Saturday, January 28, 2012

Art Meets Poetry and Vice Versa

Inspiration for paintings versus writing comes from the same place in the brain and for me the stimulus is normally somewhat similar. The big difference is that words for me come from varied glimpses-on the way to work I can see multiple images and there is no specific reasoning or place or thought-the words create themselves and the images collected are weaved throughout a series of poems-no one would see the image or anything specific about the scene but all the elements appear either symbolically or even representational.

In painting, the images are captured often from multiple images and the atmosphere is derived from the initial image but also from intangible elements that are not necessarily seen in the initial inspiration. While painting or writing most of the work is without realization of the final product and the image creates itself. The less I am aware of the painting or the words the better the end product as I think at that point the subconscious takes over and the creation is almost reflex.

I am working toward bringing together two aspects of creativity that together I think will greatly improve my final work. First of all is the discipline of technique, I plan on reworking the initial image on several mediums and several sizes until I work out the final composition and the final product. I also intend to overlay a more meticulous approach to underpainting and over painting layers. In the past I have created complementary colors next to each that create the vibration and movement in oils-I plan on adding a technique where complementary colors form from the layers beneath them and the vibration of color will be achieved by the layers of paint visually creating their color combinations. The affect will be more intangible but it will be stronger and have more of an impact on the viewer.

The second aspect  I will bring to future paintings i words that inspire the painting or the painting that will inspire words. My next painting is "Love Lies Bleeding-it is a painting of a garden-the plant love lies bleeding is in the garden and there are morning glories climbing the fence and across the yard is the moon settling into the sky. I wrote the poem first and the image became out of the words that I wrote. Love lies bleeding is the plant but it is also an image of the garden and the melancholy of late evening-I want the viewer to feel the sadness of loss and the mysterious of the garden at night. I want the colors to be rich and vivid and the moon to be mysterious. I will post the poem and the painting when they are complete.
I plan on combining more words and images in the near future.

I'm starting a new painting course next weekend and I'm really excited. This time instead of a large painting with lots of detail where the intent is the movement and feeling of water- this painting will be even a bit larger but much fewer details. This new painting will be about an effect of light passing through a leaf on the surface of water. The details are much fewer but the initial underpainting is even more crucial.

My first session will be to create the underpainting and description of how the overlayers will react with the under layer. I need to have the  light and colors beneath react with the over layers of paint. If it is overworked it will quickly lose the freshness and transparency of the light-not enough details and you will not be able to see that it is a leaf with light streaming through. Again the depth will not be as much a factor as the movement and feeling of the water.

I would have actually worked more with depth on the previous course but the main idea was to paint the feeling of the place and not complicate the course with changes in the values of the colors although I did explain the fact that colors change with distance but if I were to paint the image myself, much of the distance in the background would have been more blurred than detailed.- This is the difference also between working from a photograph and working from life or even memory. When you work from a photograph most of the image is in focus and the overall scene is flattened-the idea is the whole image clarity instead of focusing on the parts.

In the previous course I used a piece of paper with a square cut out of the  center-this was so the student would not be overwhelmed with details and could concentrate on the area she was reproducing. In this next course the focus will be more on the effect of the water and light and with the use of complementary colors-asking the question whether the light and color vibrate to the eye and if the colors have become to muted which would relate to being overworked. I intend to paint multiple very thin light layers of paint but the paint should never get too thick and some of the white of the canvas should show through the image. I will have this course layed out in steps the same as the previous course. I will also have updates of the course so stayed tuned. Thanks for listening please comment as to help me craft future writings for followers. Any input would be really helpful. Thanks

Saturday, January 21, 2012

I have been seeing on linked-in some questions about creativity and I believe there are several aspects of creativity that have to do with different parts of the brain in the physical sense as well as an openness and willingness to connect with that part of the self. The act of creating images, words, etc. for me is an act of being absent for a while. If I know what I'm painting and think of what I am painting I tend to push paint around, it's when I instinctually and usually quickly create a work of art, that's when I feel like I have truelly touched that part of the brain.

