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: