All Hat and No Cattle 10x8 Oil
Have you ever been painting away and you suddenly realize that you have lost sight of why you are painting this particular thing? I know this has happened to me. I get so involved in painting the stuff around the subject that I forget to keep my attention focused. The initial attraction has slowly slipped into the background and the most important areas are taking a backseat to things I barely noticed when I first saw the subject. Important Rule to Remember: Stay focused on what first attracted you.
A good example is my painting All Hat and No Cattle. When I first saw the cowboy I was attracted to his hat. I thought it was a great shape and liked the colors and values. It would have been so easy to meander to the flag and add too much detail or worry the corral and background into focus but I focused on the hat. The simple idea of remembering what first attracted me to paint the cowboy kept me on track. If you don't remember what is important in your painting how will the viewer be able to see it? You have to lead the viewer with your intent and paint with a focal point.Comment on or Share this Article →
Waterfall at the Huntington 14x11 Oil
Waterfalls are one of my favorite subjects to paint but there just aren't too many here in Southern California. I was thrilled to discover that the Huntington Garden has one of the prettiest waterfalls in the area. It is hidden up a seldom used path so I never would have found it if it hadn't been for a very helpful employee who told me about it.
The trick to painting waterfalls is to have a limited amount of whitewater and to use color for the rest of the falls. If you remember that water is reflective, like a mirror, it will be easier to paint it the color of the sky, the rocks and the vegetation. This simple rule of adding color to the water allows the highlights of the whitewater to stand out and sparkle. Apply water only where the sun hits the tops and edges of the water. Another challenge with waterfalls is to construct an interesting pattern made by the rocks. An S or Z are the best designs to consider when tackling the rocks below the falls.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 →
Sharon Weaver at one of her first exhibitions in 2008
I volunteer for several local art clubs in different degress. I made the decision last year to stay involved with these local organizations because I want to give back some of the kindness and information that I learned when I was a newbee member. Over the years, I have learned so much through the demonstrations and other artists in these groups that it seemed the right thing to do.
As a volunteer, I was recently asked to make some phone calls to new members of the California Art Club welcoming them into the club. In the process of letting them know what the club can do for them, I often get into personal discussions with each artist. One of the new members I talked to lives in an area where there are no local clubs. As we talked, I realized how desperate she was to find someplace where she could learn. I had a new appreciation of how lucky I was to have so many wonderful clubs in my area. The ease with which I jumped into the art community is a direct result of the clubs I joined when I first started to paint. Since we are all motivated by self interest, here are some wonderful reasons to get involved with a local art organization.
- Learning something new. Is it just me or does it seem the more I know the more I need to know? Every meeting, paint out or demonstration adds to my arsenal of artistic weapons.
- Meet wonderful artists, friends and painting partners. I have an amazing network of painting buddies, many of whom I have met through the local clubs.
- If you teach, there is a built in group of potential students.
- You can cultivate potential collectors. Don't overlook the fact that artists love to buy art.
- Most clubs will have at least one show a year so this is another opportunity to get your work out there.
- Learn how to enter juried shows, get tips on great frame suppliers, find out about a studio tour, the list of things you can learn are endless.
All you need to do is take the time to get involved.
Paint from life, live to paint.Comment on or Share this Article →
Storm Over the North Rim
Storm Over the North Rim 11x14 (The Grand Canyon)
Art auctions are big business. Just how big you ask? Well. The recent Scottsdale Art Auction set all time price records for both contemporary and historic Western artists. With the largest crowd ever at the auction in Arizona on March 31, the bidding was fierce with many paintings selling for well above the estimated sale price. Make no mistake, these paintings are probably being sold by collectors (not the artists) and I doubt that the artist is paid anything from the sale but still the artist does benefit. When your brand is in such demand, seems to me it's time to raise your prices.
Here is a brief list of some of the artists who sold.
Tom Lovell ($402,500), Bob Kuhn ($230,000), and Clyde Aspevig ($99,250)
Bob Kuhn, “Game Watchers”, (estimated at $200,000 to $300,000) that brought $230,000
Howard Terpning set a world record for the artist with total sales of over $5 million for six paintings and a drawing. One painting, "Captured Ponies," was estimated to sell for around $500,000 brought over $1.9 million.
WOW! The overwhelming appeal of Western art translates into top sales. If you are into painting the American West there is an amazing market out there. All you have to do is get on the list of auction houses as an artist they want to sell. Right. I'm working on it.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 →
Arboretum Reflections 11x14 Oil
Last night I demonstrated for the San Fernando Valley Art Club. I have a soft spot for the club since it was the first art club I joined five years ago. Thinking back, it is amazing how much I didn't know about the world of art. I was so green I didn't know what I didn't know. Five years later, I am forever grateful to the generosity of all the members, the support I have gotten and all the instruction from the many demonstrating artists.
You could say I have come full circle since I am now the one giving the demo, hoping to inspire and help other artists. Afterward, I was thrilled with all the questions, kind words and enthusiasm from the group.
Following are the first two stages of the painting I used for the demonstration. The finished painting called Arboretum Reflections (shown above) is for sale at Fine Art and Antique on Lake in Pasadena.
Blocking in the Shapes
Working out the composition is the most important starting step. Without a good, strong composition the painting can never succeed. Decide what you are painting; the water, the trees? Make the commitment with the positioning of the horizon line.
Establishing the Relationship between the Sky and Water
Water is almost always darker than the sky, so it is essential to establish the relationship between these two areas. Remember to first paint the depth of the water with vertical brushstrokes. This will give the water dimension. Wait to paint the water surface until after you have painted all the other shapes. Only then go back and paint the surface of the water.
Later this month on April 17, I will be doing another demonstration for the Bellflower Art Association at Thompson Park, 14000 Bellflower Blvd., Bellflower, CA from 6 PM to 8:30PM. For more information Contact Sharon or call Charlene Mueller at 562-633-9011.Comment on or Share this Article →
I hope you will join me for the demonstration at the San Fernando Art Club on April 3rd.
Join us on Tuesday, April 3rd when plein air artist and San Fernando Valley Art Club member, Sharon Weaver, shares her techniques on painting a professional landscape in oils.
Sharon won “Best of Show” at the last two SFVAC Exhibits. She enjoys participating in the challenge of plein air competitions. Her work appears in galleries and museums as well as private collections. She is represented by Gallery Elite in Carmel, CA, Segil Gallery in Monrovia, CA, and La Galeria Gitana in San Fernando, CA.
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
6:30pm - Social time
7:00pm - Art Demonstration
Encino Community Center
4935 Balboa Blvd.