Just a quick recap of the past week:

This past Saturday was the opening of my show at The Bowlus Fine Arts Center. A collection of oil painted portraits on stretched canvas.

Exhibit At The Bowlus Fine Arts Center

Panoramic View – Exhibit At The Bowlus Fine Arts Center

I can not say enough good about the staff at The Bowlus! The day we were to hang the show my back was out, and I was walking like a bent-over-little-old lady. It reminded me of a “Evolution of Man” chart.  The more vertical throughout the day, the straighter and more upright I became. But the employees were all extremely helpful, positive and dependable.

Oil Painting Portrait Exhibit

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We had a decent turnout and other than my social awkwardness things went smooth.  Note: I am much more comfortable in front of an easel than I am in front of a crowd.

Tip: I forgot to designate someone to take photos that evening. I wish I had! Hubby and I were so caught up in everything we both overlooked it. So if you can find a trusted friend to take some candid shots during a reception it is a good idea.

For a long while now I have thought, “If I can just get this show together it will be smooth sailing for a bit”. HA! Was that ever a chance for God to laugh at my plans.

The very next morning (Sunday) my Dad was admitted to the hospital, in ICU sixty miles away. By the time I got there, an hour later, he was sitting in bed joking around with nurses. By Tuesday he was released and going for his daily walk at the local Wal-Mart. (SMH) Thankful, but NEVER boring around here for long!

What is next? I want to finish up a couple of pieces that I wish I had had completed for the show. Try to take things up a notch as far as size and skill.  The immediate time pressure is off on these two so it will be interesting to see if they come out as I envision.

Still obsessed with knitting, and now that it is getting cooler it is calling me louder. I am sure lace will not add much warmth in a Kansas Winter, but that is what I am hooked on of late. It helps me clear my head. This is particularly true of knitting shawls. They are large enough to hold my interest between painting, but small enough to carry with me.

Also, if there are any writer’s reading this I am sure you are aware that as of today it is National Novel Writing Month! If you are not familiar with NANOWRIMO, it is a non-profit program that encourages people to write fifty-thousand words during the month of November. I have participated in the past, and want to this year. But my want, and hours available are not cooperating. I have not openly committed to participating yet this year.  Then again, November isn’t over yet either.

Last but not least, in a little over a week I have vacation time from my day-job in a public library. Nine days in a semi-open time frame to paint, knit and write! Aside from a day trip to Wichita and perhaps KC, I plan on being in full hermit mode the entire time. Ahhhh bliss!

Today was spent boxing up all the work that is ready for a show that will be hung Monday. I also updated inventory lists and made sure marketing materials are up to date.  There are still three paintings I could not pack up as they are still drying in some fashion. But they will be ready to go and walk out the door by Monday.

Below are two items that will be included.

16X20" Oil on canvas

16X20″ Oil on canvas

9X12" oil on canvas

9X12″ oil on canvas

So the big question now, what is next?

  • Well hopefully I will have some sales (or LOTS!) at the exhibit, perhaps line up some more commission pieces?
  • Then to line up more exhibits over the next year. There are some small galleries in the area I have not shone in for years so perhaps at least one will be on the agenda.
  • I now have ties in Wichita so I need to look that direction for possible opportunities. I keep thinking KC also, but Wichita is calling me.
  • I also need to have reproductions made: Something else I have not looked into for years.
  • Finish writing that book, the one that I now have a multitude of notes on from research!

But for now, I need to get this studio back into shape. Every surface in here is covered with books, photos, notes and painting supplies. Then I want to just sit down and knit for a few days, without interruption. To clear my head and further challenge the analytical part of my brain…..while eating chocolate. Who knows maybe I will design a thing or two while I am at it. :0)

Tutorials will begin again soon, I promise! For now I have deadlines on paintings that need to be completed. Below are a couple oil paintings that are currently in progress.

Work In Progress On Easel

Work In Progress On Easel

Portrait Oil Painting In Progress On Easel

Portrait Oil Painting In Progress On Easel – 18X24″ Stretched Canvas. Patron from day-job that agreed to pose. :0)

A scarf recently completed that I am rather proud :0) So soft, so fluffy, so light, such a good head clearing project when painting is not going the way I want!

