Saturday, March 1, 2014

Use of Vivid Color

So many students and collectors say they love my use of color. I have been sorting through my brain about how I select subject matter with great color. One thing is my excitement level. I pick subject matter with scenes that excite me. The early morning light is intriguing to me. Brilliant color like oranges, pinks and mauves appear but this is the easy part. More subtle is the opposite cool colors like blue, purple, green. A note about green. Many artists miss out on the variety of greens. Think about it. There is red green, blue green, grey green, orange green, acid type green ( like the thalo( etc. I ask myself do these warm colors of the light offset with a nice cool mixture? Is there a clear center of interest? In the example above, I think the answer is yes. Thus, it has garnered a lot of interest by buyers. I also like a good entrance or lead in. During my trip to Russia, I visited the Tetrakov where I saw many excellent Russian artists. They had strong and unusual lead in-a obvious sign that takes you into the painting like a road or river. Since I live in the desert, a path or tree might to fine. The third thing you might note is that I arrange the shadow shape to take your eye down into the focal point ( the house in light). So many of my lines are directed to the FP (focal point). Don't make it hard for the viewer-give them road maps that say come here, go there, stop and look here. The use of bright color, strong contrasts will support a FP While soft greys, muted color and little contrasts with soft edges say ignore me. You want to have both going on in your paintings. Picking great color occurs by selecting complimentaries. That is red green, blue orange, and violet-yellow. These are so stuck in my unconscious that I don't think about them anymore but if I have a light in orange then my shadow color with have tints of blue in it. Similarly, yellow light should have its complement of violet, etc. Keeping these in mind will create the vibrancy or luminosity that is in much of my painting. Always start with a under painting like burst sienna or yellow ochre. Since oils are translucent, layers of paint underneath will appear through upper coats of paint allowing for various shades and colors never even thought of.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

New Book-Visions of an Artist

I have a new book out called "Visions of an artist" by Blurb. Go to there website and click my name to order your copy. My isbn number is 9781630682859 or simply look up my last name or title. Thanks and have fun.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Quick Draw Tips

In the painting to the right, I thought how I could make painting easier for myself and would pass this tip to my blogger fans (all 5000 of them). Naturally, in a quick draw we have only 2 hours to complete a painting. I have been doing them so long, they become second nature to me. In other words all paintings are quick draw to a degree. My smaller studies are just that;capturing a mood, feeling, impression of the subject area without too much detail or finish work. On my larger work, that is another thing altogether; I take my time, do detail, finish as needed. Anyway, it dawned on me that an effective painting (like Michele Byrn's award winner of the show) could be one tree, two people and an umbrella. Keeping it simple with just those three items was my goal. Of course, I had other goals like good lighting, color, and drawing the figures ( only three) but in two hours, how much can I get done? So I went at it.

The three umbrellas above are the outcome. I am fairly pleased with this because I kept all the mid background colors neutral, allowing the figures and light in the tree to pop. Tip? When you want an object to jump out and draw attention, keep all adjacent color notes back or in shades of grey. The highly colored areas will, therefore, come forward or 'pop' as we artists like to say. BYW the mid area is where you want all action and best color to appear.

Handling the light was critical as well. I designed the light to cascade from left to right, down in a strong direction, splashing on the figures who by the way I had to coax to sit for me and model with a cup of coffee. Turned out a nice family dropped in willing to assist me in this project--they were perfect. Hubby didn't want to do it but his wife was the mother of two child models so she was sympathetic to my cause. Anyway, my thoughts are strong light, good color, two or three main objects. Of course I managed to make it more complex, in spite of this goal and added bright lite trees and a few other odd ends but I kept it to a small roar. It sold, happily to a lady who loved it at the auction, always caping a happy end to this adventure but we had lots of fun throughout this event. If you have't ever attended one, you should go. If you enter one, try keeping it simple--two or three objects done really well is enough, good light and stong color coupled with neutrals. You will do well! On the second thought, these tips may apply to all painting now that I think of it. Humans tend to over muck things and make them complex--the viewer feels this complexity and it is turned off. I just left the palm springs art museum who had an Edgar Payne painting--very simple. A large cliff in light, small shadowed cliff and three native americans. Yet the painting was excellent!! Most of the great art historically are very simple--one person smilling, two sailboats, etc.

