Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Zombie chicken award!

I am so honored!  I have been awarded the Zombie Chicken Award!  I never knew this could happen to me in my life-I actually had no idea it existed-BUT, none the less,  here I am at the top of the podium ready to accept it graciously and happy to pass it on.  I must consider carefully who the next Zombie Chicken Award holders will be.  Next Wednesday will be the award day for 5 lucky bloggers!

The blogger who receives this award believes in the Tao of the zombie chicken - excellence, grace and persistence in all situations, even in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. These amazing bloggers regularly produce content so remarkable that their readers would brave a raving pack of zombie chickens just to be able to read their inspiring words. As a recipient of this world-renowned award, you now have the task of passing it on to at least 5 other worthy bloggers. Do not risk the wrath of the zombie chickens 
by choosing unwisely or not choosing at all.

It's all about composition and taking your/MY time

Just a quick post here.  I rushed my post last night and when I got up this morning to look at it I realized I hated the space ship that I made up.  It wasn't so much the design of it-even though I know it was a dud.  But it was mostly about the composition.  The spaceship was fighting with the place that I wanted the eye to land first-which is the green eye.  Your eye goes back and forth choosing which to focus on.  Plus the vacant stare of the spaceship's big window made your eye go back and stay there. So, I cropped it.  Now you can see what I mean about composition and I like this so much better.  I'm going to leave the other one on so you can compare.  What do you think?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

My new entry for Monday ARt Day

I am doing this tonight because I just couldn't wait to post my new entry.  The theme this week is "awake".  I'm sure you can see why these guys are going to be so surprised when they happen upon all the unhappy creatures that they just woke up on the newly explored planet!  I just love all the little crabbie monsters.  I had so much fun doing this!  This is my old style from when I was in high school.  I just start out with water color and then let my imagination take me away with my pen.  It's kind of like seeing creatures in the wall paper.  I'm sure you creative people have all done that before.  My sister faux painted my bathroom and I've seen the same Picasso type figure for years.  I finally drew it the other day.  So I think I will work it up so you can all see what a nit wit I am.  But I'm a happy nit wit.  There's nothing wrong with that!

Subject matter can mean a lot to only you

I thought I would bring up a painting that hardly ever sees the light of day-literally.  "The Housewife's Summer".  It tells my story in so many ways.  Back in the '80's and '90's we lived in an old Cape Cod style house.  The basement truly was a dungeon.  You know what I mean-concrete with old stuff everywhere.  Guess where I spent about 25% of my time?  This sub abode.  With 4 kids there were always mountains of laundry.  One time I picked up some dirty clothes off the floor and a mouse jumped right up and at me.  Now, I'm not afraid of mice but it startled me.  Anyway, I could look up and see outside the window.  Could see the kids running in the sunshine.  Don't get me wrong.  I was thrilled for them but I felt like DOROTHY in the Wizard of Oz.  The basement was Kansas-all dark and dreary.  Outside was Oz-all bright, colorful, cheery, etc.  To top it all off the front of our house faced one of the busiest streets around.  So there was constant traffic-fire trucks, ambulances because there was a hospital west of us.  If you think this picture is an exaggeration, then you would be wrong.  There was even that little orangish  glow around the teeny window.  Luckily this picture is in the past.  We now live on a lovely street where, at last, I can hear the birds chirping.  I can even stand still and hear nothing.  Love it.

Art History Moment - Have any of you ever heard of Minerva Teichert?  If not-you need to look her up.  She was an artist from the early 20th century, born in Utah, and lived her married life in Wyoming.  I was just thinking, "Now, what woman artist that I know about could relate to this painting of mine?"  Minerva had 5 children and lived on a farm. She trained at the Chicago Institute of Art and when she asked one of her teachers why he criticized her art so much he said that he didn't think the other art students would amount to anything but she would never quit producing.   Most of her art is religious and the soul of her works shines through everything she does.  I'm always thinking about her.  Maybe I could be like Minerva and simplify things but still get my point across.  I would have loved to see her sketch book.  I just might someday as from time to time in Salt Lake City they have exhibits of her work. There are some on permanent display in the Conference Center of the LDS chursh, Brigham Young University and the Springville Art Museum.  She was truly one of the best female artists-well, I think she is for that time period.  Good old Minerva probably really slocked the buckets of muck and spent a lot of time in the Never Never Land of her brain.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Cross/basket hatching-a new texture!

