Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Brush Dancing

What motivates you as a painter?  Something you see? Something you feel?  Often, for me, it's music. Maybe I'm an actor at heart, but when I'm listening to music, I am immediately transported to some imaginary place and I take on a character specific to the type of music I'm hearing.  And sometimes that translates into my painting. 

Music has always played an important role in my life. I love it. Everything from classical to jazz, rock and sometimes even rap. And yes, I often start dancing
while I'm painting. The two paintings  above resulted from my listening to Jimmy Buffet's "Desperation Samba ( Halloween in Tijuana)." And no, I wasn't drinking margaritas--although one or two might have helped!  My point is, there are all sorts of things that can get the creative juices flowing--music, a walk, or maybe just sitting quietly for a moment or two.  Whatever works, do it!

Meanwhile, here's what's on the canvas now--I love purple and these flowers in contrast with the white pitcher and lace just screamed "paint me!" Not finished yet, and I'm still working on the portrait of Charlie....but sometimes a little diversion is good for creativity too!  This is 8 x 10, in oils, using a reference photograph by Karen Barefoot, Holidaysburg, PA.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Ho Hum...

Wish I could say I've been too busy to blog because I'm painting, but I haven't touched a paint brush all week. I have, however, been working on revamping my business cards and brochures, and redesigned my website. I didn't change the website significantly--just chose a different template, which gave it a more "sedate" look, hopefully drawing more attention to the paintings themselves. I've been reading a lot about artists' blogs, and optimizing search engines, etc. Some of it is still pretty foreign to me, but I'm giving it all a try. At least I'll be able to say I gave it my best.

I've been invited to display some of my work at a home decor show next month, which I'm excited about. I need to decide which pieces to use. I'll post more info about the show when I get it.  This is another reason why I'm updating things--placing the focus more on my portrait art.

So what's on the easel these days? Still working on Charlie's portrait.  I won't post another picture since it hasn't changed all that much since I posted the last photograph. Tomorrow I'll be sitting the gallery all day, so I should have time to work on it. Maybe even finish it!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Back in the Studio

Wow! Last week was exceptionally busy, culminating in a three-day portrait painting workshop with Cincinnati artist Carin Hebenstreit and her husband, Bob.  Carin teaches the old masters style of portrait painting, which was a completely new style for me.  I was amazed with what I was able to accomplish in just three days. Since I wanted to experience the full benefit of the workshop, I chose to paint a copy of Vermeer's "Milkmaid." I wish I'd thought to photograph the painting in stages. But here's the nearly complete painting.  I plan on finishing it and hanging it here at home.   The photograph doesn't really do it justice, as I forgot to turn off the flash, so there's a little bit of glare and the colors are a bit washed out. I'll post another photograph of it when it's finished.

Also last week I finished the painting of my daughter's dog, Mollie, asleep on our end table. It's a small piece, an 8 x 10 acrylic. I wanted to portray the different effects the lamp had on the color of Mollie's fur. I think I got it... I call it "Knick Knack Mollie."

I'm also still working on the portrait of Charlie. This is in oils, and I have spent a lot of time working on the eyes. The eye on the right has been the most difficult because it's in shadow and in the reference photograph, you can't see much detail. I've also begun to add details to the nose and block in the fur. The lighting in my studio washes out the colors in the white fur--I'll try to get a better picture when the painting is finished.

Tomorrow is St. Patrick's Day! I plan on celebrating with a nice dinner of corned beef and cabbage and Irish soda bread. Yum!  Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Busy, Busy, Busy!

Wow! This week has flown by and I have been busy every single day. I started the week off with an art marketing class, taught by Paula Cundiff.  With the economy the way it is, I feel like I need all the help I can get in terms of marketing my art. And I am not a good sales person, so this class is just the thing I need to get me motivated to do whatever I can to get my artwork out there and, hopefully, sell one or two...or three....  Paula has already given me some ideas in terms of revamping my approach to marketing my work, and you all will probably see some little changes here as I learn these new skills. 

I have been working on several paintings this week, too--going back and forth between acrylics and oil.  The portrait of Charlie is coming along--still lots of detail to add, but I'm beginning to like the colors and the "feel" of the painting. Since I did use a flash when taking the photograph--the photo was for a class I took in pet photography--I'm trying to soften the shadows so they don't have the harsh, border-like look caused by the flash.  I'm liking the color of Charlie's fur and I've added a little more detail in his eyes. They're still not where I want them yet.

I finished the acrylics painting I started several weeks ago. This is a scene from my trip to Ireland. The paint around the window was chipping and yellowed, and that is what I tried to portray in my painting. I don't think I'll frame this one because the darker color around the window, I think serves as a frame for the whole piece. 

And finally, here is what's on the easel now--a small piece, in acrylics, that I'm doing for fun. This is my daughter's dog, Mollie--who fell asleep on our end table. She seemed to fit right in with the other junk on the table, so I'm calling it "Knick Knack Mollie."  Here, I'm trying to portray the way the light from the lamp has changed the color of her fur--from a warm, yellowish white on her body, to a bluish-purple on her face.  Not finished yet, of course.  
Tomorrow is the Shelby County No Kill Mission seminar with Nathan Winograd.  I will be setting up a display of some of my pet portraits before the lecture. Maybe I'll get lucky and get a commission or two for pet portraits. Sheesh! No wonder I'm tired!