Sunday, December 28, 2014

Firsts for the 1st

In celebration of the approaching New Year, I invite you to share your "firsts" for the past year! Here are a few of mine.

January 2014-First magazine cover and story. Painting in Big Sur, my other coast.

First completed-in-one-go plein air painting. Whether or not that approach is worth anything is open to debate, but I like this one.

First time in living memory Pensacola saw ice encased trees

February-First art talk presentation

April-First invite to teach a plein air workshop

May-First satisfyingly successful art fair in Sandestin Florida. Hope to see you there this year!

May/June - First month long painting road trip. Can't wait for the next one!

November - First workshop. I don't mess around- I went for the best with Scott Christensen!

Other notable firsts this summer and fall:
First productive Gallery Night and invite invite into a new gallery. First meeting with an energetic artists networking group.First time participating in Pensacola's juried First City Art Exhibit.

All in all it's been the best year yet both for art business and for the many new friends in art I've met in person and online.

Wishing a Happy, Healthy, and Productive 2015 to you! What firsts are you hoping for this year?

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Living in "Darkboro"

I do enjoy a grey winter day. Fields of dry grasses with bits of left over red colors, stand out beautifully against the greys in the sky. Dark green accents of pine trees mixed in with bare branches complete the palette. It's a pretty palette, meditative and subdued. But a steady diet of non stop grey darkness, wears thin pretty quickly.
It's dark up here in this corner of New Jersey where I've spent the last six weeks. Really dark. I've counted 5 days of sunshine since arriving. Each day that dawns with the promise of sunshine, quickly clouds over. Painting inside has been just about impossible. 

It's so consistently cloudy, that virtually all of my family members living here have been put on Vitamin D. Thinking a D deficiency was a family trait, I got myself tested. My Florida doctor must have thought I was nuts!

Absent my Florida sunshine, the next best thing for indoor painting is daylight light bulbs. I use them when I travel and also have them installed overhead in my studio in Florida to augment the northeast light in the room. 
So, what do I look for in studio lights? Currently I have 5000K florescents with a CRI rating in the low 90's. You can find these numbers on the tube. 5000K is the Kelvin rating. In plain language, the Kelvin rating is the the color temperature. Candlelight is a 2000K yellow light while a clear sky sunny day is an 8000K blue light. Studio lights should be between 5000 and 6500. The bulbs I've been using with desk top lamps while here, are 6500K. Personally, I don't care for them. The light they give off is too blue for me.
CRI stands for color rendering index. The closer you can get to 100, the better. Over 90 is good. Having a high Kelvin number with a low CRI won't give you an accurate color read.

You don't have to spend a fortune to get good studio lighting. Mine are Philips bulbs that I bought at Lowes. An artist friend of mine who has looked extensively into studio lighting has recommended these particular Philips florescent lights as affordable good lighting: Philips TL90 F32T8/TL950. He buys them on Amazon.

So, Happy painting- even if you live in Darkboro!

Monday, December 8, 2014

What Is A Studio?

Every place I've lived in during my many moves has had a space dedicated to painting. Sometimes it's been a huge room. Sometimes like now while I'm traveling, it's a corner in a tiny room.
But a studio is also a place to gather and learn from other artists.Recently I had the pleasure of meeting Hai-Ou Hou at her Chesapeake Fine Art Studio in Maryland.

Christensen demo for students and visitors

I participated in a workshop and watched some amazing demos. Later I  came back and painted with Hai-ou's students who meet on Monday and Tuesday each week. The studio itself is a large open space with huge windows and rolling partitions. There's plenty of room and light.
Hai-Ou's line up of workshop teachers is impressive. So many of today's successful artists are teaching there that anyone looking for a workshop is bound to find someone they would like to study under. While students and teacher are busy in the workshop, Hai-Ou efficiently and energetically keeps everything flowing smoothly behind the scenes.

Hai-Ou also teaches workshops and holds an open studio day when she isn't painting at one of the national plein paint-out events she is so often invited to.

A corner of the studio in a rare moment of inactivity
Hai-Ou envisions Chesapeake Fine Art Studio as a space where artists can gather and paint together in an atmosphere of fun and camaraderie, while helping each other become better artists. It's also a space where art lovers can gather, watch how art is created and add new work to their collections. A perfect studio!

Hai-Ou  with students during open studio time

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