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
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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...
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Sharon Weaver with Award at Victor Celebrates the Arts
To experience an emotion
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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 →
Reflections in the Harbor 24x18 Oil
I am surprised to read so soon that there is yet another twist to the MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art in LA) saga which has been unraveling in the press.
Now that LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) has made an offer to buy the beleaguered modern art museum, it seems that a white knight has come to the rescue. The National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC has offered assistance after being approached by billionaire Eli Broad. The agreement would not include financial or fund-raising assistance for MOCA but the collaboration may help to ward off, at least temporarily, a merger with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
In my last post, I mentioned that such a merger would be beneficial to both museums but it seems that a mega-museum is not what Mr. Broad wants. The agreement which is still being worked out, would have the National Gallery involved with programming, research and exhibitions at MOCA and this association is somehow supposed to open the fundraising doors for MOCA that up until now have been shut. Sounds a little odd. Perhaps the Washington influence would also bring outside money. Who knows.
What exactly is going on between Eli Broad and LACMA? (This tale is best told through animated artspeak gif. Too funny.) It seems like Mr. Broad would like to keep MOCA out of the sphere of LACMA. I am not sure whether this is good news or bad news or if it will even work but as I said before it sure is interesting.Comment on or Share this Article →
Dragon Stance 14x11 Oil My husband at the museum.
I have followed the local drama with MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art) for the last several years and thought it interesting that last month LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) has submitted a proposal to MOCA to buy the modern museum, forming what the media is calling a mega-museum. The financial and political problems that have plagued MOCA since former New York gallery owner, Jeffery Deitch, took over as director, have made headlines. Some highlights include the resignation of most of the board over a power struggle with LA's art mogul, Eli Broad; and the ousting of Paul Schimmel, the longtime chief curator. What I find so fascinating about all this is how it is all playing out before the our very eyes. The unusually public look into a usually very exclusive world is a drama where reputations are being ruined, the fight for power is epic and billions of dollars are being won and lost.
The merger seems to be gaining support and is likely to happen which is probably good for both museums. LACMA's meager collection of contemporary art would be well supplemented by MOCA. In fact LACMA doesn't seem to know what to do with all the space it has in the two new modern art buildings, The Broad Contemporary and Resnick Pavillion. The last time I was at LACMA I was so disappointed with the empty spaces, unused galleries and uninspired exhibitions that I emailed to them to let them know what was showing in those two buildings was not worthy of a world class museum.
I think that LACMA suffered a real blow when Broad took his collection out of the Broad Contemporary and decided to build his own museum across the street from MOCA. When the (NEW) Broad opens in 2014 the art that used to be at LACMA, in the Broad Contemporary, will be at the (new) Broad instead. With the merger, MOCA will have achieved two much needed benefits. First it will be financially secure and second it will have formed an alliance with a heavy weight that can keep it from being devoured by Broad when he opens across the street.
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If you follow this thing, it all becomes very twisted indeed.
Low Tide at the Wetlands 12x12 Oil
I recently heard that a club I belong to is thinking of changing their rules to bar some of the members from showing their work in the club's shows. This club prides itself in being a friendly, non competitive group that welcomes all levels, any medium and varied genre so this discussion surprised me. Of course, this idea of excluding some while including others isn't unusual. Another club I belong to has a jurying process that evaluates a body of your work to decide if you are good enough to be included in an exhibition. Still another has several different levels of artist ranking, all of which involves a gauntlet of judging requirements.
The thing that makes the first clubs situation unique is that the board is thinking of excluding multiple award winning members from being able to enter shows thus allowing other artists to win prizes. Kind of the opposite of how most clubs work. I am saddened to think that the club would exclude some artists, especially when those members are active participants within the club. In 2007 this group was the first art club I joined. I have learned so much, met so many great people and enjoyed many art shows with the organization. The monthly meetings are still one of my favorite places to share, talk about and learn about art.
In contrast, other art organizations put artists through all kinds hurdles to achieve recognition through a higher level of club accomplishments. Every step is more difficult than the last and more exclusive. Of course, the idea is that as you improve you will be recognized and move up in the hierarchy.
The contrast between these two philosophies makes me realize that every organization is performing a balancing act between inclusion and exclusion, a seductive dance of just enough carrot and stick to keep everyone happy. If the club is too inclusive, you may be penalized for being too good but if it is too exclusive there is the distinct chance of being stuck at the entry-level, unhappy that you have not received more recognition. In both situations the club is risking losing members who are dissatisfied with their position in the club.
And you thought it was just a place to meet other artists. For some, the solution is to organize their own club. Then you can make up the rules you like.Comment on or Share this Article →
Golden Hills 8x10
This month is crazy. I knew I had a busy schedule in October and now I am living through it with three different trips. Two down and one to go.
My first trip was one of inspiration; a painting trip. What you paint is as important as how you paint so these painting trips are the starting point for many future works. Getting references, soaking in the local color and painting studies all help to give life and authenticity to larger studio paintings.
Last year I had a very successful painting trip to the Kern River, so I took another trip up that way to Rankin Ranch. On the drive up, I stopped to paint at Fort Tejon where I again tackled the Golden Hills of California. Painting in new locations can be tricky and there is never a guarantee that the painting will turn out but I always strive to capture a sense of place. Golden Hills was one of many paintings I showed this last weekend in Redlands where I was the featured artist for Art, For Heaven's Sake!
I wanted to thank everyone at the Redlands United Church of Christ who worked very hard to make the event a great success. All the volunteers were very helpful, generous and organized making the entire weekend a pleasure. It was great to see my friends who came to the show and a real treat to talk to so many of the Redlands residence. I hope everyone will drop me an email and stay in touch. If you took home one of my paintings, thanks again.Comment on or Share this Article →
Seacliffs at Garapata Original Sold
Quality Prints are Available at Sharon Weaver Art
I was recently happy to hear from one of my clients who shared a photo of my painting hanging in their living room. Seacliffs at Garapata never made it to a gallery or into any show because it was purchased off my website shortly after I completed it. Consequently I never really had a chance to enjoy it myself. Believe me, I am not complaining but am only offering an insight into why I was so excitement when I saw the photo. The painting fits so perfectly above the mantel, it looks as if it were painted just for that spot. Some things are just meant to be.
