Hangin' at the Mini Mart
Ocean Cove 8x16 Oil
I recently listened to an online seminar for artists about branding. One of the ideas they talked about was the importance of consistency in marketing. Whether looking at your website, business cards or a postcard for an upcoming show, an artist should have a brand that is recognizable and consistent. They recommended having a catch phrase and a visual logo that exemplifies your work.
Following their advise, I started by writing a short summary of why I am an artist. As I thought about my motives, I condensed, eliminated and modified my artist statement until it was short enough to be included in all my marketing areas; my website, my blog and my artist statement. Here it is.
To experience an emotion,
trigger a memory,
communicate a mood;
through the use of color,
composition and light.
I then formatted my website and blogs so they where all the same color scheme and I used the same photo that is on my business card for the header of my blog. These are small changes but not insignificant. On one hand, I don't think that an artist could or should be a brand like Coke or Apple but I am convinced that designing your marketing tools to reflect your taste confirms to your clients who you are as an artist.Comment on or Share this Article →
Overlooking the Canyon 14x11 Oil (Final Version)
When is a painting finished? Have you ever struggled with this question? Sometimes, I know when that last brush stroke is applied. I have a deep sense of completion. But other times, I am not so sure. Deciding if and when a painting is finished can be a difficult balancing act. I want the painting to be spontaneous and fresh so I don't want to over-think or over-work a painting but I want to create the best painting I can so I have worked out several steps to help me decide if I need to continue working on a painting.
Overlooking the Canyon is a painting where I wasn't quite sure if I was finished or not. I liked the painting but I thought I could make it better. The steps I used helped me to see where I could make improvements. My additional effort helped me see a few key elements that I then changed. Here is how I did it.
- Look at the painting in the mirror. Most people look at things from left to right, the same way you are reading this, so when you see your painting in the mirror, the eye will pick up angles, shapes and mistakes more easily.
- Look at the painting upside down. When working on a painting I am so used to it that I am unable to see my mistakes. That sounds silly but it is the same thing with writing. A proof reader will spot an error that the writer has overlooked again and again. It is the same with a painting. Seeing it in a different context will help to see it fresh.
Mirror Image 1st Version Upside Down 1st Version
Viewing the painting this way I was satisfied that the composition was good and the design worked. I did notice that the foreground bush was too tall and distracting.
- Put the painting away and don't look at it for a few days. This is great if I have the time and am not working on a deadline. Seeing the painting with fresh eyes, I am often shocked that I had not seen the problem before.
- Take a photo of the painting and look at it on the computer. Reducing the image to a smaller version and making it black and white will also give me new insights into my painting. Maybe the sky is too light or there is a design problem. I will often see these issues this way.
Black & White of 1st Version Revised Black & White
The black and white image was very helpful. The background mountains needed to be unified while the trees below left in the canyon where too dark. I also needed to add some darker colors in the main trees.
- Compare it to other paintings of the same subject by other artists. I learn so much from other artists so seeing how one of the masters handled the same subject can give me solutions to my issues.
Try these steps to improving your paintings.Comment on or Share this Article →
Waterfall at the Huntington 14x11 Oil Revised
There are many positive reasons to teach but improving your own art is rarely mentioned. From my last post you know I am learning from the classes I am teaching. It's a great side effect. I have been thinking about this development and realized that there are many reasons why through teaching, I too am learning.
1) I am rethinking things that I already know, clarifying many basic lessons. Teaching is a powerful tool for cementing your understanding of a subject.
2) I have to write my critiques so I have to translate my thought into real words that my students can understand. This farther clarifies my thoughts. Teaching forces me to communicate my thoughts clearly and precisely.
3) As I critique my students work, I am training my eye to be more observant of design flaws, value discrepancies and color problems. Teaching calls for a complete understanding of the concepts you are teaching.
4) With my improved vision, I can view my own work with a detached view and catch problems I didn't notice before.
5) I always try to find something positive in my students work so now I see the best aspects of my paintings and can enhance those positive areas with minor changes.
Maybe there is a way you to can teach too.
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Lake in Franklin Canyon Revised
My online teaching continues with the completion of "Composition, The Foundation of Your Art." Now that I have taught the class for the second time I am able to really enjoy the teaching experience. The class is a four-week course which gives artists the basics of composition using shapes and values. It is always fun to see the students progress and as is often the case, I also learn from the class.
One thing has become very obvious. It is much easier to see the weaknesses in another artists work while overlooking the same problems in my own. Why is that? It is amazing how obvious some of my missteps are when I can detach myself and use the same critical eye on my work as I do on others.
With that in mind, I decided to revisit a few paintings. Lake in Franklin Canyon is a great example of a quick plein air painting that works but could be improved. The original painting that I did on location last year is at the top.
As I studied the painting I realized that I could make some easy changes that would make a big difference. Compare the original with the revised image.
