This is a movement, or perhaps a trend, or maybe even a fad in the Artworld. I’ve considered it for several years, but seem to have too much work to be slamming out extras. And I would be “slamming them out’, because layered and detailed is my preferred way of painting. But, I can and often do paint daily among the tasks of blogging, updating my website, drawing, paying bills, tending the studio garden, teaching drawing lessons, returning phone calls and emails, bookkeeping, running to the Post Office, designing murals, bidding jobs, framing drawings, keeping up with inventory, photographing my work, et cetera. (Notice this list does not include Facebook. I am still resisting, but feeling the pressure and beginning to weaken.)
“Scuse me. I got distracted with that list. Had to go lie down for a bit, revive my spirits with a bit of chocolate.
It occurred to me that I don’t have to pay a fee to join a daily painting site. Nor do I have to announce that I am going to do FIFTY PAINTINGS IN FIFTY DAYS or whatever grand scheme I might concoct by staying up too late at night, consuming too much chocolate, stewing over ideas to generate interest and create sales.
Nope, all I have to do is show you one painting every day. In fact, I am going to do that for 5 days in a row. Maybe even 6 days. Aren’t you excited??
This was a painting done from the Hidden Garden Tour. I did 8 different paintings, of which 5 sold, including this one. It has a certain glow to it, and might have been the best one of the lot. Of course, taste is an individual matter.
I have a policy in my kitchen that unless an item performs 3 tasks, it doesn’t belong. A friend tested me once, going through my drawers, pulling out things and saying “Aha! What about this?” (Hi, Carol!)
(Just for your information, a potato masher turns bananas into bread worthy gunk, mashes 2 kinds of potatoes and pulverizes applesauce. Just sayin’.)
I’m not entirely unreasonable about this, because I am NOT giving up my popcorn popper. (A nut chopper? Get lost, Pal – I have a chef’s knife and I know how to use it!)
When I painted the mural on panels for the museum at Mooney Grove, it pained me to have to buy these clips. Almost caused a twitch under my eye with their one-function purpose in my studio.
Yesterday I began a set of 6×6″ paintings. This is usually routine business, but with this splint on my hand, it it not possible to hold the canvases in my usual manner. HEY! THOSE CLIPS!
Look. I was in such denial about having to buy One Function Stuff that I never removed the tags.
What handy little canvas holders. BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE. . .
They work as easels too! That’s 3 functions for these items – guess I’ll keep them.
Buckeye Bridge, 16×12″, oil on wrapped canvas, $250
Tulare County is poor. We have high unemployment, even in better times. We aren’t very educated, and people buy inexpensive posters and cheap prints for their homes and offices. But not everyone. . . I have been earning my living with art, a full-time occupation, a business with art as my product since 1993. How?? By God’s grace, for sure. By not giving up. By building my skill and my reputation as a reliable business person who works well with customers, has fair (read “cheap”) prices and meets deadlines.
My good friend and I have been discussing art, business, and all variations of same.We know it is a luxury rather than a necessity. We know it continues to sell, people continue to buy it, even in a place like Tulare County, even in crummy times.
Why do people buy art? I thought of eleven reasons.
- It reminds us of good times.
- It reminds us of good places.
- It transports us back to those good places.
- It keeps our walls from being bare and boring.
- It brings color to otherwise dull decor.
- It absorbs sound. (Don’t believe me? Take all your stuff off the walls and listen to your room!)
- The flowers don’t wilt.
- The fruit doesn’t rot.
- It can be any season we want it to be.
- It can show you a scene the way you remember it, without all the junk that shows in photos.
- It is easy to rearrange the look of a room by rearranging the pictures – they move more easily than furniture!
Have you bought art? Care to share why?
My Friend/Customer came by to see the deer. This was at my request, because I really had no idea if I was meeting her vision. This is what she saw:
We discussed it endlessly, and I ended up dabbing on some accents of light green in the foliage. (Scared her!) We discussed it some more, and she decided to just let me paint it in my regular style! Detail, precision, accuracy, my style! Phew, this was sort of fun, but sort of nerve-wracking. Now, I am looking forward to completing this painting, my way! I will leave the background vague (but not as vague as it is here – ‘twould give me a twitch under my left eye.)
It might seem strange that I “allow” a customer to have this much influence on my work. It isn’t strange to me, because commission work is for specific customers, painted to their wishes. This is made easier by practice, and this one was particularly easy because of the relationship I have with this friend.
She isn’t just any friend. She is a very special friend. When we met 12 years ago, I had a studio in Exeter, drove an ’88 Accord, had a Dad, and had only one cat. I only worked in pencil and only drew scenery, buildings, and agriculture. Lessons only happened at my studio in Exeter, and I was on the Mural Team.