This experience reminded of a blog discussing the feeling an artist faces when selling a painting into which they have put their heart and soul. One artist commented that he regrets selling any of his work. Others talk of it as a bittersweet feeling of accomplishment and regret. Maybe none of these people had the opportunity, as I have, to see the painting in its cherished new home. When I opened the photo my reaction was a feeling of pride and satisfaction. I could not image a better spot for this painting to be than where it is.
I have never met the couple who bought this painting and they live in the southeast, far from my home in LA, but I have made it a point to keep in touch, send them updates of my shows and let them know that I appreciate their purchases. Keeping the lines of communication open has given me the opportunity to see my painting in their home and the satisfaction of knowing how much they enjoy my work.
- "God’s in His heaven—
- All’s right with the world!" Robert Browning
Lake George, 11x14 Oil
The show Edgar Payne: the Scenic Journey at the Pasadena Museum of California Art, has inspired me in many ways. Not only are the paintings a revelation with masterful color, composition and brushwork, but the images of the Eastern Sierra had me longing for a road trip up north to visit the locations where Payne painted many of his most recognizable works.
I recently returned from that trip with a wealth of material for future paintings and I even had a chance to set up my easel while I was there. Lake George was painted one crisp, sunny morning on the shores of the emerald waters of the lake. The pine trees lining the banks and Mammoth Crest in the background created a lovely view for me to paint.
Sharon Weaver Painting Lake George
Only a short hike from Mammoth takes you to TJ Lake, which is pristine, quiet, and a great place to fish.
This short painting trip has given me lots of ideas so look for future paintings inspired by this trip to the Eastern Sierras.Comment on or Share this Article →
A few weeks ago Emma Jacobson-Sive, Director of Public Relations at the Pasadena Museum of California Art, contacted me to see if I would be interested in doing an interview for the KUSC (91.5) show "Arts Alive." The radio station wanted to talk to some fans about the current exhibition, Edgar Payne: the Scenic Journey. It seems Emma saw my blog post, Edgar Payne: Master of Composition, and thought I would qualify as a super fan or "Payniac." Having already been to the show several times and planning for more trips before the closing date of October 14th, I seemed well qualified for the job and it also sounded like a lot of fun.
I agreed to meet the reporter at the museum along with my fellow "Payniac," Marian Fortunati. We didn't know what to expect but it only took a few questions before we both were talking eagerly about Edgar Payne and his amazing talent. Seeing the paintings in person has made a lasting impression, so it was easy to discuss the compositions, colors, brushwork and scale of the paintings. Not only does the show have an astonishing collection of Payne's work but there are also small value sketches and insightful stories next to each painting which help reveal the process of the artist.
The radio show is airing this Saturday, September 8 on Classical KUSC 91.5 on the dial at 8 AM. I hope you will tune in to listen. If you can't tune in that morning there will be a podcast of the show at the KUSC website after the original airing.
The Pasadena Museum of California Art has also put together a fantastic book of the exhibition so if you can't see the show this is the next best thing:
The small town of Saratoga, California is surrounded by vineyards which stripe the rolling hills. The patchwork of green rows are interrupted by oak trees, farmhouses and stables. While wandering around the stables at Garrod Farm, I came across this view looking out toward San Jose. Cooper-Garrod Estate Vineyard is a family farm which includes a puzzle of dirt roads that wind passed dozens of riding stables and continues up to a pond and this view. The tasting room is in an old green farm-house with antique cars and gas pumps from another era.
The unique character of this place had me wandering around and taking lots of photos long after I finished my painting. View from the High Road was painted during the 2012 Los Gatos Plein Air.Comment on or Share this Article →
Some experiences forever change your perception of art. The Edgar Payne show at the Pasadena Museum of California Art is an example of one of these rare occasions when I am transformed. Awed by this incredible exhibition of paintings, I have come away even more convinced that composition is the single most important factor in every work of art. Each painting is a lesson in design; examples of a master painter orchestrating color, value and subject to produce images that are not only beautiful but constructed so perfectly that it is impossible to imagine them any other way. These principles can be seen even in photos of Payne's work, but what you can't see in a flat reproduction are the long deliberate brush strokes, the thick paint and the layers of colors.
Seeing how Payne first put a layer of darker blue under a lighter pink to form the highlights of the mountains gave me a glimpse into how he thought and the steps he used to achieve luminous lush colors. On close examination, I could see where he added a sunlit mountain ridge over a dark shape to design a better composition. I could image him adding this highlighted area to break up the large dark shape because the composition demanded it, not because it was there in nature.
I intend to go back to this exhibition many times during its time here in Los Angeles. I recommend that you make every effort to see this once in a lifetime exhibition. Who knows if it will ever come together again.Comment on or Share this Article →
Fog Over the Lake 11x14
Finding natural looking lakes in California isn't easy. It usually requires a long drive and a pretty strenuous hike. With all my painting gear that isn't easy. One exception is the Lexington Reservoir that I painted during the 2012 Los Gatos Plein Air event. Easily accessible from the road it offers spectacular views enhanced by its tree lined banks. The ocean fog sometimes works its way inland just far enough to add mystery to the surrounding mountains. Fog Over the Lake is a morning when that fog was present. In an hour it was only a memory, burned off by the sun.
Malibu Lagoon 11x14 Oil on Panel
Another amazing place water feature closer to home is the Malibu Lagoon. I just found out that they have started its renovation. This is one of my favorite spots to paint and a jewel of undeveloped coast along the miles of PCH that is Malibu. The dredging of stagnant areas and removal of telephone poles and other debris sounds like a good idea but the closure of this estuary will place more stress on the wildlife that depend on its waters for their survival. My painting Malibu Lagoon is a small representation of the beauty that is contained in this preserve. How long it will take for renovation and how well they are prepared to preserve the natural beauty of this treasure remains to be seen. At least I have this painting.Comment on or Share this Article →
Three's Company 11x14 Oil
My day trip to Laguna Beach was amazing. As I drove into a parking spot at Heisler Park in Laguna, I knew it was going to be a great day. The sun sparkled off the water, there was a light breeze and the temperature was in the 80s. First on any day trip, I like to take some photos, walk around and just enjoy the place. There were two other plein air painters on the point (in my painting near the 3 palm trees) who were painting the rocks below. Instead I liked the view looking south at the rocks and set up along the park walkway.
Because of my location a lot of people stopped by to look, ask questions and give their positive opinion. Thanks to all of you who took the time to chat. I notice that I feed off the energy of the people and if someone doesn't stop to look, I wonder why. This small boost must be only a fraction of what a performer or sports star must feel when they are being cheered on by an adoring crowd. I can only speculate on that rush. So if you are out there painting in front of people, don't be self conscious, but instead use that energy and enjoy the attention.
After painting, I attended "the Best of Plein Air" at Seven Degrees Gallery. The exhibition is put on by the Laguna Plein Air Painter Association. Even though I am a newbie to the club and this is the first show I showed in, the members were very welcoming and it turned out I knew several of the other artists. This only reinforces my view that supporting local clubs is very important. I look forward to participating in more shows with this group. The show continues through June 27 at Seven Degrees, 891 Laguna Canyon Rd. in Laguna Beach, CA 92651. You can contact Rosemary Swimm at (949) 376-3635 or (949) 584-9162.Comment on or Share this Article →
Lily Pond Afternoon
Lily Pond Afternoon 14x11 $700
Is it important to study the old masters? I think so and here is why. There are reasons why the old masters are considered masters. They have already figured it out. The common denominator in all great works of art, irregardless of medium, materials or technique is that they all have great design. Underlying all old master paintings is a consistent collection of basic visual truths and design principles. They have worked things out to perfection and we can learn so much from studying the old masters. So why do so few artists understand this? I'm not sure except that maybe it is just too obvious and therefore dismissed as too easy an answer. Taking inspiration from the masters is a sure way to learn and grow. I am not talking about copying a painting but instead taking note of how another artist approaches a given subject. The composition, design and color balance are all there to study in paintings by master artists. You only need to take the lesson and apply it with your interpretation.
For example, last week I had the opportunity to paint at the Huntington Library which is a labyrinth of beautiful and diverse gardens. Japanese, Australian, Chinese and the Desert Gardens are only a few of the many environments you can visit while at the Huntington but my favorite is the Lily Pond Garden. So when I was granted access to the gardens, I immediately thought of Monet's amazing paintings. Taking the time to once again look at a few images, I could imagine Monet standing next to me as I painted this lily pond. Inspired by Monet, I could visualize the finished painting before I even started. I drew from my minds eye the harmony of color, the strong design and the fresh brush work.
Paint from life. Live to paint.Comment on or Share this Article →
Tide Pool 11x14 Oil
This morning was a bust. With so many upcoming exhibitions, I needed to sit and decide what paintings I will put into which show and then figure out how many frames to order to cover all those entries. I wanted to write this blog early but first discovered some personal issues that needed my attention and now the morning is almost gone and I still need to figure out what canvases I need to buy for another show I am painting for in June, and on and on it goes. Augh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The pressure I feel when things spin out of control is a natural reaction. I know I am missing something, that a great opportunity will sneak by and that I am not making the most of my time. I become frustrated, anxious and worried. The discomfort only feeds on itself causing more unproductive time. Breaking out of this cycle is imperative and I wanted to share a few ideas which help me.
- I make a list. Simple but very effective. Writing down the things I need to do helps me visualize how I will accomplishing each one. As an artist I am visual so once I can see how I will do something it becomes much easier to actually do it. I also love checking off each task as they are completed.
- I tell myself that there is no one thing that will make or break me. My career is built on a series of accomplishments that accumulate over years so if I don't enter one show, in the big picture, it isn't important.
- Take a deep breath, and breath. Being in control is highly overrated and sometimes it is nice to embrace the chaos. I think how wonderful it is to have so many shows going on at once, that I am doing something I love and with time, everything will unfold as it should.
- Don't be a drama queen (or king). I am not very patient so I need to realize that I can only achieve my goals with the help of other people. Sometimes those other people are not going the same speed as I am, so patience is required. Not everything can be done NOW.
Afternoon Clearing 11x14 Oil Available at Fine Art and Antique on Lake
"There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you (the artist) into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. ... No artist is pleased. [There is] no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others."
Many of my artist friends have asked me why should they be artists? Why bother painting if so few see it or care about it? I have tried to articulate my feelings but have fallen far short of any convincing argument, so when I read this, I thought of those conversation and wanted to share this remarkable quote. It cuts to the very core of my experience as an artist. The anxiety over my work, the constant dissatisfaction with my craft, the need to be better, are all put into perspective when I read this wonderful advice from one artist (Martha Graham) to another (Agnes de Mille). I wish I could have said it half as well.
Instead of being anxious over my displeasure, I see my dissatisfaction as the natural state of an artist. Embracing that unrest and using it to keep motivated is how an artist channels creativity. Being OK with the fact that I will never be 100% pleased with my work, is the only solution. Being open to the creative force and acting on it, is my only option. Seeing my unrest as blessed is an incredible insight.
Paint from life; live to paint.Comment on or Share this Article →
Spring Sycamore 16x20 Oil
I just returned from a week vacation in Cabo San Lucas. On both the flight out and the return landing, Los Angeles was cold and raining so sunny Mexico was a good idea. I always like to see the local art community when I travel and I was not disappointed by the Thursday night art walk in San José. The evening stroll around the streets included a surprising wealth of interesting local crafts, jewelry, fine art, pottery and landscapes of the area. Much of the work was very well done with both American and Mexican artists represented.
Colorful Local Crafts
Baja is a dry desert with far-flung oasis of palm trees. Lush vegetation along the coast is only where man has added irrigation at the resorts. The lack of color in the landscape is a stark contrast to the patchwork of colorful buildings and the use of bright intoxicating colors in their crafts. The trip was a feast for the eyes.
