I had plans to take some winter photos I could use to cool off in the Florida summer heat but a cold north wind changed all that. Thin blood, Parkinson's and cold do not mix well.
The broke through the cloud cover for an hour or two yesterday but today is more typical of Michigan - shades of gray and in this case white. Ooooh boy Its snowing! I wonder if my years of driving in this stuff will come back.
I'm beginning to look over the summer art venues to determine which ones to attend. I'm on the waiting list for the Sarasota and St Pettersburg shows, which seldom open up for those on wait and see list. This year I'm going to redesign the art display walls so they are eaiser to put up and take down.
Received an acceptance email for the Asheville, NC art show, which takes place July 1-2 and since we're halfway to Michigan, I'm trying to apply to shows to make the trip cost effective.
I'll post the shows i'll be attending in case my followers are close to one of them.
I've been too busy working as a finish carpenter for a neighbor down the street and remodling our master bathroom, which is the last room we have to do; to blog.
On the 27th we're flying to Michigan to freeze our asses off since the temperature there is below freezing and today it is in the mid-eighties with lots of sunshine. Those with Parkinson's have problems ajusting to high or low temperatures. Warm temps we sweat more while cold causes shaking like hypothermma. However, we'll get a chance to visit with my brother and sister and our youngest daughter's family.
I have done some painting so see what I've accomplished on my website. I've been toying with the idea of specializing my art on one theme, bocee ball - sounds strange but playing on a sandy beach offers some ball configurations that present interesting compositions. To sell more paintings its been said that artist should create a recognizable style that the public can identify, much like Thomas Kinkade did. However, the variety found in nature is what inspires me and I believe that offering different painting compositions will appeal to a wider audience.
A painting that speaks to a viewer by tapping into a memory or affects them in a way that stimulates their desire to purchase the work.
Home or business interior decorators are not interested in forming a personal connection to a painting but instead their focus is on how it fits into the colors of a room. This is why they tend to select colorful impressionistic, abstract, or expressionistic art.
My son was married in Asheville, NC this past August at property owned by the Southern Appellation Land Conservancy. He had work for the Conservancy for three years before heading out to New Mexico State University to earn his graduate degree in wildlife biology and when he returned to Asheville he didn't have a job but the conservancy offered him a temporary position to manage the upgrading of buildings on property they own. Well since he had zero experience in building or planing the up grading of a home I was dragged into the picture.
The place he and his current wife selected was a very scenic spot on the old Mag Saulter farm, which was donated to the conservancy a few years prior, and it was the first house they wanted updated. We walked through the bomb-shelter, I say this because the house was constructed as if its intended use was for a bomb shelter. Exterior and interior walls were cement block and the upstairs floor was reinforced concrete. Needless to say plumbing and electrical were difficult move around or add.
Even though problems were frustrating I had a good time working with my son and passing on what knowledge I've gained over 40 years of updating homes and building one. In the two and half months I was there most of my brush work was centered on walls and ceiling, although I did manage to produce one painting and start another.
One of my paintings, "Autumn Maple Tree" was selected by the Parkinson's Disease Foundation to represent the month of October in their 2017 calendar, which was a nice surprise. If interested in obtaining one either contact me and I'll mail you one or request one from the PDF.
Starting today through 9/24 there is a $25 off coupon that can be used towards the purchase of any of my paintings. If you're a follower of my art journey you'll notice that prices have been slashed. The art dealer that was supposed to handle my art backed out so I realigned my pricing accordingly. As with everything for sale, pricing is negotiable within reason; after all I can only donate monies from the sale of my art.
I haven't been posting new art because I have been busy remodeling a house in Asheville, North Carolina. The project should be completed within the next two to three weeks and return to my regiment of painting on a daily basis.
Has this happened to you? I received a call from my oldest daughter, who is vice president of marketing for a large senior care facility. She was hosting an event for around twenty seniors from a local center and suddenly needed an artist to handle one of the venues. I get the panic call on Wednesday night after she found out that I was flying home for a neurologist appointment on Friday. When the call came in I was working with my son putting up new walls in the house we are working on.
I was flying home Thursday morning and the class was scheduled for 1:30, and she hadn't purchased any materials or selected a theme for this event. Here I was stuck between installing walls and coming up with ideas for an art project for seniors who had never touched an art paint brush. She was going to purchase supplies that evening so she needed me to come up with a list of paint and brushes I would required to pull off this project.
I'll spare you the details, but it all turned out since they had fun painting with acrylics, which is not my medium of choice, and since acrylics dry fast they were able to take them home.