Knitted Lace Scarf 37X14" Made With Jagger Spun Zephyr 50% Wool / 50% Silk

Knitted Lace Scarf 37X14″ Made With Jagger Spun Zephyr 50% Wool / 50% Silk

In a little over two weeks I need to hang a show.  So this means right now I am busy putting eye screws and wire on canvases for hanging, considering doing a few last minute pieces and wishing I had more time.

Stack of oil paintings on canvas

Stack of oil paintings on canvas

I have known I was doing the show for over a year now.  But as is often the case I think of things to do at the last minute!

Writing an Artist’s Statement

I just heard a Country song, “I’d Like To Check You For Ticks”.  Pretty much says it all doesn’t it.  It speaks to a specific audience and gets the point across in a few words that he would like to see more of her, in that special way’.  How does this relate to art? Well as an artist you should have an Artist’s Statement on hand that says what the audience needs to know. It needs to be short, no more than a page in length and to the point.

Have your audience in mind when you write it. If it is for the general-public, avoid ‘art speak’, and use language your viewer will understand. The best thing is to use the KISS method of ‘Keeping it short and simple’.  You most likely would not like to veer into the Tick area….but you get the idea :0)

Write a draft of your Artist’s Statement and try to have it reflect the real you. Then let it sit for a bit.  An hour, a day, a week, whatever you need to come back to it with a relatively fresh eye.

Sample Artist Statement

Herb R. Ian

Artist Statement Draft

In the turmoil found in today’s world, many find themselves returning to what they know best.  They begin examining people and things with new eyes, as Herb has also done.

Her current work of oil on canvas, explores the personal meaning of items she surrounds herself.  She uses art materials or Raku pottery (an ancient Asian process of firing ceramics) created by another local artisan, John Audley, as subject matter. She blends the pottery into a setting, that includes either art materials and/or more commonly found vessels with a dramatic light and shadow.

__________________________________________

Then divide it into three paragraphs;

1. What you do

“Her current work of oil on canvas, explores the personal meaning of items she surrounds herself.  She uses art materials or Raku pottery (an ancient Asian process of firing ceramics) created by another local artisan, John Audley, as subject matter. She blends the pottery into a setting, which includes either art materials and/or more commonly found vessels with a dramatic light and shadow.”

2. Your Background

Herb has a Master’s Degree in Studio Art and has won a number of awards for her work over the years.  She began working as an artist during her teen years, and over the years she has worked in a variety of mediums from polymer clay to oil paint.

3. How Your Work Affects Others

Because of her vast interest in different mediums and techniques she has begun to turn her attention to putting the information in writing. A virtuous reader she sees this as a way to pass on what she has learned over the years to those that come after.

_________________________________________

The length of your Artist’s Statement should be no more than one page.  Keep it updated to reflect what is accurate.

Use the information to pass out at shows, to clients, on your website, and ‘elevator speak’.  That thirty second blurb to keep in mind for when someone ask, “What kind of artist are you?”

Go back and edit your Statement at least twice before releasing it to the world.  Read it aloud to yourself and have a trusted friend read it before you consider it complete, to see any errors you may have overlooked.

Then put it all together.  I will want to continue to edit this, but at this point it would be alright to release to the world.

Artist Statement

Herb’s current work of oil on canvas, explores the personal meaning of items she surrounds herself.  She uses art materials or Raku pottery (an ancient Asian process of firing ceramics) created by another local artisan, John Audley, as subject matter. She blends the pottery into a setting, which includes either art materials and/or more commonly found vessels with a dramatic light and shadow.”

She began working as an artist during her teen years, and over the years she has worked in a variety of mediums from polymer clay to oil paint. She has a Master’s Degree in Studio Art and has won a large number of awards for her work over the years.

Because of her vast interest in different mediums and techniques she has begun to turn her attention to putting the information in writing. A veracious reader she sees this as a way to pass on what she has learned over the years to those that come after.  She can be found conducting workshops, creating art and working in her Kansas home that she shares with her husband of 15 years.

