Sunday, November 22, 2009

Oil - Summer Light

Well, I finally finished the painting I showed a couple of weeks ago in it's almost finished state. I took it off the easel!!!! Signing it is the only thing left. Here it is -- Oil painting on a Diamondback Birch  Cradled Panel (with 2 inch sides). These boards are wonderful! I started from a photograph, but about half way through, I put the photograph away and just worked on what the painting needed.

The scene is from Georgia -- near Blue Ridge. I was in Blue Ridge one weekend , and had invited my friend, Elsie Dresch. It was not a very pretty weekend and so we decided to go driving around one day -- it was overcast so colors were good, but there were not scenes with light and shadow paths created by the sun. But, we have both said we have painted more paintings from those photos that day than any other day of photographing!

That was probably five years or more ago. I have used the location of this scene many, many times in paintings. There is a chicken house just to the right of the scene. There is also a small stream leading form the road, meandering through the pasture toward the chicken house, and then making its way toward this tree. The mountains in the distance are such a beautiful backdrop for the pasture and all the pastoral elements. I would say this might be the tenth painting at least -- if not more -- from this one piece of property.

I keep telling my students that painting the same scene in different light, different times of the year, and maybe even the same light and time of year is one way to learn your subject. You will always see differently each time you do the work. We have learned more, and we have changed ideas, and we might have even changed styles.

There is a challenge that went on just recently -- maybe even still going on -- to paint the same scene 100 times. The requirement is just to make it different each time. Theirs is a little different than what I did with this scene. They must use the same scene elements, but are free to change color schemes, surface, etc. Of course the elements -- such as a tree-- will never be exactly the same -- but the tree is still there. The shape is pretty close to the same each time. I would have liked to do this challenge, but was too busy to commit to it. But . . . I will be doing the challenge, but on my own time after the first of the year.

I hope you enjoy the painting above. I certainly enjoyed painting it!

Hacked E-Mail

Please do not open any e-mail that says "Happy Shopping" in the subject. I was hacked and it mined my entire e-mail list sending a spam e-mail and then it deleted my contact list.

You might receive this hacker imbeded in an e-mail that does not say this. We did not receive an e-mail with this in the subject line. But it sent to my contacts an e-mail with this as the subject line. Most of the time it is hidden in an e-mail with a picture or a link or an attachment. I am sure it looked funny and we sent as a forward to a friend a funny picture. That is what we think happened.

I received many "undelivered" e-mails and similar type of notices of spam. This alerted me to this happening. I was able to "restore" my e-mail list from yahoo -- but I deleted any that I did not recognize immediately. If you have an e-mail address that is not easily recognized by name, I am sorry. You will eventually contact me again.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Eastern US Artist Network

This is a long post about something I have become quite passionate about. Please read it to the end and give me your feedback. I have already posted this as a group on LinkedIn and am talking about it to all the artists that I come into contact with.

Create a network of professional artists that has no formal organization or structure. The network will be e-mail-based, depending upon the artists involved to communicate about event opportunities.

By partnering with worthy causes in the Eastern U.S., we should be able to help with conservation efforts of the beautiful country we live in and preserve areas that are important to the artists as well as the causes they support. It would require targeted opportunities/benefits and offer: opportunities for showing work, participation in paint-out style venues, workshop potential, etc. Any of these can be beneficial when partnered with a charity or benefit or conservation effort. Ideas/input will be invited from every artist within the network:
1. Compile an e-mail listing of artists who may be interested in participating in events, leading to publicity, sales and/or name recognition for participating artists. Events would most likely be en plein air on location;
2. Suggest locations or causes in need of publicity in your locale;
3. Personal contacts at magazines, newspapers, web sites, etc.

Further, event proposals would require local artist(s) to arrange help to organize and publicize the event. Fellow artists should offer help when possible or within their area of expertise.

It is understood that events need to be scheduled with enough lead time to allow for planning, advertising and logistics. Networked artists should know that these events require participation, realizing that not everyone can participate in every event.

Whether networked painters participate or not, they will be included in all event notifications until they request to be removed from the list.

For a little explanation of how I came to this idea:
Sitting around with a couple of artists friends – at different times – I had the thought about how we see various names of artists associated with events – mostly out West. Granted, they do have a beautiful landscape that is vast and just lends itself to more of the “green” attitude – saving our environment, hiking, plein air painting, and various outdoor adventures. They have advertisements and notices in the art magazines, listing the event to come, or past participation in an event. They usually have an association with their gallery, maybe a museum, and usually some cause.

We see the same names – maybe in different groupings – but a core group of artists that are making a name for them, along with artists we might not recognize. Up and coming artists, if you will. Sometimes you might only recognize a couple of the names. Next event one of those might be involved with a couple more you recognize, but were not able to participate in the previous event. Over a span of time, you might see many events, and many of the same names. Again, though, they are working hard to participate in these events, working hard on their own work also.

I know they have a wonderful network of friends! Why don’t we do the same here in our part of the Country? But, this is not meant to be exclusive.

Also, I know many of us have our own network of close artist friends and respected fellow artists we have met that are a little more just an acquaintance. We learn of events, shows, paint-outs, etc. from our friends, besides what we read in magazines, and on-line. If we create an e-mail network (or something similar – open to ideas here!) of our own friends, and our friends create an e-mail network of their friends, think of how wonderful and far-reaching a group it would be. We can support each other!

