Monday, November 29, 2010

My New Easel

New Easel next to old one

Most of us can’t afford to outfit our studios with top of the line materials and furniture.. What we can scrounge is what we have to live with.

Even a space to paint or draw is a luxury for most. Calling the space we carve out for ourselves a studio is giving grandiose important to that corner of the dining room or closet in the spare bedroom. For some this means a simple tabletop easel or the ubequdeous “student easel”, that cheap pine stick easel. You know the one, the folding tri-pod with the wing nuts.

That is what I have for years and years. Still have two in the dungeon. They hold a canvas at least as large as I usually paint. But these easels--for all that they are called “student” are hard to move around, and not particularly sturdy.

Much better is my aluminum field easel I invested in a couple of years ago when I start to teach and paint plein aire. It is collapsible and comes with a nice carrying case. This easel is ideal for moving around and has separately adjustable legs. And it holds the smaller boards I use plein aire easily. It is also handy for figure drawing class.

But back home in the studio, it was the pine-stick easel or nothing. Oh for a real studio easel. Something sturdy and that gives firm support to really large canvases or even boards!

This past year I got my wish in a surprising way; as a gift from my older sister. Now getting a gift from her is not in itself unusual. I don’t want you to think she is mean or anything. But she is a non-artist and freely admits to knowing nothing about art and art materials. Nothing at all. She did not even know the word easel, it is that stand-thingy.

My sister (with my mother) is a committed (or should be committed!) garage-saler. They approach garage sales with almost religious devotion. But as I said, she admits she has no idea what constitutes a good art supply or materials. She also have no idea about prices or values of such things.

But she is not one to let a little thing like lack of knowledge stand between her and a good deal! When coming upon a garage sale of a woman moving to smaller quarters she spied a number of things that kind of looked like they might be used for fine art? She fearlessly negotiated a fabulous deal!

Not only am I now the proud owner of a large aluminum studio easel, but a zippered, rolling craft cart/tote to hall things back and forth to the gallery for my classes, and a craft case designed for scrape booking, but perfect for holding a nice stash of art papers.

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Work of Art

We all have works of art we don’t want to part with. Maybe it was that first piece where it came together. Or that represents some past connection. Whatever it is, there is a strong emotional attachment or it can be simple shock and awe.


Approaching art

Boat At Kanawha Falls
S. Tschantz

When we create that first piece that says we are finally accomplishing something—that everything is not a waste of time. These pieces mark significant changes within ourselves as artists. It is hard to relinquish these. And I am not sure we should. Keeping a connection to where we were helps us see where we are going.

These are the special pieces with that indefinable something that transforms it from a painting to a work of art.

S. Tschantz


Monday, November 15, 2010

Successful Paintings?

Failed Fall Painting
Without failure you cannot succeed.
So don’t be afraid of failure and of creating “interesting” paintings.

None of us likes everything we do. Not if we are honest and not a complete egoist, that is.

If we don't fail from time to time we don't make progress and out art becomes repetitious and stale. So don't be afraid of failure or of painting "interesting" paintings. These contain the germ of genius.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Seeing What Good Is

Geraniums in Terra Cotta
Larry Bragg

Working in our isolation—as most artists do, it is easy for to look at your own work and think” Hey, that’s pretty good! And pat yourselves on the back. Self-satisfaction is possible. But is it justified? How do we know if it is any good?

I work on my paintings and drawings and really think how much I have improved! And those miniatures are not bad at all if I do say so myself! My friends are impressed. So what more do I want?

We tend to look at things myopically, only what is right in front of us. This show has knocked me down to earth. It is a real eye-opener. The artists who entered the 10th Annual National Miniature Exhibition shows you just what GOOD is!

Now this could have been crushing. Really. Seen next to the rest of the artwork, my work is well….midland. Not really terrible, but not so great that it warrants a second look. It would be easy to say, “Oh, I can’t do this!” and give up. The stuff in this show is really, really good! But this does not have to be your reaction when you are confronted with genius.

Let me tell you what one artist said to me at the reception for the 10th Annual National Miniature Exhibition. Larry Bragg—a first time exhibitor in miniature said the scope of work was inspiring and showed him just what was possible. Already he is anxious to start on next year’s work. Looking at the excellent work hanging in the gallery, all he could say was: "Wow! This shows me what can be done!". Far from being discourage, he is inspired! His excitement when he saw the wealth of fine art was amazing. He can't wait to try his hand at something new. To explore his new found knowledge of what is possible.

French Table
Larry Bragg

And this is a good thing. To be inspired by others, have your mental horizons expanded. Art happens in the head first, only then with the hands.

In all things, we need to have high standards to do our best,

Note: Normally I decorate my blog with my own “artwork”. Not sure right now I can even call it artwork. But this week, I would like you to see the work of another artist, the brave Larry Bragg.

PS. I promised last week to post the link to the Renaissance Gallery's 10th Annual National Miniature Exhibition so you can all see the photos of the reception.The Renaissance Art Gallery

Monday, November 1, 2010

My Miniatures

I have talked a lot about The Renaissance Art Gallery’s 10th Annual National Miniature show. What I have not talked about is my entries.

oil painting

Yes, I entered. Not that I will win any prizes. I am simply not that good with miniatures—yet.

But I am working on it.

I did 3 colored pencil drawings that I entered along with an oil painting and two mixed media works.

Conte on Acrylic

The mixed media works have coatings of acrylic as a background base, and then on the larger I drew with acrylic and conte’, and did a final glazing with oil paints.

The other one has a background of acrylics with the drawing done in conte’.

I do like the larger butterfly. That is also a mix of watercolor pencil and regular colored pencils. While the larger one is done actual size (this is allowed for things naturally small) the other is quite a bit smaller than the original butterfly.

I will be posting more photos from the miniature show on both the gallery website and the galleries facebook page.
Galleries website
Facebook Page
Nude in mixed Media