Now go forth and create that Artist Statement! You will be glad you have it on hand.

Things to keep in mind as your writing:

  • Avoid Jargon
  • Use simple sentences
  • Keep your audience in mind
  • Describe your intentions
  • Avoid cliche’s
  • Choose descriptive language

Painting Supplies

PSU Painting StudioWhere do I begin?

So you have decided you would like to try painting. You are somewhere on the spectrum of ability, either a professional, just wanting to touch up on basics, or a beginner who has never picked up a paint brush. Perhaps you just want to discover a world that appears to be magical, that until now has managed to elude you.

For everyone’s benefit, let’s start with the bare bones of supplies. What do you need to do this wondrous event/action of painting? Although I strongly believe that no matter what your budget, creating or painting can be within your grasp. But, let’s take a look at what would ideally be at your finger tips as an artist.

Choosing Your Medium – In choosing your medium you need to consider numerous things. The amount of time you wish to have your materials ‘workable’. Do you have children or pets that may come into contact with your supplies or work area? If you will be concerned that you’re 2 year old would like to see what your painting taste like? Do you wish to buy everything you need for less than $20, $100, $500 or perhaps $1000, or even $10,000? I was once told by a professor that money should not stand in the way of creation. In this instance she was happened to be a weaver. Her thought was that if she did not have the money for supplies of a loom and such, that she would still be able to weave with sticks found in the woods. Although art materials can be seen as expensive, there are materials for every size budget. Below you will find a brief description of some available painting supplies.

  • Sketchbook – This is a wonderful to have on hand at all times. It doesn’t have to be anything more than typing or copier paper in a folder to do its job. The idea is to have a place to draw, as ideas hit you. Or a place to play without worrying about the end results, as you might in a painting.
  • Resources – It is wonderful to have on hand 3 dimensional objects that have caught your eye in one way or another. They need not be expensive items. But can be garage sale finds, or interesting items found on a country stroll. The idea is to have things available to you to use as subjects for paintings that have an interesting feature, whether it is the items color, texture, shape, etc. Basic items such as interesting cups, saucers or rocks can become a good place to get ideas flowing, or subjects taken from a completed painting.
  • Watercolor – A wonderful transparent medium that is extremely transportable. This is surely the most popular of painting materials. From the pans of watercolors found in many a school child’s desk to the many tube watercolors on the market, there are a wide variety of prices and paint qualities to choose from. It is important that you have a good quality brush. Nothing can be more frustrating than using a cheap materials and finding the brush coming apart on your painting. If you just want to get your feet wet (no pun intended :0) perhaps trying a inexpensive student grade set of watercolors with a medium grade brush would be just the ticket? And don’t forget to also pick up some watercolor paper. Make sure to pick up something sturdy that will not warp when wet. You can learn to stretch watercolor paper later on. But for now let’s just see if this is the painting materials for you to try.
  • Acrylic – Acrylics are a wonderful diverse medium. They have the ability to be used thick from the tube or thinned in a watercolor technique. You can also add water to them and create different textures, such as sand, marble dust. If you want a medium that can be diluted with water, are versatile and are relatively non toxic, acrylics are for you. They can be painted on a wide variety of surfaces and are only limited by the artist imagination. Although general thought of as a quick drying material you can add substances to the paint that lengthen its working time. Be aware that many of the additives are highly toxic. It is recommended that you use a synthetic brush with acrylic paint. When using a palette it is best to use glass and not plastic, it is very easy for acrylic paint to dry on a palette quickly and it is almost impossible to get off of a natural porous surface. Whereas with glass the paint will simply peel away when dry. But take care when cleaning in a sink that you use the necessary precautions to not cause bodily harm should the glass break.
  • Gouache – (pronounced go-waush) Is a opaque water media that dries to a matte finish. They are often used by graphic designers due to their ability to create strong pigmented areas of color that transfer well to printed media. Not as popular with the general public as other painting material.
  • Oils – Often considered a more advanced material, finished oil paintings often bring more on the market than acrylic or watercolors. Although some of the materials used with oils can be toxic, they can be handled easily with a little education on how to do so. A lure of oils is the ability for them to stay workable for a longer period than water media. They usually are dry to the touch in 2-14 days. Expense usually runs similar to using acrylics. Generally are painted onto canvas or well primed surface. It is historically recommended to use a natural bristle brush with oil paint, although there are now much suitable man made products on the market that work very well. It is often recommended you use a wooden palette with oils, which builds up a wonderful patina after many uses.
  • Water Mixable Oil – These are fairly new on the market and offer a wide variety of color. Used alone they can be cleaned with soap and water. Or you can also use the traditional oil mediums along with them. If you follow the specific manufacturer’s recommendations you can use them along with oil paints.
  • Alkyds – a transparent oil color, these work well for glazing and are dry much quicker than the standard oil paints. It has been said by many artists, that they work well for plain air painters.
  • Oil Sticks – Are relatively new to the market and is oil paint, of sorts, in stick form. Are wonderful for use as a drawing medium and making expressive marks made on painting surfaces, work well with oil paints and can be used for drawing the composition out on canvas before oil paint is applied, for added finishing touches, or as a painting material all its own. They are available in a wide variety of colors from a variety of manufacturers.
  • Soft Pastel – Often mistakenly called chalks, these are a highly popular medium, both for its ability to remain workable indefinitely and its wonderful array of color. Tragacanth gum is used as a binder with the pigment to create a stick form that can be used to either paint or draw with. Used on a textured surface pastel, they can create a wide variety of affects. They do need to be framed under glass in order to prevent damage by elements. Many pastels painting that were created over a hundred years ago are still presented to the viewer with vibrant and fresh looking results. They can be purchased in a variety of hardness including in pencil form.
  • Oil Pastel – Similar to soft pastels, but with a binder that is oil based. A variety of affects can be achieved by using them. By using a brush dipped in mineral spirits you can create washes with the colors and manipulate them. It is not recommended you use oil pastels along with oil paints on the same painting.
  • Water Soluble Pencils/ Crayons – Available in a wide variety of qualities. They are wonderful for creating the initial drawing for a watercolor or acrylic, or adding details along the way to a finished painting.
  • Encaustic – Less popular than many other methods, using hot wax as a binder with pigment.
  • Tempera – Considered somewhere between an oil and a gouache paint. They contain both aqueous and nongaseous binding materials. (temperate – medieval Latin meaning blending or mixing)