Just a little ditty today.  When I was in my most productive position in church today-sitting on the bench with sketch book in hand so I won't go to sleep)-started doodling on top of a doodle.  Because of that "artist's mode" that I sink into sometimes I just started a new texture for me.  Hey!  I liked it!  I know it's a cliche flower but the hatching is what I really like about this sketch.  I also threw in a few little dots and then church ended.  Unfortunately my faithful pen kept blobbing but that's okay.  I consider this a knew fun technique for me.  So I hope you will see this for what it is and not focus on the cliche.

No Art History Moment today - I have to get myself into the other room and whip out those books.  Remember?  It's my 2nd midterm tomorrow. 

Just an aside from everything else-I have to tell you that I'm a grateful lady to be born in a land where women are free.  Right now we are studying about the injustices that happen to women in the world.  I CANNOT believe it!  This has definitely been a slamming open eye experience-my class on human heritage.  Wow.  We've got a long road to travel before we can help all these women out.  How do you change cultures?  You can't.   What did I say earlier?  I'm a grateful lady.....

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Gotta post the kid and friends

So, Charlie, on the right with glasses, is our last child at home but you can hardly call him a child any more.  He's 25!  Today he left to go camping with his friends up American Fork Canyon.  He tried it a few weeks ago with one friend.  They got all set up-tent, fire, etc.-only to be told by the ranger that they had to have a permit.  Very maddening.  They're going to the same spot but getting the permit this time.  Today has been quite nice but I've been inside cleaning-making up for last weekend when I spent all my time doing yard cleanup.  Well, someone has to do it but these guys always help.  Thank goodness.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Letting you in on my new Monday Art Day entry

I am having so much fun with Monday Art Day.  Illustration has always been my thing.  Just thought you'd like to see what I came up with this week.  The key word this week is "monkey".  I don't know if I'm going to do the new challenge as I've got a midterm on Monday and must study hard.  My last test was quite tricky.  So, I'm trying to be prepared.
               William Holman Hunt    -    "Morning Hunt"
Art History Moment:  A group of painters' work that I really enjoy looking at is called the "Pre-Raphaelites".  William Holman Hunt belonged to this group and is not as well known as some of the others.  Typically his style is one of fairly garish colors but this piece (above) is not one of those.  "Morning Hunt" is one of soft and subtle coloring.  Just look at the bedspread! There are so many little shades of pastels that flow together harmoniously.  The Pre-Raphaelites are noted for their highly dramatic subject matter and, often, use the classical works of literature as their base for ideas.  Some critics thought their whole premise was extremely presumptuous and they didn't like them at all.  Charles Dickens was one to call them "mean, odious, repulsive and revolting."  Wow.  Charles didn't get to look into the future and see what was to come in the 20th century.  He didn't get to see Salvador Dali or Picasso.  If he could have he probably would have been kinder to the Pre-Raphaelites.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

What's that you say? Have fun?

Nothing too earth shattering today.  About 10 or so years ago I really fell into a rut.  I was so worried about marketing my art-what would sell, who would buy it, will I have to take my art out of state, etc.-I forgot the shear joy in creating!  That's when I decided that enough was enough.  I gave it up almost completely and went to work at a dental lab.  I was worried that I would forget how to paint but I think having a nice long break, without the pressures of producing for market, was good for me.  I still kept my hand in it some but didn't focus on it all the time.  In other words, I wasn't obsessed.  Now that I'm back in the groove I have started experimenting again.  Taking some risks...uh oh, pretty scary.  But that's good for us to do. We will be able to find something  new about ourselves and our talent.

My message today is:  HAVE FUN. Keep a positive attitude.  Remember this talent has been given to you and it is a blessing.

Art History Moment:  I'm not going to talk about anything specific today.  The reason why art history attracted me so much is that you can't study the art without studying the culture where the art is produced.  Delving into an area you'll find that you will learn in a roundabout way the politics, religion, time period, customs, etc.  It's like eating a yummy candy bar-just full of hidden delights.  I found this out when I was studying Japanese art that was taught by Lenox Tierney (GREAT teacher) at the University of Utah.  The professor had lived in Japan pre WWII and he had pictures of places that he had taken that don't even exist today as they had been bombed.  Wow.  Along with learning about the art we also talked about the customs.  It was fascinating.  I actually think that studying art history is much more of a privilege than regular history.  What I mean by that is-you get to learn all the regular stuff but it's spiced up with the artistic work of the people.  What could be more intriguing that that?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Complimentary colors - what you may not know

This is quite rudimentary, today, but interesting, I think.  I had to substitute teach today for 4th grade and they had to work on an art project that involved complimentary colors.  Of course, that reminded me of somethings that I had taught before.  First of all-you all know what they are, opposite colors on the color wheel-if you mix them together by pairs, like orange and blue, you will get gray.  Why does that happen?  There's are terrific book called, I believe, "Yellow and Blue Don't Make Green".  It's not that the colors mix and cause that to happen-it's more like their color rays fight each other.  Blue won't allow the yellow to show up and yellow won't let blue show up.  So you are left with the absence of color - gray.

