Monthly Archives: November 2018

Words of Gratitude

I don’t want to leave this until it’s one of those long overdue posts. There are some people who deserve my thanks. It’s only been a few months since I began working toward art as a vocation (that is, since I’ve been making serious attempts at getting paid for my art), but I have already received so much priceless help from some phenomenal people – people who I haven’t even met. I want to bring much-deserved attention to their amazing work and acknowledge them for what they’ve done to help me get started.

First, there was Robin Sealark. I found her on Youtube when I was looking for an instructional video on mixing flesh tones. She had a great video on that topic, and so much more. Robin is young and full of energy, witty, charming, and adorable. Her paintings are full of vibrant color and she dares to experiment and reinvent  herself. Watching her videos made me feel like I already had a friend in the business.  I would like to spend the first profits from my own paintings to purchase one of hers.

Next, there was Stefan Baumann. Wow. Just wow. I may have watched all of his lectures on Youtube (there are a lot) and I know I’ve watched at least a dozen of them a second time. I’ve never seen, or rather heard, art classes taught the way he teaches. I am so amazed that instruction this valuable is available for free on Youtube. The gift that he has given to the artists of the world in these videos is enormous. If you are a painter, you need to watch them. Even if you don’t paint in oils, you need to watch them.  Even photographers should watch them.  You won’t agree with everything he says, but you need to watch them.  I’ve added attending one of his workshops at his Mount Shasta ranch to my bucket list.

Finally there is Patrick at  Art Storefronts.  He does their podcasts.  I have determined that I am not quite ready to purchase their software/services to set up an e-commerce website with “Live Preview” (a super-cool feature where you can see what a painting will look like on your own wall).  But they have so much genius advice available in those podcasts on the topic of marketing art.  I’m so thankful that they offer it for free.

Besides the great people I’ve found online, I’ve been encouraged by some great people I’ve met face-to-face:  church friends, friends at my day job (which I’m not quitting any time soon), old friends that I only get to see on social media, and especially my new friends at our local Urban Sketchers group — it was phenomenal to sit down with a group of strangers, talk and laugh like we’d known each other for years, and walk away friends.  I look forward to getting to know you better.  I’m so glad I live in a city where people care about art and artists have the means to find each other.

Most important of all, there’s my family, not one of whom ever told me that I would starve if I tried to make a living as an artist.  Really.  Not one discouraging word from one relative ever.  Not when I was a teenager considering attending an art school instead of a traditional college.  Not now, after I’ve had other jobs for decades and decided to get back into art and make it a profession.  Not even one snarky comment.  How rare is that?!!

Finished At Last!

Still LIfe With Hydrangea No. 1 and No. 2

The oil on canvas version of Still Life with Hydrangea (on the right) that I started back in mid-summer is finally finished.  It just needs some drying time and a coat of varnish.  The acrylic version on the left was finished last month, but I thought I’d wait until both were done to “unveil” them.

I started with oil paints that are water-miscible (water-mixable or water soluble — all three mean the same).  I determined that they weren’t all they were marketed to be.  Some colors/brands mix with water better than others.  Some mix better with turpentine substitute (mineral spirits).  Some don’t mix very well with either.  Most colors got gummy at some point and resisted spreading.   I ended up giving in and buying a bottle of Turpenoid® and a set of inexpensive conventional oil paints — the supposedly noxious chemicals that I’d been avoiding all my life for fear that they were dangerous to work with.

I found that I had been silly to wait so long to try oils.  I had always assumed that oil painting required a big bucket of solvent. For that I blame Bob Ross and The Joy of Painting… also my unpleasant experiences with oil-based house paint.  I bought a nifty little stainless steel cup with a spill-proof lid and a grate inside for rubbing the brushes against to clean them.  It only needs a few ounces of solvent and it can be reused over and over again before needing to clean the cup and change the solvent, because the paint solids sink to the bottom under the grate. I can’t believe in all my years of making art, I never learned about this.

I’m sure you knew all about this and you’re shaking your head at my ignorance.  Anyway, I’m very happy with how both paintings turned out and I will be posting them for sale shortly — the oil version will need to dry first.  And I’ll need to keep my fingers out of the paint while it does.  I seem to be getting better at that.

October Update

BestOfInktober2018

Here’s an update on the art I’ve been creating for the past month.  It’s been a month for drawing practice.  A painting doesn’t get very far if the artist’s drawing skills aren’t up to the job, and really painting is just drawing in color anyway.  Above are a few of the ink drawings I completed this month for the Inktober 2018 challenge.  I did them all in my miniature sketchbook that I carry around with me in my purse, so most of them are only about 3″ x 3 1/2 inches.

I’ve done other challenges — National Novel Writing Month (50,000 words of fiction in 30 days) for November and the National Poetry Month poem-a-day challenge for April — and those were interesting and fun, but also frustrating.  I think that’s because I write well, but I LOVE drawing and painting.  It’s my gift.  Also, because I’d never heard of it until November 1st and I jumped in on a whim, I didn’t feel guilty when, about two-thirds of the way through the month and I stopped and only did two more for the rest of October.  I just didn’t want to do any more.  It was a liberating thing, actually, to abandon it, because it was good practice for a time but was no longer of benefit to me.  Never keep doing something just because it’s what you’ve been doing.

Still Life With Gourds SMALL

Old man sketch SMALL

I did these two drawings in an art group that I meet with at our church.  The group leader stopped at a roadside produce stand to get the props to set up the still life.  The drawing of the old man was from a photo she clipped from a magazine, and the rest of the page was cut away, so I don’t have the information to properly cite the photographer.  I am particularly pleased with the hands, which are much harder to draw accurately than faces.

I finished two paintings in October too.  The first was the acrylic version of that still life.  I’ll share a picture when I finish the oil version, so I can unveil them together.  The other was the abstract below titled “Vineyard” which started out as just a loosening-up exercise, but it went well enough that I refined and finished it so it’s ready for framing.  I plan to paint three companion pieces in the near future titled “Orchard,” “Field,” and “Garden.”  If you are interested in purchasing “Vineyard,” see my gallery page for more information.

Vinyard SMALL