Sometimes when you are “out & about” you view a scene that makes you think about how different our culture is today, that it was twenty years ago. Before cell phones became such a way of life, we interacted in very different ways. Maybe in the good old days, we read the paper instead of talking with coffee, but that was the only time of the day that happened in most families. In today’s world we start the morning with coffee, email and checking the different social media sites. In my house, we don’t really talk. We get ready and walk to the gym or to pilates and chat along the way. Many people then go back on their phone to catch up with “what’s going on in the world” or play a game or are back to social media.
When I was younger, “social media” did not exist and I think it was a healthier way to live. You met your friends for coffee, or lunch and/or maybe a drink on the way home from work. You actually talked to one another and used a telephone in a very different way than it is used (by many) today.
We recently went to a wine tasting at the beautiful Domaine Carneros, near Napa. It is situated on a hill with beautiful views. As we were sitting enjoying our tasting, I looked over to see a younger couple enjoying the afternoon in a different way. She was talking on her cell phone and he was turned the other way looking at his cell phone. I don’t know if the sun was in his eyes and he could not see, or if this is just the new way of life. I see this all the time.
I decided this would make a good painting as a statement of how we now live our lives. It is no wonder that people don’t talk as much as they used to… They don’t think it is necessary? I think that is why I love and admire my best friends. Our phones are in our pockets or purses when we are together and only come out for fun photos!
Is this how you interact with your family and loved ones, or do you actual talk to them and listen to what they have to say?
I’ve been so busy painting and cooking and not writing, I decided it is time to get back to my blog. I just finished this 30 x 40 inch painting. I painted over one that is similar, but I did not really like the colors. This year, I would really like to work on having the right color in the right place.
I’ve started studying other artists to see how they paint some of the same things I like to paint. I believe you can always learn by looking at how anyone does something differently than you. I’ve always enjoyed taking classes for that reason too! One of the complications I find in painting, is how much detail to use to make it readable without taking away from the creativity.
I love painting abstracts, but do not seem to bring that into my impressionist painting. Where do you find the balance, or how do you find the balance? I like abstracted realism, but it is just not my style. Finding one’s style at any age is important. Hope you enjoy this new painting.
Life is about the experiences we have, not about what we have or often what we do. I’ve been painting for several years and never really entered a larger competition. I took a class in Mendocino and my teacher suggested I should join the upcoming Mendocino Paint Out; so I signed up. As the weeks went by, I collected frames and made sure I have enough canvases. I made an hotel reservation, and thought I was set to go.
About a week before I was set to leave, I thought I should check with the hotel about my reservation. I am glad I did, as I accidentally booked a room with twin beds and a bathroom down the hall. I upped it to another room with twin beds, but my own bathroom. In the interim, my husband decided to join me for the weekend festivities, so when I arrived I asked if I could upgrade a little more, so I would have one bed, not two. I ended up having a living room, bedroom and bath, which was large, but very old and very sad. The draperies in the rooms, had blackout shades in shreds. At one time they must have been beautiful, but today they were old and looked tired. Everything looked tired. It could have been spectacular with a little love and maybe a little money.
When I got back to my room after dinner, and discovered the TV did not work, I was glad for my IPad and was set to watch a movie on it. But as I pulled back the sheets I noticed a fairly small drop of blood on both the top sheet and the bottom sheet. That did not make me smile, but I was tired from the long windy drive in pouring down rain. I just crawled in, poured myself a glass of wine and watched my “Chick Flick”.
And then it began: The first day, we all (or those who started that day) lined up to have the back of our canvases stamped. We could enjoy viewing the one piece painted before the paint out, that everyone was to bring and hang. It was a wide of assortment of talent and style. The three main artists (the judges) had their work on display. The work was interesting and varied, consisting of two oil painters and a watercolorist. Although their work was artistic, it was not particularly to my personal liking. I would learn a lesson from this later in the week.
So we all took off to find out place to paint the first day. I headed to Little River Inn, where I has stayed before, and enjoyed the distant view. I finished my first painting in a couple of hours, and headed back to town to get a bite of lunch. Waiting in line, a nice young man informed me there was a spider on my backside, before he knocked it off. I had been sitting on a quite old and damp bench painting. As it turns out, I was lucky he saw it and ended its life, as it was a Black Widow. So that was how my week began?
My first painting was 20″ x 10″, and I painted it in an already framed canvas. I forgot to have this one stamped, so had to call to get permission for it to be allowed. They were very nice, and let me use this the first day. I had time after lunch and it was a beautiful day.
