Sunday, November 25, 2012

In Thanksgiving

Hills Over the Bayou-oil-16x20
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I can't begin to count the many things I am thankful for. My good fortune includes my family, faith, and the mere chance to have been born in a part of the world where I can look forward to so much more than just a daily struggle to survive. One of the things I am thankful for every moment of the day is the gift of art. I'm aware that it's a privilege to see in a way different from most people and I'm grateful for that gift and for the drive that impels me to find ways to express the beauty I see.  
I'm thankful too for other artists, for camaraderie and for what I learn in their company. I'm especially appreciative for those artists at the top of their game who give their time and talent to pass on their knowledge. They could so easily sit back and bask in their successes.
I'm thankful for my students who teach me more than they know, especially the children.
I'm thankful for the supporters of art from the people who showcase the work of artists, to the gallery owners, to the collectors. Thank you to those of you who have purchased my art for their collections. I'm truly honored and grateful!   

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Anticipation of Discovery

Nestled in The Sugarbowl  - oil - 6"x 8"
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Change is good, even necessary. When that small inner voice started getting louder and more insistent about the need for change, I listened. I headed outside with smaller canvasses and with a determination to study the light and color as closely as possible - to really look and see what the day could show me.
So far, the results are not what I would expect but that's part of the fun. I'm beginning to understand  that the path to producing the best work possible is an ongoing path that has to be traveled at it's own pace.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Beating Back the Demons

It happens to a lot of us.You're going along just fine turning out paintings you're reasonably happy with, when bam all of a sudden it's gone. Your flow, your confidence, your belief in your ability. You can argue with yourself, point to your accomplishments, look at all your successful paintings and happy clients, but when you fall into this morass, the demons have a way of countering every one of those affirmations.

Autumn Reflections-14x18 oil
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It's helpful to examine why these negative voices are suddenly so noisy. Sometimes the culprit is a poisonous relationship or even a poisonous encounter. Once seen, that's easy enough to fix.
 Sometimes it just happens from trying something new. Lately I've had to remind myself that it takes time to get a new thing to work. If I expect or demand instantly wonderful results I can pretty quickly convince myself that I'm terrible at my craft.
Lack of balance can also steer your efforts down a disappointing road. You're not likely to produce a high caliber of work if you push yourself to exhaustion, short yourself of sleep, or worry excessively about your business efforts or shortcomings.
But when I can't figure out why my muse has gone into hiding, I clear away all the  mental clutter and I go back to my very early days of painting when I expected nothing but was certain I was going to achieve my objectives.

How do you silence the demons?

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Painting the Familiar vs the Less Familiar

Island in the Bay-oil on canvas-24x36-to purchase contact Patina Art Gallery 251 928 2718

I think most artists welcome the stimulus of painting in an unfamiliar placeThis recent painting is of the coastal area where I live in the Florida Panhandle. The coastal environment was new to my eyes when I moved here in 2003. I've always been a mountain and woods kind of person and initially I didn't like the wide open flatness and eye searing light of my new home. But I've come to love the quiet beauty of the beaches and dunes. When I want to paint water, there are rivers, bayous, bays and the Gulf. The familiarity I've gained with my new home, finds it's way into the paintings of it.
I also love my second home on the central California Coast that I visit once or twice a year. In all my travels, I've never found a land that appeals to me as much as the area around Big Sur. But when I paint scenes of Big Sur and Cambria and Morro Bay, it's with the unaccustomed eyes of a visitor.

 Painting the less familiar gives you the child like freedom of painting without the prejudices of knowing what it's "supposed to" look like. Still, I admire the easy familiarity people like Frank Serrano or Jeff Horn and many other coastal painters of California, have with their subject. Frank Serrano captures perfectly the veil of  atmosphere that hangs almost constantly above the rocky cliffs. I'd love  to spend more time there studying the softly colored haze to better capture it. Jeff Horn sees his homeland in the same jeweled tones that excite my eye when I see the coast, and states his vision with appealing clarity. I hope in the not too distant future to spend some serious painting time there learning the feel of the land as comfortably as I have my Florida home. In the meantime, I'll continue painting where ever my feet land!
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