Let's Do It Again!
Working in a Series.
Exploring a variety of ways to paint one subject can be an exciting journey. Doing a series means you don't have to come up with a new idea every time you do a painting. Working beyond the original concept really inspires your creativity. As usual, it's a good idea to do a number of preliminary sketches and choose the best one. Another helpful hint is to make notes of your journey so you can retain what worked and what didn't. Maybe you have a favorite subject to work with. Or you're stuck in your creative journey and need a new direction.
As a demo for a class I was teaching last summer, I was using an image of the old red barn on the farm where I grew up (Iowa). That inspired me to do the barn in different seasons. So here's what came out of it:
Tune in next week for some ideas to use in creating your own series. Happy Painting!
Can I Be an Artist?
After many years of teaching art in classrooms and workshops, my answer is "absolutely". . . . if you want to. How often I have heard "I can't draw a straight line!" But you really can't draw because you haven't tried. Talent? Hard work and desire can overtake talent any day.
What someone learns is to alter their perception. Most people assume that to perceive is simply an intake of visual data. But it is much more than that. With work, practice and effort one begins to see shapes, textures, a myriad of colors, all components of art language. These new skills are satisfying to use, greatly enhancing observation and creativity.
January 06th, 2018
The Western Influence
I,m lucky enough to be able to spend a couple of months in southern Arizona. The desert is so beautiful an artist can’t help but be influenced by it. I’ll admit it’s an acquired taste. First visit a few years ago. It all looked dry, dusty and forbidding. However, time spent out and about reveals much more, like incredible cobalt skies, sometimes fantastic cloud shapes, sculptural mesquites, carved mountains and cliffs. Nearby I have access to dry riverbed that make great trail ways. (I’m not here during the rainy season.). I could walk 20 miles if Ichose to
"Procrastination is the avoidance of doing a task that needs to be accomplished. Sometimes, procrastination takes place until the "last minute before a deadline."
What a universal situation. From what I read most people are held back by procrastination at one time or another, some people, all the time. I think artists are a particularly susceptible group. Maybe it's because we are usually pulling something from our own imaginations, our own ideas. We can't lean on just gathering and analyzing data like producing a business report.
I've begun a list below of some common roadblocks our minds will throw at us. This
week we will talk about one issue.
-- I don't know where to begin? Being focused on the whole process and end product can be intimidating. What if it's not good enough? So, break it down into smaller efforts. Pull out the paper or the canvas & brushes. Get set up. Figure out what you need to get done first, and take those first steps. I think it was Ernest Hemingway that said he never stopped a writing session until he knew what he was going to do next. Good advice. You can follow it on to your next day's work.
Good for you!
The process of becoming an artist is a fascinating one. Nobody just pops up, starts throwing around paint and - SHAZAM - their an accomplished artist. Some of us go to college, art school, or some other formal institution. I did that, but, honestly, I learned a whole lot more when I had to learn enough about an art idea or technique in order to teach someone else. Teach effectively, that is.
LIVE AND PERSONAL
I know U Tube has many videos available; stores (on-line and on the street) have stacks of "how to" books; and you can walk into museums and galleries. I have used all of the above, but the most effective way to learn is to work under another artist who is better than you are. To see live demos, have a chance to ask questions and get an immediate answer, and have the instructor critique your work is invaluable.
HOW TO STEP UP
Most famous artists have worked under a mentor or two. In today's world we probably won't be able to work one on one, but it is possible to take workshops and classes, information passed from one artist to another. I have worked under many fine instructors and learned from them all. I try to take one workshop a year from someone who works in mixed media or watercolor. I highly recommend it!
The painting above was a class demo done by the last instructor I worked under,
John Salminen, www.johnsalminen.com, an excellent artist and teacher. The painting below is the one I did in his class - well worth the time and effort!
Artist Donna Arnold