I had discovered when I set up my palette to paint, that my plein air paints had all dried out, so I decided to drive to Fort Bragg to a local and wonderful art store to refresh all my oil paints to the tune of $260. Fresh and new, but an expensive lesson. Since I was already in Fort Bragg, I ventured to MacKercher Park, hoping to paint the lagoon. As I was setting up, a creature crawled out of the lagoon with a direct line toward me. I did not know what it was, but it did not look “friendly”! I had never seen, what I found out a few moments later, was a Crawdad, alive. Luckily a young woman in the parking lot knew what it was, as her father was a commercial fisherman. But I decided I would go to the other side and paint the beach!
The next day, I decided I would paint one of the beautiful houses downtown. I worked on it most of the day, and wiped it clean at the end of the day, not liking it. The next day I tackled it again and upon finishing it called it “a day”.
The last day was a quick draw contest. They give you a location and send you out. You have about a half hour to set up and two hours to paint. This year it was downtown Main Street. You could paint the beach or turn around and paint the town. There were 50-60 artists all painting downtown. I chose to go quite simple and painted the distant shore. I never knew so many small bugs could fly into a painting. Apparently they like the smell of the paint. I still need to finish the piece I did, as a gnat flew into it after I hung it up on the wall.
You can see the bug and the scratch marks, where someone tried to remove it.
That evening they had the rewards ceremony. My lesson with all this was: If you are not particularly fond of the work of the featured artists (judges), why would not be surprised that you would not have selected the same pieces to win the awards? Of all the talented artists in the contest, I did not agree with most of the winners. Many that were by far better, did not win any awards. Of the awards given, often another piece by the same artist was more beautifully executed. One of the awards went to the husband of one of the judges, and it was the one I really thought was color straight from the tube, poorly drawn and actually a little ugly.
I did not go expecting to win. I went for the experience and an experience it was! I met a lot of really nice people, and a few that were a little too overzealous about their art. I ate some great food, and some not so great food. I could not find a good latte anywhere in town, but the raw oysters in abundance made up for it, even if they were flown in from Washington State.
Many artists do ten to twelve of these a year. I found it exciting, exhausting and challenging. Would I do it again? Maybe for a shorter duration? I might try doing another medium, as no one was doing gouache, there were only a couple pastel artists and maybe one doing acrylic. That might up the odds of having a chance to win. Some paint outs provide a free place to stay, so that might make a huge difference expense wise. There are so many factors that go into deciding what to do with your art.
I took a life drawing class in Sacramento last weekend, and enjoyed the experience. I had not worked in charcoal in several years. It took a while to get back into it. There were two very experienced models. We started out with five minute poses, which we erased, then went on to twenty minute poses. These are all twenty minute poses.
The second day we went directly to the site to do some plein air painting. We went to McKercher Park, which is closest to Fort Bragg. On one side is a beautiful pond and on the other side is the ocean, so it’s a great place to park your car and plan our paint. I took this photo of the pond and decided to paint it that morning. I didn’t finish it that morning but came home and finished it later I think it turned out pretty well, it’s small at 9 x 11 inches
Classes are always challenging to me as there is always a wide variety of expertise and experience and ability in the same class. This class had a wide range of artists in the class, with a few fairly experienced and most were more of the beginner variety. I always find it interesting how people talk about their art before you see what they can do. I don’t talk much about my art, as I don’t want people to have expectations that I don’t meet. I would rather exceed their expectations and come up with something that is surprisingly artistic versus talk about what I’m doing before i do anything.
The third day it rained so we were in the studio all day. We did a value study of a photo that she gave to us. Each table had a different photo to work with. You could trade, but you didn’t really get to pick what you wanted to do . Mine was a surf scene so I worked on that most of the day with a value study first and the painting in the afternoon. She gave us linen royal paper to paint on as an alternative to a Pamela campus and that was a fun experience.
It was an excellent class, and Ellen Howard is a knowledgeable and interesting teacher!
So a friend of an acquaintance of mine, whom I met briefly once, called and wanted me to do a portrait of her granddaughter. I told her that I did commissions, but that I was not a “Portrait Artist” per se. She looked at my work and insisted I do it for her. When I told her my prices, there was a long pregnant pause. I told her it would be $50 less if she framed it, knowing all too well it would cost her considerably more if she were to have it framed at a frame shop. She sent me the photo, and asked that I take out the toy in the hand and add a beach with palm trees in the background. I personally thought it was overkill, and let her know in a subtle manner. I did as she asked, and spent about four days on the painting. I was charging $400 unframed and $450 unframed.