Lands End in the Distance
A large envelope was awaiting my return and I was happy to see that I was juried into Art Matters Encore! sponsored by the San Marino League and showing at the Huntington Library on May 5.Comment on or Share this Article →
Photo of Winter Sky
Time is a resource which is finite. You only get so much and when it's finished so are you. That is why I think that leap year is a very unique event. How often have you said, "If only I had more time." Well this year you do. One more day comes at the end of February. Think of that. You have an extra day of time to do anything, anything at all. What will you do with that extra day? Will you overlook this opportunity or take advantage of it? You could stick to the same schedule that you do day in and day out but maybe just once every four years you could do something amazing. Push the norm and try something unexpected, share the day with someone you care about, volunteer at a local charity, try a new adventure, take a chance on something new. Step out of your comfort zone. Experiment with a new medium, take a trip, do something just for yourself, the possibilities are endless. After all it is an extra day in your life so make it count.
High Sierra Snow
How many of you have sold one of your paintings? More than one? Good, because I have a story to tell you about how crazy the fickle finger of fate can be.
So there is an artist. He struggles to express his inner thoughts with oil paints on canvas. The work of this artist is not received with enthusiasm by art critics and is rejected by galleries and collectors alike. In fact, only one of his paintings sells in his lifetime. Luckily, this artist has a younger brother who is devoted to him and who supports him, allowing the artist to pursue his life's work. Only two years after the younger brother is married to Johanna, tragedy strikes. The artist is killed. All his work is taken in by the brother but fate isn't finished and only six months later the younger brother of the artist dies as well.
Johanna is grief stricken at her husbands death. She is surrounded with the artwork of her dead brother-in-law and finds a desk full of hundreds of letters, a correspondence between the artist and her dead husband. Her friends and family tell her to get rid of all this junk. No one wants the paintings, the letters are only sad reminders of her loss. She is still young and needs to move on. She could remarry, start over. Johanna even tries to give the paintings away to a museum, but they didn't want them. The easy road would have been for Johanna to listen to their advise and give up.
If she had, the name and work of Vincent van Gogh would be forgotten. Instead Johanna van Gogh-Bonger dedicated her life to promoting Vincent's art. She organized art exhibitions to show van Gogh's work, paying for it through the estate left by her husband, Theo van Gogh. She went through those letters and published a book in 1914, The Letters of Vincent van Gogh. Publication of the letters helped spread the compelling mystique of van Gogh throughout Europe and the rest of the world. As they say, "The rest is history."
Some argue that 90% of all art is destroyed, melted down, painted over or thrown away. The artists agony and struggle are largely forgotten. Could van Gogh have guessed his legacy? He died not knowing the future as a failure. So artists everywhere take heart. If you have sold more than one painting you are way ahead of Vincent van Gogh. Let's just hope you have a Johanna in your family.Comment on or Share this Article →
Morning Light Through the Trees
Morning Light Through the Trees 6x12 Oil on Panel
A group of artists gather together to paint on location. It happens all over and you probably have a group in your town. Every Thursday, I know I can join a supportive, talented and generous group of painters in the beautiful area around Pasadena, California. I have painted off and on with the San Gabriel group called "Thursdays En Plein Air" for a few years but haven't been out lately so this last week I met up with the troupe at Cobb Estate in the San Gabriel Mountains of Altadena.
The early morning light was creating lovely shadows and soft pastel colors suffused the surrounding mountains. I painted with about 25 other artists and afterward there was a critique. If you have never had the benefit of listening to a critique from an artist you admire, you are missing out on a great learning experience. It takes a certain amount of humor combined with honesty to deliver both the positive and the negative sides to each painting. If done with equal amounts everyone leaves feeling inspired to push forward and come back for more. Although each artist is at a different stage of development in their craft, everyone is eager to improve. I always leave with positive feedback.
This group is very successful and attracts dozens of artists every time they meet largely due to the wonderful people who contribute their time to make every outing worthwhile. I am impressed with the selfless dedication of everyone involved. You may not have a large group like this but every group will have different benefits. Try the critique too. If you are a small group critique each others work. If you paint with a larger group take turns each week. Every opinion is worthwhile but it is your choice as to which opinion you follow. Very early in my career I was naïve enough to believe that I knew it all. The real problem was that I didn't know enough to realize how little I knew. It wasn't until I started to grow that I came to understand the nature of art. There is always something to learn. Don't settle for the next level. Push through to ascend even farther on your artists path.Comment on or Share this Article →
Why does a painting sell? What element distinguishes an image from others and connects with a client? Is it color, subject, or that intangible emotion you feel when viewing a work of art? Last night I sold two paintings at the California Art Club "Iconic California" reception and I started to think about why those two paintings sold and what was my vision as I painted these two paintings.
"Strawberry Fields" was painted from a photo I took in Carmel at the 2011 Carmel Art Festival. Searching for subjects to paint the next day for the plein air event, I drove by workers in this field. I stopped to take a photo but several people rushed over telling me I couldn't take pictures. I told them I was just an artist not someone who could get them in trouble but they where adamant that I could not stay there. Needless to say, I found other scenes to paint for the plein air event but I didn't forget about the workers I had seen in the strawberry field. In the short time that I saw them, they had made an emotional connection with me, so when I returned home I decided to do a painting from the one photo I had taken before being run off.
I loved how the painting evolved but not everyone felt the same way about it as I did. My husband told me he liked it but admitted he didn't think it would sell. I disagreed. I saw not just workers in a field but I could sence the farmers love for the land, the solitude of the workers and the eternal struggle of survival. This little painting had captured the feel of the place and I was thrilled that someone had been moved by my painting too. Sharing a fundamental emotion with the buyer through my work is the ultimate achievement.
It is the artists job to see the extraordinary in the everyday, to see the beauty in the common place. The solitary farm workers among the regimented rows of strawberries evoked a strong emotional connection with me. That emotional link lingered long afterward and I called upon that connection when I painted. The scene was both beautiful and simple, the design distinctive and familiar but, I am convinced, it was the emotion I transferred to the canvas that sold the painting.