We could partner ourselves with events in our area, and also be knowledgeable about events not in our area that we might participate in. Events would be discovered, analyzed and talked about between the networks of friends. Those closest to the area and able would be instrumental in organizing the event, or finding someone that could. Enlist the help of anyone you think can bring publicity to the event, anyone with experience in organizing the event, etc. You might not know that your friend is a good organizer! You never know who has friends and relatives in organizations, businesses, etc. that have budgets with money set aside for charity and benefits. It doesn’t hurt to ask!

My friends talked about paint outs, exhibition opportunities, auctions, galas – both white tablecloth and barbecue! For instance, I attended a benefit for Alzheimer’s – a day care facility – where they showed many pieces of artwork for “silent auction” and they also had pieces for live auction. The publicity for this event was wonderful because there were many people there and the works sold for a very good price (meaning closer to the value – not bargain basement). The artists either donated, or they could consign the work. It was a wonderful evening. My friends came home with about six different styles of paintings and were very happy to know some of their money was going to a good cause – and they did not just “give” the money.

I have already discussed an event for “Reflection Riding Arboretum” near Chattanooga – for a paint out and benefit to raise the awareness of this property. Some artists will probably visit in spring, 2010 during the wildflower season to evaluate the appropriateness of this event. We will look at difficulty of painting locations, lodging, etc. My contact has already said he talked to the Board and some friends, and someone has already said they would donate money to the event organization. So, all it takes is talking this up, looking for association with something worthy, and then discussing it with your friends and your network too!

Get your gallery involved. Have a museum or art school close by? Ask them to get involved. Plan ways to get the publicity – advertisements in national magazines, local magazines and newspapers, radio stations. Do you know any local television personalities, newscasters, etc.? See if you can involve someone with name recognition.

As said in the one-page document at the beginning – you might not be able to participate in all events, maybe not even many events. But, you should be able to participate at some time. The more you think about this, the more I think you will see the validity in this type of network. It should not consume your time – you should be painting and working on your marketing. But, I think this could be a good addition to your marketing. Let’s up the name recognition of our Eastern artists, and do something good at the same time!

Please feel free to discuss this with your friends and your art organizations. Ask questions and raise issues, etc. We do not want to reinvent the wheel here! Tell me your experiences in attending, organizing, and listening to others who did participate in events such as this. Give us the pros and cons – things we can build upon. Your thoughts are much appreciated!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Where Does the Time Go?

Since my last post, I have been busy. I can't believe it has been almost two weeks. I have almost finished another large 4'x3' oil painting on a birch cradled panel. It has been sitting on the easel for the final touches. I do have photos of it and plan to show them here. Here is one photo, and there might have been a few touches more done.

I have also participated in a model session every Thursday evening -- most of the time they are nude models. But, a week ago, we had a Santa sit for us in all his attire! It was much fun. The sketches and paintings were shown this last Friday evening at Woodstock First Friday! Santa and his wife even came back to see all the work that was created. What fun!

I was able to do a nice graphite sketch which I framed in a wonderful antique frame that I had been hording for awhile. It did lend itself to the Santa because there was a red velvet liner as part of the ornate gold frame. It does make a statement. It looks good because there is no color in the sketch and the frame gives it that "red" it did need.

I was also able to do a little 7" x 5" oil painting on a gallery wrap canvas. This took the rest of the evening though I thought it would be a fairly quick thing to do. Boy, was I wrong. It took me much longer than I expected. But, I think it is a hit. I did not want to do a larger painting, because what do you do with a large painting of Santa?

I have also been chosen to be one of three judges for the first ever Art Challenge Competition on Facebook! What an honor. I will be the judge for the pastels and drawing mediums. Also I will participate with the other judges to choose a "Best In Show" from all the entries regardless of medium used. We are in that process right now.

It is very difficult as there were almost 1000 entries. I narrowed it down to just over 100 entries to chose 10 from to put with 10 from each of the other two judges. These 30 pieces are what we will choose the Best in Show from. After this process, we each will then choose the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and two Honorable Mention pieces in our category. The categories are: (1) oil and acrylic; (2) watercolor; (3) mixed media; and (4) pastel (soft or oil) and drawing mediums.

After the decision for each category, we will then choose the next 15 best pieces to go along with the winners. There will be some wonderful award prizes and best of all, there will be a show in Bucks County, PA. The Bucks County Gallery of Fine Art, New Hope, Pa will be presenting an Art Exhibit of the TOP 30 winning entries/artists of the competition either Februry or March, 2010. The judges and the three administrators will also have the opportunity to put a piece into the show.

Saturday, I was in Blue Ridge, GA doing a demonstration in my gallery -- High Country Art & Antique Gallery. The best gallery in Blue Ridge! I always meet some wonderful people -- talk about my art and my process. There are also many who talk to me about taking classes or workshops. I hope some of them will contact me!

And all this does not even take into account the time I spent cooking a Birthday dinner for my daughter and all the family, taking tennis lessons, going to a tennis luncheon, a tennis practice, housework, time with hubby . . . etc.

So . . . I will try to do better and not let two weeks go by without posting on my blog. If you have something art related that you would like for me to discuss, please let me know.