Thursday, January 27, 2011

Eisele Gallery Award & Rejection

Surprise! I just found this tucked in the back of my winning painting.
Back in October I blogged from Nashville, TN that a painting of my cat, Van Gogh, had been accepted into the Viewpoint 2010 exhibition. Viewpoint is a national juried exhibition sponsored each year by the Cincinnati Art Club. While I was in Cuba, this exhibition opened, and I later learned that I'd won the Eisele Gallery Award!

The award is a year's representation at this fine art gallery that features not only the works of contemporary artists from Ohio, but also historic paintings by some of Ohio's past masters.

Yesterday afternoon my thrill was to drop off work that will hang among these past masters. Tonight, I got a small thrill when I found this medal, sort of like I had just received the award in person.

But what happens to us emotionally when we don't get in to a show? Or when we don't get that coveted opportunity that we had hoped for? Recently I found some words of wisdom on this very thing while reading Robert Henri's 'The Art Spirit'. It is really great advice.

"DON'T worry about the rejections. Everybody that's good has gone through it. Don't let it matter if your works are not "accepted" at once. The better or more personal you are the less likely they are of acceptance. Just remember that the object of painting pictures is not simply to get them in exhibitions. It is all very fine to have your pictures hung, but you are painting for yourself, not for the jury. I had many years of rejections.
     Do some great work, Son! Don't try to paint good landscapes. Try to paint canvases that will show how interesting landscape looks to you -- your pleasure in the thing. Wit.
     There are lots of people who can make sweet colors, nice tones, nice shapes of landscape, all done in nice broad and intelligent-looking brushwork.
     Courbet showed in every work what a man he was, what a head and heart he had.
     Every student should put down in some form or other his findings. All any man can hope to do is to add his fragment to the whole. No man can be final, but he can record his progress, and whatever he records is so much done in the thrashing out of the whole thing. What he leaves is so much for others to use as stones to step on or stones to avoid.
    The student is not an isolated force. He belongs to a great brotherhood, bears great kinship to his kind. He takes and he gives. He benefits by taking and he benefits by giving."

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Daily 90 3 & 4 - My Way!

Here's the math:
January 20
15 paintings behind - 2 paintings +
1 day of not painting
+ 1 afternoon of life drawing
- one new snow painting
- 1 painting from a live model
= 11 paintings behind on January 24
- haven't painted yet today
= possible 12 paintings behind tonight, January 25.

Whew! I am going to do this daily painting thing My Way.
Any art I do counts, it just might not be a painting, it could be a drawing or a print. BUT, if I can come up with 90 new paintings in less than 90 days, that would be a marvelous thing indeed.

Below the colors I mixed for the start my second new snow painting.
They don't look very exciting do they?

My surface: a panel by SourceTek - Classens landscape linen.
Notice the little pin holes in the surface of the priming!
I only saw noticed that when I downloaded this photo.

I was surprised to see how intense that blue looked against
the transparent iron oxide underpainting.

I decided to apply the other colors I'd pre-mixed since this blue looked pretty good to me on my palette. It did have more chroma than I wanted for the finished color, but I knew that this was the first go round. Next, I mixed titanium white with a touch of lemon yellow and placed it in the snow area to test the value of the sky. These two values had to have the correct relationship.

Below is what I was looking at, a field in Pataskala, Ohio. Most likely it will be gone to development soon. I sat in the back parking lot of a drive through liquor store to paint.

"Flurries, January" - 6" x 8" - Oil on Linen
This painting is just as colorful as it is subtle. It's been a challenge for me to try and get this image to look like the painting. This was the closest I could get, but I feel so far from the real thing, and who knows what it looks like on your screens?

Below: what was left and scrapped together at the end of my painting session.

And some closeups of 'the battlefield' of my painting.

A few hours later, I drove to Westerville to a 3-hour model session. I took my oils and had high hopes. I had a really good painting going, but should have stopped sooner. Yes there are some drawing issues here, but what really bothered me was that I had the masses so much better and stronger about 35 minutes before I decided that I was ruining this with every brush stroke, yet there wasn't time left to try and bring it back.
When will one ever learn?
"Daniel" 10 x 8" Oil on Museum Board

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Ohio Art League Drawing Session

Sunday afternoon 1:00 - 4:00 PM - my first time at the open life drawing session sponsored by the Ohio Art League in Columbus, OH. $8.00 = 3 hours of time with a live model. I am out of practice, but I think some progress was made in the 3 hours of study. You can click on the images and enlarge them if you like.

Today's Tools
11 x 14" Strathmore 400 Series Drawing Pad
Bic Retractable Pencil
#4 Charcoal Pencil
Sienna Conte Crayon
Kneeded Eraser

60 second poses - Bic pencil
The model said she'd been doing a lot of Yoga lately,
and she took complex and interesting poses.

2 minute poses - still using the same pencil

2 minute poses continued & one 15 minute pose
Oooh, I am out of practice

40 minute pose? charcoal and conte crayon, eraser as drawing tool

30 minutes - charcoal on white Rives BFK
the prince of printmaking papers!

25 minutes, charcoal and conte, eraser
 on Strathmore 400 series off white paper

What a pleasure to spend an afternoon with a wonderful model.
C'est tout!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Daily 90 1 & 2 - Snow Queen joins the challenge!

Here she is - The Snow Queen!
She brought 6" of snow to my town today.
(In case you didn't know, it's me in disguise.)

