Skip to main content
A Bit of Promise

When I first started (whatever this is) I explained that I hope to shine some light on the thought and effort that goes into creating a work of art. Too many people have the impression that artists are geniuses or magicians -- that one simply stands before a piece of paper, a canvas, a block of wood, a piece of stone, a lump of clay, and just goes at it like one possessed. And ta-dah, it appears before your eyes. Really, it isn't like that at all.

I have heard artists speak flippantly about their work, "Oh it's nothing. It just took me a couple of hours (blah, blah, blah)." The worst offenders. Why would you devalue what you do? I want to say to them, "If you did THAT in a couple of hours, perhaps you should be doing MORE."

I certainly do not wish to give anyone the idea that I think I am mastering this. I have spent twenty years practicing what I was trained for: graphic design. My professional experience informs the art I am attempting to create now but in no way does it make me adept at it. I am, in every sense, starting over.

I do think I've demonstrated that painting isn't easy and it takes time. The only way I will get any better at this is to do it. If you are reading, you get to come along with me. It won't always be pretty so it's okay to look away. Really.

Most recent work

The Lilies painting shown above was done over another painting. I do that quite often. Like people, most of my paintings have some history and a few secrets. I think this canvas was a peacock once. Its second life showed promise but I fell under work deadlines and it was put aside. Recently I picked it up again. Thanks to family support, I worked through the weekend until I was satisfied with the direction. I don't think I can be depressed while staring at it. It lifts my spirits somehow. For someone who has battled depression her whole life, this pleases me. If it cheers me up, perhaps it will benefit someone else while hanging on their wall.

Peace out.

Popular posts from this blog

Commissions are interesting endeavors. A bespoke painting often means an artist is asked to create something quite different from their regular body of work. It pushes us a bit outside ourselves. Without fail I find it refreshing and deeply rewarding. Some artists specialize in pet portraits. I enjoy doing figure studies and portraits of people but until now I had not painted anyone's pet. "Gizmo" is the Maltese-Yorkie companion of Katie Ruth Williams. And like many diminutive creatures, his personality can barely be contained. This bite-sized Napoleon strives to rule the household. I can't say how successful he is at that but I do know Gizmo is loved. Such a subject deserves a portrait. I wanted Gizmo's likeness to be larger than life—more than double his size—and grand as an Elvis on velvet. Thanks to snapshots by his adoring family, I had plenty of references from which to work. This piece was pure joy. I look forward to many others. "Gizmo&
"Practice makes better" is what we tell the five-year-old. When the child is older, I will explain (and repeat) the 10,000-hours-towards-mastery concept. I don't believe in Perfection. Mastery allows for experimentation to continue and recognizes two important things: the time one must invest in order to improve and that failure is a necessary part of achieving success. Portrait painting has been the most difficult thing I've attempted. It's positively baffling to me. I can't work from one photo. Working from life is ideal, but my current subject (my grandmother) is no longer living. A wall of photos of a person from different angles, different decades (like I'm some sort of stalker) is better for me simply because a single photo rarely captures a personality.* I believe a painting of someone can express who a person truly is by combining impressions from many, many moments. *Of course there are master photographers who CAN capture the essence of
A New Portrait Ever since my grandmother Frances passed away I have been thinking about her portrait. I knew I would do one at some point when I felt ready. Ready in this instance means that she stopped appearing in my dreams. It has been a year since I've seen her while I've slept. People look different in heaven. It skews my ability to represent them as they were before. I'm not trying to weird you out, it's simply how it is with me. It is impossible to show how I go about this portrait without revealing quite a bit about Frances, and of course, myself as well.  Tant pis.  We'll try to bear it. I will post photographs at the end of a painting session to show progress with some mention of the decisions made along the way. It is my hope to demonstrate the mental exercises an artist goes through, a few practical techniques of putting paint down, but most of all, the amount of time it takes to create something in paint. I chose my panel back in the summer. I