Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A New Challenge

Over the next couple of months, I've decided to work on my artistic growth. There seems to be no better way than pure mileage on my brushes. And no better way to push those miles than a dozen or so tiny studies. The focus of these studies will be to explore ways to achieve interesting light on my subjects, improve my use of color, and better my painting technique.

The first of these studies is titled "Edge of Summer" and is 4x6 acrylic on masonite. I'm sure many of these experiments will turn out to be flops, but I will post the successes here on my blog. These "mini" paintings will be for sale on eBay and the links will be posted here as they become available.

Note: This painting was sold before posting on eBay.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

"A Rock and a Hard Place" 6x10 acrylic on masonite

The past week has been a real struggle, but seeing this piece materialize has helped. This spring, a pair of killdeers were trying to nest in the middle of the neighbors' driveway. It was certainly a less than ideal location for a nest site, but we marked it with several large rocks hoping to keep cars away. After a hawk picked off one of the parents in a puff of feathers, the other loyally stayed with the nest for more than a week... even while that pesky hawk dive-bombed and neighborhood cats conducted nighttime raids. Just days before the eggs (4 of them) were about to hatch, some buffoon (probably with a cellphone stuck to their head) ran over the nest with a car, crushing the eggs and ending any chance we'd have tiny killdeers scurrying around the property. This painting is a tribute to this killdeer's admirable, yet sadly futile determination.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Days Like This...

I suppose most people involved in this goofy world of art have days like this. Every time I set to work on a task, somehow I lose focus and find myself wandering around the studio trying to figure out just exactly what I'm supposed to be doing. Actually, most of the week has been this way... no direction... little incentive... and an uncontrollable wandering mind... not even the desire to go outside and goof off. Still, I made myself paint. I made good progress too... with another relatively small painting within a day or two of completion.

One of my goals (and an absolute necessity) for the year is to find a new gallery to carry my work. I knew it would be tough, but jeez... not this tough! I've contacted more than a dozen galleries in the last few weeks, and of the ones that bothered to respond, the "Thanks, but no thanks," rejection notes are really starting to wear on me. Seriously, are they even looking at the samples I'm sending?

I either need to start drinking more... or drinking less, because this isn't working.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

"Hide-Away Lake" 8x16 acrylic on masonite

Well, I did it. The water in this piece is everything I'd hoped for. I was having such fun working on this piece, I kept after it far longer today than I usually work. I love what I do!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Simple, Yet Effective

Capturing the rhythms of water and light are always a challenge. It takes a lot of time and effort to avoid that distracting "brushy" look... especially when using acrylics. That's one reason why it's always so rewarding when it works out. There is certainly a "mood" to this piece... even in these early stages. I'm hoping for a lonesome, yet hopeful piece (for some reason, ducks always seem "hopeful" to me). As you can see, the block in is complete and I've begun to add some detail and punch up the contrast. One key to getting a "glassy" look to water is taking great care to get the under-painting correct. Acrylics are far too transparent to hide a lot of sloppy prep work. Take your time and wash in thin layers with a relatively large brush... and try to keep the edges soft. They can always be hardened a bit later if necessary.

After two days of work, I feel like this piece is coming along nicely. It's good to be back in a groove again!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

"Middle of Nowhere"

It seems like this one has been on the easel forever! The image on the right is part of a much larger piece and is very near completion. In fact, I will set it aside for a week or so and assess my work with a fresh eye. I know these cubs need some work to soften them up a bit. They look a little "cartoony" for my liking, but the forms are accurate and the placement is good. I'm particularly pleased with the cobble along the stream bed. I was not looking forward to painting in all those rocks, but the result was well worth the effort (and it was easier than I thought!).

Now... on to something new...