Carole Marine, the artist who wrote "Daily Painting," really convinced me of the value, even the necessity, of painting often (preferably, of course, daily). These recently finished 4 x 4" canvases are helping me do just that. While I also continue to work on larger pieces, there is a lot of satisfaction in being able to look at one (or more) of these little guys each day and be able to say, "Done."
And, I certainly benefit from the practice.
When I was in grade school, I already loved to draw and paint. My parents told me I was "talented" and encouraged me, to the extent of purchasing very nice materials (Grumbacher oils and canvases, charcoal and good pencils, etc.). But, I certainly never got the impression that I should be spending any particular amount of time painting. They did not seem to have any expectations other than that I should enjoy my art.
I was also interested in being able to play the piano and was given lessons. Maybe it was that the size of their "investment" in me was appreciably greater (they even had to buy the piano, since we didn't already have one) but the lessons did come with certain expectations about daily practice.
Fast forward to my adult years, and art and music became indulgences that I just occasionally enjoyed. It was highly evident that lack of regular practice had caused my piano playing skills to deteriorate - I even lacked the necessary dexterity in my fingers. That made perfect sense to me, and I accepted that I just wasn't all that good any more - and wouldn't ever be - unless I was willing to practice assiduously. (I wasn't).
Yet, for some reason I thought that painting could be dropped for appreciable periods of time and then picked back up with no loss of skill level. You know, that "talent." But, with painting as well as with piano, your hands can lose their dexterity. Your feel for your materials will fade. You will struggle to achieve results that regular "practice" would make virtually certain because of your familiarity with the medium.
For many artists, painting is "all about the journey." The process is what they enjoy, and they seem content to let the piece develop as it will, often, it seems, without having an envisioned end product in mind. I am a plodder. I am usually trying to create a reasonably recognizable facsimile of something I love. A bird, a beach, a boat. Being fortunate enough to live near the water, these are some of the things that I enjoy seeing every day. So I do my best to paint or draw these scenes as well as I can, and If any of my emotional response to my subjects comes through, that would make me tremendously happy.
Wow. Long post.
Trying to prepare lots of these little 4 x 4" "shelf-sitters" for two upcoming shows, the first of which will be installed soon, with the opening Reception scheduled for Nov 6th. Which, all of a sudden, is right around the corner! (The blue crab is not quite finished). I am working in acrylics on these to take advantage of the faster drying time. My goal is to have at least a dozen of these, all different, but all with "local" themes. "Local" being a tidewater stretch of the Potomac River on the Northern Neck of Virginia. My goal is to be able to price these at a level that will make them desirable for affordable gift-giving.
This is actually a tiny painting, 4" x 4" It was painted a year or two ago, but when it sold, I had not taken a photo of it. Just this week I visited the home of the (now) owner, and got to snap this (admittedly not very great) photo with my cellphone. It's a very nice feeling to see something that one created still being enjoyed by the person who paid you the compliment of choosing it to buy.
Three acrylic paintings that I worked on this morning (the two sandpipers more or less simultaneously). I did a lot of the paint application with my fingertips. Oddly, I don't remember ever enjoying finger-painting as a child.
A Zoom meeting interrupted my fun, but I'm looking forward to finishing all 3 up tomorrow.
Thanks to the Hague Winery for the opportunity to show art in their lovely building at the vineyard, 8268 Cople Highway, Hague VA. Together with a group of fellow artist members of the Northern Neck Artists Alliance will be hanging work in a few days for a show that will begin Friday, October 2. The weekend looks like it will be sunny, and they have covered outdoor seating. Check the link above for info on food truck schedule, open hours, and other details. Painting: 12 x 16" Oils on gallery-wrapped canvas. Will be available for sale at the Winery (unless pre-sold).
Just finished the second of two works that are earmarked for the upcoming POTOMAC RIVER REGIONAL SHOW in Colonial Beach VA. And, it's 48 hours ahead of deadline, so I'll even be delivering it dry(ish)!
This is promising to be a fabulous show, with work from artists around the Virginia and Maryland region. It is held annually in my home town, under the auspices of our local Art Guild. Although I have been involved on some level for a number of years, this is the first year that I've taken a leading role in making it all come together. Fun, but stressful at the same time. Especially this year, when we were already cancelled once due to Covid-19 concerns. However, it now appears all systems go for September. The event is held in a location that is roomy, and also allows us to control how many people enter. So, masks and social distancing are the order of the day!
The photo below is of a "landmark" in our little riverfront resort town. Nancy's Ice Cream has been dishing up soft-serve cones, sundaes, and more to visitors and locals alike for many years. Personally, I'm a fan of the child-size hot fudge sundae with all the toppings!
Back at the end of May I had a blog post about this work then in progress and mentioned that work on it was being put on hold. (I needed to get some differently themed works ready for an upcoming show). Those pieces have now been shipped off for the show and yesterday, Mr. & Mrs. Wood Duck were finally finished. The male wood duck is, if anything, even gaudier than painted. The female (poor dear) is just as drab as shown. Their population is presently considered "stable" and their usual habitat is woodland ponds and swampy areas, particularly in the southeast US.
These "Susans of the Mountains" were sent in as one of three paintings vying for a spot in the upcoming show, "Close to Nature's Heart," a celebration of mountains to be held at the Ice House Gallery in Berkeley Springs, WV from Sept 18 thru Nov 8. Of the three pieces, this is the one that I sincerely felt had the best shot. I personally "like" it best. (I do have a fondness for Black-eyed and Brown-eyed Susans and always include them in my garden). I am also happy with my execution.
However! (and, as you've no doubt already guessed), it was the other two works that were accepted. So, I am happy about that, and also that I can enjoy my Susans for a while longer.
Listening to judges and show jurors explain their selection process has always been most interesting. Over time, these explanations have helped me accept that the "rejection" of a work is not necessarily a negative assessment of that work as such. Rather, other works simply called more strongly to that judge, on that day, for that theme, in that show . . . and one just keeps on painting!
Today is August 7, and I have just discovered (thanks, Facebook!) that it is National Light House Day. I'm going to see if I can round up enough lighthouse images from the members of my local Art Guild to create a lighthouse album on our Facebook page, Colonial Beach Artists Guild. Below, my painting of the Cape Florida Light, which was built in 1825 and is located in Bill Boggs State Park just south of Miami FL. There are great views of both the Atlantic Ocean and of Biscayne Bay from the top of the lighthouse.