Thursday, August 26, 2010

Oak At Nipomo

"Oak At Nipomo"
15" X 30" Oil on Canvas
I had a painting at a benefit show to help raise funds to restore the Dana Adobe in Nipomo a few months back. While there I took some reference photos and did a plein air painting. The adobe is on a long dead end street and this oak tree is on the property next to the adobe. It's a huge tree that has to be tens and tens of years old with a great spot overlooking the farmlands of Nipomo. Always a sucker for a good looking tree I wanted to paint it so that's what I did.

The interesting thing about this painting is that I ended up really working hard to paint better grasses and the smaller plants in the foreground. Had I painted my usual grasses I would have had this done in 2 days instead of the 3 that it took to complete. I've been admiring the way Clyde Aspevig paints his foregrounds grasses. I stared at his for a good few hours and thought I needed to work more on mine instead of doing my usual "flick of the wrist" grasses that I normally do. Mine are ok but they probably needed to evolve some more. I don't usually paint many small bushes either so that was something I wanted to work more into this painting. I like Clydes grasses but he attains a much more realistic look than I do or can do at this point. That guy sure can paint small plants though...makes me drool.

Monday, August 23, 2010


Entry way into the show. This doorway thing is actually there all of the time. Worked for us though.
I'm really out of shape when it comes to spending a day doing a outdoor show. The show was yesterday and I was dead when I got home. What's worse is I woke up feeling as if I had a hangover and I didn't drink a beer all day. My problem was I only slept 3 hours the night before the show getting ready. Nerves and last minute changes I guess....well, mostly changes. As for the show well, they don't go over well in a bad economy. We did a heroic effort at putting on the show...lots of planning and losts of work. It looked great and came off very smoothly considering this was the first effort of a show by this group here in Los Olivos. I've been to worse shows that had been going on for years. This one was first rate. The problem was that buyers were in short supply. People spending $20 or $30 for jewelry or small crafty items but barely any on paintings. We had groups of artists in 4 locations throughout the town. In our group only 3 small paintings the group across the street only 1 sold. I don't know about the others but I've heard it wasn't any better. I managed to only sell a couple of books. Ho hum and ---- this economy. Sorry but it's starting to piss me off.
There is always good news and that is we had awesome compliments on my work. We had a hugh number of "lookers'' walk through our canopy and lots of great comments. We had a lady show up who came to see my work and she drove all the way from Palm Desert! That's half way across California. She saw my work online and told me she had to see it in person and she loved it. That was very cool. She bought a book and said she would go see more of my work at the gallery. I love people like that.
I suppose I could be more mad at no art sales but honestly I know I'm doing my best work to date and this economy is killing everyone around here. We made a very good presentation in the booth and I'm always good with the visitors. Come November maybe things will get better....VOTE!
Here are some pics of the day.....

My canopy , above and below, which looked pretty good out there.

As you can see the whole event looked good and there was some outstanding art there. This was Jim Woodark and Richard Rice's setups. Killer work from both artists.
This potter set up next to me and she sold about 7 or 8 pieces by the end of the day. I think her mugs were about $20. Very cool work. She does shows about once a week and told me this summer has been very good for maybe pottery classes are in my future....or jewelry making. Actually those 2 types of items always sell at fairs.

The tire planters were interesting but I think they went home with a big zero too. Nice couple and you had to give them an "A" for effort. I'd have given everyone that same A because all of the artists had good looking work...well, except for one guy. He was juried in with some female portraits but showed up with total nudes that looked as if they were posed by girls out of playboy...too funny. I should have gotten pics of that but I'm sure Linda would have kicked my butt if she saw me with the camera heading over to his booth.

There were many types of art...probably too many. I wasn't crazy about the artists being split up over the town and there were a lot of distractions. We had a paint-out down in the center of town, some things going on in other parts of town, bands, pay areas setup...things I don't normally see at shows. I've sold more at smaller shows but that was when we had an economy to speak of. This was in August too... you know, hot August, so it was a bit too warm for a lot of people. Still everyone gave it their best shot. Win some, lose some. Outdoor shows are like shooting craps no matter what the situation is like, sometimes you sell and sometimes you just go home tired.

Now that this show is over I have a renewed urgency to paint new work for the upcoming Studio Tour in November. I also have a show in October but that is a low keyed show where I don't need to be there. I'm itching to do some new work to replace old ones I've looked at too long over the year. New ideas and you know what the wiseman says...when sales are slow paint your butt off because you'll need a backlog of work when it picks up. Zoom!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Artist Canopy Sign

I am waiting on some small paintings to dry up a bit from varnishing at the last minute so I thought I'd post some of the progress of readying for the show this weekend.
My old sign for the canopy was falling apart. I need to break down and buy one of those fancy ones that are hung across the top of your canopy for shows. I have always got a reason to not do it and everytime a show comes up the sign issue comes up...procrastination at it's best. I was recently at an artists studio as she was having a sale on a lot of her equipment due to her moving back to Canada. She gave me some stretcher bars so I decided to just make a sign since time was short. I wanted a tall sign to fit one of the grids we use to put out front and somehow get my name out there. I used part of the composition from the small painting I had done in the below post titled "Evening Approach". I just added a bit more green to the tree and left an area up top for my name. When the painting and the top area were dry enough I used a projector to place the lettering that was printed on a small sheet of paper. I traced the letters and then put the canvas back on the easel and painted in the letters....I'm no sign painter like my uncle who would do something like this freehanded and it would look perfect. He's a sign painter...I paint letters.

Anyway...while that all was drying I made a frame for it out of a scrap 2x4 I had in the garage. I would like to have used oak but that meant a 30 mile trip to Home Depot so instead I opted for the fir 2x4. Here is what the sign will look like hung in place. We adjusted the floor plann of the booth for the show...see, this is why you put the booth up ahead of time to tweak it to what you want for a particular show....looks cool!!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Distant Hills

"Evening Approach"
5" x 7" Oil on panel
Did this painting to work on the colors and atmosphere you see of distant mountains in evening light. I like playing with those distant highlights on the mountainsides as they collect the last rays of sun. I used an old tube of Shiva Cadmium Orange to do the trees. This tube is one I've had since college in the early 80's. That old tube was more than half full and beautiful color still! I miss Shiva paints. Had to pick that up at the Standard Brands art section right there on Fair Oaks in Pasadena long before it closed it's doors. I think this painting has some great color in it and a nice sense of mood...I'm happy with it.

The Canopy

It's time to get out ye old artist canopy for an upcoming art show next week. There is going to be a huge art show in the small town of Los Olivos with artists from all over the Central Coast participating. 10 AM to 4PM on Saturday the 21st. Click the highlight above to see the other artists and get more info. I'll be on the north end of town in Saarloos Park close to the food booth, hahaha.

We set the canopy up in the back part of our yard to dial things in for this show. I will have some really small paintings as well as the big ones to show so I need to make a display section for that. It's getting late in the game and I am also working on a new sign for the canopy. The vinyl letters on the old one are finally peeling after 5 years. It looks pretty blah here but wait till it's loaded with art and signage will look cool then.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Santa Ynez Rolling Hills

"At The Foothills"
24" X 36" Oil on Canvas
Finished this one up right before my trip to Oregon. There are so many things going on right now it took me a while to get somewhat caught up enough to post anything here. Sales are still super slow but you still need to keep moving and trying things. I like this scene and have painted similar scenes from the evening I spent here taking reference photos. These colors are so typical of this fact, a lot of the California landscape looks like this. The warm ochre tones and rich dark greens of the oaks are hard to ignore for an artist. Most of this land is used for grazing cattle by the Chamberlin Ranch here in Santa Ynez.