I was once told that driving the Alcan Hwy is hours of boredom interspersed with split seconds of terror, which seems to pretty much describe my life right now. We drove up to Asheville, NC to see our son determine how we could help him and his main squeeze plan their upcoming wedding, which will take place on August 6th. He is currently working for the Land Conservancy as a property manager. The Conservancy owns large tracks of farm land willed or donated to them by families with the knowledge that their land will never be developed or sold. The land will be kept as a working farm and wildlife areas will be managed. For three years he worked for the Conservancy on the land wildlife management end before he left to earn his MS degree in wildlife conservation from New Mexico State University.
He is searching for a full time job in his field but until he finds it the Conservancy hired him on a six month contract to help manage their properties. Where is this going? Well I'm getting to that. Part of his job description is to look over the homes located on their properties and figure out how to maintain them and in some cases update them. Well, my son doesn't have a handyman background, but he is smart so he called in his dear father, who is always interested in remodeling older homes.
Since my son and his wife to be are in a housing transition they are renting a room from one of their dear friends until they find other accommodations. Since my wife and I are retired so we cannot afford the seasonal cost of motels, my son worked it out with the Conservancy to let us stay in the home where their outside wedding will take place, for free.
Actually it came with a price - it was one slated to be updated and they hoped I would analyze what was needed and the cost - including labor. Will by the time we returned home my son reported they want to move forward on my quote. Great news - I get to live in the house for free while updating it and train my son in the fine arts of being a handyman. But it gets better - I received an email the other day from a company that found my resume and profile on LinkedIn. They are looking for a technical writer, which was my calling for some sixteen years.
What does all this do with art? It in of itself nothing. However, I have been working hard trying to expand my art opportunities and in fact we are traveling to Cincinnati, Ohio to attend a celebration of artists who submitted artwork to an art competition hosted by Art Design Consultants. I have some of my art posted on their sister company's website, Blink. It is a chance to meet other artist as well as gallery owners and other players in the art marketing business.
Watch, I'll make some fantastic connection with a gallery who''ll want me to supply them with new art - well a guy can dream. I forgot, my neighbor across the street wants me to bid on building kitchen cabinets for a house he is remodeling. At first I thought I had this job in hand but it has taken him longer and more money so he is bidding it out. I think I can come under most bids, but he'll probably need them built while I'm working in Asheville.
Not bad for a guy who knows how to shake and in this case make the earth tremor!
I'm still working with my two students and they are pleased with their progress and having fun while learning. While I was away they worked on a couple pieces of art and we went over them today. Patrick worked on two pieces because his first attempt did not meet his hopes - which he made me promise not to laugh, which I would never do but did make the comment that he has to measure his horizon so the lake didn't flow uphill. His wife did a beach seascape that was pretty good. She had a blip in her horizon, but said she ignored it because it was where she was going to paint in a few buildings that were in the picture she was using. I asked her why add the buildings, she responded, "because they are in the photo." I asked, "do they add or detract from the picture?" She thought for a moment and realized what I meant. A photo or image is just a blueprint of the picture you want to paint. A photo-realist painter uses the blueprint but adds the elements that bring the painting they envisioned to life. The building detracts from the picture she was trying to create. This is one of the hardest lessons artist has to learn. Painting a landscape from a photo or image requires the artist to have an extensive knowledge of nature and how light and shadows happen. This is how they bring a flat image of photograph to life by painting life into it from experience.
Our first meeting was last Thursday and we talked about art and any training they may have had. I also wanted to know what they expected to get out of the classes. They want to learn enough to feel confident to strike out on their own.
I proceeded to explain my method of instruction, which is something I've thought about but never had students. Yes, they would be my first students and I was pleased to have the opportunity to pass on what I have learned over the past six years.
We talked about composition and the different methods of laying out a painting. The basic rules of painting, background to foreground, dark to light and determining the source and direction of light.
Mrs N wanted to try realism while Mr P desired impressionistic. I proceeded to demonstrate back painting for Mr P while the piece Mrs N selected to paint was better suited for using a round brush with ultra marine blue to sketch in the various forms.
Class would last two hours and Mr P made the most progress using a #14 flat and a loose impressionistic style. Mrs N worked on the foreground and then the sky. While they worked on their paintings I would offer advice and suggestions for mixing paints to arrive at a desired color. It was then that I suggested they bring a notebook to write down the methods for mixing different paint colors.
What was interesting was the change of heart Mr P had regarding impressionistic and realism. He watched his wife, Mrs N, mixing colors and modeling them together, drew his interest. He returned to his painting and after offering him some suggestions he proceeded to make the buildings more realistic. By the end of the class Mr P's painting looked like this.
Mrs N's piece looks like this:
Well, my submissions to Art Comes Alive were not among the ones chosen by the judges. There are so many outstanding artist who have been working on their craft longer than I have. I'll be interested in seeing the 150 pieces selected to determine what style of work is being noticed.
I fear that the bright and non-descriptive lines of abstract or impressionistic paintings are gaining in popularity because they are versatile with any decor and not limited by theme as are realism paintings.