Lastly, have a goal for yourself on every paint outing. I set out to do good greys or neutrals, unusual composition, or great color. This will help push yourself to improve--have a painting buddy where you can get critique from, send your images to teachers who offer that service (like me for a small donation). Go to a museum and study the masters asking yourself how did they mix that, what was they composition, can I do that? Well, share with me if these things help. I would love to hear from you.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Time Management

This post reflects two divergent thoughts when it comes to time/devotion/obsession/balance or whatever we do with our time. One is expressed by my friend and colleague Stape Kearns who believes art is all . He states" I get up and paint all day, sleep then do it again the next day". I took lots of flak by readers when I expressed another viewpoint. The Artists Way challenges this view expressing the opinion of balance. What are you precepts about successful art? Do you feel you must be poor, overworked, alone, etc? This viewpoint emphasizes balance and positive thinking. Thus, you can have friends, support groups, wealth, energy, etc and be a successful artist. Being in the health profession for many years highlighted the need for care to our mind, body and spirit. I have witnessed various artists drop dead needlessly because of heart disease or suicide. Both these conditons are treatable/reversable. Simple obsession and putting miles of canvas behind you may be not the only answer. Artist way recommends starting with a journal every morning with your thoughts and feelings--a way of centering. Personally, I engaged in a new diet two years ago as my triglycerides were off the chart and an insurance carrier denied my applicatoin.( I used to eat junk food, supersized it) I became a believer in Dr Fuhrman, eating cruciform vegetables and I literaly changed my chemistry panels into the healthy range for the first time ever!.

I pray a lot and develop a spiritual life as art is a gift to share and I excersize three to five times a week. I do marital arts and yoga so all of these things are part of my time management. Alas, I read books on art, study master painters from the past, try to forget what other artists are doing and focus on what I am doing. The internet is a great tool for seeing who is doing what but I sometimes give up my own voice in lieu of others--a poor choice. I have two or more weekly support groups and I take time off when I need to and vacation with my loved ones. I guess I am healthy, certainly better than I was five years ago. Sometimes I put in three hours a day painting and other times ten hours. It depends on my energy or chi as the eastern martial arts describe. But I might not paint at all and reread Hawthorne, Carlson, Henri, or Payne.

I don't know what the answer is. Stape's approach is working fine for him. If that fits do it. If you want a more balanced--perhaps less obsessive healthier way in my view, try my approach. I know I was prediabetic, heading for an early grave and by changing my eating habits I have extended my life much longer. Write me for more details if you like on resources mentioned in this blog. Deepak Chopra recommends meditation on Who you are, what is your purpose, what makes you happy(I add how can I please God). You don't need to answer these just think about them. Finally, prioritize your activities into most important, least important and middle. See how much time you are spending on each category. Naturally creating great art is my # 1 but I must do marketing or hire others to do it. Least important it grinding my own oil paints or stretching canvas. Don't have time for that so scratch it. Get the idea? Hope this helps--question or challenge me on these opinions or say what you have found that works. Happy painting!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

What is Your Purpose?