Now, the grays will be different, of course, because the colors are not the same.  You'll get different results.  If you want a warm gray then combine red and green.  Orange and blue will make a cooler gray-which is great for the shadows in the snow.

Let's try something fun.  I can't tell you why this works but it DOES and every time, at least, for me.  If you take a pure color, like red, and stare at only that, close up, for about 30 seconds-then quickly look at white you will see the complimentary color!  It's a great exercise for children.  They love it but adults get a kick out of it, also.  Ever noticed when you are gazing on a shadow that is kind of colored-like one off a blind-when you look away you won't see that shadow color anymore?  I bet you saw the complimentary color and didn't even realize it!  Try it.
the last supper leonardo davinci
Art History Moment - The reason why Leonardo Da Vinci's fresco's, such as "The Last Supper" are in such disrepair is that Leonardo did not take the right time with his frescoes.  To rush the process he painted in tempura on a dry wall.  This is not actually a true fresco-there can be no corrections as the painting moves forward this way.  Because of this short cut method much of his work was already in disrepair by the 16th century. If he had used the true fresco method of painting into the wet plaster it  would be in a lot better shape today-for us to enjoy!  Luckily we have clever art restorers that have painstakingly tried to recreate Da Vinci's original intent.  Thank goodness for the modern science (and I say "science" because it is) of restoration.  These guys really do make miracles happen.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

2 must haves for oils

I had another great art teacher for a workshop that I took.  His name is Frank Covino.  Frank had scrutinized all the masterpiece paintings in person that he could and tried to figure out what the old masters used for colors, technique and supports. What he came up with is you have to have Chromium Oxide Green by Grumbacher for all skin (I can't remember if he said darker skin also but I think it would be a good idea).  Wherever there's a shadow or you want to make the skin recede you need to add a little of the C. O. Green.  It's good for an under painting also.  All skin, according to Frank (I'm assuming he meant even darker values) has Windsor Orange by Winsor & Newton.  THAT is the orange you would want to use to mix with the other skin colors.  He also said that wherever you can sense a pulse/blood you need to add a little blood color to that area.  You will enliven the nostrils too if you add some of that blood there also.

2 great colors/2 great tips from Frank Covino.  If you're interested in his workshops I bet he's probably still teaching them.  If you use his method your painting will last at least 500 years or more, many more, because he has a special medium that he has concocted and when applied to a wood panel-well, it's going to last almost forever.  I have one painting I did in the workshop.  It's not a masterpiece at all and will probably last a 1,000 years.  Drat.  Not the one I would choose to go down through the ages.

Art History Moment:  Speaking of a retched example to be famous for: Okay.  Who hasn't heard of the portrait "Whistler's Mother"?  Boring (to me), boring, boring.  So when we began studying James Whistler I thought it would be a big drag.  But, unfortunately, that image is what he is well known for.  Whistler was an exceptionally innovative artist in that he was really the first to make use of the influence of Japanese prints.  A fascinating American character that lived in France and London.  In looking at "The Girl in White" you'll notice that he has several "whites" in this painting.  He had the challenge, as I had in "America's Favorite City", of making them look different and stand out.  This girl in the painting is hardly a girl at all but was his mistress,  Jo Heffernan.  What is it with these artist guys?  Does every dedicated male artist have to have a mistress?  I certainly hope not but the mistress/models are the ones that become famous.  After talking so much about Maxfield Parrish, for the life of me, I can't remember his wife's name but I knew his mistress, Susan Lewan.

Monday, March 22, 2010

You can have your cake and eat it too!

Or, rather, you can draw and watch a movie at the same time PLUS get something more valuable out of it than just casually doing both.  I used to do this exercise years ago in my art classes and everyone loved it.  Of course I would do it right along with them (hence the lovely sketches of R2D2, Yoda and other characters that I don't remember where they came from).