Due to the influence and encouragement of this dear person, I learned to draw faces. Colored pencil crept in, and she helped me see the necessity of building skill with it. She talked me into giving drawing lessons in my dining room and found a full class to make it worth my while. Together we hashed out the reasons for me to close my Exeter studio, the reasons to learn to oil paint, and she encouraged me to learn how to paint murals.
See why I listen to her?? Can’t wait to do the best deer ever for this incredible friend!
But getting closer. My customer requested dark green in the background instead of a completely sepia-toned painting. Layer #2 is on the canvas, and it is getting better. This loose type of painting is REALLY HARD!! No, this loose type of painting that involves a face is REALLY REALLY HARD. Even if it were my normal tightly detailed style, painting faces is REALLY REALLY HARD. People, animals, whatever has a face is REALLY HARD.
Sorry. Guess I’m learning anew why it is called art “work” and not art “play”.
And, this won’t be finished until the customer is pleased. Then, I’ll paint the very thick edges, wait for it to dry, sign it, wait for it to dry, photograph it, varnish it, wait for it to dry. Then I will be out of the woods on this painting!
In 1906 the Smith Hotel collapsed. That was in Mineral King, and it was the San Francisco earthquake that caused its demise. Those Mineral King pioneers weren’t easily daunted – instead of wringing their hands in defeat, they pushed together the pieces and created the Mineral King Store and Post Office.
1969 was a heavy heavy winter, and the Store and Post Office collapsed under all the snow. Then, the Walt Disney Corporation burned the rest. (They weren’t hardy like the earlier pioneering types.) Now, all that remains is photographs, paintings and drawings.
One of them is on the wall of my giant Mineral King mural in Exeter.
Another was drawn by me back in the previous century.
This week, I finished a redo. Oh my. This is called growth. GROWTH!
This is a commissioned piece for someone who saw the old version hanging in my cabin and wanted her own. I was more than pleased to re-draw it – my eagerness could almost be classified as giddiness.
Those old drawings are embarrassing to me. And you are probably asking yourself why I am showing them if they are such a problem. . . good question. It is because humility is good. Because I teach drawing, it is good for my students to see my growth. Even if you don’t take lessons from me, you might find it interesting.
The show, Images of Home, is over, and I’m out of these paintings. The museum tells me that was a very good response. If you feel disappointed because your heart was set on one of these, I can paint any of them over again. Won’t be exactly the same, but it will be close. (There I go again, being pushy. Sigh. Sorry.)
My high school buddies with whom I had lunch on December 31 will undoubtedly recognize several of these, since they helped me choose the subject matter. Thanks, Redwood Rangerettes, because many of the ones you chose SOLD, as you can see!
You can also see that Sequoia trees and oranges were very popular. Hmmm, guess I’m a California Artist!
(In case you are wondering why this post looks like Captain Obvious put it together: Mr. Google Who Knows All likes to have words that match the hidden words that help him to find me. So, the silly labeling is for Mr. Google.)
Thank you for putting up with this techno-jive-stuff.
Mostly, thank you so much for taking the time to attend the show, read about it here, and buy my paintings. Without all you all, I might have to be a waitress or a secretary, so I deeply deeply appreciate you! And get this – it WASN’T all my friends and relatives because they felt sorry for me – there were some people I’ve never met who bought my work! ISN’T THAT WONDERFUL??!!! (deep breaths, calm down, breathe. . . .)
This posting is so long that I will take tomorrow off. You can read this one again, or maybe go through the archives. Or, maybe just lie down from exhaustion at all the information presented here.
Kaweah Post Office
A friend saw a painting in a book of a deer that she just flipped over. (Not literally, thanks for your concern for her back health.) She showed it to me and asked if I could copy it for her living room wall. I could, but I won’t. There are copyright laws, and I am observant because I want others to show me the same courtesy. I love this friend. I love her a lot. She is nothing but sweetness, light, help and encouragement to me. Oh, and fun, too! Tons of fun! And wise, oh my goodness. I want to please her, but what to do, think, think, think. . .
I know! I have a great photo of a deer. Really great! I can paint that deer, and match the style of the painting in the book! Nothing wrong with imitating another style, trying out new ways of paintings, experimenting a little. No matter how hard I try, I can never truly duplicate that person’s style, whoever he or she is.
The style of the painting in the book is COMPLETELY UNLIKE anything I have ever attempted. It is loose and thickly layered and possibly completed in one time (ala prima) It is only in browns (or it that umber or sepia?) I cannot show you the photo from the book because of copyright laws. So, here is my first pass over the canvas.
I hope this hasn’t caused you to scream and smash your head on your computer or desk. I know it looks as if someone needs to put this deer out of his misery. I will, I will – next pass over the canvas, I promise!