Sunday, April 24, 2016

Paint Party

A few week ago I helped out with a fund raiser and our project was helping little girls paint teacups on canvas. All the kids were dressed nicely because the theme was an American Girl Tea Party. One child was sooo adorable I couldn't resist taking her picture and painting her painting her picture.

11" x 14" watercolor

First Time Art Collectors

I recently came across a blog post about art collecting on the Invaluable blog, which you can find hereCeline Rabago makes good points about collecting art, and the most important is this: collect what you love. This is the crux of the matter, isn’t it? Don’t buy art because it looks good with your couch, or you think it might be worth more someday. Buy art because it speaks to you.

The mother of a man who has some of my work hanging in his cafĂ© owns one of my paintings. It’s a painting of an old woman raking leaves in front of a barn. Her dogs are lounging nearby. Every time I see this woman she makes a point of telling me how much she enjoys the painting and how she sees something new in it every time she looks at it. She has it hanging in a prominent place in her dining room where she can look at it when she has her meals. She is a collector who knows what she loves.

I’ve had a few collectors purchase art because they are interested in studying my painting technique. While they admire the painting and are happy to have it hanging on their wall, they are also interested in acquiring knowledge about how it was created and they want to examine it closely at will. I’ve purchased paintings for this reason too, specifically two demonstrations that were done by well-known artists I took workshops with. The paintings remind me of my experiences and are also souvenirs of a sort. I value them because I watched the process of creation from beginning to end.

Sometimes a collector will purchase a painting because it reminds them of an event or a place they have visited and have fond memories of. A number of my lighthouse paintings and at least one painting I did in Paris of L’Opera were purchased by collectors who were attracted to the scene because it brought back memories of a vacation.

When I first began selling art on the internet a collector purchased more than twenty portraits from me within six months. I discovered that this man enjoyed collecting for the sake of collecting. He had acquired so many pieces of original art that he had begun to hang them at the college where he worked. Had collecting become an obsession with him? Who knows? One man’s passion is another’s obsession and I would never fault anyone for purchasing original art from genuine artists when there is so much crap from China being passed off as ‘original’.

So while there are numerous reasons to collect art, the best reason is always because you love it and you want to see it and enjoy it every single day.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Daniel - Scottsdale Artists School Model

One of the trios I love to make when I visit the Scottsdale area, in addition to the many and varied galleries of course, is to the Scottsdale Artists School open studio. They have one on Friday, Saturday and Monday evening. You need to arrive early to get a good spot, which is why my friend and I were lined up at the door waiting for the doors to open at 8:30 am on a Friday morning. We weren't the first ones there, but we did manage to procure spaces in the front row for the five hour session.

The model whose name was Daniel, arrived. He was a long-legged young man with melancholy eyes. He wore a nice suit and struck an interesting pose--and how lucky I was in my choice of easels because he was staring right at me. The props were sweet too: a trunk and a couple of suitcases, which made me think of a train station, and that's why I added "SORTIE", or 'exit' in French, to the wall when I was finished. They do a nice job with their model setups, which is why they were lined up at the door I suppose.

So the title is a bit ambiguous. Is he leaving someone or something, or is he just waiting for a train?

12" x 16"

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Hope with Red Hair

A portrait that I started at our weekly model group and finished at home. Thirteen year old Hope actually had pink hair but I did't feel like painting it that unnatural color. So I changed it to auburn. I asked her what color it really was before I left and she told me it was blonde. But I like the red I created and it's a natural foil for the olive shadow tones that always tend to show up in our room.

I worked on some watercolor paper that I gessoed and coated with a wash of black and yellow ochre a few years ago. I found it when I was cleaning up my studio and I thought it would be fun to try something different. I really liked the way the paint went on. It's very different from the new Arches oil paper, which is a bit flimsy. I did a portrait on that paper and it actually tore when I removed the tape from the board it was mounted on.

Hope 11" x 14" oil on paper

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

More Plein Air from Arizona

This is another painting I completed near Phoenix at the beginning of the month. This was painted near my friend's condo, looking upward in the late afternoon.

The rock formation at the top of the hill was interesting and many of the prickly pears were starting to bloom, along with some other plants I'm not familiar with. I was able to achieve the soft forms on the delicate plants that had previously eluded me.

9" x 12" oil on linen

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Plein Air in Arizona

There's a trick to painting the desert en plein air and I haven't totally figured it out yet. It involves condensing multiples subjects --like shrubs and cactus and rocks-- into solid shapes. Matt Smith does it extremely well, but this Ohio painter always runs into a few difficulties.

Still, this year's efforts were better than many of my others. My friend and I painted in a conservation area near the Sonoran Desert and the fresh dry air was welcome, especially when I knew that fiends and family back in Ohio were experiencing record quantities of rain.

I think I did a passable job on the saguaros. They are challenging. What I really love about this area are the misty purple mountains. Whenever possible I set up my easel so I am facing then so I can include them in my painting.

9" x 12" oil on linen

Monday, April 18, 2016

Remy, a Pit Bull, 11 x 14 oil on linen

Remy was a loyal friend of the family for many years. An American Pit Bull Terrier, he defied the stereotypes and was a gently companion to their children for many years. I was commissioned to paint him as a gift for his owners.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Tulips in Watercolors

I don't paint with watercolor too often, but I took a class with a friend recently and I enjoyed experimenting with the wet in wet method. It's a bit scarier than oils because there is very little control--especially to the novice. I liked the tulips I came up with.