1.  Do you have an old VCR still?  If not use a DVD player and a timer.  I like to put in a movie that has lots of fun characters and animals but that's not what you have to do.  There are plenty of challenges with regular ones.
2.  Get your good old sketch book and a pencil or pen of any kind.
3.  Search through the movie and try to find something/somebody that looks interesting.  Then let the movie play.

4.  Quickly pause it and whip out your sketch book and pencil.
5.  Start drawing what you see as fast as you can before it unpauses (use the timer and be strict about it).  The advantage of the VCR is that it will start up and you won't really be able to find that exact pose again.

What do we get out of this?  Well, it makes you move quicker, forces you to train your eye to really see things in minute detail, it's very fun, you will improve your drawing skills.

Art History Moment:  For an artist that is so famous for his paintings and drawings of ballet dancers it's very hard to believe that Edgar Degas, an Impressionist, really didn't like women.  In fact he held them in contempt!  When I think ballet and art I think of Degas-exceptional, flowing dancers.  Because he was influenced by Japanese art and photography it's easy to see why his compositions drift off the page.  No flowers centered on the table for him.  Take this as a great tip from this "Moment"-it's by far more interesting to use this type of composition but remember the deadly tangent (see post before).  It will ruin your view if you don't keep that in mind.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

This is how I did my entry for "Monday Art Day"

The theme this week is "castaway" and, I don't know why, had this thought flash into my mind.  What if planet Earth got so sick of all our squabbling, environmental abuses and other general bossy/know it all things we do?  I just saw us all tossed into a bag and thrown into outer space.  I know I'm taking liberties with the word castaway and stretching it a little to think it means really cast away.  But, when you think about it, we ALL would be castaways into the void until our mortal lives ended-which would be pretty dang quick!  Just another way of teaching us a lesson besides flooding the surface.

1)  I began by thinking, of course, and realizing that I don't really know what the continents look like.  So, I went down in the basement and dusted off the Atlas.  Then I looked at my previous unsuccessful attempt (from yesterday in one of my sketch/workbooks) and drew a rough sketch.

2)  I added more details-such as the hint of the struggling people in the bag.

3)  I liked what I did.  So, I outlined it with a pen that I like to use because it will sketch without blobbing.  I think it's a Pentel.

4)  I decided that, unlike yesterday, I would add some color.  Out came the trusty bag of old colored pencils. I began that.

5)  In order to give more of a hint of lots of people in the bag I added some quick little hints of faces in color.  I didn't outline them in black because I want them to recede in the background and be behind the main unhappy "character" scrambling to get out.  Life in the bag at this point would be chaotic and mad, to say the least.

6)  At this point I decided whether I wanted to add any color to the sky.  I thought, no, as I wanted only the white to show through my pen strokes.  I wanted the main focus on the earth and the bag.  I thought I would accomplish this by not putting any color in the sky.  Darkening the colored pencils to a high saturation wasn't a route I wanted to take either as keeping it pastel would also stick the focus on the main event.

7)  The color was at the right point.  So, I began to use my pen to create shading and distinction-also to form the body of the sky.

8)  I thought to myself that I was tooooo tight.  So, I forced myself to loosen up and let the strokes fall where they may.  I didn't want to keep this a static and tight composition.  Whimsical was more of what I was thinking.  So, I really went into the zone of letting things happen (scary).  I added some movement strokes to allude to Earth's arm swooshing up to it's nose to pinch it shut and say, "Pee-uuuuu".   Because that's what I pictured would happen.  There are also movement strokes to show the bag swooshing outwards.

9)  (See image at top of post for final stage) All I need to do now is to darken and make sure that things stand out.  I want things like the Earth's arm to stand out and not blend too much but be noticeable.  I scrutinized it and decided that, even thought it's not a masterpiece by a long shot, it says what I want it to say and I HAD FUN DOING IT.  The fun part was important to me because I'm not looking for high stress this week.

Voile!  It's done!!!!! See my post here

Artist Jan van Eyck
Year 1434
Type Oil on oak panel of 3 vertical boards
Dimensions 82.2 (panel 84.5) cm × 60 (panel 62.5) cm (32.4 in × 23.6 in)
Location National Gallery, London

Art History Moment:  Some artists like to put themselves in their paintings-however small they might be.  In "The Arnolfini Marriage" by the 17th century Dutch painter, Jan van Eyck, if you look very closely in the mirror on the wall you can see a teeny tiny portrait of him.  Other painters, such as Norman Rockwell, liked to do that as well.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Teach yourself patience-slow down!

