Saturday, November 29, 2008

At The Foothills

Christmas is heading our way so I'm now trying to get as many paintings finished before the holiday arrives. Did this one today to work on some's a cool little painting and has some nice distance in there as well as those nice subtle pinks giving away the time of day.

This started out as a generic scene of the area up here but I think I subconciously painted the mountains down by Pasadena since I've been wanting to paint those mountains for a while now.

A detail of the trail area. I'm still working on painting trails...these are so fun to do in a painting. I'm really enjoying painting the grasses too. This was a fun little painting.

This painting was created using a pencil thumbnail sketch to work from...very basic sketch with no values in it which was ok....just something to work out a composition really...if I did this one again I wouldn't work thhe trees so close on the right side....on 9"x12" you can find things getting a little cramped anyway. It all worked out anyway and I'm pretty happy with it.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Studio Tour Finis

Well, the Studio Tour for 2008 is a done deal. Good presentation, sold 5 paintings and lots of good comments made. I am bushed! 2 days of meet and greet from 10-4 plus an artist reception not to mention the 2 weeks of hussle before the show even arrived. I have even more respect for fellow painter, Les Lull, who did a month long show in Arizona! A month...YIKES!! It can really wear on you.
I am glad to do the show because it is great to hear the feedback on the work and gauge what the public really thinks about the progress I'm making. The public thinks very differently from artists and gallery owners. Each is valid and comes from a different perspective so it is good to get feedback from each of them. The economy is in the ditch so selling anything was a success in my book. I could have sold more but we had 10 paintings reserved for a gallery...but that's another story.
At last years show I learned through sales that smaller paintings moved more. During the summer I started painting a lot of 9"x12" & 12"X16" sized paintings. Good thing I did my homework because those are what sold. Buyers said they were buying for their homes, for gifts and for other homes they owned. The other homes and gifts are why the smaller sizes move. I do have a man interested in a large painting as a surprise Christmas gift for his wife, he took my business card and said he'd be calling in a few days, so I'm hoping that pans out.
The other thing I did was to drop my prices a little. A lot of the painters in this tour did fact, I would bet some increased them. The museum who sponsers this event only takes 20%. I've mentioned the economy being bad and that was more my reason. Sometimes it pays to entice sales and after a dismal summers worth of low sales I needed to do something. I think the plans we made behind this show helped move these paintings so I'm happy.
A studio tour is above all and a learning experience. It is where you get to meet and talk with the people who actually buy your art. You learn to self promote. By nature I think most artists tend to not want to talk themselves or their art have to. You will meet people who are more charged up about your work than you are. You will meet people who can even describe your work better than you can! As you paint you need to ask yourself why you are doing it and what inspired that particular scene. More importantly, you need to come up with the answers because you are going to be asked. You will need to learn to speak more objectively about yourself...not bragging or boasting. You have to be able to talk about your accomplishments, point out your strengths as an artist and let the buyers know that you are making progress on your road to being a working artist who is going somewhere. It sounds easy but for me it took a while to talk about myself as an artist and where I stand at that moment. You have to let the buyer in to some part of you that they can get a glimps of. They want to know who you are and how you connects them to your work and maybe how they feel about you and your work. Buyers are not purchasing art from Sears, they are buying from the artist and they want to know more about that artist. You need to give them some of that and in the end you make a sale and they got more than just a painting for their hard earned money.
If you are part of an art organization see if they have a studio tour and try it out...learn to promote your art and deal directly with your buyers....remember, if you can sell your art then so can a gallery. The hard truth....if your art isn't selling then you need to first look and evaluate your art. Be honest and if you need to get better then start painting. We all started somewhere in art and we all worked to get to the point of making sales. Listen to what people say about your work, it's important. Never stop learning and never once think you have "made it". I have learned 3 important things in painting......I am learning with each painting. Each painting is another attempt to get better at some particular part of that painting. All of my paintings will be better than the last one. That last one is a tough one but the most important goal I know of and goals are exactly that...goals. You don't really have to reach them everytime but you should be working towards reaching them everytime.
Some pics...Some of the munchies set out....