In my experience, the right brain has its own connections and relations of words and objects that don't necessarily have any comparison from a logical side. The motivation and feeling of creating art and writing is intangible and the work pretty much creates itself. The conscious side of the brain fights with the creative subconscious side and questions the comparisons which creates breaks in the creative process.
When I sit down to write, it usually is from many different snapshots of things from the day and the images and thoughts create paths in words-this is referred to as a trial web shift when the right brain kicks in adn takes over.

I collect images from places-it might be the way light hits the water or the way a field blows in the wind and when I paint all of these images come together from memory. I use photographs to support the images that I see but memory fills in the gaps. In the future I plan on getting more observation in before the act of painting and more drawn studies to emphasize more details.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Commission vs Inspired Paintings

Doing a commission for someone can often feel like selling out even if you rationalize that it pays the bills. I take it a step farther-I believe that doing a commission is an exercise in discipline. Creativity without discipline can be often without direction or a series of delayed satisfaction. Doing a commission allows an artist to step away from the canvas and the emotion connected to painting and work on the skills and sense of space and design which an inspired image may lose sight of in the passion of creating art. I believe that doing inspired art can become very subconscious and the artist almost loses his place in the scene. My best work is when I am barely present in front of the painting and I instinctually know what to do with the paintbrush. When you do a commission there is no bending on the what the image will become, there is also a bit more of a separation between the artist and the canvas.

I think one way to make the commission process more easily agreeable to the artist is to use Photoshop as a means for proofing the work. Photoshop can make the proofing process easier because you can use elements from photographs and do multiple options and ideas-you still have the option of  free creativity but it's faster and more easily duplicated for multiple options to show the prospective client. Any way you can keep the time and effort of the initial proofing of a commission down and make it easier for sending out proofs for the client-the easier and less expensive it will be for doing commissions and the more enjoyment you can get out of the final process.

Art Using the Computer Compared to Painting

I must admit there have been times when I am painting and the idea of undo comes to mind. The thing about painting vs electronic is that paining tends to be more immediate for me. Electronic art appeals to my logical side, I have many different options to get to a finished point and I have many steps and processes that I can experiment with and build upon. Oil painting tends to be more to the point and sometimes letting the painting create itself, in fact the one thing that stops the flow of painting is when I get overwhelmed by the details and can't see the whole picture.

Before I started teaching painting I would have said that painting didn't have a formal step-by-step process but after having to put it across to a student I can see that there is a logic progression an steps to creating a painting. The underpainting is the first process and it sets the tone, the very basic layout and underlying atmosphere of the finished painting. In painting images form somewhat subconciously and the intricacies form often without planning. In computer graphics I control the process and have the ability to test what may work and what won't, I have more freedom of options with undos and saving as other files or options. You can always work over with oils but the area will quickly get an overworked look and the colors can tend to go muddy.

I have recently decided to start doing multiple studies like the master painters of the past. I think the finished painting will have more of a worked feeling and the problems would be worked out over the progress of several painting options. I also plan on working more layer on layer as opposed to wet on wet, I believe I will work toward having more of a discipline logical approach to painting in the future.

The Buzz of Social Media

Just getting the word out starts the process of attention but does nothing for engagement. Consider posting something is like putting up a sign in the middle of no where-no one knows or cares about the sign-your job is to first show people how to find the sign, and second convince them why they need to read the sign and last what to do in relation to the sign. Engagement begins when people of like interests and shared needs connect, this connection can be as simple as answering eachother's questions or sharing ideas and information about their products or other products they endorse.

The new media can seem cold and impersonal and the storefronts of today anonymous and distant but the personal side of human nature still seeks to communicate. Sales has become a game of numbers without knowing customers  nor listening to their wants and needs. The sale is contingent on the ability to approach a large quantity of clients whether they are interested or not-an example is SPAM, and the customers ability or need to buy the product. The relationship between the customer and the business suffers when the customer feels like a number or a pawn in a marketing scheme. People like to be talked to ad resent being talked at, you may sell more in the short term dealing with a large quantity of contacts but the amount of return customers you will lose will far outweigh the benefit of mass impersonal marketing.