Last night I thought I could put together my tutorial fairly quickly.  I'm working on something for "Monday Art Day".  I got it done, along with all the photos, and put them on the computer.  Then I took a look at it and thought to myself, "Now, do I want the whole world to see this?  Can I do better than this?  Did I rush it?"  The answers were NO, YES, and YES.  I have a good idea but I need to treat what I did as the beginning and not the end.  So back to the drawing board-literally!  Be careful to take your time in creating things.  One thing that art has taught me is to be patient.  Now when I was first really getting serious about a business in art I would finish something as fast as possible.  I had to slow myself down and become more methodical about it.  This has helped me in so many other ways in my life. 

As a young mother I would try so hard to get some painting in in the afternoon while a baby was napping and the older kids were at school.  I can't tell you how many times I would just get paint touched to canvas and I could hear them outside or waking up.  I had to force myself to be patient and realize that this time with the kids would be over soon enough-that I would have plenty of time some day.  I was definitely right on that one.  Fortunately I thoroughly enjoyed my children in every way possible.  Well, long story made short-I built up a tremendous reserve of patience and I needed that.
Francisco de Goya. The Marquesa de Pontejos.

Art History Moment:  One very interesting artist of the 18th century is Francisco Goya, an early Romantic from Spain.  I think he's so fun to study because he's like Picasso.  They both started out doing very traditional works but ended up with a totally different and thought provoking/highly revolutionary style.  Goya painted the typical portraits of kings, etc. and had a talent for bringing out more of the personality of the sitters than some of the other painters of the time.  As the years went by he went totally berserk!  He created a body of work called the "Caprices" and the government in Spain was so upset by it that it almost got banned by the Inquisition!  If you want to see some pretty shocking and unusual images-study the late Goya.  The are very unusual when you consider the time period.
       Franscisco Goya, "The Colossus"
(Portrait above - "Marquesa de Pontejos")

Friday, March 19, 2010

Tutorial coming


Ecstasy by Maxfield Parrish
 "Ecstasy" - Maxfield Parrish

 I wish this was my painting but, as you can see, it's not.  I just wanted to start my blog today with a picture because I think it's so much more interesting that way (being a visual person, myself).

Today I'm going to start working on an entry for Monday Art Day.  Well, actually, I practiced what I preach by first figuring out what I want to do in my sketch/work book.  So, if I want to get anything done on that I better get busy and not waste time .  I don't expect to finish it right away but you never know.  When I get it done I will show you all my steps.  I might even show my first sketch.

Art History Moment:  I could talk about Maxfield Parrish forever but want to move onto something/someone else.  Personally he really was a character.  That makes for an interesting study, I think.  As I said he had a long time mistress/model, Susan Lewin.  She lived in his studio that was separate from his house but connected by a passageway.  He could be in the studio for hours and the next thing you knew, back in the house.  Of course his wife had to know what was what but must have had an agreement with him about his strange extra life.  M. P. was a perfectionist all the way.  He built a model of a castle and used it in many of his illustrations.  Many would just consider him an illustrator but I think illustrators get a bad rap.  They have to be artists in every sense of the word.  They just have a talent for interpreting a story.  Companies could see that in him.  He was the main artist for Edison Mazda Lamps.  One could say he was the "Girl on a Rock" artist extraordinaire as so many of the calendars were designed around this theme.  As I said before-look at the "It's a Beautiful Day" rock album (not sure of the title) and you'll either see his painting or one that is very similar to one of his.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

I Call it "The Workbook"

For a work horse a sketch book is a miniature one but just as powerful. Only using it to sketch nonchalantly will be wasting part of it's usefulness.
I've taken mine all over the place and tried to record scenes from our trips.  On some of the drawings I often include details in writing right on the drawing itself.
When I start an art project I like to do some thumb nail sketches of what the design will be.  I work it out here, first, before putting anything on the canvas.  Then I often go one step further with my major paintings and do a color sketch with paint on a piece of canvas.

But back to the little work horse-you can see what's working and what will definitely not.  It's also very fun to go back and see those sketches.  They have quite a bit of memories involved and it vaults me back in time.

 Art History Moment:  Still talking about "Daybreak" (see image yesterday):  This painting became so popular that during the early 1900's thousands or maybe millions of prints were on the walls of American homes.  At one point the original work disappeared only to turn up on someone's yacht in a climate controlled room-thank goodness.  Can you imagine if they hadn't done that?  The moisture from the sea would have ruined a masterpiece!  It still is in a private collection.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

For all of you flower lovers-Spring!