High Sierra Snow, Along the Kern River, and Orange Grove in the Late Afternoon are still available at the California Art Club "Iconic California" Exhibition at the Altadena Town & Country Club. The show remains open through May 15 and paintings can be purchased through the California Art Club.
2290 Country Club Drive
Altadena, Ca 91001Comment on or Share this Article →
Shadow on Half Dome
Shadow on Half Dome 11x14 Showing at "Iconic California" at the Altadena Town & Country Club in Pasadena, CA
I just received my first rejection letter for 2012, so this week has been one of extremes. Monday, I was way up (see my last blog "Out of the Blue") and on Tuesday, the rejection letter. Of course, this isn't the first one I have ever gotten nor will it be the last and no matter how nicely they phrase the rejection, it still hurts. So how to deal with rejection. There is no easy answer when an artist's fragile ego is involved but there are steps to take when that dreaded form letter comes. Here are a few things I remember:
- It isn't personal. There are many factors which can lead to a rejection. Every judge has their own individual criteria which influences their choices. The judging process is very subjective and doesn't confirm that you don't have talent, it just means they liked other pieces more.
- Don't place too much importance on any one event, show or club. Keeping your art life balanced is very important. Take satisfaction from a variety of sources so when (note I didn't say if) a rejection comes it isn't devastating.
- Don't do yourself in by rehashing all your past failures. We all have them, but they are history so forget it and move on.
- Review your successes and focus on your strengths. It is always a good idea to stay positive so do this often.
- You can learn from a rejection. A serious evaluation of your entries may lead you to understand why you were rejected and how to improve your chances in the future.
- Like the song says : Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be). Rejection goes with the territory. If your fear of rejection takes over, you have a big problem, so take a deep breath and relax.
- Keep things in perspective. One rejection isn't that important. Just because you were rejected by one judge doesn't mean that tomorrow you won't get that acceptance letter from another show, gallery or event.
- Think of all the other artist who received that same rejection letter. You are not the only one. There is some consolation in numbers and we all take satisfaction in knowing that others are in the same situation.
- Get back on the horse and create. There is no better way to leave a rejection in the dust than to get up and create something new and amazing.
Today, after getting this rejection, I applied to another national show. I am optimistic that the next envelop will contain an acceptance letter. May all your letters be fat with acceptance and remember to:
Paint from life; live to paint.
Hoping to Go Sailing
This morning, out of the blue, I received a wonderful email from an artist I don't know, but who gets my newsletter. I think it is worth sharing.
Just a note to let you know, this morning I woke early, feeling a little down. When I checked my email, your newsletter was there and upon opening it and viewing your paintings I was transported to another place. I am an artist, so when I see what you are painting I am reminded to start again, pleinair painting, go out to nature and uplift my spirits. I have so much to learn, There is a possibility to grow and, perhaps travel and paint. To put my attention to something that can bring light and joy back to the forefront of my days.
Too look at the art that inspires me and get exited about experimenting and trying to keep painting and learning.
We have never met, I'm not even sure how I found your web sight. I am attracted to the way you mix color and your compositions look so effortless. Just thought that you might like to know that what you do touches people in different ways.
thank you your inspiring me this morning."
You can see why I felt great after reading her email this morning. Not only have I inspired another artist but that person took the time and made the effort to let me know that my work has helped her. Sitting at the computer, I often wonder how many people are out there listening, reading or seeing my work. Positive feedback sure does help motivate me with the marketing aspect of my business, an area that needs as much motivation as I can get. So thank you to my artist reader who I have touched with my art and words. How crazy is it to write to someone just to say thanks. Not crazy at all.Comment on or Share this Article →
I may be prejudice, since I am Moravian, but I think the Moravian Star is the most beautiful star ever invented. Every holiday in Los Angeles, I take out my Moravian Star for display in my livingroom. My recent trip to Bethlehem, PA (Christmas City, USA) had me thinking about my origins.
Few people have heard of the Moravians. They are a small but important group who were some of the earliest Protestants, rebelling against the authority of Rome more than a hundred years before Martin Luther in England. Jan Hus, founder of the Moravian Church, was burned at the stake for heresy against the Catholic Church. One unusual and shocking belief was the group's focus on universal education. By the middle of the 16th century there was not a single town without a Protestant school in the Czech lands, and many had more than one, mostly with two to six teachers each. In Jihlava, a principal Protestant center in Moravia, there were six schools: two Czech, two German, a Latin school and even one for girls.
The Moravian Star was invented in December 1820 by Christian Madsen at the Brethren House, a boys boarding school, in Niesky, Germany. The original star had 110 points and was used as decoration in January of 1821 for the fiftieth anniversary celebration of the school. The star was then used to demonstrate geometry lessons in Moravian schools but was eventually adopted by the Moravian Church as a symbol of the star of Bethlehem. Over the years, many innovations in the style, size and color of the star have been created. Today Moravian stars can have from six to over 100 points but the most widely used has 26. From lighted to unlighted, large to small, white to red, paper to glass, the Moravian star continues to represent the holiday season for everyone.
Don't you think inventing a new star is pretty amazing? If you would like to have a Moravian Star you can find them on Ebay but the best selection is from the Moravian Book Store. Happy Holidays and may this season bring you joy.
Apollo & Daphne statue by Gian Lorenzo Bernini
Imagination is amazing. It is an intangible thing but it manifests itself all around me. Someone designed practically everything I use and see. That desk, the computer, even the office I am sitting in all started with an idea. Someone first imagined it before it became reality. With so many artificial objects in my live, it isn't often that something jumps out at me and stops me in my tracks and says, "Look here. I'm beautiful." The last time this happened, I stopped the car to take a photo of an old yellow truck parked on the street around the corner from me. I was impressed with the sweeping fenders, extravagant front grill and decorative hood ornament. Someone designed this amazing machine to be mass-produced and to take you from point A to point B. Wow!
