March 2, 2011

Work or Art?

It's been a long time since I picked up a paintbrush. (Sigh!) My intention, of course, was to work part time and devote the rest of the day to painting, but work has a way of expanding until there's no time left for anything else. I suppose one must simply choose between being an artist or garnering a monthly paycheck. Or, perhaps, work will "unchoose" me once the economic crisis decides the fate of adult ed and my job.

July 29, 2010

To Donate or Not to Donate

I've had another request to donate a painting for a good cause. I'm flattered, of course, but I know many artists think donations cheapen our work. Usually the donated piece is raffled off for less than the cost of the matting and framing. Then there is also the challenge of choosing an appropriate piece to donate. Because it usually nets only about $50 in proceeds for the charity or fundraiser, I don't want to donate a painting that I might sell for over $300. But I don't want to donate a piece that poorly represents my ability as an artist either. And even my simplest paintings still cost a substantial amount to frame.

Right now I am starting a series of paintings on a theme for a future showing at the Elk Grove Fine Arts Center, so I guess I will turn down this request based on insufficient time. I can't put together a show if I keep giving away all my work. The school year is fast approaching, and I need to complete about six floral watercolors before it begins.

July 15, 2010

Back to Acrylics

A visit to several galleries in Carmel leaves me pining to do oils again. Watercolors could scarcely be found in the Monterey area! "Watercolorists are popular on the East coast, not here," sniffed one gallery owner. But, realistically, I cannot do oils in our tiny living space, so I'm going to try acrylics once again. I've been watching some how-to videos online. It seems that acrylic painting is backwards from watercolor painting. Instead of painting from light to dark, acrylic painters seem to go from dark to light. That is, they paint the shadow colors first, let them dry, and then superimpose the lighter colors. And (thank you, Internet!) a water tray should keep the paints from drying out so fast. It doesn't look all that difficult. Then, with a nice coat of varnish, I should have a painting that resembles an oil.

We took some beautiful photos along the coast, so I have lots of inspiration. Watch for a painting of Gibson Beach in Pt. Lobos Reserve soon...if my webmaster ever gets around to updating my website!

June 23, 2010

Summer Painting

These long summer days certainly encourage my painting. I have done more painting in the last few weeks than I have in many years. Most recently I pulled out an old painting of some irises that I had removed unfinished from the stretcher board for some reason. After painting in the foliage background, I decided that the sky looked rather plain, so I got out my painter's tape and began painting in subtle stripes. It took some guts to start doing this, as it could have meant the demise of an otherwise promising painting. I actually felt kind of nauseous after doing the first stripe. But in the end, it really added some zip to the composition. It has the same kind of poster quality as my old favorite, the calla lilies. In fact, I sold it right after posting it on Facebook. Perhaps I should specialize in this flower/stripe composition.

One thing I should learn, though, is to paint to standard frame sizes. This iris painting will have to be custom framed, and, because of it's size, it won't be cheap. But that will be my buyer's problem as he chose to buy it unframed.

June 18, 2010

Elk Grove Fine Arts Center Showing

I'll have two watercolors on display at the EG Fine Arts Center in Old Town Elk Grove this month, and another two next month. There is an artists' reception on First Friday, 5:00 to 9:30 PM. First Friday is becoming a fun event with a fair-like atmosphere. I hope all you readers (ha,ha! If there are any!) will stop by and support all of us starving artists.

Really, it is so hard to get started as an artist. It seems everyone wants artists to donate their paintings, but nobody wants to buy one. I need a sponsor who will pay for my materials and framing costs so that I can continue to paint. Is there a Medici family out there?

May 22, 2010

What?!! Not accepted!

I guess it is not so easy to get your art into the fair. Neither of my paintings was accepted by the jury judge, some Joan Moment who is a professor at Sac State. I suppose I shouldn't be so surprised as there were over a thousand entries and only about a dozen watercolors could be accepted. But I'm not used to rejection when it comes to my art. I keep imagining this judge looking at my technique with disdain. Or maybe thinking my subject matter is so old-fashioned.

So I signed up for a watercolor class at SCC for the summer. Unfortunately, I am 5th on the waiting list, so I may be disappointed. But I'll be there with my fingers crossed on July 7th.

Also, dear readers (if there are any of you out there), that rose painting turned out rather well in the end, so I am going to post it. I like the fuzziness of the lower petals quite well.

May 4, 2010

Stand Back and Watch the Paint Move

Okay, I decided to force myself to work wet-on-wet. I'm painting an open rose, so after soaking and mounting my paper, I waited about ten minutes and then did the background. At first the edges of the lower rose petals were pleasingly fuzzy, and the "blooms" I created with water splatters were spectacular. But then the fuzzy edges grew and grew, consuming the outer petals entirely, and the blooms metamorphasized into giant amoebas. Suddenly it occurred to me that I needed a hairdryer in hand to stop the paint from moving once it reached a certain point. This is called trial-and-error. I suppose I should take a watercolor class so that I don't waste a lot of expensive Arches paper learning new techniques on my own. Don't wait to see the rose painting posted on this site!