I  believe a database full of nameless, faceless customers is like a  store full of customers who can and will go anywhere including to your competitors, leaving your store for anyone who engages with them and no business wants to lose those contacts as clients. Engagement and building a relationship with a customer is so important because customers want a business they can trust-they will return to that business because that trust and sense of relationship sets that business ahead of their competitors.

Next, the difference between computer graphics and painting-positives and negatives of both.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

From Art to Marketing and Back to Art

I have just started learning the processes of marketing after creating and launching a website. I am beginning to realize that if you spend all of your time marketing you never get the time to paint. Even still an artist is not like a salesman that sells a product to strangers who could buy the product from anyone but is seeking the best price or the best service. I believe artists need to know their clients more than the standard business relationship, we need to create relationships with buyers, the buyers need to know why we create art and understand the meaning or inspiration behind what they are buying  and we need to understand what about our art inspires them.

Both disciplines can be done well in tandem but I do think you need to work smarter in the field of marketing. Constant checking, posting and adding to twitter and facebook can become tedious. We need to contact the right people that are interested in buying but we also need to build relationships with people that know about art and have sold art. I have recently learned many things just by reading through linked- in and Artpromotivate-a website that has many great examples and effective techniques to successfully promote artwork. All this information is so helpful in saving time because you are learning from people who have sold art and have been promoting it for some time.

Another important aspect to selling art and connecting with other artists is a real relationship. I think that if anyone in sales treats customers like they are only patrons that pay the bills, they are missing a large portion of the sales/customer relationship. Most customers know when they are being taken advantage of or just being sold, they want to feel as if there is something more than just the sale and the salesman is thinking of their best interest. I think artists and their customers take that relationship to another level. I would rather have fewer customers that were very happy with their product and offered repeat business than more customers that only bought one painting or print.

I think community is something that people are really needing these days and the relationships of artists to artists and artists to their clients should be as genuine as the inspiration that initiated the work itself. I am learning so much every day, from other artists, web processes and social media. I will continue to update this blog on the successes and roadblocks I have experienced through marketing my art and my website.
I hope my information will be as helpful to others as the information from other artists has been for me.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Teaching painting

I have been asked on many occasions if I would consider teaching painting and my answer would always be sure, why not?  I  have never actually had anyone take the next step until recently, she actually bought canvases and paints the next day and I was officially teaching a painting course. One thing I can say about teaching is that the student isn't the only one learning. There are many aspects of painting and even more aspects of discipline and perspective I learned from the experience.

First of all, there are so many different things that painting consists of that the artist would never actually think about or verbalize. To actually put words to the process and try to explain the task of making a 2 dimensional form look like it is 3 dimensional solidified many of the instinctual choices I make while painting. The change in colors, size, contrast and tone are normally created without even thinking of why a specific color is being used or why different shapes are put in order but to think about them and teach them almost explained some of the second nature tasks and clarified them for my future painting.

Next, I have a short attention span for artwork, I tend to get lost in details and this is why I have so many paintings started at the same time. When one painting gets too close and too intense I change my perspective and work on another, this allows for a change in view and perspective and allows a fresh look at each painting, the drawback is the lack of finished paintings. Having to teach for 3-4 hours every weekend on one painting kept my focus and discipline and forced me not to lose sight of the whole picture. I hope this discipline I will be able to use when painting my own paintings.

Another aspect of teaching is when the student sees things that you don't and can point out things that you haven't paid enough attention to, suddenly you have another perspective to see through. Luckily, the student had a very keen eye for detail and we both were able to iron out points of composition, color and perfecting realism-it's great to have a second set of eyes, so for now on I will hire a student to paint with me-I'm kidding but it would be money well spent.