So, I need to give proper credit to the photographer here.  It's Gracie, my daughter!  Every time I look at it it makes me want to sing something like "the hills are alive, etc." or "oh, what a beautiful morning!"  I think the reason I love it is because of the big pink tulip at the top and the other pink ones that outline the composition.  The biggest thing about it that makes it successful is that it has a restful area-the sky at the top.  Have you ever looked at a painting that is so busy that you get tired of looking at it?  Every inch has to be filled.  There's a lot going on here but you get that one restful area and, come on, what gives you a more restful feeling than the azure sky?  Also, you can almost feel the gentle spring breeze.  The photo, by the way, was taken at Thanksgiving Point in Utah during the Tulip Festival that happens every year-love it.

Art History Moment:  After careful consideration and great humility I've decided that I'm going to post with proper credit images that could be a little risky.  I think it should be fine because it's purely instructional.  I'm not out to make a buck off of anyone's images.  Therefore, I'm going to show you the "Daybreak" painting.

Maxfield Parrish - Daybreak

 Maxfield Parrish-"Daybreak"

Now, the model for the girl on the ground happened to be Susan Lewin, Maxfield Parrish's mistress.  The other girl, I believe is his daughter.  There was another figure but she didn't make it into the final painting.  Susan Lewin was the model for many of his works-even the men.  The composition for this painting is built around the "Golden Mean".  This technique is based around the perfect symmetry in nature and is actually a mathematical formula.  I don't want to get into that now as this is supposed to be only a "moment" but later on I'll do that.  Just realize that we are attracted to this painting for a reason.  Also-notice anything about what I was talking about before?  Lots going on but then there is the peaceful sky-the rest for the eye.  Makes sense, doesn't it?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Fav equipment

I thought I'd just continue a little from yesterday as I got myself to go downstairs and take a picture of the Silicoil brush cleaning jar.  I mentioned it in yesterday's blog.

Okay, this is an artist's lament and I KNOW almost every artist can agree that we never never never have enough or the right light unless we make an extra effort to set it up.  Well, I'm showing you what my husband, the scrounger brought home to me.  Sometimes I just hate his junk but this is a real jewel.  He's an electrician and works almost exclusively at hospitals.  The stuff he gets is top notch.  So, therefore, let me introduce you to MY operating light.  Ta da!  It's soooo great for painting on something dark.  You know as we get older it gets harder and harder to see to paint detail in dark areas.  Well, this light is THE best.  I'm not kidding.  Try to find one if you can.  But I don't use it all the time.  Just when I need it.

Then I thought you'd enjoy seeing a funky setup that he put together when I complained about my lighting years ago.  Don't you just love the light on my easel?  I don't use that one now but it really worked great when I needed it.

Art History Moment:  We're still talking about Maxfield Parrish.  His very large painting called "Daybreak" is considered the all time top selling poster (as of the writing of the book I read).  Maybe Farrah surpassed him but, I guess, comparatively to nowadays population levels and the levels during the earlier 1900's the percentage was way up there.  "Daybreak" is considered to be a composition masterpiece and do you know that people can sense when something is going quite right as they put this on their walls all over the U. S. A. during the 1920's.  More about it tomorrow and what makes it so successful.

I think I'm going to just ask you to Google questionable copyrighted images.  I looked it up and couldn't get a clear answer.  This is an educational use but I'm just not sure about it.  Does anyone know?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Forgot to explain a few brushes

I forgot to mention the other brushes in the picture.  One is a Robert Simmons.  I love this little skinny brush for very fine detail.   Then there's a Grumbacher Renoir (love it for oils-smoothing), and the other is a Grumbacher filbert (like I told you before that I the filberts for a lot of things).  But my staple is the Bristlette.


These are some of my fav things!

Today I'm going to show you some of my favorite art supplies plus a vendor that I like.  I am very very fussy about having the right things to work with and keeping them in as good of shape as possible.  When I was teaching art for 11 years I would send my new students home with a supply list and pray that they would follow it.  Now some of them were as young as 8.  So, I can understand why their parents wouldn't want to buy them the best but my philosophy of teaching was use the best and get the best.  Hey!  I think I should use that as my new motto for the supply department of my blog.