I am finally learning at this point in life, not to be as trusting as I have been all my life. I did not ask for a deposit. Shame on me! I trusted she would like the finished product.
Well, it did not turn out that way. She did not like it; never came to see it in person and was pretty rude in her interactions with me.
I think I am a little upset, as I spent longer on it than I normally do on a painting, and basically wasted three days of my life. But did I really waste my time, or was this a message I needed.
I texted her back saying this was not a photograph, but was represented an image of her granddaughter. She stated she would pay me nothing, and that part is rude, but not unexpected. I added that I learned a good lesson: Don’t do commissions for someone you do not know, and get part of the money upfront. I wasted time and nice linen canvas. The thing I really cannot believe is that she could not bother to even stop by and take a look. I think she just decided she did not want to spend the money.
A family member in the interim asked me to do a portrait of her daughter, and she loved it. She did not ask for a background, which is usually nominal in a child’s portrait, but gave a photo that showed the whole head, without a huge hat.
I still do not call myself a portrait artist, and will not step out and take a chance with a total stranger. The woman who did not accept the portrait of her granddaughter did not say thank you for your time or even offer to pay for the canvas or my time.
It is one thing to accept negative comments, but something entirely different to be treated so rudely. How do I know, maybe she is just not a happy person or I did not make her grandbaby a beauty contest winner??
You can be the judge of that! I think I will just draw a mustache on the painting and deliver it to it’s proper home: The trash!
I signed up for my first ever Art Sale called the Crush, as it is held at a local winery. I paid for my space and went to put it on my calendar realizing I was out of town that week, at another “art first”! I signed up for a Plein Air Open Paint Out in Mendocino the same week. I already paid for that, and the week of lodging and am very excited about entering a contest, but disappointed I won’t be able to do both.
Trying to stay on top of everything you sign up for and want to do can be exhausting. Next week I am taking a figure drawing class in Sacramento, then meeting a high school classmate for lunch. It is a casual class.
In the interim, I decided to paint a couple of wine pieces. This one is 9x 12 inches and was fun to paint. I will start showing in Village 360 in Suisun Valley starting the 23rd. This piece is available for $450.00.
So many artists paint one thing, and I think it is important to experiment to see where you excel. I have been painting for a long time, with more in the last view years and love to try different things. At this point in my life, I like to go big or stay small, with nothing in-between. Just a random decision I made lately.
With everyone doing paintings of Sunflowers for the Children of the Ukraine, I decided it was time for me to do one too! So, off to Farmer’s Market last weekend, where they were selling beautiful Sunflowers. My husband bought two bundles for me, and I put them in one of my favorite vases. I do not paint very many flowers, so this was a new challenge for me.
When I put it on my page on Facebook, one of my friends said to “ditch” the arms on the vase. I am glad I did not, as I think they add character to the painting. Everyone has an opinion about art, whether intellectual or just a gut feeling. At this point in my life I only trust an opinion from an artist I consider better than myself. Everyone thinks you should listen to their opinion, but if they don’t have a background in art/color why would think how they feel is more important than how you feel about the piece. I have stopped asking the opinions of family and friends, as in most cases I do not agree with them. My sons grew up surrounded by art and design, so luckily they do have a good eye. My youngest son has made many suggestions that truly worked in art and in design. At the moment he works for a company designing furniture.
The other thing people almost always ask, is how long did it take to paint that piece. One of my dear friends, and another artist explained to me to always tell them it took years. That is indeed the truth, as you are working for years to perfect your skill. So this painting probably took thirty years and two hours!
When we were staying in Newport and having dinner, this fishing boat passed by the window. I liked the composition, but not the colors. I thought about it for a while and decided I would try to add a sunset behind the bridge. I painted this about a year ago, and still thought it looked a little dull.
Today is the first time l’ve joined a Craft Fair in Vacaville and realize people don’t buy fine art or even cards at an event like this. I am amazed what people do buy, mostly things i would not think to buy. They buy Sensy from the booth on one side, walk by and say “pretty” then buy a net wreath or fake flower arrangement at the next booth.
Okay, I take that back, I just sold five cards It will be interesting to see if I even cover my entry fee! I know intellectually you have to get your art out somehow, but not sure this is the venue. The lady selling cat toys gets a lot more interest than my art!
If nothing else, it is interesting to see this cross-section of Vacaville! And an interesting experiment that I will most likely not repeat! Its for a good cause, but hard in a new town to figure out where to sell your art?