Saturday, April 28, 2007


My friend and fellow Artist, Diane Cutter , mentioned to me that I should have a Subscription service here on my blog so she can be notified when I post something it is here.
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Jurors Award

Carpenteria Foothills


Oil on Ray Mar Panel

I'm a member of the Artists Guild of the Santa Ynez Valley and we show our work in juried and non-juried shows in the town of Los Olivos at the Gallery Los Olivos. Recently we had a juried show and one of my pieces won the Jurors Award. In the same show I also won 2nd Place for one of my other paintings. I was flabbergasted...(can't believe we still use that word to this day but it fits!). I always wanted to win an award for my pen & ink works but that never happened. I think my pen & ink work was too realistic for an award considering the work that usually wins awards. Sad but true, realism usually takes a back seat to most work that wins awards in my humble opinion. At heart, I'm a pen & ink artist and painting is what I've done to add color in my portfolio....but it is the painting that has garnered the awards and sales on original work you just have to live with that.

I have sold tons of pen & ink prints but the only awards for pen & ink work has come from the Santa Barbara Country Fair and the California State Fair....which was ok but it would have been nice to get an award in a full blown art gallery environment. Pen & ink is very much an overlooked medium which is ironic because it has been around for so long. It is also a medium that takes a lot of skill to pull off well. Pen & ink artists are a special breed of artists who spend hours perfecting their craft and turn out work that is very very special.

Here is the second Place painting.....

Morning Pasture


Oil on Ray Mar Panel

Anyway....just tooting my horn here. I try and keep that to a minimum but I actually have to do it since I'm not paying an Artrep to do it for me. Nothing worse than having to look people in the eye and say "my work is good, I think you should buy it"....

The Studio....

A long time ago, the High School years, my Dad suggested I take wood shop class. A great class to take for anyone who likes to build things or learn how things are built out of wood. I know, because I have used the knowledge learned back in wood shop a zillion times. It amazes me how many guys don't know a thing about woodwork....but that's another story. One of my projects was to build myself a small wooden drawing board which I did and used at home for years. Just a flat piece of wood with two "legs" that slanted to allow the drawing board to be angled on a dining room table or desk while you drew, it worked great.

After getting out of the Army and getting married and years later that drawing board was nowhere to be found. My drawing board once again became the kitchen or dining room table or any other flat surface that could be found...I took painting class in college and bought a really cheap easel to work on in the garage....this was due to orderless turpentine not being around then and you didn't want the kids getting a contact high inside the house. One thing about the struggles of an artist to find a place to work is it really makes you appreciate a good place once you get it!

So, we enter the current drawing painting setup due to Artist Luck#1....Early one morning I jump on the computer and go to Yahoo Auctions (my local) which practically doesn't exist anymore. Having some money finally in my bank account, I type in "Drafting Table"....and low and behold I find a guy selling one a few miles away for $60.00. A killer table with all the bells and whistles, used, heavier than the Titanic and now sitting 10 feet away from me as I type!

Now Artist Luck #2....I was driving a truck delivering to a company and noticed some flat drafting files, ...2 of them that stack together and usually cost about $400-600 a piece, sitting in their parking lot. Turns out one of the guys there was using them to store small tools in and I asked if he wanted to sell them....he says "$30 bucks" and I couldn't pull the money out of my pocket fast enough! We loaded them onto the back of my truck with a forklift and they are now with me storing my art ambitions.

I now live in a home with a garage that was converted by the previous owner as a studio to do photography. His old dark room is now my storage closet for art supplies. I've aquired a nice solid oak easel for painting and life is good. When I say it is a long way from a wooden table top drawing board I know what I am talking about...took me over 30 years to get here. Now, if I had taken classes in business management or computer programming back in college I would have gotten a great money making job and had this stuff years ago...but artists like to suffer right?
Here is where the painting happens.....

Looks like I did the dramatic lighting thing for a brochure but in reality I was actually working on that lower painting and decided to just snap a shot of the setup...remember, this is a converted garage and most garages don't have big artist needing windows facing south.

I can't see spending megabucks for a wooden taboret so eventually I'll just make the meantime I bought this wire rack on wheels with bins at Costco, Target or WalMart...can't remember but it was pretty cheap. I've seen awesome oak ones in an art supply store down in Santa Barbara but price-wise it's like buying a house! I'm sure you can go through an Escrow company to help you out with the purchase of it....not me, I'll make one.Get one with wheels! I am always moving this thing around and glad I'm not picking it up all of the time....and besides, you can roll the coffee closer to you as you paint and it gets later at night!

For additional art supply storage it is hard to beat getting plastic stacking bins. You could even put one of these in a closet to keep "out of sight out of mind" from the ever forgetful teenager or wife/husband that is always looking for something to write your art supplies!

An artists needs a place to work and places to store the equipment needed to create art. Unless you are the son or daughter of Donald Trump or Bill Gates you might have to wait a while to get that but if you keep your eyes on the prowl for the great finds out there you can do it. I did it, so can you....just remember to appreciate it!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Refugio Vista

In my attempts to teach myself to paint outdoors, Plein Air, I decided to tackle this scene. It is a view looking across the Santa Ynez valley with a ranch for my focal point. I consider this to be one of the 2 plein air pieces I have done that truly worked well. What worked great about this scene was capturing the light of midday, or morning actually, without even trying to. I was trying to just paint the scene in front of me and without my knowledge I painted the light! Sounds stupid but that is hard to do and somehow it happened by me just concentrating on getting the scene on canvas.

To me, that says something is starting to work inside of me without me really trying to make it work....the eye is a wonderous thing when you let it do what it does best without your interupting it!. Maybe this is why people paint outdoors in the first place, the natural light of nature will show up in your work....which is totally cool!

Here is my setup and view out there...not an expensive pochade box, my Dad made this for me so you can't beat that price! I should have taken pics right from the start but got into the painting and forgot I had the dang camera sitting right there in the truck. Duh!

And here is the finished piece.....

Anyway, I think it came out pretty well and I'm proud of this one. I will probably do a larger piece because this is a pretty typical scene here in the valley on a sunny day. It also has the combination I like in a painting, some distant structures, distant blue mountains and dark trees. The contrast of that combination is too cool.