1) The mountains in the distance were too dark and the edge too sharp. I softened the edge and lightened it while changing the angle of the slope.
2) The center tree ended too close to the top edge so I shortened it.
3) The shadows where too dark so I added some color to them.
4) The trees where to similar in height so I made one tall to go off the top edge.
I only changed a few things but I now like the painting much more. It still retains its plein air spontaneity but is now a much better composition.
I will again be teaching the online class Composition, The Foundation of Your Art through Artists Network University
Course Start Date: 06-04-2013 Course End Date: 06-28-2013
Carmel Art Festival
Painting in Carmel
Painting Water is My Favorite
China Cove at Point Lobos State Park is a gorgeous inlet. I got up very early to capture the sunrise as it was just coming over the trees on the right. The sun lit up the water like a neon sign. I could hear the sea otters below in the kelp as they broke open shells to have their breakfast. I painted the cove in three hours and sold the painting in a bidding war at the exhibition. It was one amazing week.
When the world is your office, every day is an adventure with limitless possibilities. I see things few can and am surrounded with beauty as I work.
Photo of China Cove by Sharon Weaver
Selling My Paintings
I Started to Win Awards and My Paintings Sold
Traveling to Carmel Art Festival was an amazing experience. My paintings sold and I won an Honorable Mention.
The original painting sold but you can buy a print of Playtime at China Cove, just click on the image.
Road trip to Arizona
So Much to Paint, So Little Time
The Grand Canyon isn't to far from Flagstaff and the day I drove up there was perfect. The magnificent scenery was overwhelming and the colors divine. I loved the interesting shadows and the storm clouds in the distance.
This is my office for the day. Not bad.
Photo of the Grand Canyon taken by Sharon Weaver
My Painting of the Grand Canyon
Inspiration Comes Easily at the Grand Canyon
My painting of the Grand Canyon called Storm Over the North Rim, is only one of many paintings from my trip to Arizona. Although the original sold you can buy a print; just click on the image.
Painting the Red Rocks of Sedona
A Day Trip From Flagstaff
Painting With Friends
Nothing Better Than Sharing
Being an artist can be a solitary business so it is always great to travel with my painting buddies. Discovering new places, critiquing each others work, laughing at misadventures.and sharing nature make each trip something to cherish. If I also come home with a couple of great paintings it is a bonus.
There Are Plenty of Places to Paint Nearby Too!
Morning at Leo Carrillo by Sharon Weaver 8x10 Oil
The original painting is available just click on the image.
Meeting Other Artists
My Network of Friends
Sharon Weaver in center back row at painting trip with the California Art Club at Rankin Ranch
Other Articles I Have Written About Art
Using interesting colors is one of the most dynamic ways to attract attention to your art. Complementary colors create drama and add excitement to any art project....
Beautiful gardens inspire. They combine the wild side of nature with the controlled design of man to create a coordinated spectacle of vegetation, water and...
To experience an emotion Trigger a memory Communicate a mood Through the use of Color Composition And light. I am an artist and I love my work. My time is...
In my teens I left home to attend an art college. Not very worldly or experiences, I was pretty shocked at my first figure drawing class. I noticed that man...
I love being an artist and sharing my passion with others is something that I find very fulfilling. I teach art courses online and at a local art school so...
If you want your artwork to stand out and be noticed, you have to grab a buyer's attention and keep it. A good first impression is essential. In fact, I thi...
Sharon Weaver with Award at Victor Celebrates the Arts
To experience an emotion
Trigger a memory
Communicate a mood
Through the use of
I am an artist and I love my work. My time is spent creating; painting and drawing. I want to share with you my wonderful life as an artist. Let me show you where I get my inspiration and how I spend my time painting on location in some of the most beautiful places you can imagine. See why I love what I do. Maybe I will inspire you to become an artist too.
I experiment with color, reduce my subject to abstract shapes and design my work to my liking, all the while taking inspiration from the natural world around me. How I translate my surroundings into my art is what motivates me. Realizing that I will always have more to learn keeps me inspired.
Deciding to be an Artist
I Had a Dream
Sharon Weaver plein air painting in Malibu
Since grade school I knew that I wanted to be an artist. I remember visualizing my future career as an artist, thinking I would live in NYC and go to important gallery shows. I would show my work in all the best galleries and travel all over the world. Certainly not all of my dreams have come true, at least not yet, but enough have been realized that I now can say I have a great life as an artist.
My painting journey started about six years ago when I took a plein air class. The term plein air is French meaning "in the air." This phrase refers to the practice of painting on location from life. That class taught me so much. I soon learned that the discipline needed to create a painting in a few hours was just what I needed to mold my crude attempts into better works of art.
I loved the challenge of painting plein air and it soon became a passion. I entered plein air events and competitions where I could show my work along side well known plein air artists. These competitions soon pushed me to be a better painter.