Maybe because of the holidays and looking for gifts to buy, I started thinking about that beautiful old truck and making some comparisons. I looked around at the latest gadgets that I had bought. They seemed blank, unimaginative, boring. I looked at the apartment building being built down the street and thought it looked like a glorified storage unit. I thought, "When was the last time my imagination was tickled by something new?" Todays products are designed to be invisible. They are geared to provide a service and be useful but not beautiful. Where is the passion for beauty in design that once was the hallmark of American ingenuity? Where is the imagination in design instead of just producing something cheap? Form can follow function and still be beautiful.
My thoughts made me realize that as artists, we have a unique opportunity to produce objects that are designed just for the sake of beauty. How amazing to make something with only the idea of producing something inspiring, an object of beauty for beauty's sake. Artists could be the last stronghold to preserve the concept of beauty.
Love the paint.Comment on or Share this Article →
Along the Kern River
This year is ending with a bang. Last night I found out that I received the Best of Show Award for my painting "Along the Kern River." I was Vice President of the San Fernando Valley Art Club for two years but I resigned my post at the end of 2010 because of this years busy schedule. I still try to make it to some of the meetings and enter the exhibitions which the club sponsors. Last night while helping to hang the show, I was impressed with the caliber of art on display. It is a wonderful high to have other artists recognize your work and I appreciate the kudos. SFVAC is the first club I joined when I started to paint full-time and I learned so much from all the supportive artists. Thanks to all the SFVAC members.
I also received the following email from Bob, a fellow artist at FASO.
I saw your comment on being better. Don't be too hard on yourself.
Your work is solid. All you have to do is, keep painting.
The work you do is always the best you can do at the time.
No one hits a home run every time.
Often your some of your early work will be "better" than your late work.
YOUR WORK IS SOLID!!!!!!
What makes this even more extraordinary is that I do not know Bob. He just decided to make my day a lot brighter with his support of my work. Thanks Bob. Here is an idea for every artist who reads this blog. 'Tis the season so why not email another artist and let them know how much you like their work. It will only take a minute and it could make their day, week or even their year better.
Light on the Lake (SOLD)
Fall is my favorite time of year. Growing up in rural Pennsylvania, I welcomed the change of colors in the trees, the crisp air and the rows of puffy clouds marching across the sky. I was not pleased to have to go back to school but even so, Fall captured my soul. Here in California, Autumn arrives later. While other areas have already had some snow, only now are the leaves changing color and falling to the ground here in LA.
My family didn't often have a big Thanksgiving dinner since my mother was a waitress and always worked that day, but don't feel sorry since there were always leftovers brought home after her shift. We enjoyed the turkey, stuffing and gravy for several days after the fact and I have good memories of those times. Hunting season opened and my father would go hunting for wild turkey and deer. My mom dreaded that he was such a good hunter since that meant she would have to pluck the turkey he shot or cook venison steaks from the deer he would bring home on the hood of his car. As the baby of the family with 3 brothers and 1 sister, I always got to be one of the two who competed for the wish but it always seemed they were the ones who walked away with the bigger half of the wishbone.
This has been an amazing year with increased sales, acceptance in the Oil Painters of America National Show, an award at the Carmel plein air competition, two articles in American Art Collector Magazine and having my work accepted into a gallery in Carmel. I have a lot to be thankful for. I hope that you have much to be grateful for too and that you will be spending the day celebrating with those you love. Happy Thanksgiving.Comment on or Share this Article →
Reflections of the Past (Sold)
::: Renoir :::
I’m not an abstractionist. I’m not interested in the relationship of color or form or anything else. I’m interested only in expressing basic human emotions: tragedy, ecstasy, doom, and so on.
My first impression of a painting by Renoir is his mastery of color but in his own words, emotion is his singular goal. The majority of painters are emotional about their work but how successful are they about transferring that emotion to the canvas and in turn to the viewer? Sometimes I become so involved in the technique, the method, the colors that I forget what I am trying to capture; a feeling.
I have a show coming up with the figure as the theme. For me, working in the studio is a very different process than painting plein air. In the studio everything is planned, I have an idea of what I want to do before I ever touch a brush. This is in stark contrast to painting plein air where chance, luck and the ability to take advantage of any situation are crucial. I am in the concept stage now so I am concentrating on the emotions that I want to invoke. Without the paint and canvas to distract me, I can focus all my energy into creating a feeling. Achieving success with these paintings starts with this conceptual process. If I see the finished work in my mind, I have confidence I can achieve it on canvas.
I will keep you posted as things develop. LOVE THE PAINT.Comment on or Share this Article →
Earlier this week I read that Tommy Hilfiger (fashion designer) spent $1.4 million on Damien Hirst’s “Disintegration -- The Crown of Life.” If you are not familiar with Hirst you should look him up. He exploits the current need for excess with his art. He made a human skull covered in diamonds. That guy.
The work that sold to Hilfiger looks like a stained glass window from a Gothic cathedral but on closer inspection is really thousands of butterflies applied to the canvas. The use of butterflies to make pretty things isn't new. I remember years ago while on vacation, walking into a shop where butterflies were mounted behind glass, their wing colors forming intricate shapes. The pieces where lovely as are many of Hirst's work. Hirst is a master at taking natural objects and pushing our perception over the top with the use of exaggerated opulence. Judging by his success, the in your face, attention-getting pieces seem to appeal to the current brand of movers and shakers in the art world.
So can a traditional artist, like you or I, hope to find an audience? Or should we grab some notoriety by pushing our art? Gold leaf trees; pavé diamond skies anyone? Today, representational artists are facing challenges from all sides. Even artists who are established are seeing drastic drops in sales, evaporating venues and stiff competition. As artists, we all struggle with the decisions we make and are seduced by the idea of financial success. Should Hirst influence our work? Can we incorporate some of his edge into our work? Should we be on the edge or continue on a traditional course? Is achieving financial success the number one consideration? Just thinking.