Some of the nocturnes...These went over very well on the tour.

Walking in to the studio...

This wall had a lot of the smaller pieces.

I'm now looking forward to next years show...feets don't fail me now!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Foxen Canyon Plein Air

A few shows ago I did this plein air painting. This summer was just horrible show wise which is why I didn't do many and this one was no exception. 3 days of no crowd whatsoever so I took my PA rig the second day and painted. This is a scene of one of the fields around the Tres Hermanas winery in Foxen canyon. Nice to have walked away with something out of 3 days effort.
A couple of detail shots....

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Nocturne A La Plein Air

I was wanting to get out and do another nocturne plein air before it gets to freezing at night where I live. I had just bought these small battery operated book lights to use for illuminating my palette as well as the canvas. The last time I did this I used a Coleman lantern hanging from a tree since I was in a field. That was a bad experience since it was hard to tell the differences between dark green and mid green...the same with blue and ochre. Trying to do a nocturne in the dark is just asking for a headache.
These lights work great and did a good job of lighting everything...could be better but too much light is worse than you think. You have to keep looking up at your subject and your eyes take a beating doing the constant's better to have the least amount of light you need.

If you want to try these lights you can buy them at any Rite Aid...they are just book reading lights so a lot of places will cary them and they only cost $11.00 each. The batteries will last about 30 hours. It took me 2 hours to get this one finished last night so that works out to about 15 paintings on a set of batteries. These just clip on to your rig.....
You can see how I clipped these to the lid of my painting box. Things are blocked in here and I'm starting to detail the grasses.
This is what my subject looked like in the's my neighbors field and I focused on the center tree there.

Here is the finished piece photographed this morning. All of it was painted last night except for the stars and maybe a stroke or two in the foreground grass this morning since it was windy and cold last night....a 2 hour beating was enough.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Studio Tour Progress

I've got an upcoming Artist Studio Tour put on by the Wildling Museum in Los Olivos. This is my second Studio Tour and I'm really looking forward to it. Last year we had a lot of people show up and sold paintings. Selling is really cool but meeting the people who come and hearing their thoughts on my work is really just as important. I received some good feedback last year so I'm looking forward to meeting this years crowd.
It's always nice to hear what people think even if it is more constructive than flattering and there was some of that last year. Constructive thoughts are important if your learning to paint and I'm always learning. A lot of the people who show up are long time locals so they know much more than I do about this area that I paint...that gives me additional knowledge on my subjects.

If you ever wondered what it would be like to showcase your work at some fancy gallery then being a part of a Studio Tour is the next best thing. The only thing I can think of that gives you the upper hand doing it this way is you get to choose what everyone sees and not some gallery owner only wanting to show what they believe would sell. I've got nothing against the gallery owners idea but there are certain paintings I have done that are more about painting than about being marketable and I want to know what others think about those. I think without those types of paintings you'd really feel nothing more than being a manufacturer supplying what the average consumer wants. Sometimes it is really about artistic goals.

Here is one I've just finished framing. It's a large 20" X 24" oil on Masonite panel. I first painted on masonite back in college and paint on it every now and then for the fun of it. I didn't learn much about painting back in that class but I learned a lot about preparing to paint on various media. I also learned some things about painting that I hated....not one to dwindle on things like that.

Monday, November 10, 2008

California Art Club Show

I've just found out I have 2 paintings that were juried into the California Art Club show "Concertos In Color". This will be my second time participating in a CAC show. These shows are very special to me since the CAC headquarters are in Pasadena, my hometown! The history of the club started in Los Angeles but soon moved to Pasadena for most of it's operating as the oldest art club in California. Too cool!

"Central Coast Poppies" & "Across The Santa Ynez Valley"

Here are the details in case you live close to Pasadena and would like to stop by at the Artists Reception...

Everyone is invited to attend the FREE Artist Reception.

Saturday December 6, 2008 --- 5-7 PM

The Blinn House, Womens City Club of Pasadena, 160 N. Oakland Ave.

Phone for details...626-796-0560

I will be there so stop by, have some food and drink and check out all of the art.