However, there are those who recognize the work involved in painting realism and appreciate the style of those who paint them. In fact a husband and wife purchased three paintings and commissioned a third. After showing them my progress on the commissioned piece they asked for painting lessons. They are the first students and we painted for two hours today. The wife wanted to learn realism while the husband is interested in impressionism. We had fun and next week they want two lessons, which I gladly accepted.
Giving lessons to beginners make me realize how far I've come over the past six years. Am I an expert with credentials, hell no, but I know I can give them the basics and the rest is up to them. I have gained a great deal of knowledge from the hundred and fifty paintings.
Several months ago I entered an art competition held by Art Design Consultants located in Cincinnati Ohio. Since I have been purchasing space on their "Blink" website I received a discount on the cost of submitting four images. Out of the eighty paintings I have accumulated it was difficult to select four that would be strong enough to wow the panel of distinguish jurors. The show is open to all artist who want to submit their work, which last year number 1,600 artist, and from those only 160 paintings will be selected.
I won a spot last year, but I'm not sure how my work compares to other artist and the jurors who make the final decision. As of 8:10pm I have not received an email one way or the other. Either way I plan on attending the awards program in July so I can meet other artist and gallery owners.
On a positive note, I received an email from the art director for Blink magazine stating Art Design Consultants has selected my work to display in their 8,000 sqft gallery. I had to sign a contract with states they will take 50% of the sale of a painting and I agree to allow them 20% to negotiate the sale and then take 50%. Now most people find this way out of line, but it is the standard for most galleries, unless your well known and move a large quantity of work, then you can dicker on percentages.
I have to raise the price of my paintings in order to reflect the gallery's price so if you had your eye on one of my paintings you better act now before the price goes up.
I have been a vendor at several art shows and most people who attend think the price the artist places on his/her work is high. However, if you like their work it is the best price you'll get. If they are attached to a gallery the same piece will double or triple.
Some artist shy away from galleries because they want to market their work themselves. I'm not getting any younger and Parkinson's will hinder my attending art shows so for me a gallery is a logical choice.
Age is only the number of years you've been on this planet, which ages a slower rate than its occupants. I have discovered a disconnect between the age my brain thinks I am and the years my body knows I am. As my mother use to say, "My mind makes contracts that my body can't keep." Back when I thought it was funny but now it a sober summation of reality.
Another realization crept into my frontal lobe, how the symptoms of my Parkinson's blend with the side affects of medication I'm taking and both for mentioned abnormalities mirror old age. As an example, one of the symptoms of Parkinson's is loss of balance which is also a side affect of medication and old age. The only symptom that distinguishes Parkinson's from the other two are the tremors.
In the morning if someone asked me how old I am I would estimate 120 or one step away from rigamortis setting in. I wonder why I agreed to purchase a bed that requires a stepladder to get in? Actually I can pull myself up and into bed, but exiting after a night's sleep is about as graceful as a new born calf trying to stand. It would be easier to roll out of bed and fall to the floor but it has its drawbacks; broken bones and bruises to mention a few. However, if someone ask me what happened, I say my wife beat me up, which she would like to do on certain occasions, but she suffers from Fibromyalgia, which has symptoms similar to Parkinson's except for the tremors and stiffness.
With both of our health issues it seems we are in competition to see who becomes more disabled first, so far she is winning.
Since this is a website promoting my artwork I question the reasons behind this current blog. However, this site is also about Parkinson's and I believe it fitting to discuss how the disease affects me and why I decided to sell my paintings to raise money to find a cure for this hideous disease.
Painting everyday is difficult when you are travelling and there is reasons why. If you are an oil painter and flying to your destination your paints can not travel with you - combustible material. A busy schedule also interferes with finding the time - unless you become anti-social.
Since I've programmed myself to paint I had to find a pacifier - drawing. For less than 10 bucks I purchased a sketchpad, pencils, pencil sharpener, and eraser. What I discovered was through painting my drawings have improved and once again I found joy in sketching.
Sketching is less expensive and if you don't like the way a piece is working out, you can either erase it or turn to the next page. I'm using it to work on composition, contrast, and perspective, which are three extremely important attributes to a successful piece of art.
Composition is noticed first. The work must be constructed to draw attention. If the placement of objects is boring than the other two elements don't matter. If a picture has composition then perspective becomes important. The human eye can find those elements where the perspective is not correct. The eye assesses each element to the brain's database of objects, then determines if what you're viewing makes sense. If perspectives are off the painting looses interest.
If the first two points are correct then contrast between objects becomes important. Contrast between light and dark brings a piece to life; without it a painting is dull and looses interest.
To produce an interesting painting follow the three steps and the number one rule of art, "No two things in a painting should be the same or alike.", which includes shapes, size and color.