Sierra Stream is one of five paintings showing at the Valley Artist Guild:
Encino Terrace Center Exhibition
November 7, 2011 – February 3, 2012
Reception: Friday, December 9, 4pm–6:30pm
The red rocks of Zion National Park are a magical color in the early morning. The diffused light and deep shadows add a lot of blue to the rocks giving them a rich depth. As the rocks recede into the distance, a soft purple glow embodies the cliffs. There are not many places in the park where this play of light happens and where the sun isn't washing out these colors, so I was thrilled when I happened upon Big Bend.
I got off at the Big Bend stop on my first morning to see what I would be able to paint and was rewarded with a view of two California condors. One was perched on the steep cliff face and the ranger, who was thrilled to have spotted it in the telescope, was telling everyone to take a look. As I stood there with a dozen other park visitors, another condor took off from the shadows and glided into the sunlight far above our heads. Seeing two at one time is very unusual and the ranger was almost in tears. The second condor, continued to soar hundreds of feet over the canyon floor and eventually settled back on the cliff face. When I told another ranger at the information center about my condor encounter, she informed me that in her three years at the park she has never seen one. I guess it was a once in a lifetime event.
Big Bend continued to reward me with a wonderful painting experience but the early morning was cold. Lucky for me, I remembered to take my hand warmers and they really helped keep me warm. By noon the temperature was in the 60's and I took the bus back to the visitors center to have lunch.Comment on or Share this Article →
A work of art which did not begin in emotion is not art. Paul Cezanne
It seems that artists have been around a lot longer than archaeologists thought after paint is found in shells in an African cave. There was enough of the dried pigment to test its composition and confirm that the mixture consisted of ochre, animal fat and marrow and dated to 100,000 years ago. It overturns the notion that man started painting only 60,000 years ago. *
As I try to imagine the motive of these primitive people, I reflect on my own basic need to create. Understanding where that need comes from and what is the catalyst that inspires creativity is not an easy task. Some say they are driven by a strong force that defies explanation but produces an irresistible compulsion. Others explain this need in a long worded account but I love the insights from other artists into the process. The short quotes that have survived over the centuries, I think, are the best; like the one above by Paul Cezanne. If emotion is at the start of the process than trusting my emotions is essential.
On my recent trip to Sedona and Zion I experienced some unusually vivid emotions which I channeled into my work. Arriving in Sedona, I experienced a feeling of awe, wonder and comfort. Looking back on my trip, I realized that when I found a painting location for the first time, if I felt an immediate affinity with the place, that feeling was translated into my painting. With so many intangible elements that are involved in the creative process, my feelings would seem to have a large influence on the final product. Be inspired and create from your emotion. The Sentinels is one of five paintings showing at Verde Gallery until the end of October.
*Here is the LA Times article: Artifacts indicate a 100,000-year-old art studio
Sunset in SedonaComment on or Share this Article →
I thought I would enter one more post about my trip to Hawaii. The week included several wonderful, but muddy, hikes. We were warned that the trails were wet and muddy so we prepared before heading for Mauna Wili Falls, or so we thought.
This summer, the west has been unusually cool and wet. My theory is that the earthquake and tsunami in Japan belched up a ton of frigid water from the depths of the ocean and all that cold water has effected our weather this summer. I have mentioned this to several people and their reaction has run the spectrum from, "You're crazy" to "that sounds logical." What do you think? Could the earthquake in Japan have an effect on the weather on the west coast?
Whatever the reason, the dry season in Hawaii is seeing lots of rain and you can see how muddy it is in the top photo. The trail at this particular part was raised on wood steps but most of the way we were down in the mud. Hiking out from the falls was even worse since it rained while we were swimming. Our sneakers turned into mud pies on the bottom with layers of encrusted slim. Mud on mud makes every step through the tree roots, rocks and mud a potential slide into the muck. I had several close calls as I grabbed nearby trees and boulders to stop an undignified plop into the mud but both Jeff and I made the hike into and out of the falls unscathed.
Jeff, my husband at a dry patch in the trail
What we thought would take a few hours had turned into just under four hours of intense hiking with us having to watch every step. By the time I got back to the car I was exhausted and starving for lunch.
Mauna Wili Falls, The Payoff
I did take a dip in the pool at the base of the falls but the water was freezing and several of the other hikers didn't venture into the water. Another adventure accomplished but I don't think I'll try it again unless the trail is dry.Comment on or Share this Article →
I just returned from seven days in Hawaii on Oahu. What an amazing place. I always take paints and sketching stuff but the beauty of the place is slightly intimidating. I always come home without painting.
Lots of people think that Oahu is just the busy side, with Waikiki and Honolulu, but the island is so much more. Just a short ride out of the city there are pristine trails to hike, waterfalls, lush rainforest and quite beaches. Thought I would share a few photos I took during my trip.
On the North Shore is Sharks Cove, a great snorkeling spot, but only in the summer. The winter months see some of the biggest surf anywhere and many surfing competitions take place then. When we where there, it was still relatively calm but the seas were changing and several rollers came in smacking against the rocks and churning up the bottom. The visibility was just OK.
This cove along the east shore has a lovely little beach farther in, off to the right of the photo. That is where the famous love scene in "From Here to Eternity" with Deborah Kerr and Burt Lancaster was filmed. Isn't the color of the water amazing?Surfboards at Waikiki
Just before sunset, most of the surfers have come in but there where at least a dozen locals still catching waves as we sat on the beach to watch the sunset.
Living on the West Coast allows me easy access to the Hawaiian Islands and I make it a point to get there as often as I can. Maybe some of you are more disciplined than I am and have done some painting there. Although I always take some art supplies, I never get around to painting. It is all I can do to just take in the charm and character of the islands.Comment on or Share this Article →
Dana Point Harbor Boats
Notoriety is an interesting phenomenon. One that can make the individual not only famous but also bring fortune. I have been intrigued by the recent fame of an artist here in Los Angeles. Alex Schaefer was in the spotlight after being investigated by the police for one of his paintings. If you are not familiar with the story here is a brief summary.