Recently I worked on updating a price comparison list that I keep on hand for personal use. It includes oil painting materials from popular art suppliers such as Dick Blick, Utrecht, Jerry Artarama, Cheap Joes among a few others. Because I find this useful when ordering, I want to share this information with you. It is available in both a .xlsx (MS Excel includes comments related to product comparisons) and PDF file.

If you are already a subscriber we will be sending this to you shortly.

If you’re not – Get on the ball and subscribe today!

Click here to subscribe: http://eepurl.com/tuUtj

 

j2500

“Wha?!” 8X10″ Oil on canvas – NFS

The above piece is a quick study I did the other day. Created from a photo that captured my attention.

My fourth of July will consist of the traditional food, fireworks, family and friends. This year it will be on a smaller scale since it falls on a Thursday.

I haven’t taken the week off.  But I guess I am giving myself a lot of leeway. As of the last two days I focused on painting and napping. Not necessarily in that order.  My husband is on vacation from his job this week.  So it is hear-by decided I can blame him for my lack of initiative!

In an attempt to get to know the readers better, let me fill you in a bit about myself.

  1. I turn fifty this year. I am actually looking forward to it. Life should be fun. As Huey Lewis said: “We’re not here for a long time, we’re here for a good time!”
  2. I have two grown daughters and four and a half grandchildren. The half being a new grandson due in Sept.
  3. I am not domestic.  So the chances of seeing any recipe posted by me is slim to none.
  4. I read a great deal, mostly nonfiction. I am a sucker for anything new on business, blogging, writing, or autism.
  5. I am on a continual quest for the perfect office/studio organizing system.  See eBook “Controlling Creative Clutter”.
  6. My office is in a small home I share with my husband, two dogs and a cat. I dream of having a rustic historic building found in most all of rural America.
  7. I am VERY introverted.  I need time alone in order to function well. So the item #6 is not practical in that it would most likely require me to be available to the public.
  8. I don’t eat as well as I should, nor do I often exercise on purpose. I tell myself I will get back to running. But sitting in front of the computer, easel or with a book almost always wins out.

So there you have it: A fifty year old out of shape hermit that paints, writes and blogs. And I am sure some would say a twisted sense of humor. It will surly rear its head before long!

 

The final installment of our “Painting In Oils” series.

partfive

“Cameron” 12X16″ Oil on Canvas

There are probably as many ways to approach painting as artists. In this post I attempt to show how I paint portraits.

First, you need to gather your supplies:

  • Mineral Spirits
  • Rags (Or Paper Towels)
  • 12X16″ Stretched Canvas
  • Linseed Oil
  • Oil Paints (Utrecht)- Titanium White, Burnt Umber, Cobalt Blue, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine Blue, Cadium Red. Naples Yellow and Dioxazine Purple
  • Paint Brushes (Utrecht) – Round #00, #2, #3, Filbert #4
  • Small Mirror
12

Step One Example

detail1

Step One – Detail

Step One:

  • Use mineral spirits with burnt umber oil paint to create a wash and lay in the basic shapes.
  • Use only the larger brush during this step.
  • Do not use any linseed oil or other medium at this point.
  • Push and pull the values to work out the composition, working from big to small shapes.
  • Use the small mirror to check your work. The mirror helps you to see problems in proportion etc…
  • You are not committed at this point.  If it not working just wipe off the thin paint and start over.
  • Only concern yourself with getting the basic shapes and forms at this point.
  • Make sure you keep with the traditional placement of the features in mind as you work.
  • Remember the more white you add the slower it will dry so use it sparingly.
steptwo

Step Two Example

Take a brief break and step away before beginning step two. So you have a fresher perspective.

Step Two:

  • If the paint is dry to the touch, oiling out will help with the paints flow and correct use of color.
  • Correct anything that may not look correct from Step One.
  • Begin to lay in the basic colors of the flesh and develop the values further.
  • Keep the strokes loose and fresh as you can. Be sure of each stroke before you make it.
steptwodetailsmaller

Step Two – Detail

paint

Paint Mix Detail

3

Step Three Example

Step Three:

  • Deepen and enrich the colors of the flesh further. Work with smaller brushes only if necessary, but keep the freshness of the strokes. Do not become too tight.
  • Develop the clothing further and at least lay in the basic colors.
  • Darken the background and play with the push and pull of edges of the figure.
  • Notice the flesh here has blue in the shadows.
  • Continue checking your work with a small mirror to be sure you are making the progress you think you are.
4

Step Four Example – With inspirational paintings attached to easel.

Step Four:

  • Build up the shirt area with equal looseness you have in the flesh tones.
  • Touch up detailed areas of the features, still trying to not be too tight.
  • Reinforce the texture on highlighted areas of flesh.
PartFiveInProgress

Step Five Example

Step Five:

  • Be sure to include highlights on iris and pupil.
  • Fill in the rest of the dark background.
  • Develop edges of figure with the background so they are cohesive and not seen as being in two totally different spaces.
  • Sign into the wet paint at this point. Or, try to wait to sign the work until the paint is dry.  This way if you make an error it can easily be wiped off without disturbing what painting has been accomplished.
partfivedetail

Step Five – Detail

At this point I could continue building the piece with more and more detail. Instead I have chosen to stop here and leave it with the loose brushstrokes.

Tips:

  • Be sure to take regular breaks.  I tend to do so every hour. It just happens that Pandora internet stations play approx ninety minutes before pausing.
  • Clean your brushes well at the end of each painting session.
  • To keep oil paint wet from one work session to another consider placing it in the freezer in a closed container.

Part Six – Oiling Out

Part Five – Gallery Wrapped Canvas

Part Four – Facial Proportions

Part Three – Palettes

Part Two –  Mediums

Part One – Materials

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