Check out my new video of me painting this snow scene. I love my pastels! The color and softness is so much fun to play with.
My year in review
My year in review is not really a year, it is more like 6 months since I have started my website. I have had an online presence on various social media sites and others like Redbubble and zazzle. therefore it will be interesting to look at this post in another 6 months. Maybe I should do a review every 6 months instead.
I continue to learn and experience new things at every corner, never getting bored. Making new friends in the art circle is absolutely essential to me and this helps a lot to avoid feeling alone. Sometimes being an artist can be isolating. It is great to have the help of peers to review my work. Old friends and new always seem to come up with great ideas and suggestions. Of course trying to get and keep a thick skin can be tough sometimes, but true friends help. They don’t tear me down, but bring me up, elevating my work in the process. Friends help teach me and I hope to discover more friends continuously.
I am happy with my progress although I wish it was faster and further along. Some progress is better than none. I certainly look forward to the future. This is partly due to the constant instant gratification we get from perusing the internet, but it is also due in part to the amount of finished pieces I have. In the future I wish to actually finish more of my pieces.
I did start the year being fairly organized and still make progress organizing more. I am hoping to make my online presence more noticeable, get more followers and learn how to wield that weapon. Making more posts on the various social platforms makes me realize I need to have more material to post.
My year in review causes me to post a picture here of an old transistor cabinet remade into an organizational tool for my tubes of paint and other odds and ends. It was exciting to be able to do this and I think it will be very useful. I can find out at a glance where each color is and what I may need to replace.
Going forward, I hope to have a larger online presence and maybe travel more. I do think travel is very good for an artist.
My medium is Oil Paint
Why do you work in the medium you do? I was originally taught how to do oil paintings when I was young and I continue to learn. I found oils great for my lifestyle, I can come back to them after a day or more and they will be still workable. Studying a piece over days helps me to form an idea of what I want to do next changing the colors, lines and composition. Change is more easily accomplished. The medium allows for slower or faster drying times depending on the mix or additives put into it. Oils generally have deep rich colors and you can usually tell an oil from an acrylic. I really enjoy the creamy consistency and they way I can blend colors either on the palette or the canvas. Layering colors after they dry has a wonderful effect.
Painting Techniques and Styles
There are almost as many techniques as there are styles. Wet on wet or alla prima, palette knife, imprimatura, plein air, sfregazzi, sfumato, impasto or scumbling. Alla prima is a lot of fun and lends itself to plein air painting because it is usually completed in one session. Sgraffito is a technique where you can scratch through layers of paint exposing different colors underneath and adding texture at the same time. Sfumato is a technique of using very soft gradual transitions from light to dark. Leonardo Da Vinci has good examples of this. Impasto is thick paint applied that helps to catch light and shadows, sometimes built up for effect and usually done on stronger supports. Scumbling is speckled, broken color applied so color underneath shows through. This gives a painting a sense of depth and color variation.
This is an example of impasto.
This is an example of the scumbling technique.
I have also always loved pastel chalks because of the light airy effects I can achieve. The colors can be bright and cheerful. Blending this powdery medium is a lot of fun as is layering. Softness is easily achieved and hard edges or lines are too. They are a bit messy though.
I have recently been exploring acrylics because of their fast drying times. I am hoping it will be a great new way for me to travel without wet oil painting when I do plein air. Oils have a habit of getting onto everything if you aren’t careful. It seems to travel where you don’t want it sometimes. Acrylic is more easily cleaned and water is safer and readily available. Other additives can be put into acrylics to affect the drying times and blending too.
Experimenting with oil pastels sounds like a lot of fun. I am excited that there is so much to learn and experience with my art questing.
To purchase my art on a variety of cool things visit my other art stores.
How did I Teach Myself?
Happy Halloween Everyone! This is one of my favorites holidays. It is full of wonder and creativity. Being in the moment is so important.
Observation of our Environment
I pay attention to what is around me and listen. Although even if I don’t, I still absorb information. For many years I watched my Mom and she taught me a lot. How did I teach myself? Art is a visual and emotional thing. For example, winter is almost upon us and now is the time to study the trees. The leaves fall off, giving us a better view of their structure. Time to observe and soak in the emotional aspects of a time or place is very helpful. I am always looking and stopping, I am not a fast walker or driver because of this.
I read books, I take lessons, I experiment and do a lot of reconnaissance. Preoccupation with art means I am almost constantly thinking about art, it is the place I go to that helps me become calm and relaxed, yet at the same time a little uncomfortable. There are challenges there. It is a preoccupation for me.
Practice makes Progress
Practice is very important because it helps to train your hand and eye coordination. You practice how to “see” things as an artist and become better. I have a love for learning and I never stop learning. I hope this is contagious. It is a wonderful thing.
How did I teach myself? Teaching myself never ends. Seeking knowledge and receiving it is powerful. I find that being around like minded people also heightens my interest and gives me ideas that I want to try as well. Sharing information is invaluable.
Learning is all about making that first mark and continuing with the next, practice and professional help also make a huge difference. When an artist shares a trick or technique, it can make you a better painter. Many artists have lots to share, whether self taught or schooled in a traditional way or not.
Art is everywhere, everything we see, touch and feel. Recognition of it is key. There is very little that isn’t touched by an artist.
Who are your Favorite Artists?
It is funny that as I write this I am in West Chester PA, the home of the Wyeth family by Chadds Ford. Who are your favorite artists? One of mine is the entire Wyeth family. I have always loved the monochromatic or limited palette that most of them used. The quirky nature of some of the pieces is also something I enjoy. As a family they would spend the winter here and the summers in Maine. One of Andrew’s most famous paintings “Christina’s World” was created after he met Christina in Maine. The Brandywine Museum was three floors of all things Wyeth and beyond. They are one of my favorite artist families.
Travel and Touring
The tours I took were of N.C. Wyeth’s home and studio, and Andrew’s home and studio. Along the way was Carolyn’s small studio and other historic buildings. Many picture’s of the family were around and details of how they created, learned and taught art. This is where Andrew first learned from his father the basics of art. N.C. wyeth’s Daughters Henriette, Ann and Carolyn learned here. The place is huge and there are paint splatter’s on the floor leading to a sense that they are still there. A large wooden staircase turned to the side is present, so he can reach all areas of large paintings. This place has fascinating ambiance and light.
The tour is about an hour for each and you could spend the day there with the museum. The gift shop was filled with great art type gifts and the cafe was interesting. I would definitely recommend this as a day trip.
Andrew Wyeth’s home was smaller and more private by comparison. Both were fantastic. The use of mirrors was to be able to check your work from a different perspective and gain distance, instead of having to keep walking away they would just look at the mirror. I need to set this up.
The tour guide was very well spoken and offered plenty of information both from an artist’s and art lover’s viewpoint.
Some other artist’s I like are Monet, Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo and Rembrandt. I love Impressionism, landscape and abstract because of the feeling, movement, freedom and emotion in them.
To purchase my art on a variety of cool things visit my other art stores.