Painting Landscapes in Great Locations
I Travel to Paint
I love to travel and I love to paint so being able to combine the two is the perfect situation. I pack up my gear in my trusty artomobile and take to the road several times a year. My road trips are an exciting adventure of discovery. Whether I go alone or in a group with other artists, I always look forward to discovering new places, returning to favorite locations or stumbling on an unexpected gem.
Add to that the unpredictability of the weather and you can see that my painting trips are something special. I have painted in the heat well over 100 and in freezing cold. I remember a trip with five other artists up at Big Bear Lake in October. We woke early to paint only to find it was 15 degrees and had snowed. Brrrrrr. Luckily I was prepared. I painted that morning and the next day and came home with three great paintings.
The trick to a successful painting trip is to be prepared for anything. If in doubt, I pack it. You can never be too prepared for all those unexpected surprises.
more to come.....Comment on or Share this Article →
Clouds Over Cockscomb
Defining creativity is like trying to put into words the intangible. It is, by nature a term that defies our established concepts and is in a constant state of flux. Fluid, ever-changing, evolving and as evasive as mist, it means different things to different people.
As an artist, it isn't easy to come to terms with the somewhat nebulous, but strangely fascinating concept of creativity. Where does creativity spring from? Will I find my creative voice? And when I find it will I be able to keep it? These and dozens of other questions come to mind when I consider my own creativity.
People who see my work will sometimes say, “You’re so talented. I could never do that.” I always smile and thank them but talent is merely an aptitude, a gift, in a specific area. In reality, that statement insinuates that only luck separates the creative person from everyone else. It says that I was lucky to get the talent, they were not. There are two problems with this. First it dismisses all my hard work, the hours of practice, experiments, classes and study. Second, it isolates the creative spirit as something only certain people are blessed with while others are lacking. I don’t accept that.
I believe creative thought is possible for everyone. But many times that creativity is abandoned at a very early age. Whether from outside influences or internal doubt, the ability to recognize our creativity is too often closed down or lost. This disconnect is often triggered by fear. Fear of failure, fear of humiliation, fear of being different, and fear of rejection. But the ability to create is there for everyone to embrace. The longer we believe that we are not creative, the harder it can be to tap into our naturally spontaneous side. I doubt I will ever confront that person who believes they have no “talent." I will probably still just smile and say thank you but I hope you will join me to spread the word. Be bold, be creative.
To help you recognize your own creativity listen to these two wonderful talks on TED Talk
David Kelly: “How to Build Your Creative Confidence”,
Elizabeth Gilbert: “Your Elusive Creative Genius”Comment on or Share this Article →
Above the Arroyo 11x14 Oil
The Getty Museum was denied an export visa for a manuscript they acquired at Sotheby's, a London auction house. It seems that this is business as usual for the United Kingdom's catch-all Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
"The Deeds of Sir Gillion de Trazegnies in the Middle East," a 14-by-10-inch book with eight half-page miniatures painted by Lieven van Lathem in 1464, was purchased with a winning bid of $5.87 million by the Getty. But the UK government has invoked a post World War II doctrine which can stop the export of any work of art that is more than 50 years old and of significant value.
Some say this bureaucratic excuse is now being used by the UK as a protectionist contrivance, a sad legacy of that nation's post-World War II decline. Others insist it is a high-minded urge to protect Britain's artistic patrimony. Whatever the motive, the result is the same. The Getty will not have its new manuscript any time soon. The three-month hold on the book is renewable and designed to allow time for a matching British bid for the artwork so it will stay in the UK.
The odd thing is its history. The original manuscript was made for and owned by Louis de Gruuthuse of the Netherlands. Louis passed it on to François I who kept it at his château at Blois in France. What happened after that is not clear, but somehow from 1817 to the recent sale, the book has been in the collection of the Dukes of Devonshire at Chatsworth. But get this, the current duke is deputy chairman of Sotheby's. Yes, the same auction house that sold the manuscript in December to the Getty.
Things that make you go Hmmmmm. So is this some kind of elaborate scheme to get the Getty's money, a bureaucratic bungle or what. Who knows? But when millions of dollars change hands, I can guarantee something IS going on.Comment on or Share this Article →
I have been teaching a lot of art classes lately and have started a series of tutorials. This one is about Drawing the Figure.
To see the entire tutorial click on the title below.
In my teens I left home to attend an art college. Not very worldly or experiences, I was pretty shocked at my first figure drawing class. I noticed that many of the students tried to be casual but I think we were all pretty embarrassed by the nude male model. I tried to be mature and understand that throughout history figure drawing has been an essential part of an artist's training. I am glad that I was able to overcome my initial reaction because the hours I spent in that class where invaluable. Drawing gestures, comparing proportions and improving my observational skills all contributed to my growth as an artist.Comment on or Share this Article →