Alex was painting a bank plein air, on location, for an upcoming show. As a social commentary, he added flames to the top of the building as if it were on fire. For Alex, the burning bank symbolized how the global economy was destroyed by the banks with their reckless investments. Someone saw him painting a burning bank and called the cops. The police came out to talk to him, checking to see if he was a terrorist. Then the police came to his home to see if he was a terrorist. Then the LA Times wrote about it and published a photo of Alex and his painting of the burning bank. Finally, he sold the painting on Ebay for over $25,000. Way to go Alex.
Fame and fortune. Fortune and fame. They are intrinsically connected. I have heard the refrain that if your work is good it will sell but more and more it seems necessary to get attention with outrageous, unusual or newsworthy behavior to advance. Being propelled into the human stream of consciousness through social medium and learning to capitalize on that notoriety seems essential to financial success. Feeding the frenzy and making that notoriety last is another matter. Success is measured in many ways so figuring out were and how your definition fits into this crazy short attention span world should be one of your first challenges.Comment on or Share this Article →
Side Door at Carmel Mission
I just happened upon the airing of an interview of Lady Gaga by the French fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier on TV. In my former life, I graduated from Parsons School of Design and worked as a fashion designer in NYC for ten years, so I have an interest in the combined worlds of fashion and art.
The interview covered familiar ground as Lady Gaga told many of the same stories that are known to her fans, affectionately called Little Monsters. Often compared to Madonna, Gaga talked about being born famous. How fame is something that comes from within. Her love of fashion and everything artrageous is part of her personality. Pushing herself artistically and staying true to herself are priorities. She closed the interview by teller her beloved fans that she will continue to be fearless, to create and to change. Whatever you think of Lady Gaga and her music, listening to her interview she sounded like a mature, likable woman who knows what she is doing with her art and her career.
As a designer in NYC, I was in the spotlight and enjoyed wearing a costume (my fashion) as my public persona to camouflage and shelter the real me from that intrusion. I think Lady Gaga does the same thing with her over the top fashion. Being in costume is very liberating and allows an artist to be whoever they want. One of the most revealing moments was when she talked about being comfortable enough to fall asleep in her wigs and costumes. She went on to say, by living the fantasy she hopes to make it her reality.
As an artist I am constantly faced with the need to project a persona to the public. It must say, I am an artist. reconciling that with who I am can be daunting. The personal struggles of artists are documented throughout art history from Michelangelo to Van Gogh. How an artist deals with rejection, acceptance, staying connected to our muse, success and failure are the stuff of legends. Never forget that watching that struggle is very interesting to the public and makes for high drama.
Next time I'll talk about a local artists who found a national spotlight.Comment on or Share this Article →
Sailboat at the End of the Dock
I recently completed paintings for three different gallery openings. This has kept me focused on my work and painting nonstop for weeks though the entire summer. Preparing for an opening is an emotional experience. The power of creating, coordinating everything and the thrill of the reception all keep the adrenalin pumping. Now, after I have delivered all the paintings to their designated galleries and the openings are behind me, I can't help but feel let down.
I decided to take a much-needed week break from painting. Of course one week often lead to two and then it becomes difficult to rustle up the motivation needed to get back into painting. It is not for lack of ideas. I have several concepts ready and waiting but I feel lazy and a little lethargic.
So how do I get over that post reception let down and find the spark I need to paint? Here are a few ideas that get me going again and may help you too:
- Get out of the house and go to a museum. There is nothing like seeing a new exhibition to spark my need to create.
- Look through my favorite teaching art books. I am always inspired by Richard Schmid's book, Alla Prima but I am sure you have your favorite.
- Discuss my feelings with another artist. Sometimes all I need is a little positive support from a friend.
- Take my camera and head out to a beautiful/interesting spot. Whether you paint landscape, figurative or still life, seeing something that really grabs you will make an impression.
- Just paint. Sometimes all it takes is going through the motion of putting brush to canvas and before you know it your back in rhythm.
It is normal to go through periods of accelerated productivity followed with arrested progress. The ability to stay intense and focused is not infinite and recharging my batteries could be just what I need. Next week I will be painting again and this lull will be a thing of the past, just a little glitch in my journey.
Happy painting.Comment on or Share this Article →
Old Red at the Farmers Market
I always have a camera with me. Well maybe not always, but I try to always carry a camera just in case I see that perfect scene to paint. Being an artist has opened my eyes to the wonders that I pass every day which make fantastic subjects for a painting. Often it is ordinary things which are the most profound.
I was driving from LA to the Carmel Art Festival when nature called and as happenstance would have it I saw a nearby farmers market, restaurant and part museum all rolled into one just ahead. Driving onto the grounds I found antique tractors, farm equipment that looked like multi-legged space creatures and rusting coaches from another era. Walking into the vast building I found an abundance of brightly colored produce, baskets of fruits, garlic hanging from the ceiling and right in the middle of the floor, Old Red at the Farmers Market.
Donated to the market from a nearby farm, the rusted old truck still was being of use to display oranges, grapes and amber-colored jars of jam. It seemed to me the truck was happy with its place of honor and glad to still be of use. Luckily that day I did have my camera with me.Comment on or Share this Article →
Coast at Point Mugu
I know every part of the USA has its own appeal. From Maine to Hawaii, every state is unique and lovely but as a transplant from the east coast who lives in California, I can't help but continually extol its amazing beauty. Driving up the coast, the first thing Marian Fortunati, Diane Gold and I noticed was the amazing color of the water. WOW! The turquoise blue was electric. Exploring the immediate area we found the destroyed remains of the old road that wound around the rock at the ocean's edge. The sea had undermined its foundation casting the broken concrete and rock into the ocean 100 feet below. So much for man's dominance over nature.
The surf was large and the relentless pounding of the waves, reminding me how fragile is our hold over the forces of nature. We continue to pretend we are in control but the truth is far less certain. Watching a particularly huge wave come in and cover most of the rocks I was painting, I couldn't help but be awed. It was glorious.
I painted Coast at Point Mugu with abandon, only stopping to talk with several people who expressed interest in my work. I had forgotten my own recommendation to always take a box of paintings with me, just in case. But the day was too amazing for anything to dampen my euphoria.Comment on or Share this Article →