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?

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.

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)”

Permission To Play

I think every artist, whether just starting out or a seasoned pro, struggles with the urge to make every effort something they can be proud of, hang on a wall, or possibly sell. Its hard to spend limited time and effort and not have expectations.

However I have yet to meet an artist who if asked why they became an artist their response would be “to get rich”. Most of us explore our art because we have something inside that we need to express. Art, in its many forms, is fun. Creating things that elicit a response, within us or others, brings satisfaction. It’s easy to lose sight of this when confronted with limited time to pursue art. The creative process needs to be fun, and I’ve met many artists who found the most success with the work they did for themselves. Stuff that they didn’t think would appeal to others conveyed greater emotion and lead to greater success, in sales or commissions, than the stuff created for that purpose.

So its good to remember to give ourselves permission to have fun. Paint something new, try a new technique, and remove all expectations that the result will be worthy of anything more than painting over. Better yet, enter into it expecting to not be happy with the result. The goal is to play.

Last night I wanted to try doing a sky like I had seen done by a painter I admire by the name of Jan Blencowe. Her youtube video got me excited to try a scumbled sky, with more color and less definition than I am used to. So I grabbed an old canvas that I had experimented with painting clouds, and started painting over it. I decided to just do the top and see how it went. Continue reading “Permission To Play”

Getting Started

I thought one of my first posts should be about how I got started, or re-started, painting. And what that experience has been like.

If you read my “about” page you’ll get a good summary of how I painted for a while in high school, and held an interest in art for the next 30 years without painting much at all. In the last couple of years however I started painting again. And the experience has been both rewarding and challenging.

The challenging part comes from a variety of sources. First being learning to paint in acrylics.

I chose acrylics over oils, which is what I painted with in high school, primarily because my first painting had to be done, and dried, quickly in order to be ready on time as a surprise gift for my wife. However I may have chosen acrylics over oils anyway because I like the idea of them drying quickly, and not having to use turpentine and other solvents.  I was not ready for the difference fast drying time would make for things like blending and reworking the painting. I like the idea of being able to paint over mistakes, but sometimes I think it would be easier if I could scrape off and blend my mistakes instead of having to paint over them. And not having the extra time to work the paint can be quite the challenge.

Challenge number 2. While I took some lessons in high school I either did not learn much or forgot everything. So I had to learn all over again. How does one go about learning to paint without finding a teacher or class, and spending lots of dollars and time wasted between lessons? You Tube of course. That and the internet in general. But a quick search on You Tube and all of a sudden there were all these free resources to get me started! Yay!

Of course free is what you pay for it. There is a lot out there and one artist disagrees with another about what is right and how to go about painting. So you have to sort of be careful and look at a lot of material to see what might be of value and what won’t. And, and this is a big “and” you need to be careful that you are not just copying what others a doing and not learning your own way of painting.

Continue reading “Getting Started”