Taking Stock

It was 2 years ago this month, sometime in the 3rd week of December as I recall, that I decided to try painting again. That first painting, which you can read about here, got me to pick up the brushes and start my journey back into art. It was a year ago in January that I started this blog. So I thought it was a good time to take stock of where I started and how far I’ve come.

I remember distinctly thinking, when I painted that first Triptych as a Christmas gift, that if it worked out I would keep painting, and if it was a disaster I could just go back to my photography hobby and graphic design to satisfy my creative itch. Here I am two years later spending more time painting and making a bigger commitment to improving, painting, and sharing what I learn as I go.

In January of this past year, when I started this blog, I set out to have long and short-term goals. I decided if I was going to be serious, I needed a plan. Part of any good plan is to review progress towards those goals.

So how have I done? In the banner above, and the larger montage below, you can see some of the paintings I’ve created over this past year. Most, not all, can also be seen on this site on my Paintings page. Along the way I’ve learned from many, through lessons, workshops, painting side-by-side with other artists, reading, and learning from anywhere I could. It takes time, and more time, to practice what I have learned, but I am quite happy with the results. Not only have I met goals this past year to display my work publicly, I have participated in plein air events, regional art shows, and hung my work in a number of public settings. I have sold work, developed this website, created a youtube channel and posted videos, created a Facebook page, and an e-newsletter. I have painted a lot, made lots of new friends at the Essex Art League, met new artists, learned more than I anticipated, and had a ton of fun.

Where I have fallen short of goals is mostly in getting myself out there. I need to work on expanding my email newsletter list, and I need to post more often, both here and on Facebook. I need to polish my video and editing skills, and post more to youtube. And I need to practice more, draw more, paint more, learn more and find new outlets for showing my work.

Its been a great two years. I’ve been bitten by the painting bug. I will be revising my plan, updating my goals, and working harder on my craft. Look for a future post on planning and committing to my art. I’m thankful you’ve found this blog, and invite you to share it along with my Facebook page and YouTube Channel with anyone you think may be interested.

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Put Yourself Out There!

When you first start painting its easy to never feel you are ready to share your art. You tell yourself “I’m not good enough”, “I don’t have enough experience”, “I can’t compete”, or “I don’t know what to do to get my stuff in front of people”.

Its easy, and understandable, to be hesitant, self-conscious, even insecure (if we are being honest.) After all, you know you still have so much to learn, and that your work doesn’t yet live up to your standards. Well guess what. It probably never will. The pursuit of art is a lifelong pursuit. There is always more to learn, more to master, new techniques, changing interests, etc. etc. etc. Artists are never satisfied.

If you wait until you are “ready” you run the very real risk that you never take that step. You never reach the level where you are comfortable going public. I’m here to tell you – do it anyway.

If you think your “art” is not ready, or not good enough. You are not alone. From what I can tell every artist, regardless of experience or skill, feels that way to some degree. Don’t believe me? Artists as famous as Claude Monet destroyed many, many paintings he felt were not worthy. Perhaps they were not worthy when measured against his own high standards, but do you doubt for a moment that any one of those destroyed paintings would today fetch millions in the art market? Or be coveted by those that appreciate fine art?

So don’t wait. Take that step. If for no other reason than you can’t pile them up in the basement any more, and you have no more family members and friends you can give them away to.

I’m going to give you a bunch of suggestions of how you can get your stuff out there below, but before I do here is one more example of why you should not wait until you think you are ready (or good enough or whatever). You can skip it if you want, its the piece in italics below. Continue reading “Put Yourself Out There!”

What I’ve Been Painting (an update)

I haven’t posted in a little while and thought I would update on what I’ve been painting. I have been trying to paint every day now even if for just a little while. I know I need to paint a lot to get better. So I’ve been painting small while in the past I often paint large. And, I have some new painting friends that like to paint en plien air so I did my first outdoor paintings last week. I hope to do much more now that the weather is warmer.

So here are a couple of paintings, the ones I am more pleased with, done recently. There is an opportunity to hang some smaller paintings in a library next month so I am hoping to get one or two in there. Do you have an opinion on which of these is best?

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Mills River Barn

This is a barn at the entrance to the Mills River Park in Jericho Vermont. I took photos of it last year, and finally got around to giving it a go. I like the shape and color vibrancy of the red barn and green foliage.

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Clump of Birch Trees

Most of you know I like birch trees. This time I wanted to paint a clump of birches, in spring, with a bright spring green backdrop. The daffodils in the foreground around the trees is inspired by my back garden which has these daffodils in front of a couple of beautiful birches. Continue reading “What I’ve Been Painting (an update)”

“Sap Run” Painting Now on YouTube

My most recent painting is now on youtube in a time-lapse video, with commentary, so you can see the process of how I painted it. Click to go to youtube video.

It includes my commentary on decisions I made along the way. So check it out along with some other painting videos I have on my youtube channel.

Video taping and then editing that video is a time-consuming process, and I need to work on better camera placement and lighting. Hopefully I will get better as I go, but if you like the video hit the like button on youtube, and subscribe to my channel and that will encourage me to do more!

Knowing When to STOP! (and when not to)

I was reminded tonight, while watching a time-lapse painting on youtube by  fellow artist Brandon Schaefer, of a problem I have been having recently, and often have. I suspect its one shared by many who start to explore art in its various forms.

When am I done, when do I stop?

Every now and then I work on a piece and it all seems to come together and I know just when to stop. But sometimes, I just can’t seem to find the finish line. There is always something that needs adjusting, repainting or rethinking.

While watching Brandon do his latest piece I noticed he repainted the water, the sky, the mountains in the background, and other elements multiple times as he progressed. And he has painted many hundreds of paintings and has been posting on youtube for 3 years (or so!). The painting came out great. It was comforting to see.

My latest piece, which I am calling “Big Red” I repainted so many times I lost count. And each time it made me feel so helpless and inadequate. If I was ‘good enough’ and knew what I was doing I surely would have gotten it right from the start! No? Continue reading “Knowing When to STOP! (and when not to)”