When the students would come to class with the chintzy brushes that all come in a packet from a foreign country I would cringe!  In fact after a while of helping them I would tell the parents that they just had to break down and spend more money on quality (you get what...., etc.).  So here are my top favs:

1.  Liquitex acrylics-I love them because they have more of a matte finish to them.  So I can layer oils on top without fear of the oils not adhering.  The lids fit decently and are easy to handle even for adults.  Also, a little trick here-you can put unused paint back into the tube quite easily by holding the paint tube upright and tapping down, gently, on the tube.  Just ladle with your little palette knife and tap after each addition.  Back in it goes.  NOW you can't ladle in paint that has started to set up because it won't change once it gets in there.  But I've done that before and not had too much of a problem.  If that happens it will just squirt out at the beginning the next time you use it.

2. Grumbacher Bristlette paint brushes - You may have to order them if your art supply store doesn't carry them.  I just plain old like them for both acrylics and oils.  But you've got to take good care of them, folks.  Wash them out each time and try hard to get deep down into the bristle.  I just use mild dish soap and water-then work and work out the paint.  Then I dip them into the next lovely lovely supply and LEAVE that on the brush until next time as it will condition the bristles and they'll be soft.  It's water soluble and will wash off.

3. Weber Turpenoid Natural.  Love it love it.  It is safe to inhale and works great for use with oils instead of turpentine or other nasty nasty stuff.  You can ALMOST drink it-it's so safe.  I hope they still have this but I'm sure they do.  I bought several bottles probably about 5 or 6 years ago and I'm just on the second now.  I get one of those glass jars that has the wire coil at the bottom and put the Turpenoid up to the top of the coil.  When using oils I first wipe off most of the paint from the brush.  Then I clean it in the jar by scraping, gently, against the coil.  Then I wash them with the soap and water.

4.  Winsor & Newton Liquin.  Yea, it's great.  I use it for a medium with my oils and final finish (even with acrylics).  Now, I talked to the Winsor & Newton chemist and he said I shouldn't use it for the finish but I've been doing it for years and it's great.  I love it because you can paint on top of it if you choose to (remember obsessive painter-me).  He recommended I use this other final finish and I'm not kidding I was not happy about it because, of course, I wanted to change a few things.  I COULD NOT get any of that finish off.  It's like iron.  I tried sanding, chemicals, etc.  I recommend that after several years when you are certain that you're done and won't be touching anything up-then use the iron clad finish made by Winsor & Newton (name?).  But you won't believe how it makes the acrylic painting sings and comes alive the minute you put the Liquin on top of it.  Wow, oh, Wow.

5.  Whew.  Almost forgot.  I order often from Dick Blick as they usually have everything I want and have never ever had bad luck with them.  Plus once you get on their mailing list you get a whopper of a catalog every year.  I don't think they carry the Bristlette brushes, though.  Are you listening Dick Blick?  Please get them.

That's it but I'm sure I'll think of more on another day. 

Any questions?  Please ask. I'd love to hear from you.  Remember my caveat-I don't claim to know it all and can be corrected.

Art History Moment:  Well, I just can't resist talking about my favorite painter, Maxfield Parrish.  In fact I think I'll spend a little more time on him because he's a fascinating art character (and I MEAN character) and one of the all time best illustrators.

Maxfield Parrish is the guy that painted all those great calendar art paintings with girls sitting on rocks.  You may have seen one of his works on an album cover of the 1960's-or someone inspired by him.  "It's A Beautiful Day", the rock group, had an album that could be his or an M. P. inspired artist.  He is the artist for the all time top selling poster.  We'll talk about it tomorrow.  I think I'm going to have to direct you to Google him because I'm afraid of copyright infringement as he's from the previous century and still has living heirs.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

What makes a painting sell or be successful

Gustave Doré (1832-83). "The Body of Elaine on Its Way to King Arthur's Palace."
King. London: E. Moxon, 188-.
*****Okay.  So, did you look at the Gustave Dore works?  Did you see how he has a way of drawing the viewer into the story he's trying to tell.  Well, he employs all of these ideas:

Original author of ideas is Austin Deuel (or Devel) -

1.  Tell a story - Put the human touch in it.  Smoke out of a chimney, light in a window.  That kind of thing.
2.  Create a dramatic mood - Fog, snow, rain, sunset.  Even the heat of the day with all the shadows burned out.
3.  Dramatic composition - Every painting has to have a strong vertical in it.

