Sunday, September 30, 2007

50 Figures, #2

For #2, I painted on 300# cold press using the same color palette as the first painting. The texture near the bottom was a nice surprise; I accidently dropped a piece of tracing paper on the wet paper and it pulled the color in all sorts of directions. I've titled this painting "Glee".

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Printing on Gelatin?

I was thrilled when I opened the Oct/Nov issue of Palette magazine and saw an article written by Pittsburgh artist Linda Fruhwald. The article includes several experimental watercolor prints that I did in Linda's class as well as that of three other Pittsburgh artists.

If you've never tried printmaking with watercolors, but are yearning to try something new and fun, you'll want to pick up this issue. Linda writes about monoprints, collographs and printing on gelatin (I swear!). The Palette Magazine is a great resource for artists. Go to http://www.thepalettemagazine.com/.

50 Figures

This is the first painting in a planned series of 5x7" mini paintings of the figure. My goal is to post twice a week until I've completed 50 paintings. The idea is to experiment with as many different ways to depict the figure as possible. This painting is on clayboard and I've titled it "Carmen" after the opera.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Happy Accidents

I (sometimes) love when this happens. I'm taking photographs and either because of my ineptitude with a camera or shear luck, I end up with something totally different than what I expected. Below, are some examples. I was meditating and noticed the shadow image I created behind the candle. (Of course running to get a camera in the middle of meditation is getting a little off track...) The first one is what I saw and tried to capture. The next two are distortions of it.
The last two are overexposed photos of women at my son's football game.

(Did I get pictures of my son playing football? One. And about thirty photos of strangers. My kids are going to have the strangest photo albums.)

Friday, September 21, 2007

Steps for a Successful Portrait

By far, the most common question I am asked about portraiture is, "How does a portrait commission work?" Below are the steps I follow to keep myself and the client on the same page throughout the entire process:

This is an important stage of the portrait process. The client and artist discuss the deadline, budget, the direction of the painting and most importantly, the client’s expectations.
Whenever possible, a photography session is scheduled by the artist. This helps the artist get to know the subject of the portrait and to have plenty of reference material to work from. There are some circumstances in which this is not possible and the client then provides photographs for the artist to work from.
At this stage the artist works out all the details of the design, including the composition, color, placement and size of the subjects and background. Once the sketch is approved, the artist can begin the painting.
This stage takes 1-3 weeks to complete depending on the complexity of the painting. Partway through the painting the client is shown the progress to make sure it is meeting his or her expectations. The portrait is then completed, signed and delivered. Afterwards, framing options can be discussed.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Rejection...and success!

I believe that rejection eventually leads to success. The key is to keep going, keep evaluating your work, keep creating, keep entering those exhibitions or contacting those galleries. I think resilience is one of the key characteristics of successful artists.

After receiving three rejection letters last month, I was accepted into the Aqueous International. The Aqueous is held by the Pittsburgh Watercolor Society and was juried by Eric Weigardt, a nationally-known watercolorist and teacher.
Above is the painting "Little to Say" that was accepted into the show. It will be at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, Nov. 16 to Jan 20.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The gift of rejection

What artist can hear the word "rejected" without eliciting a little whimper? Two definitions of rejection in the American Heritage dictionary are "To discard as defective or useless; throw away." and "To spit out or vomit." Ouch! No wonder being "rejected" is so painful. I much prefer to receive a letter that says I have been "declined." It's kind of like saying, "Not now, maybe later." I received three "declines" in a row and yet felt strangely okay about it. Sometimes I actually feel more nervous about the successes than the rejections. With success, you suddenly wonder if you are able to live up to a commitment or expectation that come along with it.

I've finally decided that all of it, success AND rejection, is inevitable in art and each is a gift. With each rejection letter, I have an opportunity to look at my work critically and decide if I still think I'm on the right track. I might decide that I AM on the right track and didn't get accepted for some arbitrary reason. (Hey, maybe the juror is going through an audit, totally stressed out, and hates any paintings with numbers in them. Who knows?) At least, rejection makes me pause and THINK. Something I might not do otherwise.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Back to the Blog

It's been over a week since I posted. Mostly because my schedule has been full and the blog took a back seat. (A little detour here: I hate using the word "busy" to describe my day. I think it's a word that is overused and has come to mean absolutely nothing. Often you'll ask someone about their day, they will say "busy" and nothing else as if that says it all. Is that the barometer of how fullfilled our lives are? The busier the better? I think we could use more colorful words to describe our day like: hairy; scary; silly; sleepy; meandering; blasting; infuriating. Just a thought.)

Okay, back to the point, I haven't posted because I have been working on a talk I'm giving to a women's group about portrait art and I have been preparing for an outdoor arts festival. The kids have started back to school, which requires a whole other side of my brain to be reactivated. You know, that part that remembers give your kids lunch money, check homework agendas and fill out triplicate health forms. I've set a worthy goal for myself. "I will get through the entire year without forgetting to pick one of my kids up from school, sports or a birthday party." (yeah we'll see.)