This blogs simply raises questions rather than provides answers. It will make you think. Painting last thursday with my friend Rob, we pick very different paintings then discussed them. I wanted to compare and contrast the two.
The one below is mine. I liked the historical funkyness of the truck and blend of colors. Rob, on the top, wanted to paint peace. What is better? Do they both convey what was intended? Do you want to make a similar statement or different? Therefore, my "funky" painting (my statement) conveys that to you or something else. (hopefully, not disgust). Robs intention, created by larger masses, subdued color may convey peace to you or something else. What are the purposes of art? Of course they are endless to the imagination--hatred, love, peace, condolence, mood, excitement, despair, wonder, majesty, granduer, nature, house, comfort, disgust--you name it. They can all be there.
I like excitement created by contrasting colors and unusual design. Is my design unusual? Probably not. My colors are exciting perhaps. So I can take this small study (11x14) and blow it up larger improving the design or take this as a learning time and focus on design next time. Certainly, this old truck has sloping angles, showing the age and history. But what do these contrasting paintings say to you? If you were to paint them, how would you do it?
Getting a second opinion always helps. If your unsure, ask friends, teachers, family members. See if what your trying to convey sends the message. My wife used to say, " I hate it, it makes me angry". Now if that was my intention, then great but often it wasn't and that made me critically examine my work. While untrained, she had a visceral response (a gut reaction) that was important feedback which other viewers may have. Upon relfection, the work usually had too many broken masses or angles that didn't work. I know it is hard (all of us sensitive artists have fragile egos) but if your going professional or want to improve your work, get a thick skin. There isn't a week that goes by that I don't experience some rejection from a gallery, critique, or other party. But you know what, if I use that information to improve, you can gain from it. Well, these paintings are for sale. If interested, email me. Hope your art improves and you learn from this blog and have fun. Get to some funky trucks, rusted out old heaps of metal and paint!!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Still Life

The still life is an opportunity to bring out your favorite colors and shapes. Selection comes from within yourself; maybe a flower, a doll, a lollypop, the items are endless. I am mostly traditional, especially in the piece above. I love the spout on the vase, the yellow and orange flowers. I picked the background; a mauve grey t-shirt because it seemed to work well with this arrangement. I also tried blue, pink and green-none of these worked as well as the neutral gray that I ended up with. Arangement of flowers. This is critial--try to place them in various directions, all away fron the viewers eye. In other words, right and up, left and down, middle and slightly left. Lighting is also critical. Have it to the side or backlit, not head on as it will flatten out. Show the table, put in objects at differing angles.

Unlike the landscape, this motif for the artist allows you to completely place and arrange all the objects. Put in things that are meaningful to you.I try to paint loose but your technique is your own. In either case, don't tickle a painting to death--that is stroke it all smooth, covering up your intial brush stroke. I recommend loading up the brush, making one stroke and leave it. Of course, if it is not correct, you can scrape and redo it but the point is many amateurs go over and over, obiliterating the paint, smoothing it all out. That makes for a boring outcome.

Why onions and garlic? I don't have a clue. The basket was there and I thought the onions have such an unusual color--that white yellow, green pastel type colors make for a challenging oil painting. I played with greens, gray, pinks and various shade. I like the russian painters who painted garlic that I have seen in Carmel. The red orange flowers were exciting for me to paint, along with their sense of light. Look for my new U tube movie on oil painting. Should be out by July 15th.

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Value of Detail

I know, youre asking yourself, what is a impressionist painter like you talking about detail. The old adage you have heard in your class is when painting a bush or tree, "just block it in". Of course, most of the time that can be true. However, you can teach an old dog new tricks. According to my recent workshop with Calvin, detail adds a lot to a painting and should be used sparingly. Helps helps bring the eye to focus on the focal point. Other areas, of course, mass and blur, (soft edges) non important areas. Look at the painting above ( by the way, my wife likes this so it must be fairly good) where the leaves of the tree are individually laid in. It draws the eye twoard the boat (center of interest). Converesly, the background trees, above right, are all soft edges, grayed down without detail. It sends it in the distance in contrast to the dark leaves nr boat. The dark leaves come forward.

Such movement in and out, forward and backward should be in your thought or strategy as you develop your painting. With the use of detail, you can creat this in your painting. What else do you see in the painting that attracts your attention? One I see are the two figures. These are what I call secondary points of interest. I keep them loose and suggestive, very little detail or the painting would have a tendency to ping pong, bounce the eye back and forth--somthing you want to avoid. Well, write me and let me know if your learning anything or your paintings are improving. I am interested.