Years ago, probably about 22ish, I was showing my portfolio to my husband's friend.  I had done a lot of home portraits (mansions, etc.).  I got to the end of the photographs and he said, "So what."  I was deeply hurt.  I had been very successful with these paintings.  They had all sold.  What in the world was he talking about?  I contemplated his comment for a long time and realized that those paintings were a big "so what".  I mean they were good representations of the homes and businesses I had painted but they lacked the human element in EVERY way.  They were in a sense-BLAND.  I owe him a coke or something because he was so right.  I now try to employ these ideas that Austin Deuel wrote about.  I think I found this in "The Artist's Magazine" (great art magazine, by the way).

 The is my "Hot Date in New Orleans" painting.  I am not going to show you the bland paintings.  At least not now as I want you to see one that I feel hits those key points pretty much.  I still have this painting and I'm glad as it's of my oldest son.  It's very large and makes for a wonderful entry way piece.  But I was offered an Arabian horse in trade for it.  Drat.  I couldn't take the guy up on it because I didn't know what I would do with the horse-even though I love horses.  Anyway-diagonal, right?  Element of a story, right?  Mood set with a hot summer day, right?  Check.

Art History Moment:  World's End-As at the end of most centuries, a number of people feared that the world would end in 1500.  As a result, apocalyptic images of death were widespread. (From Sister Wendy Beckett's "The Story of Painting")

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Sign it right

This part is for women only-not anything too tricky- but have you ever wondered if it matters whether you sign your whole name on your creation or not- as far as marketing goes? Well, it does as proven by a female artist that I read about probably about 15 years ago. She did an experiment to see if it mattered whether she signed as a woman. She tried her full name, just her last name, and a made up man's name. Guess who sold the most? Well, you guessed it, ladies. Of course, the man. Not fair. After I read that article I decided that my best bet- if I didn't want to misrepresent myself all together- was to sign just my last name. I don't know, for me, if it really helped a lot as I didn't try her experiment but I thought it couldn't hurt, right? Dang. It's no fair that we can't be a woman all the way in this man's world. But, I just hate to break it to you, ladies, but from what I've learned in my "Human Heritage" class at the University of Utah-there has NEVER been a woman's world. That's right. I said it. NEVER. Never has there been a true matriarchal society. The Iroquois came close but still no banana. The women in the tribe could decide the leaders of it but the men could STILL veto her. So, we better go with the flow somewhat and that means we women have to be a little crafty. Therefore...the last name, only, is your best bet.

Okay men-you can get in here now. Your signature shouldn't ever be the only thought you put into your creative signing (because it is original to YOU only). If you want to protect your rights on your work you must put a visible date (yes, out in front pretty much-I guess a sculpture that is viewed with a 360 degree view would be an exception here) on the front AND the copyright symbol. Even though you haven't applied for a copyright-put it on there. From what I read- the copyright office takes forever to process claims and such. So, it would be a good bet that you would have plenty of time to apply for your copyright before the trial date, etc. Now this could be a Wickapedia fact as I haven't read up on copyright laws for quite a while but don't completely take my word for it.

While we're at it on the signature business-unless your signature is a world wide prize (like Van Gogh, etc.) you want people to look at your art work and say to themselves, "That's such a great work of creativity! Oh, who is it by? Julie Jacobsen". Get it? The name is less important than the work of art unless you are-repeat after me-Van Gogh or some other big time art whosit. You don't want your viewers to say, "Julie Jacobsen did this work. Now how about the art? Nice. But Julie Jacobsen is the artist". Do you get it? You don't want your name to be blatant. That brings up a whole other can of worms-framing. Let's hit that another day because it is, oh, so important.

Now, look at my examples of my signature. Notice something? The colors blend into the color scheme and yet they stand out ENOUGH. Of course they are really standing out to you as I magnified the view but if you go back in my blog you'll see many of my original works that were very successful marketing wise. If you look for the signature you can find it but you have to hunt a little. Sometimes I have changed the painting beneath my signature to have it stand out just a little more as it was too wimpy.

P. S. I forgot that today we were going to talk about drawing the viewer in. Alright, you people that looked at Dore. Hold that image/images in your mind for a day. I wrote myself a note to be sure to do it tomorrow.

Art History Moment: Okay. I heard this rumor. It could be another Wickapedia fact but I heard that Van Gogh lost a lot of marbles in his head because he would actually eat the lead paint that he painted with. Just a little here and there but nowadays you know what eating lead paint can do to you. That's right. Brain damage. Maybe I should Google that and see what the consensus is on that info. Interesting theory, isn't it.

Remember it will be in about 1 week or less.