Saturday, January 31, 2009

Thoughts on My Painting

In general, I feel that I work in a fairly intuitive manner. I don't have a "method" per se of getting a painting done, but I do have natural inclinations to the way I work. I did not have any painting instruction during my short time at ACA, so I am for the most part a self taught oil painter. Most of the techniques and modes of the medium are not knowingly a part of my painting vocabulary. Any that I do employ have been discovered by trial and error, and a few less by reading.

I have been taking some note of this way of working in the past week and have come to the conclusion that the feel or mood of a painting is more important to me than the exact representation of a particular subject or environment. Technique must follow vision and it is only a vehicle to get to that vision. I have known this personal supreme importance in a wordless sort of way for a long time. These observations that have long been nothing more than intuitions are very difficult to spell out.

All artists are creating illusions and my work in particular with its use of anthropomorphic mythology and narrative pushes this fact further. Even in the embryonic stages of an idea, I am first struck by the feeling of the image in my mind. If the feeling is strong enough, I move ahead to the research step. If it isn't, the idea is put on the back burner to cook until the right combination of images and words come together to meet that emotional standard.

As far as technique, I do not follow the traditional method of blocking in shapes, working from form to detail. I jump in right away starting with a few lines for placement of the subject and go straight to the eyes working out from there in detail. This is the way I see.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Painting delivery

There was some doubt about the delivery of "The Flowering Bull" yesterday to the clients. With a few days of ice and snow, a drive over to their place back in the woods by the river and up a long driveway looked unlikely. But by the afternoon I got the all clear for the meeting.
The wife in the couple had not told the husband about the painting, only that it was a surprise and that he would love it. I have to say I had a few moments of fear on the short drive over. This would be the first time he would see a piece of art he was about to spend a lot of money for.
They met me in the driveway and in we went for the unveiling.

I have to say how overwhelming it was to see the expressions on their faces. They absolutely loved the painting. Relieved, we talked for awhile about the work, their collection and beautiful home. I headed grateful. Grateful that these lovely people would value my painting enough to spend their hard earned cash to own it and equally that they connected on such a deep level with the image. As I got into the car they said, "We will be contacting you again."

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Today's Painting

I come from a long line of obsessive cleaners and this morning I got it into my mind to rearrange the studio. I was convinced I would be able to make to a better area in which to work. So after two hours of that this morning, I went on to painting with a renewed view of my space.

I love how he is revealing himself......I am at the intoxicating "wow" moment where the vision is coming alive. Our hero shall indeed rest on shallow waters.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Today's Painting

I found a bounce light in my camera drawer which helps a bit on a snowy day.
Now my shoulders are screaming, so I have to lay off for the day. Good progress today. I am still really on the fence about what I want to do with the environment.... As usual I will probably get it nailed down last as I can't commit until I see that the subject is telling me. Or is that hear what he is showing me?....

New Painting

Working on the new painting today. My shoulders are giving me a fit, so I have to stand up.
I am really thrilled about this character and his story......

Monday, January 26, 2009

"The Flowering Bull" reveals more.....

So, I am a little surprised at how emotional I feel about selling "The Flowering Bull." Wow. I suppose these mythical animals appear in my mind and become real to me in a lot of ways. They have a story to tell and their coming is from a place I have somehow lived before, yet I know I haven't ever been there.

Whilst picking all the white Eli cat hairs off of the painting before varnishing (again, cats in the studio: bad idea), the flowering bull told me that he only has a lifespan of about 100 years and then the shepherding goes to another animal, but not necessarily to another bull. No one knows who will take the next place until that animal begins to sprout. Then there is a celebration and even a bigger one if time has passed between the death of the shepherd and the revealing of the new shepherd because in that waiting period there are no blooms. I think I need to have the Bull put this in his own words. He is much more eloquent.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

"The Flowering Bull, Shepherd of Every Blooming Vine"

"The Flowering Bull, Shepherd of Every Blooming Vine" has been sold. The buyers have a beautiful collection of art and have honored my work by bringing it into their home. Though I have sold many small works and portraits, the purchase of this painting these clients is my first major sale.

To be honest I am pained to let him go, yet so grateful for such a large sale. I remind myself that my animals have a life of their own and the Flowering Bull may show up again in the future.

