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.
This is a tough one to answer because there are so many things to consider when creating. My most valuable lesson learned in art school could be about color, line, composition, value hence they are all important. I will say that perspective is probably one of the best things to know, because being able to understand this will make it easier to bend it appropriately. The same as understanding the measurements or proportions in portraiture. These are important to understand how to use and apply it to whatever your piece is. Turning a piece upside down, walking away to look at it from a distance gives you a view that may show how it needs to be corrected or tweaked. These are all different perspectives. Learning 2 point perspective and more is very helpful.
Gosh, this is a hard decision to say what THE most valuable lesson learned would be. Maybe it is something I learned from Stephen King. To be fearless! I think the ability to be fearless in your creativity is probably the most important lesson. Learn and be fearless!
Experimenting and seeing are also important as well as the love of learning that has helped me to continue to learn. A valuable lesson learned was to read, read everything I could get my hands on about a topic I was interested in. It is said that if we all learn to speed read we would indeed be very healthy, wealthy and wise. Just imagine that you read all of the Bible, everything about investing, everything about cooking, cleaning productivity, building anything… I am of the mind that knowledge is power. What to do with that power is another question altogether.
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.
Am I traveling for my art? I would love to travel more than I do. I try to get out on a continuous basis, especially during the golden hours. If you were not aware, the golden hours are the hours around sunrise and sunset. That time of day is great for capturing awesome photos. It would be difficult to do any plein air work because of the short time period. That may be quite a challenge, but probably a good exercise to try to get that light in a quick painting.
Travel Locally, Travel Abroad
I do have opportunities to travel all over New England. Wherever I go I plan to take some art supplies with me like sketchbooks, chalk, a limited palette, camera and desire to learn and explore. I have gone to Florida, Texas and all points in between. I would love to travel more, but unfortunately my finances don’t allow me that luxury. It is also hard to travel with oil paintings as they are wet for so long. I am very tempted to try using acrylics with maybe an extender in them, so they do not dry out as fast.
Be in the Moment
We have gone camping, hiking and sightseeing in many places. I love nature. We often go to museums, art shows and galleries when we travel, there is great inspiration at these places. I would urge you to go to as many of those places as you can. I find things constantly in my journeys so fascinating I want to stop everywhere. I could only imagine what it would be like if I could afford to go to so many of those awesome places out there that I have not explored.
For now I will be content with where I am and exploring not only what is around me, but what is also inside me.
Okay, well, I am always busy. I am working on promoting my art, through social media, selling on several sites like Redbubble, Society6, and Zazzle. I spend time getting on sites like Instagram and Reddit to expose my art because I like to get feedback and constructive criticism. Watching tons of videos about art and artists helps me to learn new techniques. I get inspired by other artists and find their passion contagious.
Lately I’ve been really doing a lot of digital art and manipulation because the weather here in Connecticut has not been very good. My Goldfish was an original pastel painting that I experimented with. I use a lot of different software and find this a great outlet for my creativity.
It has been very rainy and humid, and while this does give some opportunity for some great pictures, it isn’t the best situation for en plein air painting. Although a lot of these pictures seem dull and gray, I may just play around with them because I think they are pretty..
Painting in Progress
At my studio I need to work on this painting that was done en plein air at my sister in law’s farm up in New Hampshire. I would love to add more color to this also. Just wondering how I want to proceed with that, so it’s cooking in my brain.
Be Socially Involved
I seek the company of other artists both in real life and online. Going to art shows, museums and events are something I do on a regular basis. I also volunteer in a myriad of ways like setting up art shows, judging, advertising, serving on commissions, and fundraising. I get to meet a lot of people this way. There is always something for me to do.
To purchase my art on a variety of cool things visit my other art stores.