We finished the painting, which was rather large-36"x38", in thirteen classes of 3-4 hours each. I learned that my process for painting actually has a very logical progression and each class had specific processes that we accomplished. In the end the student did a piece of art she was happy with and I learned a great deal about teaching, painting and the processes of each. We will be starting another painting that is even larger and this one is less detailed and more about capturing light and simpler form. I will fill you in on the classes after we begin. My next blog will be about starting back to painting after teaching and following a long hiatus.

I will have a photograph of the painting and a flash video of the thirteen steps to a finished painting posted on my website-so check back soon-I will have a notification on the blog when they appear., I will also be posting the video on YouTube.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Artwork Analysis

On a weekly basis I will chose a painting that has gotten some attention and explain the process in which it was created. Most of my paintings are actual images that I envision-the colors, the theme and the basic location. All elements are added from different places around a general area, a main focus is set which captures the overall mood and the peripheral elements add the overall texture and assist in strengthening the main focus of the final image.

I am amazed by water, the reflections, the clarity and the sound. I visited the Cascades in New Hampshire and I was hooked. The Cascade images I've included are of some of the seven or so waterfalls I followed all the way to the top of a mountain. I have a need for the viewer to feel the coldness of the water that's why the images are darker and the brighter colors play off the dark blues. I want you to be able to see the rocks beneath the water and feel like you can walk in. These waterfalls were all done during a darker phase in my painting, I have since gotten a much more vibrant palette. While I was painting this series I was surrounded by waterfalls as I built them in my studio-I had several waterfalls in tanks so the sound was always around as I painted.

I use photographs to get a basic feel for the image but all images were created from careful observations of water, both on the site of the waterfalls or in similar areas locally. I study the light and why each area of the water looks the way it looks. I have narrowed the idea down to a basic full mirror of the sky and remaining images, that mirror is than broken by the movement of the water and the play and direction of the light. All the colors are affected by the angle of the sun and the distance from the viewer. I have many notes on all different aspects of water that allow me to create water that looks like it's moving and looks like it is transparent. In the future I plan on painting more paintings using multiple layering as opposed to the wet on wet I have employed in the past.

My next blog will be on teaching art. I have recently taught a class on painting and it has changed the way I paint because it forces the teacher to see painting differently and verbalize what is usually an instinctual process.

Monday, January 2, 2012

My First Blog and Marketing Artwork-So Many Things to Learn

How do you start blogging about art? How do you explain a process that you have been so involved with for so many years it feels like second nature. I would venture to guess that you would blog about the change from conventional art, painting and pastels to the
Creation of art through the computer and the marketing of art through the internet.  I recently launched my website,,  something I had been talking about for many years and I was so happy to finally complete a task-I tend to procrastinate and I have so many different ideas for writing, poetry, art and photography, half the time I write them down and they never get completed. Starting to blog was something that has been on my list for a long time as well.

So the process starts with a website that is by all counts awkard-inconsistencies in fonts,
Lack of search engine keywords which is just as well for now as I  am trying to clean up the site and perfect the appearance before I start spreading the word. I have learned more in the last few days of working with the HTML code and editing the Meta tags and it seems every time I think I get the idea I learn something else. I don’t believe you spread the  word or market artwork by just spreading it to friends, I believe it’s a start as word of mouth is important but how do you spread the site to people that want to buy art or even learn more about you as an artist. I have learned that launching the site is such a small step in marketing and the information I am picking up will be instrumental in how I market and show my artwork. Some ideas on the horizon are an interactive gallery, a poetry blog and a photography page and I know that when doing all of these processes I will learn more from the process itself.

I have been on a bit of a break from painting which I think makes it a good time to market what I have already created but more than selling art and marketing the art is learning about the process of marketing. I will venture more into the social media aspect and actually learn more about the people that would want to buy art. I will, in the near
Future, have an art show whether it be online or at a festival and I will blog and tweet and post with the idea of seeing where I get the most interest. I tought myself to paint and believe that is how I learn the best. Doing web marketing is just another growth process
And over the next few months I will describe the options I’ve learned about social media,
Google tools and the process of what I hope will eventually be effective self marketing of my painting, photography and writing. I am excited about the prospect and hope to gain followers with interest. I guess we’ll just have to see.