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.
We're off to Michigan to attend my grand daughter's graduation from high school but this time we are flying! I have always driven to whatever destination we selected but between my wife's febermyology and my Parkinson's issues, driving for extended hours is impossible.
My sister helped purchase tickets and the only remaining hurdle is "The Dog". We have a Cavapoo, and for those not familiar with special breeds it is a cross between a King Charles cavalier and a toy poodle. He is a cute little shit with curly hair and weighs in at a whopping 16 pounds. He is a great traveler in the car but untested on aircraft.
Knowing the airline would require a carrying case for Mr Charlie I went to our local pet store and purchased an approved airline travel case, one that would accommodate our killer trained lap dog. Feeling smug in my purchase until the day before our departure, which as Memorial Day, I had second thoughts and decided to call the airlines to double check the proper size needed to fit under the seat in front of me. Giving the representative the dimensions of my pet's temporary accommodations and our flight number, which is important because the seats are different for each type of aircraft, she reported that it was to high. For our flight the maximum height for under the seat storage is 9 inches. After the initial shock I promptly questioned the airline's logic in allowing carry on animals that would fit in 9 inches. Before she could answer I responded in a kidding manor, "I guess I'll have to cut his legs off!", I did not receive a chuckle or a negative response.
Knowing she did not have control over the design of an aircraft, I proceeded to thank her and let panic set in. I purchased the carrier from a local pet store, which I had doubts would be open on a holiday, but grabbed the portable dog house and headed off to the pet store.
Lucky for me it was open but unlucky because I didn't have a receipt, which I explained and said I just wanted to exchange it for a smaller one. Getting the go-ahead from a manager I headed off to the appropriate isle only to discover limited options. The only one to fit the bill was 9 inches high, OK, 19 inches long and 11 inches wide. It was going to be like fitting Dolly Parton into a training bra!
Uncooperative and disgruntled, charlie did fit into the carried, much like a 200 pound woman fits into a size to small spandex jump suit. After several attempts at zipping up the opening, without success, I decided to allow his head to project, which was problematic since he could use his front paws to unzip and escape from his confinement.
In order to take a carry-on pet and cram it under the seat will cost $125 and a signed promise to keep it caged during the flight. Will rules were meant to be bent so I followed only those rules absolutely necessary to remain on the aircraft.
Only one of the flight attendants paid any attention to Charlie's head sticking out and requested I zip it up, to which I smiled and answered "yes" only to ignore the request. I couldn't, in good conscious, jam into nine inches, besides he would crawl out and I would have a dog on the loose, so I placed him between my legs so I could pet his head to keep him calm.
Just prior to landing the attendants passed through the cabin and the previous gate-keeper reminded me to zip up the case, to which I responded with a smile and nodded yes before ignoring her warning.
As not to bore you with other details I will finish the story by saying Charlie was very happy when we reached my sister's condo so he could form a river flowing from the nearest tree, I swore I saw a smile of relief flash across his face
I just finished a painting for my son's first house and wish that I could add it to the ones for sale. The painting is oil on a 2 foot by 4 foot canvas and the colors will go well with his decor - too bad.
The couple that purchased a painting last Friday sent me an email on Sunday requesting if they could come to my house and view my other paintings - of course I asked whenever it was convenient for them. It was 3:30 pm when they arrived and they didn't leave until 7 pm - there was a lot of discussion about art. They ended up purchasing two more pieces - one abstract and the other "Forest Road", which was one of my favorite paintings because of the contrast of lights and dark.
They also commissioned another painting from an image he had on his i-phone - not bad for a days work.
I live in the small town of Safety Harbor, Florida and the town throws a street celebration every third Friday of the month from January until June or July when the summer heat chases away even those tried and tested Floridians.
When this event first began the turnout was limited but now the streets are crowed with party goers. I have several art pieces with Sara Mullins, owner of Gallery On The Go, and she has hung six pieces of my work at various establishments around Tampa. She also has a booth promoting her business, as well as a few artist. This past Friday, 5/20/2016 she promoted my work and I attended and brought my traveling easel to demonstrate my artistic talent to those passer-byes.
From my collection of images I selected one to paint and brought only one piece of canvas paper, thinking I would only have time to do one painting and besides, I had four framed artworks and several original works on canvas paper to carry along with my art supplies.
I was about an hour into the painting when a couple stopped by and wanted to know if I sold my work - which I promptly answered, YES. I told them I had several pieces in the office behind the art booth. They seemed drawn to the one I was working on. They inquired about the cost of my paintings on canvas paper so I told them between 45 and 55 dollars. They asked how much I would charge for the one I was working on, my answer was the same, it was then that I realized they wanted to buy my unfinished work, which surprised me. I was trying to comprehend why someone would want to purchase an unfinished painting and what I would charge when the husband asked if I would take $30, to which I answered, "SOLD!"
They asked if I would hang onto the painting until they returned, which I agreed to since I had the $30 in my pocket. I waled over to where Sara was sitting and told her the story, which received a chuckle.
I was talking with Sara and she noticed people in the office so I went in to investigate. It turned out that it was the same couple who purchased my unfinished work. They were looking at my website, twowilletsgallery.com, and asked if all the paintings on my site were ones I painted - "Yes". They were impressed with my work and wanted to know the cost of the pieces hanging in the office. The husband pointed to the "The Greenhouse" painting, which does draw interest, and while I searched for the price the wife pointed to a more recent work, "Bending With The Wind".
I removed the painting from the wall and brought it where the light was better so they could see the detail I put into the piece. They loved the simplicity of my paintings and the wife said they offered a feeling of peacefulness; which solicited a thank you from me since serenity is what I try to put into all my works.
They inquired about the price for the "Bending In The Wind" painting and off the top of my head I gave them a SWAG (silly wild ass guess) and they agreed to the price and the husband quickly asked if the price included the unfinished painting. Since I had only an hour or so into the piece I decided to include it with the framed painting.
Further conversation brought praise for the quality of my work and they asked if I would be willing to meet them in town with art they selected from my website - I agreed since images cannot capture the detail and color that can be appreciated when view the original. My response was positive and asked them to contact me after they made their selection.
This episode reaffirmed my decision to stick with the style of painting that inspires me, realism with a touch of impressionism.
Before the night was over another gentleman stopped and watched while I was touching up one of the paintings on canvas paper. He also like my work so I gave him one of my calling cards with my website information so he can look at some of my other work. He said he lived in Louisiana and was leaving for home the next day - I mentioned that I had ship paintings as far away as Alaska so if he found a painting I would be happy to ship him his selection.
This is why it is so important to get your work out where the public can see it - one never knows who the painting will speak to. However, even satisfied customers drop the ball. I thought for sure Priscilla, one of the women who purchase two paintings in St Augustine, would promote my work with friends and I even offered to come over to the area if she wanted to hold a personal art showing. She seemed so enthusiastic about my work and even said I would be hearing from others after they saw her paintings.
Stop the presses! I just got an email from the couple who purchase the painting on Friday and they want to come over to view other paintings. Who knows, perhaps this could be a new source.
I submitted three piece of art in a contest held by Artavita, which is a website for artist to post their work and for the public to look for art, and my pieces were one of the top fifty finalist. I received a certificate from Artavita in recognition of my work - which is always appreciated.