The Queen noticed on Facebook that two of her painter friends had challenged each other to paint 90 daily paintings. I've never really been that interested in doing daily paintings, but when I saw Michelle Walker's painting, I invited myself into their challenge -
way back on January 5.

I was already 5 paintings behind at that point!
When I woke up this morning I was 15 paintings behind!
I woke up to falling snow, read an email from my friend Ray who was going out to paint snow in Cincinnati, and with 'the challenge' looming over my head like the sword of Damocles,
I decided to get in the game.

First, breakfast at The Nut.
Second, pay a bill in person, allowing me to do a little driving in the village and see what possibilities were out there. It worked. I found a spot easily, a field of corn stubble with a treeline, and the snow whiting out some of the background.

Here was my studio.
At the right you see my EasyL 12 x 16" easel, poised and itching to get into the game with a 5 x 7" gessoboard panel that has been toned with thinned down Transparent Red Oxide. The snow was falling steadily, and hard, making it impossible to paint outside without the umbrella I'd forgotten. The area behind the steering wheel was too tight to put the easel in front of me, so I sat it on the seat beside me and forced me to paint with my arm extended - just like I should!

I hadn't painted since December 5, 2010 when I did stand outside and paint - in the orchard 5 miles away from my home. Michelle painted that day, as did Jody Hall (the other artist that started the challenge January 1). Ray was there that day, and my friend Edie, and many other painters from Ohio Plein Air Society were sprinkled throughout Lynd's Fruit Farm which was sugared with a light dusting of snow.

Today, I felt a little nervous. You sure do get rusty if you don't paint for even a day, let alone for over a month. So I decided to start by doing my little drawing. Below, you see the two drawings I did for two paintings that I did today. I was parked for the first painting in a safe parking lot looking north across Rt. 16.
For the second painting, I crossed this busy road and
pulled into a farm pulloff heading into the field.

 A policeman stopped by to see if I needed help.
I love it when that happens.
I took further notes to remember this day: here I was painting a great snow storm when suddently I realized that the music coming out of the radio was none other than Gershwin's Summertime! I LOVE that song and used to belt it out in my days as a torch singer.

Okay, I had my drawing. I was nervous. Stalling.
So I decided to mix some colors.
Ray wrote this morning that there were no values out there.
I wrote back saying there were close values,
and now I was faced with them.

I wiped the panel down so that it wasn't so wet.
 And put in some guidelines.
I didn't realize that my shapes were a bit different in the mid-ground. I wish I had, but I was struggling with 'my stuff'. First the panel fell off the easel and into the Thalo Blue!
A good start, the colors were trying to get on the panel.
Next, the brushes were rolling into the paint.
And then, there was paint on the steering column.
Once I concured all of that,
I began laying in the colors that I'd pre-mixed.
 I decided not to second guess myself.
My goal was to see if I could depict falling snow.

This was my palette at the end of the painting.
Eh, Voila!
"Snow Day, January"
#1 - Daily 90

Below is #2 catch up painting - Daily 90
Not what I'd hoped for. The idea was to see if I could depict falling snow with a big brush. The painting was better earlier on. I decided to rework this,
or scrape it and repaint from memory.
If I do, I'll repost it, but not sure I can call it another daily.
Michelle, would that be cheating?
My tools today.
This brush I don't recommend. I bought it years ago on sale,
not very good as the metal part of the brush is loose and wobbely.
And standing in the shadows,
my trusty Lowe-Cornell J-2 palette knife!

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Just Another Morning in Cuba

First of all, Happy New Year!
In this photo I am holding up my first cup of seriously strong and delicious Cuban coffee. I'm sitting at the breakfast table at
Nelson's Casa Particular in Habana Vieja.
Breakfast consisted of coffee - but not too many cups, pineapple juice, guava paste, rolls, sliced ham and cheese, and cold butter that was as hard as a rock!
Two women from Amsterdam shared the table that morning.
Below is the "lounge", the room that you step into from off the street. This house is pretty well appointed and decorated, the sign of someone that is running a successful B&B business.

Nelson had hooked us up with another casa owner around the corner. The owner was bringing a car, and a little waiting time was involved, so I decided to just peak my head out the door and see what was shaking in Old Havana.

 Writing this, I am reminded of my first morning view of India in 2005 where a golden light was bathing the cricket fields of the Bombay Cricket Club, where I had trouble wrapping my mind around the fact that I was actually there in India. I had that same feeling of disbelief, maybe call it wonder, that I really was in Cuba.

In the photo above you are looking north.
Below, zoomed in, and you can see that there are some locals!

Below, around the corner to the west.

And to the east was this wonderfully painted pair of balconies.
Had we stayed longer, I'd have eventually painted these balconies.

 Right across the street from Nelson's was this brand new paint job.
Below is what I was most interested in painting, complete with the usual Cuban dog. I did a little sketch in preparation for a painting, and walked over to show these gentlemen, Herman and Miguel. We shared a lot of smiles and laughs, and had as much conversation as we could for ones who don't speak much of the others language. No sooner did I go for my easel -

the car showed up. You can see Nelson himself standing in the door, and Miguel hoisting the first of my fellow traveller's suitcases. My case is already on the top of the Beetle and looking mighty fine with that lime green car. So Cuban! What was not so Cuban was that this was a brand new vehicle. Yet, another sign of a successful businessman.