Follow by Email

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Plein Air Painting

Working in My Outdoor Studio

This painting progresses...
See additional photos below...

Though I do not consider myself a plein air painter, I seem to be one these days.  That is a result of my temporary studio location in an interior courtyard which has four walls and no ceiling.  It has been an interesting challenge to work with sun, heat or cold, and wind conditions in the studio.  When the wind is blowing it is difficult to work due to fibers and dust flying around through the air and getting caught in my pigments.  The baking sun does just that to my paints, so they dry more quickly and anyone who uses acrylics understands they dry rapidly enough on their own.  When it was cooler I worked in the afternoons.  Now that the days are much warmer (97 degrees today) I must work in the early mornings.    Ok, I'm not really a plein air painter, but I am dealing with some of the same conditions.

Here is a bit of information about plein air:
En plein air (French pronunciation: [ɑ̃ plɛˈnɛʁ]) is a French expression which means "in the open air", and is particularly used to describe the act of painting outdoors.
Artists have long painted outdoors, but in the mid-19th century working in natural light became particularly important to the Barbizon school and Impressionism. The popularity of painting en plein air increased in the 1870s with the introduction of paints in tubes (resembling modern toothpaste tubes). Previously, each painter made their own paints by grinding and mixing dry pigment powders with linseed oil

It was during this period that the "Box Easel", typically known as the French Box Easel, was invented. It is uncertain who developed it first, but these highly portable easels, with telescopic legs and built-in paint box andpalette, made treks into the forest and up the hillsides less onerous. Still made today, they remain a popular choice even for home use since they fold up to the size of a brief case and thus are easy to store.[2]

French Impressionist painters such as Claude MonetCamille Pissarro, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir advocated en plein air painting, and much of their work was done outdoors, in the diffuse light provided by a large white umbrella. 

The popularity of outdoor painting has endured throughout the 20th century and into the 21st century, and has made a resurgence today.

To contact me, click HERE

Monday, March 28, 2011

Use Your Creativity

Create Constantly

Found Material Mask I

The other day I read the following in a book written by art coach, Renee Phillips:

It begins with you. As an artist you are especially endowed with success. Each day is an opportunity to celebrate the gifts that have been bestowed upon you. You have an acute sensitivity to a myriad of stimuli. You have the power to create something that, before you imagined it, did not exist. With a blank canvas or sheet of paper, a slab of clay, hunk of stone, camera lens, found objects or computer technology, you are capable of bringing inner visions to outer forms. You possess a unique power to elicit a response, alter a person’s consciousness and have a major impact on those who see your work. (Success NOW! For Artists, by Renee Phillips, page 24.)

Found Material Mask II

After reading this excerpt, and realizing I was heading to a party this week that required masks, I decided to make the masks rather than purchase them.  A quick trip around the neighborhood with a gathering bag and it was off to my studio to create and assemble masks from palm fibers, leaves, pods, sticks, grasses, a couple silk flowers and an organza bow.

Details of the Masks.....

It was another of those 'lost in the process' times to create something from nothing, to use the gift of creativity, to share and celebrate creativity with others by making and wearing these masks.

To contact me, click HERE.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Escape from Reality

Lost in the Process

Still working on this painting...

A painter escapes the moment by living in the moment.  To pick up a palette and brush, to place the brush on the canvas and deposit pigment, to have the painting grow and take place under her direction takes focus and concentration.  It also takes the artist away from everything else, into the painting, into the process of creating the painting.  

As Twyla Tharp once said: 
"Art is the only way to run away without leaving home."

Saturday, March 19, 2011

To Show or Not to Show

Why Do We Exhibit?

The painting progresses...

An artist can choose to exhibit her work or not.  It's a personal choice.  Do artists exhibit their work to sell it or to have it seen?  Or is it a bit of both?

More accomplished on this most recent painting with a focus on cast and form shadows.

Some feel that gallery representation can lead you down the path of producing the same type of work over and over again.  If a gallery is selling a particular type of work from one artist, the gallery wants the artist to continue making this type of art.  It sells.  This can push an artist into a corner and keep the artist from truly creating, rather than allowing the artist to push  creativity which can lead to breakthroughs and more interesting work.  In this case, the question to ponder would be:  is the artist producing or creating?

