I’m sorry for the delay in posting. I have been focusing on finally getting the website up and running.
Currently, I am working on a triptych of seahorses. Two paintings I have done at the same time, but three is a new thing for me. This is only the first layer, and my goal is to have each of these paintings stand on their own or as a part of the set. I’m “deep in the uglies” as I like to call it, and I can see glimmers of where this will go when I’m done. The theory is, by working on all three paintings at the same time, I can keep the style the same throughout. If I completed one painting at a time, it is likely that my style or choice of painting methods would change, and end up not working as well together.
I have been working on these at my weekly “paint at the farm” events on Tuesdays. Names for the paintings haven’t come to me yet. They will as the personality develops.
This is my first painting from working under the tutelage of Rose Adare. I have learned so much, and I have so far to go! There is so much I love about this painting. Papa goose looks toward Maui, as though he longs to go home. Mama is keeping an eye on us, protective of her goslings, and the two babies mirror their parent’s poses as children do. The name of the painting came to me long before the mountains appeared in the background. I didn’t know why, but that was the name of this painting, Dreaming of Home.
The first caveat is, paintings are never done. Every painting I’ve “finished” could have used more work in my opinion. A week, a month, or a year later, I’ll figure out how to fix something that was nagging me, or finally understand what bothered me about a painting, and I have to let it go. Every painting I have finished that I didn’t like, has found a buyer, and usually quicker than I ever imagined. There is a serious lesson in that statement. Just because I’m not happy with it, doesn’t mean someone else won’t fall in love with it. I’ve heard about artists destroying paintings they have done that they didn’t like. They didn’t want it to be part of their legacy, because it wasn’t good enough. So I did that, with one painting that I never even finished, and I still regret it.
The way I see it, all the paintings I’ve done helped me to develop into the artist I am today. I destroyed one thing so far, and it was years later that I wish I hadn’t. Looking at that painting in progress taught me about mass in painting, and the folly of painting what you think is there. There may be times when you want to do that, don’t get me wrong, that’s about style, and about a conscious choice in breaking “the rules”. However, when it is an isolated component of the painting, (and not what you intended) then it doesn’t work.
I fell in love with the stonework in this wall, and spent lavish care on each rock. Only when I stepped back after hours of work, did I realize that the entire wall didn’t fit in the painting. I had outlined each stone in black. Now, I know I should have given it a chance rather than seeing it as a failure. Now I look at this and I see multiple ways I could have finished this painting and made it work, so much so that I’m thinking of painting this again. This is a rock wall in Kainaliu that was destroyed during an earthquake.
How did I get where I am today with my artwork? Each painting teaches me something. Every painting is a success because any painting I do propels me forward in my craft. The more painting I do, the better craftsman I become. I would be the last to put myself on a pedestal. I don’t belong there, any more than anyone else. I’m mostly self-taught, and these paintings are all a record of my journey. This is why I still have my flickr site. It keeps me humble! Almost everything I have ever done since I started painting is on that site, and as I find missing pieces, I add them. No, flickr doesn’t go back to my childhood, just to when I began my art journey.
As I work on paintings, they get working titles. This gives me something to file them under besides “current painting”. Sometimes the titles stick, and sometimes they don’t. This painting is about a family of Nene with the father looking out to sea while the mother keeps an eye on the observer. The babies mimic their parents’ poses. I’m still roughing in the basic colors of the painting, so please be patient with me.
Often I combine elements of different photographs to create the vision I’m looking for.
My sister is 5 years older than I am. She bore the brunt of my machinations through middle school. She bought a LOT of my clothes once she started working. She has always been there for me when I needed her. She more than anyone else has inherited little bits of me through the years. When I went through a stained-glass stage, I gave her a box. When I did pottery, she received a bowl. When I began painting, she received one of my first.
It is one of my first paintings so it was just on a piece of canvas. I didn’t think I was good enough to use a stretched canvas. Its still one of my favorites, as is she.
There is a lot of talk lately about using “neutral” palettes to mix paint, that somehow it helps you get your colors closer to what you want them to be. Most of us start with a white palette to mix our paints on. I tried something different. Since I was looking for specific colors to make my fish become part of the background of the painting, I printed out a copy of the picture I was using for the images and put it behind my glass palette. By the way, I always use a piece of glass for my palette, that way I can just scrape it clean with a razor blade.
If you look at the white palette, that blue color is an attempt at what would be “white” under water and a longer way away. When you look at the same color on top of the photograph, it is almost a perfect match for “white”! For the record, white, is almost never white. In fact, all colors are relative to the colors they are beside.
Finally, here’s a picture of some of the fish I finally painted: As crazy as it seems, they may still be too bright. I’ll have to wait until I add more to make that determination.
I have 3 paintings that are in progress right now, and only time to photograph one of them this morning before I head to the bakery.
This is Kilauea, and I’m getting close. I still have to add features to the sky (read clouds) and now is the time to tweak what I need to tweak. As part of that, here is the painting in color, and another copy as a tonal picture:
My goal in looking at the black and white picture is to not be distracted by the color. Does the painting flow? Is there enough contrast to be interesting?
I am just back from a 2-day painting workshop with Ed Kayton. Ed has been painting for 28 years now, and for many of those years he worked in the advertising field. He is mainly self-taught at this point although he studied art in college. Apparently at that point in time, they didn’t teach what he wanted to learn which is realism. So, he studied, and still studies the old masters to understand how they painted the incredible pieces of art that they did, and incorporates that knowledge into his own painting. Now, he takes some of his time to pass on what he has learned about art, and about painting. So, if you are in the neighborhood and are serious about painting, this is the opportunity of a career.
I am focused on becoming the best painter I can possibly be. I came to painting later, having started just over 4 years ago and I have a lot of catching up to do. I don’t kick myself about that any longer. I began painting when I was ready to do so, apparently I had some lessons to learn first. It’s called life. I’m painting now, (oh boy am I painting!) and the perfect teacher presented himself at the right time. What I can tell you is that I don’t take it for granted. Not one little bit. Painting is what I love, and I’m here to stay!
Ed gave us a list of books to use as references in a handout that he gave to us. I checked Amazon, and found all four of them used. With shipping, the cost is still unbelievably low, right around $30!
I was excited to get three out of four of them in hardcover (I really love books) but then I tried picking them up. The photo opposite is the result. Makes me think I’m back in college! The four of them together weigh 13 pounds!
Finally, I am studying art history in a way that makes sense to me. Find what I like, what is similar to what I want to create in style, degree of realism, or whatever, and study how it was painted. Here is one of my favorite paintings, Scene from Thanatopsis by Asher Brown Durand (1796 – 1886).
Durand was an American romantic landscape painter, and a member of the Hudson River School. His paintings evoke the emotions of mystery, wildness and grandeur that were a staple of the breathtaking landscapes in the 1800s which were almost completely devoid of people, something rarely seen today. It is a fabulous painting, and my goal is to paint like this!
This painting is described in “What is Art, an Introduction to Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture” by John Canaday.
I grew up on fantasy artwork; primarily the works of the brothers Hildebrandt and Boris Vallejo. Hildebrandts’ works exhibit many similarities with painters from the romantic period.
Here’s an example, Old Man Willow by Greg and Tim Hildebrandt: