Monday, October 29, 2012

Studio Tour 2012

Linda's Halloween-themed table setting for the Studio Tour
This years 2012 Studio Tour has come and gone. Linda and I look forward to each years Studio Tour because we get to meet people who we can talk about the art with. Some of these people buy the work and we make new friends and meet old ones who have come by in the past. The best part is getting to hear their feedback on my work.
  The studio main wall
We had plenty of new work up on the walls and heard some great comments on the paintings. I had a large painting I wanted to show but didn't have time or the money to order a new frame for it so I made another floater frame out of oak. The frame came out great and we had some great comments on it.
My large 4 feet by 5 feet oak floater frame
With the economy the way it is we offered some smaller paintings which went over well. Half of my sales came from these little guys. People want an original and they want it affordable and I wanted to make some sales so it all worked out for us, the buyer and the Wildling Museum which sponsors this event.
Our good friend Holly Cline from the Wildling Museum who sponsors this Studio Tour. This is her last year as she moves on to bigger and better things. I am so going to miss Holly, she is a great person and has done so much for me and a lot of other artists up here in the valley...good luck Holly!!!!
The little gems ready for browsing....
One of the reasons behind the Studio Tour is to allow people a view of what happens in the creative process so I like to show the tools of the trade and answer as many questions as I can about painting as well as show my work, the finished result. I had people stop by who are beginning painters and seasoned ones as well. They always enjoy getting answers to questions they might have, tips I offer and the rapport of artist to artist. It's fun! I have parents bringing their college and high school students to see a working artists studio and it is fun to answer their questions and ask about their classes and their art experiences so far.
 My plein air easels and the "promo" table...yes, if you don't like talking about yourself you can always let that table do some of it for you but you need to do it too.
Notecards, my book, business cards, show flyers etc....promote yourself because no one else is going to do it for you !
Also...make credit card sales!! Right now it is easier than ever for an artist to accept credit card sales. You used to have to go through a difficult process of getting a merchant account which cost a lot of money monthly. Not anymore. Nowadays all you need is a smart phone and a little adapter that slides into it's earphone jack. There are a few of these companies offering it...we use the Square. Worked great and easy to fact, the device is free when you sign up with the service which charges on a per transaction basis or monthly depending on how much you sell monthly.    

 My best helper!
Having Linda to lend a hand in all of this is "priceless". She handles sales, food, helps set it all up and take it all down too. She also helps answer questions since she now can do all of the art speak, haha.
Overall, it was a good show. Great people, good art, sales...and pumpkin pie! 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


I just figured that since I had some new frames come in for pieces that I will show during the Studio Tour I'd see what some other paintings would look like in some of these frames. So I switched back and forth with paintings that fit.
 "Song Of The High Desert"
This wide desert scene is seen here in the frame I ordered for it since it is an offsize....12" x 36". Thankfully my frame company in San Diego was able to get the frame made and shipped to me right before the Studio Tour! YES!!!. This is a great combination of paint color and frame. The painting is sold already and I'm sure the owners will love this.
"Stratton In San Pedro"
Above is one of the paintings that I will submit to the Coast Guard soon for possibly jurying into their 2013 Collection. It is the National Security Cutter "Stratton". I took the ref photo the first night I boarded the ship in San Pedro, CA to go with her over the next 5 days to Alameda, CA. Was a fun trip and a great ship to be aboard. I'm not sure what the Coast Guard framing look like but it sure would look great in this one!
  "Summer Fog"
I love the fog we have been getting lately here in Solvang. I painted this one when we were not getting any and I missed it....I love fog! I like the combination of green and gold so to me this works just fine. I also like the combination of blue and black frames...anything with lots of blues looks great in black frames but that's just me.
"Securing The Stratton, Alameda"
Another NSC Stratton painting. Did I mention I like nocturne paintings in black too???..I do. This was the night we arrived in Alameda. The dock has those warm tones in it in the foreground which works nicely with the gold trim around the opening of the frame. Black just shoves your eye right into the painting...that's why I like black frames but never get to use them enough. Galleries seem to like gold frames more and I think that's because home owners consider black frames too "museum" like....too stark a contrast on todays pastel interior colors I guess.  

Monday, October 22, 2012

A French Companion

A homemade French Companion I built and use a lot!

About a year ago I decided to build a French Companion for my French Easel. I was tired of using just the provided palette that came with the easel. Everytime I folded the beast up I'd end up with paint on me plus I had to remember to keep the paint flat enough on the palette to not hit the frame when closing the door to fold it all up. As for the difference between a French Mistress and a French Companion all I could tell is one is larger than the other and the spelling:)
A Companion made sense since it not only gave me a larger mixing surface but it kept the paint away from my clothes, was easy to carry and gave me two side panels to sit things on like brushes, turps containers, knives and the mandatory cup of coffee that I like to paint with. The only problem was the price of a store bought one....wasn't insanely high but I just didn't want to paint that much money for something I'm going to slop paint all over not to mention banging around in the truck when heading to painting locations. I'd build one! I'm cheap labor.

Building the companion was easy. The companion is just 3 flat boxes tied together with brass piano hinges. I used flat pieces of scrap thin Luan ply from that I had bought at home depot for another project. The frame was just a 2x4 cut down to size. Brass piano hinge from Home Depot too. Slapped some orange oil on it and that's it. No tricky cuts, no varnished finish, no oak or cherry....I'm just going to ruin it eventually with paint all over it. It probably cost me all of maybe $10 to build. I love working with wood so it was a lot of fun for me building it, (thanks Mr Danielson, my Blair High Woods teacher for 4 years of fun).

Of all my painting gear I love this one the best. Works great, looks fine and does exactly what it was built for....keeps my clothes paint free and holds my coffee too! I like it so much I use it in the studio to mix on when working on my French Easel or my big easel. I just set it on a small metal table that I keep paint taboret. It has wheels so I can roll it around from easel to easel. When I'm finished painting for the day I just fold it up and slide it in the fridge to keep the paint from drying up. When I take it on locatiuon I just wrap a bungee cord around it to keep the tops closed....I could make a latch to do that but why bother, it works just fine with a bungee cord. If you don't have one of these build one and give it a try.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Plein Air with PACC

I almost forgot.....I did go out painting with the Plein Air Artists of the Central Coast ,PACC, not long ago. We meet once a month and each artist gets to choose a spot. This month was my turn so I picked a bluff along the old Santa Ynez Mission. I picked it mainly because some of the members would be up here on other business so this would keep it local.
  Our Group Photo, members of PACC
Was a fun afternoon but in the end I wasn't crazy about my painting of the area. Sometimes that stuff happens out there. Happens in the studio too but a lot less.

Not Painting...sort of.

I haven't had time to do much painting lately. Fall always gets so busy every year. Even in this sluggish horrible economy there have been some sales and shows to get ready for. With the bad economy I have stayed away from shows in general. No sense in going through all the entails from getting ready for a show only to just stand there smiling and not selling. I read from another artist telling you how to manage your art career that wehn it gets slow do more of everything, showing, painting, entering art shows. I've found that I don't agree. I'd rather use the slow time to paint...makes more sense than standing there in the sun smiling and inside wishing you had sold something to pay for the gas for the trip home.

The studio tour we do each year is almost here. I say "we" because it is something that Linda is involved with as much as I am. We not only show our studio but let people come into the house to see more are, the larger pieces, hanging in a home setting. Linda is forced to treat the Studio Tour as having a party with friends coming over...that means clean clean clean. Poor Linda. This year we needed to paint our deck which is highly visible from our living room. That meant scrape, scrape some more and then sand and paint. We are almost done but the clouds rolled in and rain expected tomorrow. This break allows me to now get some paintings framed and reframing other paintings. I need to choose what goes up on the walls and move my drums out of the studio and out of the way hidden in our bedroom. Good old me likes a large set of drums = more moving.

I spent this morning filling rusty cracks and holes in our raingutter off the studio and reorganizing the workshop area in our garage. My Dad gave me some Coleman lanterns last week that I will clean up and get back into working condition. I was going to use them for a camping trip/art show in November that fell through. I started tinkering with them but then Linda was giving me that "we need to get ready for the studio tour" look so back to the house we came. Everytime I walk through the studio I see the half-painted piece I'm working on just sitting there staring at me. Aarg!

I've got 3 nice gold frames somewhere between San Diego and my house at the moment. I've got ink for my printer on it's way too. I keep telling Linda we need to get the inventory program for the paintings up to date but she needs some documents off of my computer printed up...and it's sitting here out of ink. All of that to happen soon. Thankfully I've mowed all of the lawn, even the lawn down our side of the street which is about 3 acres long. Our mower, a riding sears Craftsman mower, has something going bad in the transmission so I get to pull that apart after the Studio tour to fix.

 Have to pick up more varnish later today so I can get some paintings done tomorrow. All of this fun stuff. I'm not griping though. It could be worse....I could have to deal with tons of sales in between it all, haha. Good thing the economy is slower than dead.        

Friday, October 05, 2012

"Mojave Evening"
12" X 24" Oil on Birch Panel

Another desert painting in late afternoon to evening light. I would thing the second one would have been easier, haha, but it wasn't. Seems like each painting presents it's own unique challenges. I'm always learning it seems with each painting. Makes you want to bang your head but it is actually a good thing.
Those foothills in the background are the beginning slopes of the San Gabriel mountain range looking south. On the otherside is the beautiful San Gabriel Valley. Back in th old West bandits like Vazquez use to hide out close to here and probably rode their horses into the foothills in this scene...ok, maybe they did.
....a detail of the painting,