Whether or not you choose to exhibit you must continue to create.  Perhaps another word for creativity is courage.  An artist must invent, experiment, grow, take risks, break rules, and make mistake mistakes.  And then, if the artists chooses to do so, share it by showing. 

To contact me, click HERE

Monday, March 14, 2011

Juried Invitational Exhibitions

Understanding a Juried Invitational

Big Flowered Barrel
To be exhibited at Long Beach Museum of Art
April 21 - May 21, 2011

There are times when an artist receives invitations to submit work to a juried exhibition.  For the artist it becomes a process of trying to understand the juror and selecting what is deemed to be the perfect work for that particular exhibition, what the artist thinks the juror might like to see and select. 

Five Big Flowered Barrels

From the juror's side there are selection parameters set, most usually by the juror, and unknown to the artist.
20" x 16"

This past month, I received two separate invitations to submit work to two separate juried exhibitions.  I struggled with my selections, even driving to one of the entry days with two different paintings in my car, deciding at the very last minute which I would enter.  My work was accepted into one of the shows and not the other.  Even after listening to the juror speak at the opening of the show, I am not sure why the one painting was not accepted.  Do I know why the other painting was accepted to the other exhibition?  Maybe, but maybe not.

A New Painting Started Yesterday

The artist must understand that it is important to continue the creative process, continue working, regardless of the outcome of a juried invitation.  It is not necessarily a negative statement about a particular work if it is not accepted into a juried show.  The same work might be accepted into another show.  If you are an artist and submit to juried exhibitions, continue your work, continue submissions, understand the process.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

La Quinta Arts Festival

It's That Time Again

Signed and took this painting off the easel today.  
Five Big Flowered Barrels
20" x 24"

Well, yes, it is tax time.  But it is also Spring, as I mentioned in my last post, and Spring brings not only flowers but a plethora of art related events.  One of my favorites is The La Quinta Arts Festival held in La Quinta, California.  A four day celebration of creativity with approximately 200 artists exhibiting many different mediums.  These artists come from all over the US, work in many styles, and are juried into the festival.  If you are in the area, make sure you attend.

More information here:

After a couple hours of calculator work (tax preparation) I am heading to the Arts Festival!

Monday, March 7, 2011

It's Spring!

Like A Light Switch

Cow's Tongue Cactus Blossoms

Sometimes the seasons inch gradually from one to another.  You are in the midst of Winter and without note, over a span of time, you realize you are enjoying Spring.  

Detail of Spiny Barrel 

Not this year.  Not here anyway.  Mother Nature has thrown the switch.  The air temp is a comfortable warm with flowers exploding into bloom.  The desert is green.  The citrus trees are releasing their heavenly scent and the blossoms in those trees are crowding out the remaining fruit.  While it was winter last week, it is Spring, right here, right now.

Myer Lemon Blossoms

With camera and sketch book in hand I find myself more and more involved with the flowers.  They have become larger on my canvases and in my sketch book they threaten to take over, pushing everything else aside.

Detail of Reaching

This week, the Palm Springs Art Museum is hosting a three day flower event to celebrate Spring.

Art In Bloom

Some of the desert's most celebrated floral designers will offer interpretations of works in the museum's collection.  You can bet I will be there to see the arrangements, for the beauty and the inspiration.  What a great way to acknowledge this immediate arrival of Spring.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Moving Moving Moving

It Happened Again

New Studio Area with Hottie prowling around.

Yes, it is true.  Moved again.  Second time in the past couple months, and it seems like a good time to pare down belongings whether they are completely personal items or studio related.  So the studio becomes smaller, a bit more temporary, and creative days are lost to the moving effort.

Deleting extraneous STUFF from your life is a bit of a catharsis.  Feels good until you reach for that one particular thing and it is gone.....  Oh, what the heck, really didn't need it.

So back into the studio area with one table, the stacked drawers, easel and stool.  Back with brush in hand.  Feels good.