from and where you are going. When I first started taking art lessons I could give a rats ass about winning awards or selling anything, that wasn't even on my radar. What I cared about was trying my damnedest to learn how to draw, paint and sculpt.

Pick yourself up as fast as you can! 
Really you're only losing more time and missing out on happy moments by being defeated.  The faster you re-visit your written goals (you do have them right?) and get back on task, the better.

Focus on the positives!
Really, I have never been in a situation that did not lead to good somewhere in the future. I've been at many shows where the sales are low and let me tell you it is no fun when everyone is being a bunch of grumpy butts because they aren't selling.  I have been a grumpy butt too, but  there are positives to focus  on and it's not just about a sale.

Be a Realist!
For some reason I think as artists (maybe just humans in general) we tend to take not selling so personally. It's not because we're a bunch of greedy bastards, but because it is a form of affirmation or validation of our work.  So I say, be a realist....there are many reasons outside of the fact that your work must certainly suck that people aren't buying it. Could be it just wasn't the right place or time to cast your net. If the same is happening to the majority of the other artists this is certainly the case. Of course, if you keep doing the same thing over and over and your not getting results -STOP IT! ha ha.

Get the focus off of yourself. There is someone out there you can inspire by making your best art and sharing your journey. We all need each other!

Look to Others!
I am often times a giver and get a lot of fuel by sharing my work with others. When people share that my work is inspiring them, teaching them or motivating them it really fills me up, but sometimes I need that too. Looking at artists you admire or finding new artists can really kick up your desire to get back in the game.

Photos of the recent show:

This month's 1 hour Daily MINIs so far:

"Copper Pot and a Carnation" - 6"x6" - Still available here:

"Copper and Pink Carnation" - 5"x7" -Sold

"Happy Sunrise" - 8"x10" - on auction here:

Three Little Apples - 5"x7" - available here:

"Dramatic Rosebuds" 5"x7" - available here:

It's been getting so sunny and warm out now, here in Oklahoma so I decided to try some still life's plein air :) So much fun doing some cool shadows and warm lights for a change.
"Hot Sunny Carnations" - 6"x6" - available here:

"Foggy Quiet Morning" 6"x6" available here:

"One White Carnation" - 7"x5" available here:

"Sunlit Lilies and Red Glass" - 6"x6" - available here:

"Hot Sunny Carnations" - 6"x6" - available here:

"Sunrise Through the Trees" - 8"x8" available here:

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

What do I do with all these paintings? + February's MINI WINNER!

Let's do the fun stuff first!!!!  FEBRUARY'S MINI GIVEAWAY WINNER IS:......


 Congratulations Sharon.

How do I pick a random winner???  I use an automated random number generator website to pick a number from my list of members, and that's who wins that month)

I want to say thank you so much you guys for your constant support! For taking the time to look at, like, share and purchase my art. I was only 2 minis away from my sales goal for the month, so I am super happy about that!


So this weeks post is about a question/comment I get probably at every workshop or class. I have heard it so regularly that it has forced me to really contemplate it over the years.....as I had never fully understood the mindset of the question and never really knew how to answer it. 

I could give you all kinds of ideas for what you can do with these paintings. I probably have and will, but I really feel like the question is a mindset and if one is not careful this question can be the seed of quitting or stagnation in your development.  So I have a few suggestions that hopefully you can use to shift how you see all of those paintings stacked up in your studio. So what do you do with all these paintings? It's time for a paradigm shift!

1. CELEBRATE!!!!!!  Honestly, you should celebrate. Stack 'em all up, lay them all out and celebrate.  Look at all of the time you have given to developing your skill. Every painting is a document of what you understood at the time and every painting is an inch closer to your dream of creating even more beautiful work.  Because you can't get there without stacks of canvases and a road made of painted panels.

2. IT'S AN EXPERIENCE NOT A PRODUCT!   I think that part of the hang up with making paintings is the fact that it is a tangible object that we have produced. It exists in the world now, you can pick it up, touch it, hang it on the wall....and so generally we feel that something should be done with it.  It should be shown, it should be sold, etc.  Now contrast that with let's say going to the gym and exercising to get stronger.  To me, it's the same thing.  When I go to the gym, I'm putting in my time and energy....investing in me......and there is no one paying me at the end of the workout.....and I can't really see any tangible results on any one workout.  It takes a lot to change your body, to change your mind, to build a skillset.  There are a lot of misses, a lot of failures and you don't always get a reward. 

3. ACCEPT THAT A PERCENTAGE OF YOUR WORK WILL NEVER GO ANYWHERE! This is how it has worked for me at least.  In the beginning let's say that only 10% of your work might be worth anything and 90% gets chucked. Year after year that percentage comes closer together. Even now after 8 years of at least 40 hours a week of painting and 4 years of art school I would say at least 25% of my work goes nowhere.  Yes, it is definitely rewarding when people want to buy your work... and for me it's definitely necessary to do it as a living....but if I couldn't make a living doing this I think I would still do it when I could because I love the work and the gratification of making something gorgeous.  


4.  YOUR IN GOOD COMPANY!!!  If you have stacks and stacks of paintings in your studio, your in good company!  In fact, I'd say it's a REQUIREMENT for success.  Yes, I have been able to sell a lot of paintings (anyone who knows me knows that I am all for selling & showing), but I also have had a ton of paintings get thrown in the trash, get sanded off and painted over. I've given paintings as gifts to family, donated to charities, etc. Right now, if I counted up I would guess I have at least 100 paintings in my condo that are yet to sell or show.  Some will find a home, some will be content to stay with me.  If you ask any professional artist they will probably tell you the same thing.  As a matter of fact on a visit to Quang Ho's studio last year he had probably the biggest stacks of paintings in his studio that I have ever seen (which I desperately wanted to dig through all of them-ha ha). 


5.  YOUR TREASURE CHEST!  I love keeping old paintings around for a long time. To me they are unfinished ideas....that may have been a really great idea and I just couldn't complete it at the time.  I have a bunch out in my garage right now and every time I pull the car in or go out there, I go on a little memory lane dig.  I often find an oldie that just makes me smile and I think...hmmmm....I just revisit that- that wasn't a bad idea.  In fact, I did have one that I had hanging up for a year and I finally pulled it off the garage wall and took it inside and finished it. It is one of my most satisfying paintings. Sometimes I think our mind just needs time to figure out what to do with them.


6. PURGE!!!  So this is the last option, but also a very very good one. Purge those babies! Throw them in the trash.  Or in my case, I had built up an entire wall of portrait sketches which I am trying to get better at. For several weeks, they were inspiring. I was studying where I could improve....but one day they just looked like this black cloud and felt like such a burden so I just took them all down at once.  They were on linen sheets, so I just stacked them up in a nice tidy pile and tucked them away for the time being (I was ready to chuck them just yet).  It was a huge relief. I literally had a start over.

It's a BADGE OF HONOR you guys. Keep working! ENJOY your work!  Every painting is not destined to go anywhere, but to help you in the future. 

 Here are some paintings I completed this month:

This is one of the larger (12x24" oil on linen) paintings that I worked on this month. 1 out of 3 finished gallery works I did. I really tried to push myself longer on these paintings in order to get more depth, richness and subtlety.  The time investment is sometimes agonizing for me, but worth it in the end.

A few of the recent MINIs. All 6"x6":