Friday, January 23, 2009

New Painting

So the very beginnings of this new 30 x 40 painting......Though it will change dramatically, I have a basic idea of the environment, the initial passes on the subject and my other references ready. I am really excited about the idea and look forward to getting back on it.

"Diamond, Ringleader of the Spring Revolt"

You can see him in his rightful place and read his story here.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


My camera is on the fritz, which is a dire circumstance for an artist. I still have yet to get a good shot of "Diamond" who mocks from atop the bookcase.

I began a new painting yesterday and it moves along swiftly, the idea just birthing itself like it was meant to be. Additions to the original idea float into my mind with ease. The focal point is a Mandrill baboon and a flurry of tiny birds. I can see it clearly as if I am there under a reflected sky on the shallows. He is lost, and may be mourning something he cannot replace. The birds bring him sustenance and tokens.......He is like Job of the animal kingdom.

Andrew Wyeth

Aside from Wyeth's body of work, more encouraging is what he represented in the art world. Andrew Wyeth was greatly criticized, particularly as an "emerging" (stupid word) artist, because he "emerged" at the height of the modern art movement and his work was antithetical to that movement. While everyone was jumping on the modern bandwagon, he had a vision. He knew who he was, what he was doing and how to tap into his internal passion for painting. He followed his gut.

There are a few bandwagons around for artists to jump on today and many are hopping on up. When I am tempted to put a leg over a wagon I think of Andrew Wyeth and go back to my vision and remember how priceless it is to have the priveledge of bring to life paintings I believe deeply in creating regardless of what everyone else may be painting.

We remember Wyeth, we don't remember nameless artists from the modern movement. I remember "Trodden Weed", even the feeling I get just thinking about it, but I don't remember "abstract number 102."

"Trodden Weed" 1951, Andrew Wyeth

Friday, January 16, 2009

Passing of a Master: Andrew Wyeth

My all time favorite artist, Andrew Wyeth has died at the age of 91.
Words cannot even express how powerful his life and work have been to me.

Washington Post

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Today's Painting: Chickadee

5 x 7, oil on panel
This is a commissioned painting in the private collection of Linda Neice.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Update on all thing Art

By the way if I see one more painting of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, I might lose all hope...

I started a new large 30 x 40 painting today. The main subject is a buck deer. Something relating to memories or remembering....

That white glare has been covered with an acrylic mix and beginning with one eye ball I have advanced mapping the head today. I can't get a photo due to the awful weather day. This is also why I have had such a ridiculous time getting a photo of "Diamond" up on the website.

Submitted another proposal yesterday and learning to spend more effort on the ugly "m" word,....I can hardly bring myself to say it. The Smartist Telesummit starts Thursday, so hopefully this will help.

Anyway, in the meantime, there are plenty of small paintings up on Ebay for those interested and also note cards on Etsy.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Today's Painting: Diamond....on and on he goes

My time at the easel today consisted in major problem solving and a few intense impulses to paint over many hours of work. I am still on the fence. With such a strong and noble subject as Diamond, the balance of the remainder of the work is a challenge. Though I do not want his "perch" to take away from his greatness, I do feel a king deserves a throne.

Still having much difficulty photographing this painting, but here it is at as of today. This perch is made a tower of shed antlers which has been swallowed by some creeping and unstoppable vine. It is much greener than conveyed, yet dark....with tiny lavender flowers.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Today's painting: Goldfish

oil on panel, 5 x 7, $90 includes shipping, purchase here

I struggled with Diamond this morning. On to something less complicated in the afternoon .What a lovely experience to render a translucent creature....

Tuesday, January 06, 2009


I actually made a list sunday night of the things I would like to accomplish this week. I am not nomally a list person, but I am beginning to believe in the magic of making one. All those tasks floating around in one's head in some ethereal manner often go undone.

Re-entry of all those lost contacts is ongoing. I am sending out a yearly letter from now on, so I need the database up and going. This year's letter in written.

On the non-boring side, I continue to struggle with "Diamond." Pushing and pulling paint, half way to painting over some elements, and weighing heavily on my God-given gift to tapping into my memory to create something out of nothing. This is my task today. I will try to get a photo up. It is nearly impossible to get s good photo with the weather on top of such a dark painting.

Back to work......